Welcome to Mauterndorf in the Lungau valley, just a short one hour drive south of Salzburg. The village looks like a place from an Austrian postcard. When we arrived, we only spotted beautiful historic houses surrounded by green lawns and mountains. The center is crossed by a river. And on top of a hill: An old white castle. What a start.
Smack in the middle of it all, diagonally across from the old post office, please find the epicenter of good food: The Mesnerhaus. Those who are familiar with this area know that it has always been a gourmet temple. And that’s still the case today. Since Maria & Josef Steffner took it over 13 years ago, guests from all over the world come here to taste the menu. Josef is in the kitchen, Maria takes care of the guests.
Because we had the good fortune to taste the full menu this summer, we can truly attest to one thing: This place definitely belongs to the best restaurants in the world. If you want to know exactly what they serve, please read the next paragraph. If you prefer to be surprised, skip it and reserve your table at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The dining room is located in the historic house with its foundation dating all the way back to the year 1420. You enter the property through a large red door and take the stairs up to the two dining rooms on the second floor. On the walls there are paintings by artists who are allowed to exhibit here on a rotating basis. A friendly sommelier pushes a cart to the white-covered table, offering aperitifs – including a combination of white port wine, tonic water and ice. What a perfect start.
The menu is regionally international. Please choose between 4, 6, 8 or 10 courses. (An à la carte version is also available). For those who want to celebrate some special occasion, we recommend the entire culinary journey (“great seduction”) with ten courses – including wine accompaniment. Chef’s choice: Lungauer Ächtlinge (potatoes) with sour cream, egg yolk and caviar from Walter Grüll (the hidden caviar king of Austria). The entire menu is available here.
Anyone who follows Pretty Hotels knows that we place little value on stars or awards. The flood of awards that are given out in the last years has made them all quite redundant. The most important thing is: the food must taste really good and one should have a special evening (or lunch break).
We can guarantee, that this is the case at Mesnerhaus. Nothing is staged here. When you dine here, Josef will be in the kitchen himself (and does not run 32 restaurants in Bangkok and Dubai). Within the culinary scene his cooking is not only recognized, but revered.
In 2021, Maria and Josef were able to purchase the neighboring house and got it completely refurbished. Now they can offer seven cute rooms to their guests, who want to stay longer. The style: somewhat modern, yet cozy, with lots of wood and modern fixtures in the bathrooms. All is very clean here and you feel comfortable, whether you come in the summer to eat & hike, or in the winter to eat and ski. Between the two properties you find a lounge for a coffee or drink between. Downstairs in the garden Josef grows his own herbs and in a small cellar room we found fermented delicacies in Weck jars.
One of the special features of Mauterndorf is its idyllic landscape, but also the proximity to spectacular mountains. Especially in winter, guests like to stay for a whole week for skiing. A skiing area is located directly in the village. And a trip to the neighboring resort “Obertauern”, which boasts a range of 100 kilometers of pure skiing slopes at an altitude between 1752 and 3000 meters, is only 10 minutes by car. Here is the map to look at.
But we also liked it in summer. The area is a beautiful hiking and biking paradise.
Doubles from 160 to 240 euros per night including breakfast. The 4-course tasting menu is 88 euros per person. The very “big seduction” with 10 courses costs 180 euros.
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