With 13 ski areas to choose from and a whole city of restaurants, Innsbruck naturally serves up a huge array of dining options. On the high mountains, there are places with panoramic views over the city or surrounding 3,000m peaks, and it’s hard to go wrong with their hearty Austrian specialities.
However, there are more upmarket places too – and in town, while Austrian traditional restaurants, such as Tiroler gröstl (pan-fried potatoes with meat), cheese spätzle (mac’n’cheese), Käserschmarren (chopped sweet pancakes) is easy to find, there’s plenty of flair available too. As well as exceptional Italian places, no doubt partly thanks to Austria’s close proximity to Italy, international cuisine includes Asian and Mexican.
In the city
Casual, jolly and popular with locals and tourists, the Stiftskeller is in the heart of the medieval city, close to major attractions like the Hofburg imperial palace and the Hof church. The building was once part of a monastery, and now serves huge ham hocks, wursts and giant frothy beers.
One of Innsbruck’s oldest restaurants, in situ since the 16th century, the Weisses Rössl (which means White Horse) specialises in traditional Tirolean treats, including classic Tiroler gröstl – available with fish or vegetables as well as pork – and veal or pork schnitzel. With traditionally dressed waiters and decor, this is Austria hospitality at its most Gemütlich – friendly.
Stunning city panorama views through floor-to-ceiling windows make the steel and glass Lichtblick an urban dining destination. Located on the top floor of the modern Rathausgalerien Mall, it’s on the Gault Millau recommended list, with a menu that is a visionary blend of Austrian cuisine, Mediterranean flair and Asian flavours, all beautifully presented. On top of that, there’s an extensive Austrian and International wine list.
On the mountain
The Nordkette ski area high above Innsbruck is the ultimate for city panoramas, and the Seegrube restaurant in the cable-car station makes the most of them. Serving breakfast through to full three-course lunch and dinner, it’s unbeatable for a coffee and strudel stop with a difference.
Contact: 00 43 66 44 47 816; nordkette.com/en/restaurant-seegrube.html
Serving classic Austrian hut lunches, Kaiser-Max-Hütte is on the sunny side of the mountain at the top of Schwarzmooslift in Kuhtai. This is a busy table-service restaurant offering typical Tirolean dishes with dumplings and cheese spätzle alongside soups and spaghetti. To finish, there’s strudel, Kaiserschmarren – and loungers on the sun terrace.
Contact: 00 43 05 23 95 220; konradin.at
Crowned the most popular mountain restaurant, the panoramic Hoadlhaus sits at the top of Axamer-Lizum resort looking up at the craggy peaks of the Birgitzköpfl. The self-service eaterie has a wide choice of Austrian and vegetarian options and space for 600 diners. Its umbrella bar also provides small snacks. It has a massive sliding sunroof for those warmer, spring days. There’s also the cosy Dohlennest mountain hut on the side of the piste, with a bar, snacks, barbecue and mouthwatering strudel.
Contact: 00 43 52 34 68 240 14; axamer-lizum.at/de/panoramarestaurant-hoadl-haus
Offering sophisticated culinary delights at nearly 3,000m, the elegant Schaufelspitz in the Eisgrat gondola terminal at Stubai has 15 Gault-Millau points and two toques. It features a pine-panelled parlour, white table linen and an open fireplace, as well as a sun terrace seating 50. Try the spicy beef tartar and braised calf cheeks.
Contact: 00 43 52 26 81 41 324