Our Hunt for the Best Schnitzel in Vienna

When in Vienna, you must try the original Wienerschnitzel. The name itself means Vienna cutlet in German after all, and this is the city where you need to experience the authentic way of making and serving this simple yet extraordinary dish. But in what restaurant can you get the best schnitzel in Vienna? Do you really have to spend an hour in line just to taste the excellence?

Last time we visited Vienna just for a short night, but we wanted to hop on the bandwagon and try the best Wienerschnitzel in the city. I already had had an experience about 15 years ago in a restaurant that turned out to be even more popular than I thought. So we decided to go and check out their schnitzel, but ultimately ended up in a very different location.

This is the story of what actually happened, how popularity can, in my opinion, ruin a restaurant’s atmosphere, and what is the place we actually discovered by chance where we think they serve one of the best schnitzels in Vienna. And if, after reading about it, you want to prepare this dish at home, click on the link for my authentic Wienerschnitzel recipe.

Figlmüller, Or Maybe Not?

I guess the very first place that comes to most tourists’ mind as an authentic schnitzel restaurant in Vienna is Figlmüller. It wasn’t different with us. I actually ate Wienerschnitzel there back before 2010, and I had very good memories. So there was no question we were going to try the place which serves the most famous schnitzel in Vienna.

Until actually we got there.

You know, there are many benefits of online travel blogs and vlogs these days. But if there is one definite con, it is that once a place gets popular by even just one YouTuber, it basically becomes so crowded that you cannot enjoy it’s original atmosphere anymore.

And that’s just what had happened to Figlmüller. I don’t actually know who and where had talked about it as the place where they serve the best schnitzel in Vienna, but this restaurant is not only full virtually every hour of the day, but you also have to wait in line literally for half an hour or more just to get in. It’s come to a stage than, in my opinion, is more about tourism than hospitality.

But we didn’t known about that at the beginning.

So to start our schnitzel night, we went to the original Figlmüller location. A welcoming, authentic Vienna style restaurant in a friendly passageway, dating back to 1905.

Figlmüller Vienna passageway

Long long line to wait outside in the passageway was what we experienced. This actually doesn’t show on the picture, because that was taken another time, but just imagine a bunch of tourists waiting there.

Then suddenly a waiter comes out and he tells everyone that they are not actually accepting customers without reservation at that particular place. We should go to their other location, just a corner from there.

The New Figlmüller Restaurant

The big herd of people than starts to move slowly, gaining more and more speed as everyone realizes that the sooner they get to the other place, the sooner they’ll get seated. We try to pick up pace and get to the other restaurant as fast as we can.

But no luck. Another long line at the other place, already a bunch of people waiting on the street. So we get in line patiently, yet trying to get a glimpse of the inside this other schnitzel restaurant.

Figlmüller waiting line

Which was, for us, disappointing.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice place. But this new location is nothing more than a nice restaurant. Period.

And I find it acceptable to wait a bit to get into the original Figlmüller with it’s turn of the century ambient. But this other place is just a regular restaurant. A mediocre one for that matter, in terms of atmosphere or ambience. Please note that I’m not talking about the food or service, just the sense of vibe from outside the street.

Two Lonely Waiters

And as we are waiting patiently in front of the building, two lonely waiters appear across the street, watching our line curiously. Another restaurant, but this one actually seems empty. The waiters have nothing else to do that envying the huge line at the other place. Not a good sign, for me at least, but also a beam of hope that we could get dinner sooner.

Figlmüller vs Kussmaul

Let’s check out the menu, so one of us crosses the street. And it turns out that they actually also serve Wienerschnitzel. Should we try it? Or should we just continue waiting to get in the famous yet abnormally touristic place?

To help in the decision, we discover two friendly Michelin signs on the wall, reassuring us that the place shouldn’t be that bad.

In the meantime, others from our line join us to check out the menu at the other place. And you can see that people are actually weighing the possibilities of whether continue waiting in line or trying the other place instead right away.

We finally make our decision.

Enough of waiting. That other place, with it’s Michelin recommendations, seems pretty inviting after all. Let’s abandon the original idea and try another restaurant to see how they make the original Vienna schnitzel.

Kussmaul, Our Choice for Wienerschnitzel Restaurant in Vienna

Enter Kussmaul, a relatively new kid on the playground of Vienna restaurants to serve Wienerschnitzel.

Kussmaul restaurant inside 2

The place has a completely different vibe from that of Figlmüller, but it’s actually very welcoming from the get go. It’s a modern restaurant with contemporary decoration and ambience, but you still feel very cosi when entering. The waiters are extremely helpful, they show us the restaurant and offer us to seat wherever we want.

The menu is more on the traditional side though, the only thing making it modern is that it mixes traditional Austrian and international food, something very characteristic of our era.

I have to add here that the restaurant wasn’t actually completely empty. It just looked liked that compared to the packed schnitzel restaurant at the other side of the street. Some people were already eating here at Kussmaul, and you could tell that some others from our waiting line were just following us, so the place was getting filled up quickly.

Kussmaul restaurant inside 1

Kussmaul, Our Best Schnitzel in Vienna

We obviously had to try their Wienerschnitzel, that’s what we had had planned for the night after all.

One of us ordered the plain version, just the schnitzel, and the other one ordered it with the traditional Austrian potato salad. This last choice was not the smartest, but more on that later.

Best schnitzel in Vienna

The meat was heavenly. What we ate at Kussmaul made us forget any doubts that we had about switching restaurants. We can say that it was our best Wienerschnitzel experience ever.

The meat was extremely tender and the coating super crunchy. Just the way a perfect schnitzel should be. The meat itself was a bit thicker than what you get in most places, but it was prepared in such a perfect way that you didn’t feel the meat flavor overwhelming at all. On the contrary, this just made our original Vienna schnitzel experience even more sophisticated.

Just a few thoughts about the “potato-green-salad” that was the side dish for one of our schnitzels. This was very good, but the “green” part simply meant that it was half Austrian potato salad and half mixed green salad, mainly arugula. As this version was 6 Euros more than the plain one, we would have gotten better off ordering the plain version with just the potato salad without the greens. It is the traditional way of serving Wienerschnitzel after all.

A Good Wine Recommendation With The Schnitzel

Our waiter was extremely helpful and polite during all of our visit. Always looking at us, asking whether we wanted anything else and asking about how we liked our food.

But one of the best things he did is offer us an excellent wine.

I wouldn’t say that it would be easy for me to select the best wine for a schnitzel, let alone in a foreign country. So we asked our waiter for a recommendation, and he came up with a Green Veltliner, being a typical Austrian wine. A Remushof Jagschitz from Burgerland was an excellent choice and if it wasn’t a local wine, I would say this is the one you should drink with a good Wienerschnitzel, wherever you are in the world.

Remushof Jagschitz Green Veltliner Burgerland

Anyways, we had a very good schnitzel experience and a fun night. And If you are looking for a great place in Vienna to enjoy the original Wienerschnitzel, I can honestly recommend you Kussmaul just in the heart of the city for an exceptional experience.