Hopfen & Co.: Yes, there is good beer in Italy
When you think of Italy, it’s unlikely that most will gravitate towards beer. This is after all a land more noted for wine. So, you wouldn’t be wrong in trying to find a restaurant with a fine wine selection or even just a good inexpensive house wine. The truth is Italians are a people known to enjoy all things and when it comes to culinary delights; they appreciate their beer as much as anyone. This is also Bolzano, a place with a strong Germanic heritage, so one shouldn’t be too surprised to find not only some decent beer but also a brewpub. Situated right in the center of the old town in an atmospheric old building, Hopfen & Co. is a somewhat upscale place that somehow manages to have a rustic flair and cozy atmosphere. The interior is a mostly wooden affair with lots of small rooms sprawling over its larger than it looks area. There is a lovely outdoor eating area, great for people watching given its key location. Service was friendly and fairly efficient but coming from Bavaria, we are used to slow and inattentive service in our beer halls.
The food is typical south Tyrolean fare, a cuisine similar to Austria’s but with a decided Italian flair. We started out with the Tiroler Brettl (€8.90), a great plate of local meats and cheeses, featuring Speck (a smoked cousin to prosciutto) and dried sausages. It was fair size but did not include bread, which carried the typical “Italian” per person charge of €1. This would not have been a problem if the bread was good and since the brewery has its own bakery, you might think this would be the case but it was perhaps one of the worst bread experiences I’ve had in Western Europe. At any rate, with some great crusty bread (something you’d think was a given in Italy, or Germany for that matter!) this would be a great appetizer or even meal/snack for two people. As an appetizer, it was enough for four people. I ordered the Bierknödel Balsamessig (€8), which were three dumplings covered with Parmigianino cheese over a salad with Balsamic vinegar. My wife got the Eissiacktalerkasnocken (€9), again three dumplings topped with cheese but this time with some sauerkraut. These are classic dishes of the region and show the intermingling of northern Italian and Germanic cuisines. They were both very tasty and by splitting the two dishes, we got to sample more local food. They were not overly big but fairly rich meals so filling enough, given the prices.Combined with the appetizer, it was plenty of food.
Favorite Dish: My Dad and sister were looking for more typical Italian food and we found one meal that resembled ravioli in the restaurant’s Kartofofflenteigtashchen (€9.50) which were four pasta pockets filled with potato, covered with parmesan cheese, chives and served with rucola and roasted peppers. They seemed very happy with their choice.
So, you might ask after hearing the prices why I’ve said this is an upscale place. Well, for one we ordered some of the least expensive items on the menu. You could spend a lot more and these plates might even be considered appetizers if shared or if consumed by a big eater. Also, the beer was where the price became a factor, especially for someone like me who likes to sample a brewery’s entire assortment. To be fair, at Hopfen & Co., you can order three different size beers which theoretically should keep your bill down but the pricing for the smaller samples is particularly high. It does work out well for a small drinker like my Dad who got a .2L Helles for €2 but if you figure out the liter price, it’s about €10, a bit cheaper than a beer at Munich’s extortionate Oktoberfest. My wife opted for a .3L Dunkles for €3. The .5L Weizen was €4.50, slightly cheaper but still quite a bit more than you’d pay at even upscale restaurants in Munich.
The beers were all good examples of their individual styles and well enough made but nothing to truly write home about either. My sister got a Hugo for what seemed a bargain of €3, odd for a brewery to charge more for their own house brewed beverages than a cocktail.
Our bill came to just under €70 for the four meals, certainly not bad for the very center of a tourist town in such a nice setting. I couldn’t complain, I’d got to try the local beers, sample nice examples of the local cuisine and kept my Dad and sister happy by getting them something that seemed Italian to them.
Another great place for Tyrolean fare is here
- Beer Tasting
- Food and Dining
Cavallino Bianco.: They closed down my favourite restaurant, so...
Cavallino Bianco (its German name is Weisses Roessl) is a well known restaurant not far from the Municipal Square. It has some wooden pannelled dining room and a small area where you can eat "al fresco", but under a roof.
Here they serve many typical dishes and also some fish specialities.
Closing day; saturday afternoon and sunday.
Favorite Dish: I had goulash, polenta (a kind of puree made of corn) and a dish of fresh salad. My friends had two first courses with pasta, rice and knodeln (dumplings made of bread and sometimes with meat).
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This place captivated me with its charme at once and I can only highly recommend it to you!
"Fischbänke" means "fish banks" and this place used to be the old fish market of Bolzano. You can still see the marble fish banks that are now part of the outside restaurant. Various cane chairs, oleander plants and various little signs with funny and philosophical sayings on them. Most outstanding is the owner of the place, Rino Zullo, called Cobo - he is the owner of the restaurant, a cartoonist and artist and pretty well known!
Favorite Dish: We only had a little something to drink, but the bruschetta there are said to be excellent as well! So, next time I will definitely go there again and try them as well!
Cavallino Bianco: Weisses Rössl
This restaurant is a huge restaurant, but still it has a nice atmosphere to it! There are various rooms one behind the other and a little courtyard. We had lunch here and enjoyed it quite a bit!
Despite the size this place was full, when we came there - it must have a good reputation! We shared the table with a man who goes here quite often and he, too, was very satisfied with the quality and the price.
Hubby and I both opted for a plate with 3 different kinds of food - so we did not have to decide and maybe miss out on something exceptional! Everything was very delicious, the service was very fast and very friendly and as I mentioned before - the cost of the meals were very reasonable.
Yummy German food near the train station
This is not a restaurant but a stand on Via Stazione Bahnhofallee near the Bolzano train station that sells cheap and very very yummy German food. The owner (and his family) of the stand is very nice and friendly. You will have to stand by the stand and eat. There is no place to sit.
Favorite Dish: The stand has everything from German bratwurst to roasted chicken and all the traditional German foods. And the quality is great! The foods are served with a German salad completed with a roll.
A roasted chicken meal, for example, only costs 3 euros.
- Budget Travel
Weisses Rössl or Cavalino Bianco (The White Horse): true Tyrolean fare
The Weisses Rössl or Cavalino Bianco (The White Horse) turned out to be a real winner despite some apprehension on my part in dragging my family there. All reviews I read sounded great but it was definitely going to be more of a Germanic affair than anything my visiting relatives would expect on their first trip to Italy. That said, I’d gone out of my way to find them a good pizza in our previous stop Innsbruck and the night before they had enjoyed a ravioli type dish at the local Bolzano brewpub. The hardest sell for the White Horse though was what appeared to be no outdoor seating. As it turned out, it was so hot out that by the time we’d arrived for lunch, everyone was happy it was fairly cool inside thanks not to air-conditioning but the vault like setting in which the restaurant is set. True to form, it was a German style keller with high vaulted ceilings and apparently thick walls that kept the heat at bay.
The menu had a surprising assortment of not only the expected Germanic type dishes but also ones closer to what my kinfolk were looking for.I went right for the gusto, ordering the biggest meatiest plate on the menu, the titanic Bauernplatte (€14.90), which had Kassler (a smoky ham) on top of sauerkraut, a small pork steak, a pork rib and a sausage for good measure. It had big a dumpling in the center and some roasted potatoes to round things out. It was enough for two people but I managed to polish it off and help my Dad and wife with their choices.They both got the Kalbsschnitzel (€12.80), a veal schnitzel made without breading but smothered in mushrooms and a great sauce. It was served with a good size portion of polenta. The waitress kindly consented to my Dad requesting a side of red gravy, which was brought out for free. I thought it extravagant at first as it was great with the sauce on the meat but it did give us a chance to try their red gravy and it was excellent as well. I would not hesitate to order a red pasta meal here either.
Favorite Dish: My wife also got the Ein Speckn delsuppe (€4.90) to get her dumpling fix in. It was quite good but once she saw the size of her meal, she knew she hadn’t needed a soup. My sister tried to go light and got a mixed salad for €3.50 and the Spinatspätzle (€7.70), a gorgeous melding of Italian and German cuisine: light homemade spinach noodles topped with parmesan cheese. Everything was great and all were quite happy with their choices. Portion sizes were quite large and of course, the day we didn’t need bread, we found that Bolzano can indeed make great bread. There was a 20 cent per person charge but the bread was more than worth it. There was a nice assortment but my favorite was a dense crusty dark bread that had anise seeds in it rather than the more traditional in Germany caraway. I’d had similar bread a decade earlier in the nearby mountains and had hoped to find it on this trip. It was just a shame it had not been the previous evening when we had a great cold meat place with such disappointing bread. Needless to say, no one else could manage more than a bite of it as they were so overwhelmed by the portions of their meals! I had a .4L Forst Dunkel beer for €3.80. My wife had a .5L carafe of white wine for €5. My Dad and sister split a .5L bottle of mineral water. My wife and I were so full we needed a local Grappa Barique Magda (€3.80) .
Our meal came to €75 but we could have likely fed another couple on the food we got for it. As it turned out, there is outside seating but you reach it from the inside and is in a quiet courtyard. It would be a great spot on a cooler day but on this particularly hot one, the restaurant’s cool interior was a welcomed relief.
One place for a smaller meal is here
- Food and Dining
- Wine Tasting
- Beer Tasting
Bar Mary: a blast from the past
Though we did not make it back to Bary Mary on our 2013 trip, I did find online that it still was going strong. We just didn't have enough time and I will try to make it back the next time in Bolzano and I hope it doesn't take another ten years to do it!
This was the first place we went into in Bolzano. I had read that bars were a great cheap place to eat in Italy so I cajoled D into checking "Bar Mary" out. It was a simple little bar with quite a few tables, all full of locals. Though the language of choice in this place was Italian, as soon as the waitress saw the blue-eyed, blonde-haired Doreen, she spoke to BOTH of us in German....lol.. Great bustling atmosphere, quick service and vino, lots of vino.
Favorite Dish: It was a bit late on the first visit, so all they had that was warm was "bauerntoast" so we ordered two of them (at 3 Euros a pop), not wanting to look uninformed about the local delicacy. I joked with Doreen that it would be like an oven grinder we have in the States, where they grill a hoagie till it's crispy. Meanwhile, I was expecting some lame piece of bread with some lunch meat on the side. I was overwhelmed when it came out and was much closer and even better than a grinder! It was a dark bread full of cheese, salami and ham, evidently brushed with olive oil before grilling it to roasty perfection. Doreen thought I was psychic or just plain lucky. Hey, I can't read the future but I am one lucky bastard for sure. The next visit we had some pasta for 4.50 Euros as well as another baurentoast (only 2.70 this trip). Half a liter of water is 1.30 Euros and a small wine was only 2!
Prices as of 2003 but sure it's still reasonable.
After that big meal, you might need to walk it of and seeing the sights here
- Food and Dining
- Historical Travel
Il Cavallino Bianco: Tradition in Sud Tirol
In Bolzano (Bozen in German) town centre you can find this nice and comfortable restaurant, a real institution for the town. Everybody know it. First of all, you have to be ready to be seated with other people, at least for lunch, when the restaurant is full of student and employees. At evening the ambience is much more intimate.
The menu is full of everything that Sud Tirol can offer to satisfy great appetite; the dishes are really big and you will pay for the bread only if you eat it. Otherwise, no "coperto" charge...but, like in Austria (remember that Bolzano is in Italy but most of the population is German native speaker. They speack a good Italian with a strong German accent) they expected to receive a tip.
Favorite Dish: Canederli
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i tryed 3 restaurants in San...
i tryed 3 restaurants in San Martino:
MALGA CES, ANITA and MALGA FRATTAZZA.
ANITA is the most expensive, but the service is very good, u can eat typical things as speck or particular cheese. The home wine is a Cabernet,good smell and good colour. Globally it's a little too expensive.
MALGA FRATTAZZA is the less expensive. The things to eat are all good but not good as in Anita restaurant. The wine here is better. It's beautiful palce als during the day to see the panorama
MALGA CES: i tryed the typycal menù. It's the best also in price and quality. The typycal was on Wenesday adn i assure u, u eat until u must ask to stop. ..and i eat very much. The service is optimum with little good things as to put your dishes hot before serving the meat. The people are funny.
In all the 3 restaurants people are dressed with Tirolese dresses..it's funny.
Blaues Schiff: Blaues Schiff
I often judge a restaurant by the quality of the glasses that they use to serve the wine. At Blaues Schiff near the Piazza del Grano they excelled. We ate twice there and the food was really good and sat outside on a warm evening it’s a great place to soak up the atmosphere of Bolzano. We had a bottle of local wine from Gries. I can’t remember the name of it but it was a deep red mature cabernet sauvignon and the waiter told us it was his favourite. Delicious.
Another local wine is a rose – it slides down very easily on a warm afternoon and you can be drunk before you know it.
MOritzingerhof: On the way to Meran
On the way to Meran, just out of Bozen and quite close to the hospital (krankenhaus !) you can find Moritzingerhof a nice restaurant with typical sud-tirol food.
Favorite Dish: Filet with mushroom !!!!!!!! ... and don't forget to taste the smoked ham they usually serve you as a starter !
- Food and Dining
A completely refurbished...
A completely refurbished hotel-restaurant-cafe has reopened during 2001: Hotel Citta' is located just in the main Bozen square and it looks great !!!
Not yet tried as an hotel I've been there for a drink and it was so cheap if compared to Milan that I thought they were wrong with the bill :-)))
JRE: Nouvelle in italian sauce :-)
JRE is a "chain" of hi-level restaurants born in France and enlarged to Europe in 1992. In Italy the headquarter is in Bolzano's area.
The aim of this association is to propose traditional food in a new concept; all associated are young and dynamic chef.
For the restaurant list pls check the website www.jre.it
- Food and Dining
Zur Kaiserkron: More environment than food
Expensive restaurant in downtown: wonderful historical environment with outside space for summer.
Actuall food is not always at level you could expect in such a spot but for sure you can have an interestinf wine list.
'Der Traubenwirt': 'Der Traubenwirt'
It was mouth watering - 4 courses of very delicious food and fabulous local wines! We have been celebrating Alexander's birthday...
Favorite Dish: Try their surprise menu!!!
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