Austrian Cow restaurant … where they watch you eat!

Gasthof Außenansicht, the rustic restaurant at Stanglwirt
Gasthof Außenansicht, the rustic restaurant at Stanglwirt

From June until September in an Austrian mountain spa resort you’ll be able to have dinner while being watched by Alpine cows and calves. First award the licence to operate as an inn in 1609, Bio-Hotel Stanglwirt’s cow barn was added when the restaurant needed to expand and, rather than move the barn, the unique windows were installed. Faint mooing can be heard, but farmyard smells are kept at bay.

An unusual visitor to the dining table!
An unusual visitor to the dining table!

The restaurant’s most popular tables are set on a slightly elevated position to the side of the hall where guests get a good view the hustle and bustle in the hall on one side and an unusual view into the cowshed.

Stanglwirt farm's home produced cheeses
Stanglwirt farm’s home produced cheeses

A farm attached to the hotel uses around 140 tonnes of milk to produce curd cheese, butter and yoghurt with the raw alpine milk. Heated in a copper kettle and traditional cheesecloth over an open fire without the use of flavour enhancers, the products are marketed as organic. The farm has 65 hectares of grassland, 52 hectares of alpine meadows that supports a wide range of famed animal including cattle, goats and rabbit. An in-house butchery processes around 80 tonnes of meat each year, and on site bakery supplies all the bread and rolls to the various restaurants.

Typical dishes on the menu would include for starters a cream cheese tarte on pumpernickel bread (€16.50); beef broth with a liver dumpling (€5.80) and Tyrolean Ravioli stuffed with grey cheese with cabbage sald and sour cream dip (€14.70). For mains there is a lot of meat dishes on offer including rack of lamb with vegetables and parmesan polenta (€32.90) and for desserts there is a list of classic Austrian dishes including curd cheese dumplings (€10.90) and pancakes with raspberries and plum compote (€14.90). An extensive wine list of mostly Austrian drinks includes a 2014 Grüner Veltliner Achleiten Federspiel (€35) and a Pinot Noir Gebling from Kremstal (€42).

With over 10,000 registered drinking water springs across Tyrol, it’s only natural that Stanglwirt would have it’s own brand of water, only served in stemmed glasses, and indeed the region’s first water sommelier.

Riding a Lippizaner from the Stanglwirt stable
Riding a Lippizaner from the Stanglwirt stable

The hotel has hosted folk music and singing events since the late 1940s and now offers a wide range of sports from mountain biking, tennis and horse riding to a spa and its rock crystal steam bath. Stables house a stud herd of the famous Lipizzaner horses that guests can ride, or even just trot around an indoor school for 15 minutes. Stanglwirt has been in the hands of the Hauser family for over 100 years.

A room at Stanglwirt starts from Euro 102 (£72) per night with breakfast, with the hotel being easily accessible from Munich (125km); Innsbruck (95km) and Salzburg (80km). Rooms are available throughout the year with the hotel situated in a popular skiing area.


I am freelance journalist and published author focusing on food and drink; business startups and enterprise; culture and travel. I have also written about the global upstream oil and gas industry, shipping and current affairs. Based in London, I travel widely, particularly across western Europe. I have chaired many conferences and meetings, spoken at conferences and events and often appear on radio and TV talking most about food, the business of food and being an entrepreneur.

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