PARIS LODRON (****): Among the many honors he received, the most famous Prince-Archbishop in the History of Salzburg got that one to see the best restaurant in town bearing his name. Though recommended since 1992 by the much referred "Gault & Millau", we heard from the PARIS LONDRON from some readers who kindly invited us to visit it: precious piece of advise, indeed!
First of all, the chateau-hotel at the first floor of which the restaurant operates is a real splendor: the SCHLOB MONCHSTEIN constitutes a most peaceful place, ideal for a romance. The dinning room and its Lilliputian cocktail-bar, warm and so cozy, offer a dramatic panorama on the city and the Monchsberg Park: in the middle of which the castle settled centuries ago. The medieval decoration makes the guest feel relaxed and comfortable: this is "home away from home", indeed. Most hotels use this motto to attract clients; but here this is not a marketing propaganda, but a real feeling coming from the deepest of our body and soul. Our attitude was also greatly motivated by the anticipating, though discreet, staff: one of the nicest (just say "gemutlich" here) in Salzburg. To sum up our opinion: here is not a tourist trap.
Relaxed by this peaceful environment, we started our lunch with a well-chilled "Sekt": Germanic people prefer this sparkling wine to our Champagne. We know this beverage has numerous enemies, due to the actual fact that 80% of the "Sekt" are infamous ersatz of the French "national drink". But –BUT!- the "Brundlmayer Brut, 1993", from Langenlois (Burgenland), was a superb exception: it was tasty, fruity, and classy. It suited fairly well its generous "amuse bouche", called with humility on the carte "Shrimp Cocktail". Just like in any so called "international" restaurant…but with at least two Michelin stars more. Nothing to do with the unimaginative "Shrimp Cocktails" we were served anywhere else: some Aneth, endive, and paprika with fine vinaigrette accompanied the fresh and shyly pink shellfish. The salmon which was then presented to our table was a "Tzar Nicholas": nothing less! If you don’t already know this label, just be informed that this is the nec plus ultra. The "Rolls Royce" of the fish! Originated from Norway, it is traditionally smoked in Switzerland. We royally despised that great meal for an unforgettable "Filet of Sander, Sauce Zucchini" (butter smelted with fresh parsley and zucchini). Sumptuously decorated with salmon eggs, caviar Beluga (a delicateness not mentioned in the menu: may be did we receive a special treatment…), mushrooms, and minced courgettes (zucchini are courgettes, actually) which were a reference to the sauce. And some people still consider Germanic cuisine is rude, uncultured, and suffers a major lack of subtlety… This is a main specialty of the chef, and its price is very good value (ATS360, when we visited that place on October 97). This is also a good opportunity to have more glass of "Sekt" (delicious with that meal), before enjoying a Zweigelt "Weingut, G. Stielmar-Gols, 1995": this fine red wine, natural and full of character, was a perfect companion for our "Veal Medallions with Chanterelles". This is a perfect example of cuisine bourgeoise, with exquisite sauce mixing the essences of the wild mushroom together with freshly picked aromatic herbs. The local chanterelles, with a distinctive savour, can also be ordered as an appetizer, accompanied by the same sauce: just in case you are vegetarian…
We achieved that great experience a very traditional way, ordering an "Apfel Struddel". Of course, this may be not as original as the "Orange-Carrot Sherbet", or the "Iced Terrine with Bitter Chocolate" the maitre d’hotel kindly recommended us. But we are actually found of that Austrian national dessert, which came mild into our plate, developing in our mouth the light acidity of the wonderful natural apple, cultivated in the green valley marking the border between The Salzburg province and Bayern. Cinnamon is a very important ingredient in that kind of pastry: it was that well balanced that it looked just part of the apple’s taste. Simply delicious! Anyhow, due to the fact that an impressive amount of chocolates comes with the expresso (perfect one: we feel like the Italian border is not that far!), you perfectly can jump the dessert!
The PARIS LODRON is a member of the famous Chaine des Rotisseurs; his chef -Frantz Girbl, an authentic Salzburger- will certainly not need much time before receiving even more prestigious awards. One more time, we just simply do not understand why the Michelin Guide didn’t already drop some stars over the castle. With more modesty, but distinguished satisfaction, we consider this is by far THE BEST RESTAURANT IN SALZBURG.
GOLDENER HIRSCH (****): During the Festival, the distribution you’ll find in the hotel GOLDENER HIRSCH’s restaurant would make dream any concert hall manager: the most famous conductors, tenors, divas, pianists and first violins are here, facing with humility the maitre d’hotel to make sure they will find a seat in the agglomerated rustic vaulted room. Dining here is a must: because people are terribly snobbish, first of all, but also because the cuisine is actually quite good here. At first site there is nothing flashy or obviously luxurious all around. If you don’t know the GOLDENER HIRSCH, you could enter here ignoring the table you chose is the favourite of the Rothschild family, or that the next green banquette accommodated the impressive Lucciano Pavarotti, or the even more impressive Arnold Schwartzenneger. Karajan, HM Queen Elisabeth II and the all society, Gotha, show biz or whatever gets its habits here. As a matter of fact, you quickly feel a VIP after being admitted in the GOLDENER HIRSCH…
The waiter, in a traditional Austrian costume, first of all served us soup on the top of which some pancakes were sadly floating. This is a regional specialty, we know; but quite common for such a reputed place. Luckily, the "Fresh Salmon marinated with Aneth and Horseradish" which came then was excellent: this is a most classical starter, but also one of the most delicious. They like to serve it, indeed, in most of the restaurants in Salzburg. But here, we found it perfectly succulent.
As a main meal, we saw on the menu a list of "Old Austrian Specialties", and decided to focus on it. Prices were quite decent, and portions seemed more than generous: which means you just can forget the starter –and why not the dessert-, just enjoying one unique good plate of local cuisine. The maitre d’hotel pointed on the quality of the "Saddle of Venison, with Mushrooms, Red Cabbage, and Red Currants". As if it were not enough to match the appetite of Terminator, this was accompanied by some "Bohemian Nockerlns" ("Knedliky" in Czech language…and Quenelles in French). The all meal was "Bohemian", indeed, and remembered us some good time we had in Prague few weeks before. We took some calories, but this was that great that we didn’t complain. Mostly with the Zweigelt Sonnhof "J.Jurtschitsch" 1995, a distinctive red wine honestly sold 70 Schillings per glass, which came with the meal. We also enjoyed very much the "Roasted Pheasant, with a Small Sauerkraut, Nockerlns and fresh Chestnuts". We found it even better than the venison. All these Bohemian specialties had actually been prepared…with game imported from the neighbouring Slovakia: which makes their flesh so unique, purchased by the best restaurants from all over the world.
Our dessert was a "Salzburger Nockerln". We already heard that nowhere else but in the GOLDENER HIRSCH would we find this local dessert backed that well. Why "Nockerln"? This Gargantuesque soufflé –for two- doesn’t look like at all that kind of "Nockerln" which accompanied our game. This is still a mystery. Anyway, it was very palatable: with a mild taste of vanilla and fresh eggs. We were also recommended the Imperial Torte (copy of the Sacher Torte, backed in the tearoom of the very plush Imperial Hotel in Vienna): this is, according to our very personal taste, that kind of pastry you have to be German or Austrian to appreciate…and to digest. You can try it anyhow, as it is still considered as the most distinguished dessert in Austria, and a favourite of former Emperor Franz Josef.
The GOLDENER HIRSCH is a RELAIS GOURMAND – of course! – Member of the RELAIS & CHATEAUX. Just do not miss it!
(***): Look well that
restaurant: same building than the GOLDENER
HIRSCH, same traditional ambiance, but a menu roughly duplicated
on a cheap pink paper. Read it with attention, please. OK!, you just got
it !: they serve the same meals than in the GOLDENER HIRSCH (same owner
and same cook)…but at least twice cheaper. So, why don’t you rather enjoy
your dinner here, and save your money for some shopping along the Getreidegasse?
SURROUNDINGS OF SALZBURG AND CARINTHIAN MOUNTAINS:
PATERGASSEN (150 KMS S.E SALZBURG): a special selection FIRST CLASS AROUND THE WORLD:
FELLACHER (****L): The ALMDORF "SEINERZEIT" runs this restaurant, whom both atmosphere and rustic style matches the country concept of this superb hotel. Isolated in the whole heart of the amazingly picturesque Carinthian mountains, it spreads its fame well over these natural borders.
The chef, exclusively uses fresh products from the local farms. In the warm wooden dinning room, installed close to the fireplace, you will be offered fresh trouts from the neighbouring lakes: tastefully sautéed with parsley, potatoes, and accompanied by some crispy lettuce. So simple, though "ausgezeichnet" (excellent): as Austrian people would say . If you actually want to copy their tastes, then DO not hesitate: order the traditional Backed Pork Scallop "Wienerschnitzel vom Schwein"…you’ll just call "Wienerschnitzel" , unless you’d look like a tourist !). Viennese people consider that to bear the prestigious name of their beloved city, a scallop must slightly go over the edge of the plate. It must also be that dried and crispy that a lady might be able to sit on it without getting any stains on her dress… The gastronomes we are jumped that curious "tasting", to directly bring the meat into their delighted palate ! Another authentic Austrian specialty is worth being enjoyed here: the famous "Knodels". We could roughly compare them with the French "Quenelles" or, even better, with the Bohemian "Knedlicky" you may enjoy everywhere in the Prague taverns. They are served roasted, with eggs and salad ("Gerostete Knodel mit Ei und Salat"). No "Reindling" on the menu. That kind of "Kuglof" is a favourite dessert for the locals: you may anyhow ask the chef to bake it specially for you on his old fashioned charcoal oven. This will be his pleasure. Another wonderful dessert, you may order that time directly from the menu: the Pancakes, Filled with Vanilla Ice-Cream and generously Covered with a Thick Chocolate Sauce ("Palatschinken gefullt mit Vanilleeis und Schokoladesauce"). We found them just as wonderful as the "Strudels": these small filleted pastries filled with apples, sherries, or poppy seeds (or even cabbage: the Hungarian way !), promoted by the invasive Habsburg all around Central Europe, and even over the Balkans. Do we make you afraid with such a distribution of calories ? Just take it easy, as here comes another good piece of news: the FELLACHER restaurant is also a favourite for vegetarian specialties ! Indeed, the chef has his own reputation on the art of cooking fresh vegetables.
Though Austrian beers are quite fine, please DO not miss the underestimated wines from Burgenland and, above all, from the vineyards attached to the border with Moravia. They are simply palatable, and locals like them quite a lot: particularly the "Blauer Zweigelt", which goes so well with red meat and game. With a trout, there is no better choice than a well chilled and fruity "Sauvignon Blanc" , from Burgenland. As a digestive, simply order a Lilliputian glass of "Schnaps" or "Steinhaeger": that’s ideal to clean up your stomach…and to show off the patrons, wearing the typical leather-tailored Austrian uniform, that you are somehow one of them !
For a very complete meal, with a bottle of local wine, the average fare for two will be approximately USD 80. Which is perfectly all right, according to the Austrian standard of living (one of the highest in the world).
(HOTEL ALMDORF "SEINERZEIT")
: Fellacheralm, A-9564 Patergassen.