Welcome to Graz, Austria’s culinary capital, a city for gourmets, gastronomes and grazers. From Graz restaurants, speciality shops and local producers to traditional foods and innovative culinary creativity. Let’s discover what Graz brings to the table.
Today I’m sharing some of my favourite restaurants in Graz, local food specialities and some of the best places to eat them.
I’ve recently spent a few days of serious feasting on fabulous food in Graz, Austria. I arrived hungry, discovered some of the best Graz food and drink, and left feeling happy but waving Auf Wiedersehen to my waistline!
Seriously, Graz is very walkable so all that delicious food fuelled the miles I covered and no waistlines were damaged during the making of this blog post. Ahem.
As well as being awarded European Capital of Culture in 2003 Graz is also known as Austria’s City of Culinary Delights because of its good food. This laid back city is easy on the eye with stunning architecture, both traditional and design-led, and with a rich cultural history.
The river Mur cuts through Graz separating the charming old town from the edgier bohemian district of Lend. The design-led Murinsel island and countless bridges connect one side of the city to the other.
Discovering local food and drink in Graz and Styria
Styria, is a province in the south west of the country, known as the ‘green heart’ of Austria. It’s packed with vineyards, agricultural land, forests and mountains and is home to the Styrian Wine Road which I visited a few years back. Graz is the capital of Styria.
The region dishes up an abundance of excellent local food and drink options paired with a sustainable ethos. Whether you’re craving authentic Austrian classics, or want to discover something new, this article will guide you through some of the must-try foods, artisan producers, markets, shops and restaurants in Graz.
The theme of our visit to Graz and the region of Styria was local food, sustainability and how to make deeper connections with the area. This led to a more meaningful, memorable and worthwhile experience for me and hopefully for the people I interacted with.
It felt good to be giving something back by way of eating and buying local produce and learning about the area’s authentic and traditional foods. I definitely forged a deeper connection and a love of Graz and its food.
As well as enjoying some of the best restaurants in Graz we ventured deeper into the Styrian food region to meet producers of honey, gin and wine as well as tucking into a fabulous brettljause at a Buschenschank, one of my favourite food experiences of the trip.
Vegans will be very happy visiting Graz because the city has the highest number of vegan restaurants per capita in the country.
What food is Graz known for?
Graz is known for many local foods including:
- Pumpkin Seed Oil
- Runner Bean Salad (Käferbohnensalat aka bug bean salad)
- Brettljause (loosely translated as snack on a board)
- Styrian Wine
- Arctic Char
Now you know what food Graz is known for let’s dive into the city’s food scene with some of the best foodie hotspots to add to your itinerary. We’ll start with some of the restaurants in Graz which I’ve personally experienced and am happy to recommend.
Aiola Upstairs, sits at the top of the Schlossberg in Graz close to the clock tower. It’s a great summer venue because your meal is paired with panoramic views of the city. We had fabulous sunset views from the outdoor seating area as we enjoyed our meal.
Food is both regional and international using the best ingredients. I started with ceviche of sea bass with fennel, passionfruit and coriander which was the perfect combination of fresh, zingy flavours.
My main course was tasty Styrian corn-fed chicken breast served with freshly foraged chanterelle mushrooms in a creamy sauce with gnocchi. I’m sure the dish tasted better just by knowing the chanterelles came from the nearby forest.
A Styrian Sauvignon Blanc was the perfect accompaniment. We had excellent service from friendly staff.
Where: Schlossberg 2, 8010 Graz, Austria
Website: Aiola Upstairs
Die Speis am Lendhafen
The three guys that run Die Speis am Lendhafen have sustainability at their heart. The food they serve is regional, seasonal and sustainable with at least two thirds of it being produced with a 50km radius. They have a zero waste policy too and it’s one of Graz’s best vegetarian restaurants – there’re vegan options on the menu too.
The restaurant pairs Styrian tapas with international dishes. My starter was caprese salad with apricots and for my main I had chilli pasta served with Styrian Sauvignon Blanc. Graz food at its best. The farm to table vegetarian main dishes, starters and desserts are all excellent quality and this was my favourite restaurant in Graz.
There’s a lively atmosphere and its the perfect location in warm weather. We dined outside overlooking lively Mariahhilfer Platz where buskers strummed and a beautiful sunset slowly dipped behind Mariahilferkirche. A great spot for outdoor dining.
Where: Mariahilferpl. 2, 8020 Graz, Austria
Website: Speis am Lendhafen
This cute place is a shop and restaurant located in a tiny baroque castle built in 1627. A treasure chest of Styrian and Graz food, it’s tucked away behind the fortress wall at the foot of Schlossberg hill.
The shop stocks over 1000 products from more than 100 small-scale producers from around Styria and further into Austria. It’s the right place to go if you’re looking to shop for local delicacies as well as enjoy some excellent food selections in the tasting room.
The restaurant upstairs was our lunch venue and we sat on the outside terrace and enjoyed some great local food.
We started with a glass of crisp Champagnee Renette apple cider (apple wine) which has been produced in Styria for generations. Arctic char is fresh fish native to alpine lakes and we had it smoked with trout roe on sourdough as an appetiser.
Käferbohnensalat, is a small salad dish known locally as bug bean salad, and it was a revelation. Made with runner beans, pumpkin seed oil, apple cider vinegar and onions, it’s delicious and it was so good I’ve made it twice at home already.
Main course was chanterelle goulash with sour cream, knödels (bread dumplings) and polenta which we enjoyed with a glass of Schilcher, a sparkling rosé made solely in western Styria.
We finished with an Austrian dessert platter piled with plum, apple and date cake.
Where: Am Fusse des Schlossberges 3, 8010 Graz, Austria
Website: Gut Schlossberg
For traditional Austrian food in authentic surroundings head to Glöcklbräu in Glockenspielplatz a great location in the heart of the old town.
Popular traditional Austrian dishes from the 18th century like Backhendl (deep-fried chicken) are served here. Vegetarians will love the Käsespätzle, think mac ‘n cheese with crispy onion on top are served in authentic surroundings. The great food goes well with a refreshing Glöckl Bräu (local beer) or a glass of crisp Schilcher.
Where: Glockenspielpl. 2-3, 8010 Graz, Austria
Aiola im Schloss – The Tavern
For something different visit Aiola im Schloss set in a beautiful location next to a small castle with gardens and fountains. Aiola im Schloss is sister restaurant to the Aiola Upstairs and also serves excellent regional specialities. The restaurant is about a 12-minute drive away on the outskirts of Graz.
Where: Andritzer Reichsstraße 144, 8046 Graz, Austria
Website: Aiola im Schloss
Where to try and buy local foods in Graz
Farmers Market at Kaiser Josef Platz
There are 17 farmers’ markets in Graz offering regional and seasonal products from fresh fruits, vegetables and Styrian cheese to flowers, meats, sausages, eggs and fruit juices. Kaiser-Josef Markt is the largest of the city’s markets.
Graz opera house stands as a beautiful backdrop to Kaiser-Josef-Platz square which is packed with stalls and small eateries. Kaiser Josef Markt is the largest farmer’s market in Graz and is open every day of the week. It’s a great place to shop for freshly-picked produce and fresh baked bread.
We tasted tiny wild strawberries bursting with flavour and Styrian cheese made from a byproduct of butter. It’s intense, chewy, crumbly and incredibly tasty. Stop for a refreshing fruit juice made with apples, apricots and fruit picked from local orchards.
Where: Kaiser-Josef Platz, Graz
Open Mon – Sat 06:00-13:00 hrs
‘s Fachl means small box or crate in Austrian. It’s a unique concept where small producers rent a wooden box/crate (fachl) for a month to a year where they can sell their produce. It’s an affordable and sustainable way of selling their goods in the city without the overheads of running a shop or stall.
We tried lots of pumpkin seed products and small snacks at s’Fachl, from pumpkin seed oil, pesto and crackers to eggnog and pumpkin seeds covered in chocolate. It was a great experience and the quality of the food was excellent.
I bought pumpkin seed oil (kürbiskernöl), pumpkin seed pesto and some chocolate covered pumpkin seeds so I could get a taste of Graz back at home – the oil’s already getting low! This was one of my local favorite shops and definitely one to visit if you want to bring home a taste of Graz and give something back to the community.
Where: Herrengasse 13, 8010 Graz, Austria
Website: ‘s Fachl
This is the perfect place to stop and cool off on a hot day. Die Eisperle, which translates as ice pearl, is a multi award-winning ice cream parlour and for good reason.
Each day, Die Eisperle serves pure vegan ice cream made from the freshest high quality produce. There are no preservatives or other artificial additives and their ice cream tastes all the better for it. Ice cream cups and spoons are organic and 100% biodegradable.
Where: You’ll find Die Eisperle at four locations in the city:
Kaiserfeldgasse 22, 8010 Graz
Conrad-von-Hötzendorfstr. 55, 8010 Graz
Färbergasse 3, 8010 Graz
Jakominiplatz Stand Nr. 11, 8010 Graz
Website: Die Eisperle
Standl 5 – Wurscht is my business
Welcome to Graz’s sustainable sausage stand located on the Hauptplatz next to the fountain along with a clutch of other street food stands.
We tucked into tasty steirer hot dog dipped in mustard and freshly grated horse radish served up by animated owner August “Gustl” Krivec. He’s passionate about sustainability and no producer is more than 50 km away. The minimum of packaging is used with no plastic cutlery, plates or cups to keep things as eco friendly as possible.
Where: Hauptplatz, Stand 5, 8010 Graz
When in Graz you need to try the local beer and Gösser Bräu is the best place to do it. The well-known brewery is a big part of Austrian beer culture and goes back to 1860. The brewery produces lots of varieties of gösser beer.
We sat in the beer garden surrounded by trees and tried three beers; Gösser Märzen which they’re particularly famous for, Gösser Gold and Gösser Stiftsbräu. They also serve food and we tried deliciously doughy pretzels. There’s plenty of indoor space for the colder months too.
Where: Neutorgasse 48, 8010 Graz, Austria
Website: Gosser Brau
Hofbäckerei Edegger-Tax is the oldest bakery in Graz. Founded in 1569 you can’t miss the gorgeous wooden façade on Hofgasse.
I defy you to pass by! Step inside and discover a glorious display of chocolates, cakes and baked goods. Pick up a bag of Sissi-Busserl, named after a former Empress of Austria. The shop’s signature sweet treats are bite-sized chocolate drizzled macaroons.
Where: Hofgasse 6, 8010 Graz, Austria
Website: Hofbäckerei Edegger-Tax
Graz water is free so take your re-usable water bottle, to keep things sustainable, and fill up at one of the many fountains located around the city. You can also fill up for free at shops displaying the blue ‘Refill Graz’ sign.
Food to try in further afield in Styria
Heading out to western Styria, just 40-minutes from Graz, there are more culinary encounters to be enjoyed.
When in Styria a visit to a buschenschank for a brettljause is a must-do. A buschenschank is a small winery that serves its own wine and home grown food but only cold fare. It’s all presented on a wooden platter and called Brettljause, which loosely translated means snack on a board. As you can see it’s so much more than a snack!
Buschenschank Dokter is a family-owned farm and wine tavern which has been producing wine and growing food for over 200 years. Set in the beautiful Styrian countryside it’s surrounded by rows of vines and rolling green hills that go on forever. The brettljause was loaded with cheese, meats, pickles, salads, breads, trout, bug beans salad and paired with the taverns own wines. One of my favourite meals during our visit.
Where: Steinberg 8, 8563 Steinberg bei Ligist, Austria
Website: Buschenschank Dokter
Pipifein is a father-and-son run distillery about 45-minutes from Graz. Reinhard Woelkart and son Daniel are passionate about their spirits and produce three types of gin, rum and fruit brandies in their part solar-powered distillery.
Everything is made on site and local products are used, like pears from a local farm. Waste goes to a bio-gas factory to produce more energy for the area. Needless to say they even make pumpkin flavour gin – this is Styria after all! Stop by to sample their spirits in their cosy bar.
Where: Packerstrasse 59, 8580 Köflach, Austria
The Rozenzopf family have been harvesting honey for over 30 years. We had a fascinating time learning about beekeeping, bees and honey.
The Rosenzopf apiary is made up of Carnica bees, a gentle breed of bee, native to the region for over a century. We tried forest honey, blossom honey and their award-winning chestnut honey which all tasted subtly different from each other but equally delicious.
Where: Imkerei Rosenzopf, Steinberg 282, 8563 Ligist
Website: Rosenzopf Beekeeping
Café Energieschiff Mochart
I had the most unforgettable scrambled egg breakfast, drizzled with dark, rich pumpkin seed oil at Cafe Energy Ship near Graz. It was so good that I’ve made mine at home the same way ever since. It’s probably not quite as good as theirs though…
The building is a passive house shaped like a boat with photovoltaic sails on the roof. It’s also the headquarters of the Mochart company and boat symbolises the transition into a new era of technology. The eggs were sublime but the highlight of the meal was learning about their innovative technology for sustainable and renewal energy which is truly impressive.
Where: St. Martinerstrasse 32, A-8580 Köflach
Website: Café Energieschiff Mochart
Graz Food Tour
Regular readers will know that a food tour is one of my favourite ways to explore a city, get to know local foodie hot spots and meet the people behind them. Take a food tour with TestEsser led by Manuela Pucher, a Graz local with a huge amount of knowledge about the region’s food and produce. With her we discovered many of the food stalls, shops and restaurants mentioned above.
Ready for your own foodie foray into Graz?
As you can see Graz, Austria offers some incredible culinary encounters when you dive deeper and discover its diverse range of local food and drink options.
From seasonal, regional dishes packed with flavour to local, sustainable producers and home grown fare, the Graz food scene should be savoured slowly, mindfully and sustainably.
Would you like to visit? Read more about the best things to do in Graz, Austria
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Disclosure: I was invited to Graz as part of the ‘travel deeper’ campaign with Visit Graz. All thoughts, opinions and newfound love of a bug bean salad are, however, entirely my own.