Éric Boucher - 2008-06-02
The town is small but very touristy and is not short of restaurants and cafes… Here are a few tips so you don’t miss out on the good spots and get to know the local gastronomy.
A few specialities of Carinthia
Two specialities, as well as the proximity of numerous lakes, characterise the local gastronomy. For a snack or for dinner, Kärntner Kasnudeln (“Kärntner” means Carinthian) are large ravioli stuffed with a mixture of fromage frais, boiled potatoes and fresh herbs (chervil, mint, etc.). It’s filling, but you will gladly have seconds.
Kärtner Reindling is the other great classic of Carinthian cuisine. This cake resembles a kugelhopf from the outside and is also laced with raisins inside, but spicier to the taste.
Another feature is the large number of asparagus-based dishes, once spring has arrived.
Several establishments offer traditional cuisine, beginning with Zum Pumpe, considered to be the oldest inn in town (on a corner of the market place on Benediktinerplatz). Cheap dishes (between 6 and 10 euros) include a homemade strudel.
Another typical inn is Zum Augustin, just opposite the bell tower of the parish church. In addition to an open-air inner courtyard, this inn brews its own, slightly amber-coloured beer, Augustin Wirtshausbier (€2.70 for a 0.3 l glass).
The Landhaus, seat of the government of Carinthia, boasts a ground-floor restaurant with a very fine terrace. On the menu, the great classics of Austrian cuisine – Wiener Schnitzel and goulash – but also the famous Kärntner Kasnudeln (€7.90)and fish from the lake.
The Salzamt, opposite the Landhaus, is an establishment in a distinctly superior category, with a very beautiful dining room in a covered courtyard with an arcade (there is also a terrace at the entrance). Although the set menu (5 dishes) is a little expensive (€42), it is, above all, too copious. The plates are piled high and one dish is enough to satisfy your hunger: the rack of lamb (often excellent in Austria), for example, has no fewer than 7 ribs served with polenta, aubergines and baby vegetables (€18.90).
To sample the famous fish of Lake Wörthersee in a romantic atmosphere with a view of the lake, two addresses stand out: the Maria Loretto, which is where the Lendkanal runs into the lake, and the Villa Lido, not far from Klagenfurt beach (Strandbad) and the embarkation area for cruises. On the menu, we recommend a local species with very delicate flesh, the Reinanke (a type of char).
The Maria Loretto is slightly cheaper (reckon on €20 to €25) than the Villa Lido, whose set menu costs €34.90 (starter, main course, dessert), but in both cases, the setting is superb.
So close to Italy
One of the distinctive features of Carinthia is geographical: Klagenfurt is located a few kilometres from the Italian border.
So here you find some good Italian restaurants, such as the Dolce Vita, on Heuplatz near the City Arkaden shopping centre. The cuisine is more of Mediterranean inspiration rather than completely Italian, like the white asparagus panna cotta served with scallops (Panna Cotta von weißem Spargel mit Jakobsmuscheln), one of the chef’s specialities. No doubt one of the best establishments in Klagenfurt (one Michelin star), but with prices to match: sampler menu from €58 to €72; prices are more affordable at lunchtime, with a set menu at €49.
Apart from these little extravagances, it is possible to find sustenance all over, in inns or on the market place, for example, with a one-dish meal for €7 to €10.
Carinthia is not a land of vineyards, but a trip to Klagenfurt can be an opportunity to discover Austrian wines, which are unjustly underrated. Grüner Vetliner is a white wine grape variety particularly common in Lower Austria, which you will be offered immediately, but for a more in-depth discovery of the Austrian winegrowing terroir, we recommend two places.
The Vinothek Lerch, between Heuplatz and Alter Platz, is a rather trendy wine bar where you can taste the wines before buying the bottles.
Yomi’s, not far from the cathedral, is more traditional in style and will offer you – as its motto says – Wein und vieles mehr… i.e. “wine and a whole lot more”: indeed, here you will find the whole world of wine, including the famous Riedel glasses, and valuable advice… in English, if you don’t speak German.
To buy a good Kärtner Reindling, the famous Carinthian cake, go to Taumberger, near Neuer Platz. For chocolates, sweets and biscuits, Zehrer, on Alter Platz, is probably the biggest confectioner in Klagenfurt.
Lidmanskygasse 2 - 9020 Klagenfurt
Pfarrhofgasse 2 - 9020 Klagenfurt.
Tel: (0463) 51 39 92
Gasthaus im Landhaushof
Landhaushof 1 A - 9020 Klagenfurt
Tel: (0463) 50 23 63
Das Salzamt Palais Hotel Landhaushof
Landhaushof 3 A - 9020 Klagenfurt
Tel: (0463) 59 09 59
Lorettoweg 54 A-9020 Klagenfurt
Tel: (0463) 24465
Friedelstrand 1 A - 9020 Klagenfurt
Tel: (0463) 21 07 12
Heuplatz 2 A - 9020 Klagenfurt
Tel: (0463) 5 54 99
Wiener Gasse 10 - 9020 Klagenfurt
Tel: (0463) 50 10 20
Karfreistraβe 22 - 9020 Klagenfurt
Tel: (0463) 55827
Fleischmarkt 7 - 9020 Klagenfurt
Tel: (0463) 51 34 71
Alter Platz 6-7 - 9020 Klagenfurt