I have just got back from a short trip to Vienna, a trip that sadly went from being two nights to one night due to work. My friend and I were meeting one of our other friends out there who was there on business and extended her trip by a couple of days for some sightseeing so ultimately that was the reason for picking Vienna – all in the name of a girly catch up.
One of my friends looked up gluten free options in Vienna before I’d even had a chance to and sent me the Road Affair blog link as she was very pleased to see that I would still be able to indulge in cake (not as pleased as I was!) and not only that but the city looked at though it was gluten free heaven! Who knew?!
As my trip was so short this is not a detailed guide of gluten free in Vienna but highlights the excellent places that I found to help you get started on a city break to Vienna!
I wouldn’t normally promote flying EasyJet but my flight was cheap and they’ve started doing some gluten free food (yes, you have to pay but at least it’s available!) They had Moma porridge, a noodle pot and some snacks available.
As there were three of us we tried to find a Central, comfortable hotel that would accommodate three of us in the one room. Based on this and location we didn’t have many options and the Marriott looked the best of our choices. At €22 for a continental breakfast or €33 for an American breakfast we didn’t bother eating at the hotel, although we did make use of the lovely bar in the evening. The hotel was central, had comfy beds and good facilities and were were presented with a refreshing elderflower wine when we checked in so we had a very enjoyable stay. However there was no wifi included or water in the rooms, which is annoying when you’re on holiday especially when not staying somewhere cheap. The location really was ideal though and easily walkable from Wien Mitte where the airport train arrives into.
McDonalds on Arrival
What can I say? I used to scoff at the idea of eating McDonalds when on holiday, I just couldn’t understand why anyone would choose to eat there over all the local food! How things have changed when I made McDonalds my first stop! The reason – McDonalds in many countries in Europe are absolutely brilliant at catering for coeliacs. I had a cheeseburger and fries, ordered at the counter to make sure I definitely ordered gluten free and so quickly I was presented with my meal! Fantastic and so nostalagic tucking into something I no longer eat! There’s always so much debate over why McDonalds in the UK can’t do this, and for good reason as here they made it look so easy as I watched my burger be prepared on a different counter to all the other burgers. Located upstairs in the shopping centre at Wien Mitte where you get off the CAT (the city airport train that is the easiest form of transport from the airport to the city centre) it is in an ideal location to make it your first stop if like me you’re hungry from your flight, and/or craving Maccy D’s!
Next up cake!! It didn’t take us long to come across this cafe which I had seen recommended on many Vienna blogs as we walked past one on the way to the hotel. Clearly after McDonalds and checking in at the hotel we needed a cake stop!
There were many gluten free choices and between the three of us we had a chocolate torte and a nutty chocolate mousse cake. Both were so delicious and really light that actually we could easily have managed a third piece as we were sharing due to a late lunch. The torte had an amazing shiny glaze and was filled with chocolate mousse. The nutty one was layers of cake and mousse with a light walnutty taste and both really were excellent. If you have time this was located near Wien Mitte so could be a last stop over too for cake on your way back to the airport very easily.
It needs to be noted that normal cakes are also made here. The gluten free cakes are stored on separate plates and the cakes have a plastic film along the edges. I’d also seen them on blogs by other coeliacs so knew others had safely eaten them, and I too wasn’t sick but you will need to make your own choice about any potential risk of cross contamination.
Speaking of cross contamination I did email Cafe Sacher about gluten free options as understandably it was high on my friends list of things to do in Vienna. However they replied that although they do a couple of gluten free cakes if I wanted cakes free from cross contamination they do not advise them and said I should stick to fruit salad. I’m glad they were honest but seriously who would want fruit salad whilst their friends are eating cake?! We went elsewhere but my lovely friends didn’t miss out though as they got to visit after I left as it was only me that cut the trip in length so they still got to indulge in the famous Sacher torte!
Before I had to head back to the airport I did manage to find a last bit of space for some cake and that was at Cafe Mozart, located near the opera house (and next door to Cafe Sacher). They had lots of gluten free options and with one of my friends I shared two types of chocolate mousse cake and again they were light and yummy. My other friend had a gluteney cake as she really wanted to try the Mozart cake, a cream and chocolate mousse cake that she also thoroughly enjoyed. Despite only a short time in Vienna we didn’t try any bad cakes between us, the only problem was deciding which ones to pick so I was glad my friends were willing to share the gluten free options with me!
As I was only there for one breakfast I had to choose between Blue Orange for a bagel breakfast or for something from Allergiker Cafe. The bagel option won with my friends and we walked to Blue Orange.
They have cross contamination controls in place and for the first time in a long time I enjoyed a breakfast bagel! There were lots of vegetarian options to chose from too so everyone was happy. Bagels can be fitted into most itineraries as they can be eaten at all times of the day so I would recommend giving them a try!
I’d read a few blogs about Vienna before I came and Gasthaus Nestroy seemed to come recommended. I emailed them in advance for a booking and could only get 9pm (I could get earlier in a smoking area) hence the McDonalds stop to keep me going! Therefore I definitely recommend booking in advance.
We arrived to a table outside – seriously it’s raining in the UK as I write this in May and in Vienna we comfortably sat outside for a 9pm dinner reservation! They had a gluten free menu and I had to have schnitzel, my only real decision was whether that was to be pork, chicken or veal. I had the veal and the meal was really delicious comfort food and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
They did have pancakes on the menu and I really wanted them but they seemed to be wrapping up for the night so we didn’t stay for dessert. We instead headed back to the hotel for some bellinis in the hotel bar that went down rather well!
One thing to note was that there were no vegetarian options on the menu and that was the gluten free and normal menu which I hadn’t realised at the time of booking. However, my friend was offered an asparagus risotto when she asked about veggie options so they could cater. There is a chance that the risotto would have been gluten free but we didn’t ask, so you may require some extra research if you’re gluten free and vegetarian before choosing this restaurant.
I’d seen Pizza Scarabocchio recommended several times through my research and we made a lunch time reservation although the restaurant wasn’t full. I think it would be at night as it seemed popular so I would recommend booking so that you don’t miss out.
This place has to be tried if you’re Coeliac despite it not being traditional Austrian cuisine as the pizza is amazing! Literally despite all my gluten free pizza eating I think this is the best one ever. A bold claim to make, but it was just that incredible!
First up were starters, one of my friends had a caprese salad and the other had proscuttio and melon. I really wanted proscuttio and mozzarella, so asked if this was possible. The result was a proscuttio topped caprese and it was extremely good, and they were all large portions which was a worry with a pizza on the way for the main as this would have been enough for lunch alone!
When I ordered the waiter asked if I wanted some gluten free bread with my starter, so I agreed without giving it much thought. However, I was stunned when a gluten free pizza bread turned up for me! Never before has this happened and topped with rosemary it was awesome and I couldn’t stop eating it! Epic win (although they did charge me €4.90 for it).
Next up was pizza – simplicity sometimes is best and despite the thirty or so Pizza options I went for the pepperoni. Just look at this pizza that turned up. It was extremely good but I couldn’t eat it all, the Coeliac in me couldn’t send it back though so it was boxed up to take away! Don’t judge me but it made great food for the airport whilst waiting for my plane!
They also had gluten free tiramisu on the menu but sadly and reluctantly I had to pass on dessert from being far too full!
Lemon Sorbet Prosecco at Cafe Weinwurm
Despite my trip only being overnight I sampled some amazing gluten free food and found time for several prosecco stops as it was a trip to catch up with my friends! The best of these was the lemon sorbet prosecco that was so refreshing out in the sunshine, at Cafe Weinwurm located in Stephansplatz next to the cathedral.
Most airports are a nightmare for coeliacs but Vienna had options before security with gluten free food available in the Spar and a McDonalds there with their gluten free burgers available. However, these are both before security.
Sightseeing in Vienna
There are meant to be some amazing museums in Vienna but without a lot of time in the city and not wanting to rush around for the two days too much I saw the top sights of St Stephan’s Cathedral, the State Opera House and as it was near Pizza Scarabocchio, the City Hall. This turned out to be playing host to some sort festival so there were lots of stalls selling food and drink with people dressed in traditional dress. A total surprise but made a great stop, especially when we got to sit and have a raspberry spritz in the park!
We also enjoyed taking a ride on the Ferris wheel to take in the views of Vienna and there was even time for some mini golf.
I managed to cram a lot into my time but obviously in such a short trip I barely scratched the surface of a city that seems to cater extremely well for those with coeliac. My friend works out there several times a year so hopefully another trip will soon be on the cards!
Whilst writing my list of recommendations for my time in Vienna I also had the following restaurants and cafes on the list, although I didn’t personally try them out:
*Allergiker Cafe – caters for many allergies so great if you require this!
*Vapiano – quick pizza and pasta restaurant. I’ve had a mixed experience with the chain. In London they’ve been terrible with no options and I never go there but in Brisbane during my trip to Australia I was able to get gluten free gnocchi cooked in fresh water, and the experience was amazing and the food excellent. I would have tried Vapiano in Vienna given more time as I’ve read they cater well for coeliacs.
*Gasthaus Zum Wohl – gluten free and lactose free restaurant which looks like it includes schnitzel, pancakes and beer.
*Alla Salute – another pizza restaurant but this time 100% gluten free if that helps you eat out more confidently.
Edit – August 2020 – looks to be permanently closed.
*Simple Raw Bakery – serving raw and vegan options.
Austria as well as being very gluten free friendly, is also very clear for other dietary requirements too using a lettering system to mark up their menus for allergens. This means it is probably also an easy destination for those with multiple allergies. My only problem was I kept looking at the ‘G’s on the menus out of habit which actually referred to lactose! For gluten free you are looking for the options that do not have the letter A next to them!
Vienna is a beautiful city. The underground was easy to get around on and the CAT made it extremely quick and easy to reach the city from the airport for €21 return. (€19 if you buy online in advance). Never before have I seen such a well signposted airport train taking you so easily into the city (takes 16 minutes every half an hour). Another plus point for Vienna as some airport transfers can be time consuming or expensive but this was not one of them!
For more blogs and websites on gluten free eating in Vienna and Austria please use my extensive guide to gluten free in Europe.
Where else would you recommend in Vienna? Let me know in the comments so I can try it out next time!
None of the places I ate at were 100% gluten free so do remember to ask the relevant questions on cross contamination controls as you will need to make your own decision as to whether they are right for you.
If you visit Vienna – and you should! – I hope you have a fabulous time eating and sightseeing your way around the city!