International Restaurant Guide 2024: The best restaurants in South Tyrol
The new Falstaff Restaurant Guide presents the best culinary destinations in South Tyrol.
Honour to whom honour is due! On Tuesday, October 24, at 11 a.m. at the Bolzano Trade Fair the best South Tyrolean restaurants and the most exceptional wines of local winemakers were awarded. At the same time the editorship of the Gourmetmagazin Falstaff presents exclusively the new Italian Wine Guide along with the South Tyrolean restaurant Guide.
The crème de la crème of the local gastronomic scene can enjoy recognition. The entire guide will be published on November 3, but the winners of the categories are already revealed.
Restaurant of the Year
Terra - The Magic Place, Sarnthein
The "Terra" is not a restaurant that you stumble upon by chance. You have to make a conscious effort to get to "Terra"; through the Sarntal valley, then on through forests and meadows up to lofty heights. Located at 1,600 meters, the "Terra" is the highest two-star restaurant in Italy. For chef Heinrich Schneider, the extensive forests and meadows are as much a place of retreat and inspiration as they are a pantry. Many of the delicious fruits of the forest are on the menu of the "Terra":
All kinds of mushrooms and berries, but also lichens, barks and tree needles are on the list of ingredients. Heinrich Schneider drives his own line in the kitchen. It is very creative, alpine-Mediterranean by instinct, but Schneider also clearly borrows from Nordic cuisine. The coordination of the individual components is grandiose. Heinrich's sister Gisela Schneider congenially provides the appropriate wine accompaniment. For those who are afraid of the long way home, there are also some well-equipped rooms available. So you can enjoy the morning with birds chirping and the scent of the forest. Terra, The Magic Place, is our Restaurant of the Year.
Inn of the Year
The "Kircherhof" in Albeins is first and foremost a farm, i.e. a fully-fledged agricultural enterprise. It has been owned by the Noflatscher family for four generations. Apples are grown on seven hectares, and two hectares are used to grow vegetables and various types of fruit. Conscious interaction with nature has always been important to the Noflatscher family and since 2019 the entire farm has been certified organic.
The idea of also opening an inn here was born in 2023 with the arrival of the new generation, and since then guests have also been entertained at the Kircherhof. Verena Noflatscher is responsible for looking after the guests in the hall - and she does this with passion -, Wolfgang is the chef in the kitchen. They cook for the most part what grows on the farm, so primarily vegetables from the garden. On the menu this is reflected as cream soup from organic pumpkin or also as Schupfnudel from chestnuts from the farm. Meat comes from their own breeding or from small farms in the South Tyrolean mountains. After the meal you can still buy delicious pickled vegetables as a souvenir in the farm store. A full circle!
Gourmet Hut of the Year
The Rittnerhorn is a sunny skiing and hiking area not far from Bolzano. At 2,000 metres there is the "Feltuner Hütte", run by the Rabanser family. Far away from road noise and motors - the hut can only be reached by cable car or on foot - you can enjoy a magnificent panoramic view of the mountains. Classics of South Tyrolean cuisine are served. For this, mainly local produce directly from the farmer is used, which is not only sustainable, but also sustainably good. The chef conjures up all kinds of delicacies for the table: from mountain pasta with Rittner deer ragout to goulash from Rittner alpine cattle to lamb Schöpsernes-style from the Rittner breed. Of course, Kaminwurzen and bacon from their own pigs must not be missing.
Junior chef Valentin Rabanser is responsible for wine service; he is an enthusiastic sommelier and has over 150 different labels in stock in his wine cellar. First and foremost, these are wines from South Tyrol and neighbouring regions, but there is also a fine selection of French wines, primarily from Burgundy, to be found at the Feltuner Hütte. Cheers!
Buschenschank of the Year
Buschenschank Ebner, Atzwang/Ritten
The "Ebner" is situated on a hill steeply above the Eisack Gorge. Florian and Brigitte Unterthiner took over their parents' farm ten years ago. Florian then took a first courageous step and began to press the grapes himself, which grow on the sunlit slopes around the farm. This yielded surprisingly good results, and the crisp, mineral white wines quickly found enthusiastic fans. Florian's wife Brigitte comes from a farm in Völser Aicha with a long-standing Buschenschank tradition. She is now skilfully applying this experience to the Ebner. Add to that her training as a pastry chef, which is unmistakably reflected in the delicious desserts.
Fruits, berries, potatoes and many vegetables come from their own field and garden. On the menu, in addition to various snacks, there are also roasts, pumpkin, Schüttelbrot and potato dumplings, in autumn and winter "geselchter" Schopf and on Sundays chestnut hearts. Advance booking is always advised.
New Opening of the Year
Studio Moessmer Norbert Niederkofler, Bruneck
When the "St. Hubertus" in St. Kassian closed for rebuilding in the spring of this year, one was curious about what the South Tyrolean three-star cook Nobert Niederkofler would do now: does he stop? Does he do as others, now in consultation? Is he even doing something of his own? In August, the secret was revealed: The "Atelier Moessmer" in Bruneck is Norbert Niederkofler's new refuge. The listed villa, which belongs to the Lodenfabrik Moessmer, was restored from the ground up. A new addition was a glass and metal extension with a spacious show kitchen and a surrounding centre. Guests can decide whether to sit here or in the dignified dining room. Under the proven leadership of Lukas Gerges, part of the old service brigade of the "St. Hubertus" is now active in the studio. Also in the kitchen is Mauro Siega, part of the old "St. Hubertus" team at work. Norbert Niederkofler combines the individual parts in a proven manner to form a great whole.
On the menu are some of the old classics, but also new creations, always following the principles of "Cook the Mountain". We are sure, here presents a new South Tyrolean top restaurant.
Newcomer of the Year
"Hebbo" was the nickname of Andreas Panzenberger's father Herbert. His son dedicated the name of the new gourmet restaurant on Lake Dobbiaco to him. The Hebbo is not in an ordinary setting, but at a campsite on Lake Dobbiaco. Andreas is a trained wine academic; together with the 28-year-old talented Austrian chef David Senfter, he has been preparing for this opening for a long time. Senfter learned from Andi Döllerer and at the Palais Coburg. You can tell, because the young master knows how to cook and taste. The "Hebbo" is a bit fancy, a bit Nordic Chic with a young snappy team, cocktail bar (definitely try the adaptations to the dishes!) and a lot of good energy.
Only one menu is served in the evening, à la carte is available at lunchtime. When it comes to the ingredients that go on the plate, great attention is paid to the regional origin, the trout comes freshly caught from the Dobbiaco lake in front of the house. Andreas' wine list already comprised 1,000 positions at the new opening, and the trend is rising. Rarely has there been such a steep entry. Chapeau!
Rising Star of the Year
Burgeis is a small village in the upper Vinschgau Valley. The "White Cross" has a long tradition as an inn and hotel. A few years ago, Mara Theiner took over the house from her parents then smartly remodelled and renovated it. Since then, Marc Bernhart has been head chef at the house. His dream was always to run his own à la carte restaurant. In 2022, the time had come; in the course of a renovation, a separate fine-dining restaurant was also set up. Its name: "Mamesa". Ma" stands for Marc, the chef, and "Mesa" is the Rhaeto-Romanic word for table and social gathering. The team is well coordinated, and Marc Bernhart is currently cooking up a storm at "Mamesa".
He presents a refreshing crossover cuisine, South Tyrolean basic ingredients from gentle cultivation, French kitchen know-how, the whole with a proper dash of Thailand and Japan. There is then sea bass with porcini mushrooms, calf's head and beurre blanc or Wagyu from their own breeding, fermented red cabbage and black garlic. A great pleasure experience!
Wine List of the Year
La Stüa de Michil, Corvara
A wine list (or better: wine book) for the gods and a wine cellar that is an adventure course. At the least, when The Doors' "Indian Summer" with the famous line "I love you - the best" is played in the "Magnum Room", you get goosebumps as well as awe. Michil Costa and his whole team have put together this worldwide unique wine cellar over years. He even has a name: Mahatma, which means "Great Soul". Because every wine has a soul. The wine cellar of the Stüa de Michil is also famous for the "Sassicaia Room", altar and kneeler included.
A single dinner is not enough to study the menu, so extensive is the vintage depth, so numerous the positions. A rarity for South Tyrol is the great variety of old Bordeaux wines. From Champagne to Burgundy, wines from the New World, Germany and Austria, the best of the best from Italy, and plenty of South Tyrol; anyone who doesn't get their money's worth here probably has a wine problem.
Sommelière of the Year
Ivana Capraro, Castel Fine Dining, Dorf Tirol
Ivana Capraro grew up between the tables of her family's restaurant in Puglia and vowed as a teenager never to work in the restaurant business. This year she receives the award for best sommelière in South Tyrol. So something must have happened in between! Was it the countless trips or the many bottles she opened over the years that brought her back to the guest room? The best way is to ask Ivana herself. She is very hard to miss, the lady with the flashy hairstyle.
As she strides through the subdued, luxurious ambience of Castel Fine Dining, she is in her element. Ivana tastes a lot, tries out a lot, matches a wide variety of wines to Chef Gerhard Wieser 's dishes. If something doesn't suit her, she adjusts. It does happen that she chooses a wine and Chef Wieser creates a dish to go with it. The cultivated wine connoisseur certainly gets his money's worth, no matter how complex the claim. And if a wine is not on the menu, Ivana knows more than one alternative.
Service of the Year
Matteo Lattanzi, Quellenhof Gourmetstube 1897, St. Martin i.P.
It is rare for Matteo Lattanzi not to smile. The likeable Passeier radiates good humour in the entire "Quellenhof Luxury Resort". He knows all the regular guests personally and, along with the Dorfer family, has been known to them for years as the good soul of the hotel. He always moves quickly between the "Sea Lodges", the hotel or the gourmet restaurant. Matteo Lattanzi lives his passion for service as a trainer and teacher in the hotel management school or as a preparer for the "World Skills" craft championships. Still, he's on the front lines himself day in and day out, learning as he goes. Yet he is only 36 years young.
He knows how to exercise his craft with great precision, his wine adaptations are never banal and are a perfect match for Michael Mayr's gourmet cuisine. No wonder, because with a wine cellar with over 1,200 positions he can draw from the full. Matteo Lattanzi is a model maître d' and a role model for this - unfortunately too often unjustly underestimated - profession.
Ambience of the Year
Slowly but surely, Bolzano is awakening from its culinary slumber. The first is the chic "Meta Skybar & Restaurant" in the "Palais Campofranco" directly on the central Waltherplatz. With clear forms, linear-modern eye-catchers and muted colours, it blends in perfectly with the time-honoured walls. You float above the roofs of the most important square in the country, the cathedral is within reach, you linger sublimely over South Tyrol's capital.
In the years 2019 to 2021 a comprehensive restoration of the Palais Campofranco took place, in which Empress Sissi once stayed and Archduke Rainer had his retirement residence. On the second floor of the palace is the "Meta Skybar & Restaurant". At Meta you can enjoy regional or international cuisine or simply a home-mixed cocktail at the golden bar. Even in winter, the terraces of the Meta are a popular meeting place, especially at aperitivo time. Between mushroom heaters, cosy blankets and casual lounge chairs, you can enjoy yourself here all year round.
Ulli & Karl Mair Pretzhof, Wiesen/Pfitsch
Once upon a time there was a mountain farm in the farthest part of the valley, the meadows steep, the work rigorous and around the clock. Karl had taken over the mountain farm from his parents. Out of necessity, he developed new ideas. He was also helped by his wife Ulli, who - as it turned out - is a gifted cook. They opened the "Wirtshaus Pretzhof". And word soon spread among gourmets that the half-hour drive from Sterzing to the valley was extremely worthwhile in culinary terms.
Many ingredients came from their own farm. Wine, alas, could not be grown there. Karl, however, is a wine enthusiast - this was initially reflected in an extensive wine list. Finally, Karl Mair founded his own wine distribution company under the "Pretzhof" brand, through which he sells South Tyrolean wines, but above all wines from Austria, Germany and Switzerland throughout Italy. Karl was also the first to bring Zalto glasses to Italy. Recently, the "Pretzhof" established a branch in Gasteig, just off the Sterzing highway exit. There, people in a hurry can stock up on wine or quickly grab a small meal. Upstairs in the Pretzhof, Ulli is still cooking up in grandiose style. Thus, over the years, the last farm in the valley has become a place of pilgrimage for gourmets.