Culinary delights in Tirol – sustainable & modern

Last updated on 15.02.2023

From bacon dumpling soup to “Schlutzkrapfen” and “Kaiserschmarren”: the classics of Tirolean cuisine are an integral part of the menu – and can be found throughout the country in alpine pastures and huts, in down-to-earth inns and in many a gourmet restaurant. The fact that the traditional dishes are far from being outdated is also proven by the young chefs of the country, who bring the popular Tirolean cuisine to the plate with a modern interpretation.

Culinary delights in Tirol
Culinary delights in Tirol © Tirol Werbung, Kathrin Koschitzki

Hüttenwirte, star chefs and also the aspiring young chefs of the country rely equally on regional and sustainably produced food. They take up trends such as initially vegetarian and later vegan cuisine as a matter of course. While Tirolean cuisine may be hearty, many dishes – such as Kaspressknödel, Käsespätzle or Kaiserschmarren – have always been vegetarian. And more and more restaurants and hotels are showing that vegetarian cuisine, without meat or dairy products, can also be tasty.

Selected examples from the Tirolean gastronomy scene show how the tradition of Tirolean cuisine is successfully made fit for the future and interpreted in a modern way:

Oniriq – Vegetarian cuisine at toques level

A seven-course tasting menu – and purely vegetarian. To be sure, toque chef Christoph Bickel also serves meat or fish, but only if this is explicitly ordered. Exotic ingredients do not appear on the plate in his four-toque award-winning restaurant Oniriq in Innsbruck; instead, classics of Tirolean cuisine are reinterpreted and prepared with regional ingredients. And this evenly preferentially vegetarian. The Tirolean picks many ingredients of his cuisine in the forests or mountains of Tirol, but also the good partnership with local farmers is important to him.  

After several stays abroad, Christoph Bickel returned to his homeland in 2017 with a special dream: to bring Tirolean cuisine closer to the guest. “At Oniriq, I want to bring Alpine cuisine closer to the guest who wants to eat at a higher level. Actually, the way my grandma cooked – just slightly spiced up or changed.” And so, for example, the “Tiroler Gröstl” comes to the plate in the form of a poached quail ice cream with roasted onion mayo in a nest of raw potato threads. 

Toque chef Christoph Bickel from restaurant Oniriq
Toque chef Christoph Bickel from restaurant Oniriq © Tirol Werbung, Bert Heinzlmeier

“The Wilderin” – seasonal enjoyment from the alpine region

Regional, seasonal, sustainable – in the Wilderin in the middle of Innsbruck’s old town you can only find what is available at the moment. Which means as much as: Exactly those fruits and vegetables are cooked that the fields around Innsbruck in the respective season – or rather week – just give. Or was cooked in advance. And since animal meat is always purchased as whole livestock from farmers in the region, it can happen that the popular filet is out, but tasty cheeks are on the menu.

What drives the team around Claudia Kogler and the two chefs Christoph Zingerle and Thomas Michler, is incidentally quickly explained: “The indescribable joy of the taste of the Alps, the devotion to the products of our agricultural partners and their livestock, fields, lakes and gardens, as well as the enthusiasm for passionate hospitality.” It is therefore hardly surprising that the Wilderin has successfully earned a “Gault & Millau” toque with her special concept.

Special food concept from "The Wilderin"
Special food concept from “The Wilderin” © Die Wilderin

“The Unterwirtinnen” – Award-winning Slow Food in a historic building

The Unterwirt in the small community of Ebbs in Kufsteinerland has been on the map since 1490. Equally rich in tradition is the history of the family business, which Sabrina, Maria and Katrin Steindl took over from their parents as “Die Unterwirtinnen”. Since then, the sisters have transformed the Unterwirt into a family-run gourmet hotel with a Slow Food restaurant that has been awarded two toques. Tirolean Slow Food, that means for the sisters as regional and naturally organic ingredients as possible. These are then processed into contemporary interpretations and traditional classics of Tirolean and Austrian cuisine. Because naturally also a Schnitzel may not be missing on the map: „The Viennese Schnitzel is still a Signature Dish of our house and that is also well in such a way. “

Despite a clear vision for the future, however, the sisters do not forget their origins: “The direction our parents took with the “Unterwirt” a long time ago absolutely fits. They established this quality standard, behind which and for which we stand. We just have to adapt the philosophy for ourselves and the future and go full throttle.” And so, with a bit of luck, senior chef Edmund Steindl will also be in the kitchen during a visit, who is considered a pioneer of the Slow Food movement and was awarded the first toque for the Unterwirt thirty years ago.

"The Unterwirt" in Ebbs
“The Unterwirt” in Ebbs © Tirol Werbung, Nicolas Hafele

Seal of quality for trade and gastronomy

In order to make the quality of Tirolean products recognizable for consumers at a glance, two quality seals provide orientation. The “Qualität Tirol” seal of quality, which can be found in retail outlets, stands for regional, sustainably produced foodstuffs of the highest quality that are 100% grown and refined in the Tirol. In gastronomy, on the other hand, the “Bewusst Tirol” establishments bear witness to particularly high quality. The initiative of the province of Tirol and Agrarmarketing Tirol honors catering establishments that have demonstrably increased their use of products from the region. More than 220 businesses in the province are partners in the initiative, which sustainably strengthens and promotes the interaction between Tirolean business and agriculture.

Further information on culinary delights in Tirol, typical Tirolean dishes and traditional as well as innovative businesses can be found at


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