Austria

Local specialties

local specialties
Kletzennudeln

If you have the chance to try Kletzennudeln you should definitely do it. They are an exceptional Carinthian specialty you can very rarely get anywhere: sweet noodles filled with dried pears and soft cheese. The best Kletzennudeln are hand made with minced dried pears, rather than the lower quality versions which use pear powder.

local specialties
Kernöl

Some salads are made with Kernöl green pumpkin seed oil, a Styrian specialty. Even though it looks frightening dark green or dark red, depending on lighting conditions it has an interesting nutty taste. A bottle of good, pure Styrian Kernöl is very expensive around €10-20, but maybe one of the most Austrian things to take home. Beware of cheap Kernöl, sometimes sold as "Salatöl". Be sure to seal the bottle appropriately, the oil expands when slightly heated and leaves non removable stains. Just in case, sun light occasionally removes them, though. Kernöl or pumpkin seed oil is also available in some online shops.

Restaurants

restaurants
 

If you want to try out traditional Austrian food go for a Gasthaus or Gasthof, which serve traditional food for reasonable prices. Usually they offer various options of set lunch including a soup and a main dish and in some cases a dessert too. They are typically priced at around €5-7 except for very touristy areas. Menus are written in German, though some of the restaurants have English menus as well. Keep in mind that tipping is expected throughout all restaurants in Austria. Rounding up the price given on the bill is usually enough tip.

restaurants
 

In Austrian restaurants you must ask to pay. Get the attention of your server and say: "zahlen, bitte" to pay, please. They will then bring you the check, or tell you the amount of the bill verbally. Then, the proper way to pay in Austria is to give your cash and say the amount you wish to pay, including tip. To tip it is appropriate to round up, or to round up +50 cents or 1 euro of the cost for each person should equal about 5-10% for a full meal. Servers are not dependent on tips, and it is not appropriate to tip a large amount. Saying "danke" thank you when paying means keep the change! Alternatively, you can say the amount of the bill plus your tip and will only get change above that amount for instance, if you pay with a €20 bill, the amount is €16.50 and you say "Siebzehn Euro" (seventeen euro, the server will give you €3 change and keep the €0.50 as tip).

Desserts

desserts
Eszterházy
Österreich
desserts
Sachertorte

Is chocolate torte with chocolate icing and filled with apricot jam. it should be be served fresh with freshly beaten, lightly sweetened cream, which the austrians call "schlagobers". the original is available in vienna in the cafe sacher (http://www.sacher.com/sac...), but similar cakes are very common in many other viennese cafes. note also that cafe sacher has several tourist-trap behaviours such as a non-optional €2 coat check and their cakes are not always the freshest.

desserts
Strudel
desserts
Malakhoff

Delicate cake

desserts
Manner Schnitten

Are a very viennese sweet specialty, but just the square form factor and pink packaging are really unique. you can buy them everywhere. maybe you've already seen these as a product placement in some hollywood movies or for example in "friends" and wondered what they are.

desserts
Milchrahmstrudel

Milk and curd cheese struedel, served warm

desserts
Powidl

Is a type of savoury prune jam with alcohol, another speciality from vienna. it makes a good present as it tastes exotic and is hard to find anywhere else in the world.

Austrian food is distinctive and delicious, and is traditionally of the stodgy, hearty "meat and dumplings" variety. Wiener Schnitzel a bread-crumbed and fried veal escalope is something of a national dish, and Knödel are a kind of dumpling which can be made either sweet or savory according to taste.In Vienna the Tafelspitz boiled beef with potatoes and horseradish is traditionally served on Sundays, and is normally accompanied by clear broth with dumplings and herbs. Apart from these, Austria is renowned for its pastries and desserts, the most well-known of which is probably the Apfelstrudel.

Bread is taken seriously in Austria. Almost every village has its own bakery, offering a large choice of freshly baked sweet and savoury rolls daily from 6AM. Rye bread Vollkornbrot, Bauernbrot is the traditional staple food among peasants. If this is too heavy for you, try the common white bread roll Semmel. Somewhat surprisingly, it is easier to find good bread outside of Vienna, where the baking industry hasn't yet come to be dominated by industrial scale chain shops.

Some Austrians have a habit of eating sweet flour-based dishes Mehlspeise for a main course once a week. Varieties include Kaiserschmarren, Marillenknoedel, and Germknoedel.

The best advice is to dive into the menu and give it a go - there are no nasty surprises!

vegetarians

Vegetarianism is slowly gaining ground in Austria, especially in bigger cities. Austrians aren't as carnivorous as the rest of their Central European neighbors; 47% of the country reports having a diverse diet with only limited amounts of meat. Most restaurants don't cater for vegetarians specifically, but you're almost certain to find meals on the menu containing no meat. As an alternative, there are vegetarian restaurants in every major city, as well as harder to find vegan or vegan-friendly places. You can get vegetarian and vegan products e.g. tofu, soy milk, lactose-free products in nearly all supermarkets across the country in rural areas as well and in many health-food shops.

In more traditional or very rural restaurants, you may be viewed as eccentric if you say you are vegetarian, and it's possible that not a single meal on the menu is meat-free. This is especially true for restaurants serving traditional Austrian cuisine which relies heavily on meat -- even apparent vegetable dishes such as potato salad or vegetable soup often contain meat products. Sometimes, also food clearly labeled as "vegetarian" contains fish, as vegetarianism is often equated with pescetarianism. If unsure, ask the waiting staff if there are any animal products in the dish you're about to order. A traditional meal that is guaranteed to be vegetarian is 'Kasnudel similar to ravioli.