In Germany, Wiener Schnitzel is a staple. In Austria, it is protected by law. And no place moreso than at Figlmüller in Vienna. This was about my fourth trip to this sacred shrine of schnitzel and it never ceases to amaze me. First, there’s the place itself. It’s an unassuming entrance to a clean, homey, no frills restaurant. Second, there’s the line. There’s always a line. You have to make reservations at least three days in advance. We went for dinner at about 10:30pm and had a group of four ahead of us and another couple that slipped in behind us. (Clearly rookies, they tried to cut the line.) It only took us about two minutes to get seated that late at night, fortunately. We didn’t have a reservation.
Then, there’s the meal. Skip the rest of the menu and order the “Figlmüller Schnitzel gebacken” and ask for the mixed salad. The mixed salad is a creamy, vinegar-based potato salad with a green salad with (I think) a pumpkin seed vinaigrette dressing. Yum. Of course, the real show is in the Wiener Schnitzel, itself. The meat is veal pounded paper-thin and fried until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. And it’s freakin’ huge. It’s bigger than a frisbee. Lots bigger. The edges always hang way over the plate and I always eat the whole darn thing. To do otherwise would be Austrian blasphemy.
I always order a beer to drink with it as it seems to complete the whole belly-stretching simplicity of it all. You leave stuffed and sleepy (and if you’re like me, with the hiccups). The walk home is always a slow one but always necessary. In fact, I think Austrian law mandates it.