One of the very best decision that I made in Hallstatt or perhaps the whole of Austria is to have a meal at Braugasthof Hallstatt. It is one of a little traven or cottage located along the banks of Hallstatter See! Dreamy, scenic and peacefully, you can choose to dine at little tables along the banks and have your meal with the view accompanying you or choose to dine in the traditional house where the restaurant is housed in, this houses are more than 600 years old. Built in the 1400s, it is definitely a warm cosy feeling while eating inside! Dining the freshest fish from the lake, by the lake, doesn’t gets much more real than this!
This place is one of the couple great restaurant that you can find in the town of Hallstatt, is it small town with many business run by the folks who still call this place home! It will not be uncommon to meet the same few people in the restaurants while you are staying here. Do note that being a town and having few restaurants and providers, prices tend to be a little higher than other places in Austria. However I still find the prices here at Braugasthof Hallstatt still okay! Do note that the restaurant doesn’t open all year long. I am considered very lucky since I was there in the second week of october and the waitress told me that they would be closing next week before opening in Dec again for the winter season.
I was there after checking in at my hotel, given the short daylight in october. It gets pretty dark soon. Soon you can find the town a little more quiet, a little more peaceful once the day trippers left! I was hungry, cold and tired after all the travels. Thankfully the place was an easy find, located between the upper and lower town of Hallstatt, there is only one street, it is surely easy enough! While the streets are quiet, the restaurant definitely is not! The patio area are empty since it is getting way too dark and chilly for people to dine outside. Pushing open the heavy wooden door as per all the traditional places, inside were packed with all the conversation people had and smell of food. I did wait a little before getting the attention of the waitress in the traditional dress! Be prepared to share a table especially when you are in small groups given the typical long huge europeans type tables you can find. The decor comes decked in wood, with colorful tablecloth and curtains like lamps, it just feels like you have step 50 years back in life.
The menu here is quite extensive, although as per the norm in Central Europe, it revolves very heavily around meats. Many choices are based on Pork or Beef. Some of the local favourites are definitely the goulash, schnitzel…… What I would really suggest is to step out of the norm, especially here in Hallstatt. While a great fried schnitzel is great, I would really suggest you to try the Char! Which is a fish fresh out of the water in the region, you will probably have seen how clear and clean the waters here are. Same goes for the fish. It is a kind of fish that is very light and usually found in cold waters! Go for the fish dishes and be amazed that how the locals can cook them so well. Usually we will only think that they can only cook meat dishes.
Trust me the Whole Grilled Char with potatoes and parsley with melted butter doesn’t disappointed. I can proudly said that this meal was the best that I had in Austria! The dish is simple yet so so good. It was cooked perfectly! Coming at a decent size, the skin was crispy and so delicious, while on the inside the meat simply just feels like it is being steamed inside its own skin. It was cook just on point, the flesh was so tender. It is accompanied with some boiled potatoes and it was the greatest companion. Let me tell you, I hate potato salad the most since it is so sour and heavy! When the dishes arrive, squeeze the lemon all over it. The fish cooked in the butter gave it the savoury touch, then when mixed with the lemon juices you get this salty sour taste that is soo good. Then you have the umami taste from the fish, don’t waste any drop of it, the potato simply serves as the best bread to soak up all the sauce! I definitely polished it all off, leaving only the bones behind! The grilled char cost 19.50 Euros.
As per the waitress recommendation, I also got a potato cream soup which came with croutons. The soup is good! While there isn’t much to talk about, it is really good and came piping hot. Perhaps I was very hungry and the weather was cold, it is so heartening to have a bowl of soup and gulp, all finished in no time. The soup cost 3.50 Euros. I really believe that the prices here are not too bad. With the whole meal, I got a huge glass of beer for a drink. The beer cost 4.10 Euros.
Something really disgusting happen while I was halfway over the meal. I had like this full front seat view of this disgusting tourists to China! I have to say that I have nothing against China Tourists but only the handful that really destroy the image of us Asians. This china lady was arguing that her steak was too salty, she didn’t like it and demand a 50% discount! Honestly speaking I have never seen someone asking for discount when the food is not tasty! I wish I could do it too sometimes, but usually we will just choose not to return again! The couple of waiters and waitress very nice, they apologise and offer to give a complimentary dessert or coffee. But the China lady was simply not giving up! It went about for about 10 mins or so before the waitress gave up and give it. I guess it is the first time that they see such a situation as well. I was really so disgusted by the fact and given that people usually treat all asians as from China, I felt so ashamed. I mean like you can afford thousands of dollars to come Europe for a holiday and you wanna save on probably 15 euros if the steak is 30? Come on! Really disgusting from this small groups of people. I felt so bad and went to tell the waitress that not all asian and China tourists are like that. She say thanks, explain the story to me and even gave me a postcard. It turns out that the lady, herself over buttered her steak! Yucks.
What a perfect end of the day with this awesome dinner. I returned the next day after the trip to 5 Fingers for a late lunch. I was welcomed back by the same waitress and this time around I got the Wiener Schnitzel which came with potatoes and also a garden salad. The restaurants seems to be always busy! The schnitzel was okay. It is nice but I am not sure, I simply just do not know how to gauge or describe something fried. I guess, it was fried well. Not overly greasy, the meat isn’t over cooked or undercooked inside. Something really special here was the jam that it came along. I do not know if this is a traditional way of eating but is is quite nice when eating together. Fried meat with Jam, a new discovery for me! The Schnitzel came in at 13.90 Euros.
Check out this place if you are ever in Hallstatt! I am sure you will not be dissapointed. Stay tuned for my upcoming post on the Dachstein Ice Cave and 5 Fingers Lookout, the must do in Hallstatt!