|a cosy corner in Europa Stuberl|
|Elisabeth Geisler of Sitzwohl|
|view from Lichtblick|
|Viktoria Hammer, the elegant Director of Innsbruck’s Imperial Palace|
|Zum Wilder Mann’s classic Käsespätzle|
One of the most picturesque cities in the world, Innsbruck is most famous for its winter appeal as a skiing destination, but the city’s beautiful location is no less alluring in summer. Warm weather lures the affable Tyroleans out into the sunshine to enjoy the natural attractions and a busy cultural calendar that includes open-air performances at a number of venues around town. The most impressive, of course, is the courtyard of the Imperial Palace; Innsbruck is the only city in Austria besides Vienna to have an imperial palace, and the city makes good use of its most opulent museum and its grounds.
Innsbruck’s restaurants, too, take advantage of the nice weather with outdoor seating becoming very popular just as it is elsewhere in the world-except nowhere else in the world is the splendid mountain scenery so fine a dining companion. Lichtblick, set in a glass cube atop the Rathaus Galerien shopping centre, is one of the best for viewing the city and the surrounding landscape. With a modern menu exemplary of this forward-looking city, Lichtblick, a combination of the German words for light and view which together, rather poetically, mean ray of hope, attracts a sophisticated crowd eager to sample the latest in light cuisine complemented by fine views.
Innovative dishes may also be found at Sitzwohl, the domain of Elisabeth Geisler and Irmgard Sitzwohl, two iconoclastic female chefs breaking traditions in gender in the kitchen while maintaining the reputation for high-quality food for which Innsbruck and the Tyrol region are justly famous. In a place where generations-old traditional farming methods brings de facto organic food to the table as the norm rather than the exception, Innsbruck’s chefs work with only the freshest meats and produce; at Sitzwohl, these are prepared to exquisite perfection and are followed by equally tasty desserts in a quiet location on Stadtforum, a pedestrian-only plaza in the centre of town.
For classic Tyrolean dishes, again with a modern twist, head to Europa Stüberl in the Grand Hotel Europa. Decorated in traditional Tyrolean style-think Austrian dollhouse with the addition of antlers on the walls-Europa Stüberl presents diners with a refreshed version of not so heavy after all Tyrolean cuisine. It all tastes better when the meal begins with an elderflower champagne cocktail.
You’ll have to go up into the mountains for the sturdy Tyrolean dishes unadulterated by modern trends. At Zum Wilden Mann, the wild man serves classics in the atmosphere of a historic inn. Käsespätzle never tasted so good.
Much more information about Innsbruck’s hip and happening dining scene as well as the many events taking place over the coming summer months can be found on Innsbruck Tourism’s informative website at www.innsbruck.info/en. Not many tourism offices have a page dedicated to the public water system, but in Innsbruck, the water is as pure as the food and just as delicious. Located in Sydney, the Australian office of the Austrian National Tourist Office is happy to offer information about destinations, hotels, activities, and events in Innsbruck and the state of Tyrol.