Visiting St. Peter Stiftskulinarium is a spiritual and gastronomic pilgrimage. Located within the expansive confines of Salzburg’s St. Peter’s Abbey, a 7th-century Benedictine monastery, its existence was first chronicled by Alcuin of York, a scholar and trusted advisor to Charlemagne.
Wandering these hallowed halls, one can’t help but imagine Mephistopheles talking shop with Faust, or Christopher Columbus raising a glass of Salzburg Stiegl beer before his historic voyage. While legends persist, the establishment’s age is undeniable.
St. Peter Stiftskulinarium, mentioned in documents dating back to 803, claims to be the oldest known operating restaurant in Europe. Over the centuries, St. Peter’s was forced to close a number of times, most notably during Napoleon’s invasion, so it’s not the oldest European restaurant in continuous operation; that honor goes to Sobrino de Botín in Spain, established in 1725.
The restaurant’s grandeur extends across 11 dining rooms, each with its own elaborate design and tapestry of captivating anecdotes. From the opulent Baroque Hall to the intimate “citizens’ room” Prälatenstube, the establishment is certainly a feast for the eyes. With an 850-person capacity, it also offers ample opportunity for people-watching.
The Stiftskulinarium’s kitchen prides itself on serving upscale regional specialties, including the Viennese classic tafelspitz (slow-simmered beef in broth and vegetables) and Salzburger Nockerl a sweet dessert soufflé made with egg yolk, flour, sugar and vanilla. With changing seasons, the menu embraces diverse local flavors, showcasing fresh fish, game dishes, and often imaginative influences from Mediterranean cuisine.
As twilight descends, the restaurant’s renowned Mozart Dinner Concert takes place. Every night, the Baroque Hall’s high stuccoed ceilings are illuminated by candlelight across white gala tables. In collaboration with the Salzburg Concert Society, the dining experience features a three-course menu of authentic 17th- and 18th-century recipes accompanied by live musical performances featuring the work of Salzsburg’s most famous native, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Performers and stewards in fanciful period attire add to the time-warp flair.
Know Before You Go
Every so often, the restaurant digs deep into its remarkable, 600-position cellar for wine tasting seminars and events. Check the website for more info.