OK, so Austria is definitely “trending” on all wine, so it’s time to share my favorite things about Salzburg. I am half Austrian and it is the place I spent every summer as a child. My husband loves Austria too, so now we go every summer, and since it seems no one has written a great guide to eating in this city in the last few years, I hope my food list can shed some light on how amazing the food is in Salzburg. This post also includes a few of my favorite things (pun intended).
The food in Austria is incredible. We have started to see it travel to some restaurants in big cities in the US, but it is of course hard to recreate the local flavors here. Austrians take their food and cooking seriously and they are very much into local ingredients. My favorite dishes include the Gemischte Salat (mixed salad) that includes cucumbers, radishes, potatoes, and kraut. I also love Schwarzbrot and the heavy use of caraway and pumpkin seeds in many of their bread recipes. Topfen, which can only be described as Greek yogurt meets creme fraiche, is a common ingredient and one of the best desserts are Topfenknoedel, these are dessert dumplings, not too sweet and airy and light. All my other favorites are listed at the bottom of this post with links.
Click on the images for slideshow and captions.
PS I added one suggestion for Vienna as well!
Below are a few of my favorite things and some great suggestions on what to do. Salzburg is small and clean, which I love, and it takes no time to get to a mountain for a hike before lunch, or you can hike to a restaurant. The river Salzach, which runs through the city, has a beautiful long path on either side that is perfect for running, walking, or biking. The air is also clean, so Salzburg is a great place for eating since you can exercise so much as well! We also spent a few days at my cousin’s cabin which is located in the Lungau region of Austria, about an hour from Salzburg (it is also available for vacation rentals). Check out my list of things to do below.
1. Buberl Gut: (Gneiser Strasse 31, 0662 826866)
This is my all time favorite restaurant in Salzburg. It is not in the center of town, about 20 minutes with a taxi. The decor inside and outside is incredible, but the food and wine is some of the best I have ever had. The owner and the sommelier are also amazingly friendly. The owner is also extremely funny! We are never let down by this place. My favorite dishes, and I have not had them all, are the Lake Trout and the Topfenknoedel, and the wines are always wonderful. Each meal starts with some house cured ham as well.
2. Gasthof Gersbergalm: This Gasthof (Guesthouse/hotel) is located outside the center as well. It has an incredible view of the mountains and city. On a sunny day you can sit in the garden. You can hike there and beyond so I love to hike and then stop there for a long lunch. We loved their Tafelspitz, but they have a lot of the traditional Austrian dishes to offer.
3. Winkler am Wallersee: Wallersee is about 30 minutes from Salzburg. It is an incredible lake where many Austrians have summer houses. The view from this restaurant is to die for, as seen above, but all of the fish is caught from the lake and perfectly cooked. It’s perfect ingredients simply prepared. I suggest asking the waitress or waiter to order for you, unless you are Austrian!
4. Herzl: Holding a big place in my heart is Herzl, which means little heart. This place is smack in the center of old town Salzburg and the food is simple and easy. All the waitresses wear Dirndls too! I suggest the Gemischte Salat and Weisswurst. I eat there a lot when I am in Salzburg because it is relaxed.
5. 220 Grad: This place is Intelligentsia but with the most amazing breakfast and lunch. I don’t drink coffee normally, but the coffee here is perfect, they roast all their own beans and are totally informed about where their coffee is sourced. We eat there almost every morning when in Salzburg. I love the Vollkornbrot with butter, its like pumpernickel and multigrain mixed, you have to try it. Chris eats the Hilsebrei, which is millet prepared like oatmeal. They have lots of other items, including a Schlag (whipped cream) muesli…it is Austria after all! The owner is there every day and he is the nicest man, this place is modern in an old fashioned town, and it works.
6. Grunmarkt: This market is daily in the center of Salzburg, they have great produce and food. You cam simply go for a simple lunch or you can buy dinner ingredients, flowers, or baskets.
Universitatsplatz, Mon-Fri 7am to 7pm, Sat 6am tp 3pm
7. Schlosswirt zu Anif: This is where my sister’s wedding reception was held, but it is also down the street from where my cousin lives. She has a beautiful house in Anif, the next town over from Salzburg, which is a desirable place to live. The restaurant is beautiful both inside and out and has excellent wines and food. Only a 20 minute ride from the center of town and the ride is beautiful.
8. Riedenburg: Although I did not go on my last trip, this place is excellent, but be prepared for a more formal meal. It is in walking distance from the center of town.
9. Eiszeit: Ok, I LOVE ice cream, but the ice cream in Salzburg is damn special. The place I love is called Eiszeit, which translates to Ice Cream Time. I love ice cream time! They have tons of flavors all beautifully made. Its not fancy, just great!
10. Schatz Konditorei: Schatz was my grandmother’s favorite little cafe in Salzburg. Located in one of the small cobblestone passageways, it is extremely charming. The pastries are also amazing. We used to buy Gugelhupf there, but you won’t go wrong with anything you get.
11. Furst: Furst is a beautiful cafe and chocolatier located in the center of Salzburg. Great coffee, pastries, and Eiscafe….Ice Coffee in Austria is basically a coffee milkshake that adults drink in the summer. And you can buy some Salzburger Mozartkugel when you are there, these are chocolates with marzipan in the middle.
12. Cafe Bazar: I love Cafe Bazaar mostly because I would go there with my grandmother. We would dress up and sit for tea and cake, and the cakes are also amazing. I went back with Chris this last time and was overwhelmed by the quality, the view, and the memories. You can sit outside right on the river, or inside which is decorated in the old Austrian cafe style.
13. Tomaselli: There is disagreement amongst Salzburgers about this cafe. It has the best mezzanine, and a superb view, but the pastries do not live up to Salzburg’s standards. If you go, I suggest you go on a sunny day, sit on the upstairs terrace and order a wine or tea and enjoy the view. I still go every time I visit and my grandmother loved it.
14. Gasthof Fuerberg (Wolfgangsee): This place is located on Wolfgangsee, which is a beautiful lake 20 minutes from Salzburg. In the summer the lake is beautiful and after mid July it is wonderful to swim or sail there. We eat at Fuerberg for lunch each time and ask for the locally caught fish of the day. you must get the fish, the rest of the food is ok, but the local fish is excellent. It is popular and does fill up, so make a reservation if you go in summer.
15. Friesacher: OK, this place is not fancy, but really Austrian. It is in Anif, next town over from Salzburg, a short taxi ride. If you go, make sure you go to the WINE bar, not the restaurant. The wine bar is typical Austrian: You order wine and mineral water (mix them together for Weisswein Gespritzt). Then, you actually order your food at the counter. If you want authentic Austrian and a relaxed evening, this is the place.
16. Sporer: This is the bar/liquor store that every city needs to have. All the locals gather there around 5pm and its over 100 years old. It also sells great wines and their own homemade schnapps (which we lug back every time in our suitcase hoping it won’t break!) If you go, just stand at the bar and ask for a Hugo, it’s the best drink and you only need one!
17. My Aunt and Uncle’s House: Best meal every time!
18. Demel in Vienna: Demel is one of the oldest cafes in Vienna. the decor is beautiful and the food is excellent. You will most likely want to eat pastries when you go, but they have a full menu as well. My favorite dessert is Mohnstrudel (Poppy Seed Strudel).
FAVORITE THINGS LIST
1. Hiking and Mountains:
-Gersbergalm: This hike is beautiful. You can park at the Gasthof and start from there. If you want to go the the top, it’s very long and steep, but you don’t have to go to the top to enjoy it.
-Almbachklamm: This hike starts just over the border from Austria in Germany. At the start it is all waterfalls and absolutely stunning. Once you get a bit further, there are a lot of options, all beautiful. See photos above.
-Untersberg: This mountain is beautiful. If you take the cable car to the top there is an amazing view. I have been told it’s a bit dangerous for hiking, so best to take the cable car.
2. Festung: I love to walk up to the Fortress and walk down a different way. There are paths at the top and some beautiful homes as well. It never gets old. You can also take the trolly or the elevator, which takes you to the Modern Museum and restaurant.
3. Sankt Peter’s Kirche: This is my favorite church in Salzburg. It is also where my sister was married. You can walk behind the museum to the cemetary and follow the path up to the Festung from there.
4. Festspiele: If you are in Salzburg between mid-July and end of August the Festspiele is always wonderful. We sometimes like to go when it is happening, but if you go earlier, the town is a little quieter which I like too.
-Wolfgangsee: If it’s warm, this lake is a great place to spend the day. It is surrounded by mountains and the water is so clean you can drink it. Wolfgangsee is a 20 minute drive from Salzburg. The area is called the Salzkammergut and there are a bunch of lakes and small towns to visit. You can take a boat ride, sail, swim, eat, and hike.
-Wallersee: This lake is a bit more private and local. It is absolutely beautiful. You can walk around the lake and look at all of the summer houses, or just enjoy the view. It takes about 40 minutes to drive there from the center of town.
-Stassny: This is a very old-fashioned shop on the Getreidegasse in the center of town. If you want to buy any traditional clothing, this is the place to go. Lederhosen, Dirndls…it is also very expensive, but the service is great.
-Gmundner: Gmundner ceramics are made in the town of Gmundnen, Austria and are very popular. I have a collection from my grandmother. They are all hand-made and very Austrian.
-Heimatwerk: This is a shop that carries all kinds of handmade products. My aunt used to make things for the shop and you can find beautiful tablecloths, fabrics, and even Schnapps.
-Dschullnigg: This is my husband’s favorite store. It is a hunting shop, but also carries home goods and clothing. Well worth a visit even if you don’t like hunting.
7. Visit a Cafe or Eat: See above