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Trip report - Innsbruck area and Salzburg

vanderb | Feb 15, 201206:27 AM

Recently we took a week off and drove to the Innsbruck area to ski and then headed to Salzburg to do the tourist thing. I'll apologize for the lack of restaurant info from Innsbruck; we went with the half board option at the hotel and then ate most lunches on the ski hills.

While in the Innsbruck area we stayed in the village of Götzens about 15 minutes southwest of Innsbruck. As mentioned the hotel (Alp Arts Hotel) offered a gourmet half board option so we took it and it was quite a nice surprise as the food was excellent. I won't detail every dinner but they were all 4 courses (salad, soup, main & desert) and true to name they were quite gourmet. There wasn't a goulash, spatzle or dumpling at any meal which is what I had thought would be the standard post skiing meal. Instead we were treated to a Pariser schnitzel, fish gratin, flavourful not too heavy soups and great deserts that again were not too heavy or sweet. The wine list was also very nice with lots of Austrian and Italian choices, all very reasonably priced.

Hotel breakfasts were also varied enough on the buffet that 5 days worth of breakfasts were not dull. Their scrambled eggs were particularly good as I'm sure they were heavily "doctored" with cream. In addition the mix of frozen summer berries (red current, blackberry, and raspberry) was outstanding on the fresh local yogurt.

As for lunch we hit the chalets at Stubai Glacier (Zur Goldenen Gams), Axamer Lizum (Hoadl Haus) and the Panorama Restaurant at Schlick 2000. These places were all quite good for ski lunches; hearty, hot and tasty dishes were available at all of them. Particularly good was the pizza at Panorama which was done in a wood fired oven and although appeared to be quite large, managed to disappear in its entirety. The only hill we stopped on for a bit of après ski at was Schlick 2000, I didn't get the name of the place but it was at the middle station of the gondola and had a good sized outdoor bar with tent. This place was rockin’ when we got there, the beer was ice cold, the snow was falling, Hungarians were doing shots and they had a great CD on of 2012 Après Ski hits... more oompah pah than I've ever experienced and a lot of fun.

We only had one lunch in Innsbruck on a day off from skiing and had it at the Markethalle in the centre of town. The market was very quiet and lots of stands were closed but that's likely because it was quite cold and we were fairly late for lunch. We did enjoy a couple of excellent pastas from the fresh pasta stand in the middle of the Markethalle, one a fish ravioli and the other a ground pork and prosciutto ravioli. Very fresh, nicely cooked and each with a lovely sauce.

We did eat out in Salzburg, the Mercure hotel we were at didn't inspire any dining cravings for us and we'd just spent a week eating at the hotel in Götzens. Our first lunch we had at Saran Essbar close to the Residenz Platz, they claim to be the only place with curries and schnitzel on the menu (aside from the place across the street and 5 doors down) and as it was cold we thought a warming curry was the best option. Their chicken korma with basmati rice was actually fairly good, not much spice but they did supply a grinder with hot dry chilies to help things along. Some naan or paratha bread would have also been good with this but unfortunately was not on the menu.

Both days in Salzburg we also dropped into the famous Demmel Chocolatiers for snacks. The first day I tried a slice of their apple, plum, walnut and poppy seed cake which I didn't really care for. The apple & plum part was delicious but too small and the very heavy slightly alcohol flavoured walnut section was too big and wrecked the overall flavour of the cake for me. On day two I opted for a bowl of the soup (potato) which was excellent. Not overly thick and heavy but still enough creaminess to make it very satisfying.

Dinner the first night was at the famous/infamous Carpe Diem Finest Fingerfood. All I have to say is... I don't get the cone thing. Nice ingredients, well cooked tasty food, stuffed into or perched on top of ice cream cones... didn't work for me and was horribly over priced for what we received. The selection of dips was good but no explanation of what they were was offered. After Carpe Diem we stopped to warm up at Wein & Co. on the way back to the hotel, I've wanted to stop at the one in Vienna next to the Naschtmarkt but never seem to find the time, glad we did in Salzburg. The place was jammed, the music was good, the vibe in the room excellent and the wine was great. I really like the concept of the place and will make a bigger effort next time we're in Vienna.

Dinner the second night was at a Turkish place (Dürüm) near the hotel. There is pretty much zero Turkish food in Brno, CZ and when I saw all the Kebab shops in Salzburg I got a serious hankering for Ishkender kabab so we picked the one sit down Turkish place we saw during the day's sightseeing. The decor and ambiance at Dürüm is pretty bad, run down and suited best to a quick pop-in for those picking up their food, which is what most people did. But, the steady stream of take-out food did indicate the food was good and we had to agree. I had the Ishkender and my SO the Adana kabab. The Ishkendr was good but the meats were turkey and veal not the traditional lamb so it lacked a bit of the normal Turkish flavour and the pita bread wasn't crisped up before going in so it got quite soggy. The dish did work though and I was happy with it… finished it all off. My SO's Adana was, as promised, spicy and flavourful but again not lamb. They didn't have Efes on tap which was a bit disappointing but the Stiegel was pretty good.

As a side note we stopped at one of the 1,000,000 Landzeit restaurants on the highway to Salzburg and were quite surprised. I've never had such a good and healthy highway/truck stop meal. They had a great salad bar, lots of soups and really amazing lasagna that I thoroughly enjoyed... who'd have thunk it?

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