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Open sandwiches are not only a Scandi delicatessen – even Austria has its original sandwich, called brötchen. A must try, in the most traditional recipes or in the new, fancy ways.
Bread is serious business in Vienna and so is the stuff we put in and on top of it: you can’t take a walk through Vienna without encountering burgers, bagels and other American snacks of all kinds. Nevertheless, as popular as the imported are, the Viennese still love the local (often open-faced) sandwich variations they have been serving for decades, many of them without any changes to the original recipes. While some of the mashed toppings may seem a little unusual to visitors, don’t let the strange look put you off.
When it comes to sandwiches, Trześniewski is as Viennese as it gets – even though the famous chain was invented by a Polish guy, which also explains (at least for German speakers) the unpronounceable name. The only food item on the menu is dark bread with toppings of all different kinds, the most popular ones being decade classics, such as bacon with egg or pickled herring with onions. Now, when we say toppings, that doesn’t mean you have an actual fish or a piece of meat on your sandwich, but a rather unattractive looking mashed mass instead. If that sounds a little weird to you, prepare for your first bite – the sandwiches are truly unique with all the different flavours, blending together in one delicious bite. Order a Pfiff (a tiny glass of beer) or some sparkling wine with your meal and enjoy one of the most local fast food experiences in Vienna.
Tauber has one problem: it never got as famous as its rival, Trześniewski. This really is unfair considering that their sandwiches are quite tasty and even have “recognizable” ingredients as toppings, which may also make them a more accessible choice for foreign visitors. Ham, caviar, Brie, roast beef, smoked salmon – variety is certainly a plus. Tauber uses white bread, which is a little atypical for the Viennese, who usually prefer their bread to be as dark as their humour, but if white is your preferred choice of grain, this the place to go. Since 1987, their recipes have changed very little and that’s just how the Viennese like it.
Zum Schwarzen Kameel is a true place of tradition, this ancient Viennese restaurant has been located at its prestigious address in downtown Vienna for centuries (since 1618 to be precise, even though it used to be a grocery store back then). Interestingly, while tables are booked out on most nights, they are still best known for their rather simple take-out sandwiches. Many of the spreads were the brainchild of the current owner’s mother from 50 years ago and the good woman seems to have had excellent taste. Our recommendations are the sandwiches with lentils, red cabbage or ham and horseradish… and if those aren’t filling enough, just stay on for a full dinner.