One of the coolest parts about traveling in Europe is that you get to see the places you learned about in your history classes, which makes it feel so surreal, knowing that it’s not just a story and that you’re standing where things happened thousands of years before. Salzburg’s St. Peter Stiftskiller restaurant lays claim to being the oldest restaurant in Europe. Formerly a monastery, this gorgeous restaurant began serving food as part of an inn in 803. Can you imagine what life was like back then?
I was so excited when the restaurant extended an invitation to us to come in for dinner and experience the history and amazingness of St. Peter Stiftskeller in person! Tucked away in the back corner of a quaint square at the base of the Fortress/mountain, we saw a faint glow of lights. As we got closer and approached the entrance, I knew it was going to be a place I’d never forget.
When we first walked in, there was an open space area with live music, Christmas trees and lights everywhere, and not surprising, a huge crowd of people gathered, chatting and enjoying some drinks to warm up from the chilly weather outside. We checked in with the hostess and were shown to another quieter (but still buzzing) room where dinner would be served.
Our table was in the corner of the coziest room – a room that centuries ago was a wine cellar in the former monastery! There seemed to be a good mix of locals and tourists, with quite a few different languages being spoken around us. This is something St. Peter Stiftskeller was clearly used to, as their menu was readily available in a few different languages!
To start, we opted for the bread basket, some wine, and sparkling water! With the basket came three different types of toppings to go with – chive butter, olive oil, and a spread (which they switch up frequently).
There were so many delicious-sounding options to choose from for the main course, but after some debating, my mom and I decided to go for the shared platter, St. Peter’s Mixed Grill. And by shared platter, I mean FEAST. Our eyes bulged out of our heads when we saw how much food was coming toward us, but we couldn’t wait to dive in! What came with it? Poultry, beef, pork, buttered rice, mixed veggies, and french fries!
We couldn’t bring ourselves to finish the platter, but we did make a pretty good dent in it! It definitely felt like we were on an episode of Man vs. Food!
Despite the fact that we “couldn’t possibly eat another bite,” we magically found a tiny bit of room in our stomachs when the dessert menu was presented. Isn’t that always how it goes?! We decided to split the Salzburger Nockerl, a dish made of egg and sugar, and topped with cranberries and raspberry sauce. YUM.
After our meal, our waitress took us around on a quick tour of the rest of the restaurant. We had no idea how big it was! And the Christmas decorations just got better and better as we wandered through. I’ve seriously never seen a more magical restaurant at Christmas. In fact, we found out that there were well over 100 Christmas trees dispersed around the restaurant. Talk about a Christmas wonderland!
The grandest of rooms was at the rear of the second floor. It was just emptying as we walked up and caught a glimpse of the most beautiful ballroom! Each night, there’s a Mozart Dinner Concert in this room, where you can enjoy a dinner by candlelight (1790s style), in the way that people did back in Mozart’s time. So cool! If you didn’t know, Salzburg is where Mozart was born, so you’ll find hints of Mozart all over Salzburg.
One room in particular really stood out to me. A room with a distinct smell and look that’s not quite like the others. Why? Because the ceiling is entirely cave! Yep, St. Peter Stiftskiller sits in/under a mountain! Just another awesome tidbit to add to the impressive list!
St. Peter Stiftskeller was one of the most unique and magical places I’ve ever dined and I’d go back in a heartbeat! If you’re planning a trip to Salzburg, I highly recommend carving out some time to grab a bite here. You won’t regret it!