It's not all about beautiful rolling fields, breathtaking mountain backdrops and The Sound of Music in Salzburg (but let's face it, these are some pretty nice bonuses when visiting). Amidst the onslaught of Schnitzel and potato salad – which is great, but may get tiring after a few days – there are some foodie gems just waiting to be found. Here are my Top 4 must-try places (ok, so maybe 5 with my secret tip at the end) to experience some different aspects to Salzburg's gourmet scene without having to splash out on some of its haute dining hangers (although if you have the means, by all means do!) They also have the benefit of being perfect spots to dine solo without the added side dish of staring.
1. CAFE FINGERLOS
Highlight: The Fingerlos Frühstück
My first visit to Fingerlos can be pinpointed as the moment my love affair with the first meal of the day dramatically intensified. Why? Because they create THE perfect breakfast, that's why. Breakfast/brunch is served all day, which makes it the perfect option for late sleepers so they don't miss out on all of the Frühstück fun. My absolute favourite is the Fingerlos Frühstück: orange juice, choice of hot drink, something sweet (straight out of the pastry chef's kitchen at the back) and a glorious 3-tiered tower showing off homemade muesli with fruit, scrambled eggs, and a plate of meat and cheeses to drape and spread onto the various pieces of bread in the accompanying basket. If you're feeling fancy, why not have a strawberry prosecco to accompany it? If the thought of breakfast does turn your stomach though (who are you?!) never fear, the lunch options are just as delicious, as are the delicate and beautiful cakes on display which this café is also famous for.
2. CAFE MOZART
Highlight: Salzburger Nockerl (with jam!)
Step back in time to how coffee culture used to be before Starbucks took over most of the Western world. Cafe Mozart embodies Austrian coffee culture: numerous variants on the almighty brew, mouthwatering desserts, old men playing chess in a corner, and a rack of newspapers on wooden holders to read at leisure and while away the hours. Forget what you know – your tall, short and skinny – here even the coffee vocabulary is different, so ask one of the waiters to help you navigate your way through the menu. Much like the rest of Austria, unfortunately one old pastime hasn't yet been eradicated and the cafe can get somewhat smokey, so make sure to get a spot in the non-smoking area to fully enjoy the experience if you are a non-smoker. Back to the desserts though, this is the best place in Salzburg to have the famous Salzburger Nockerl, a sweet soufflé. Many places don't make it with raspberry jam anymore – which in my view, should be a crime – but Mozart has thankfully upheld the tradition.
3. STIEGLKELLER BEER GARDEN
Highlight: Pancake Soup
The number of restaurants serving traditional Austrian fare in Salzburg are, unsurprisingly, numerous. Within the mid-range budget the quality expected is pretty much the same all over – I haven't had a bad Schnitzel in Salzburg yet. With that in mind, this means that different factors come into play when thinking about where to choose if you are in the mood for some good ol' Austrian meat and potato meals. In summer particularly, Stieglkeller beer garden wins every time for me. Nestled into the hill underneath the impressive fortress, its location is truly unique – even more so, are the views over the city from the beer garden terrace. My favourite thing to do is enjoy a Frittatensuppe (Pancake soup) and a Radler (shandy) in the sunshine at lunchtime on my way back down from the fortress. Stiegl offers uniquely refreshing Radlers too, some of which are made with grapefruit rather than the usual lemon.
4. AFRO COFFEE
Highlight: Cool Cocktails and Tea Galore
This cafe/bar does is exactly what it says on the tin (it actually has tins, tins filled with exotic tea variants that can be bought from their online shop). Shimmy down the steps to this basement locale and into an exotic, colourful environment inspired by African culture. This a place that can be enjoyed at anytime of day for breakfast, afternoon tea or Magic Hour cocktails (check their website for up-to-date times and deets). As a Brit, naturally I was impressed by the tea menu, which boasted of types I'd never tried before – Afro's own creations. But it went beyond the menu and became an experience – when the tea was brought out I was provided with my own egg timer to ensure that my leaves didn't over or under brew, a much-appreciated added touch for any tea aficionado. My favourite was definitely the Pemba tea, which sounds more like a meal in a cup than anything else: Rooibos, banana chips, honeybush, mango pieces, Cantaloupe Melon pieces, pineapples cubes, orange peel, citrus fruit granules, and sunflower petals.
(5.) Secret Tip:
After a night out on the town, head over to the Queen of Salzburg for visit – the Queen of Sausages that is. The Würstelkönigin is much-loved by locals, and after 11pm she's easy to spot because there is almost always a line snaking its way from her van window. Fast-food at its best, the sausages here are second-to-none. Whether that's because they are always consumed after a fun night filled with beer though, I cannot say. Opt for a Käsekrainer which is unique to Austria – a sausage filled with cheese!