Eating in a good restaurant, during the holidays, is one of life's joys. Doing it in Cortina, with your gaze lost among the peaks of the Dolomites, is a unique experience. On this page we offer a selection of our favourite restaurants.
We will start with the most prestigious and renowned places, moving on to cheaper restaurants, concluding our article with some bars and pizzas by the slice where you can eat for a very reasonable amount of money. These are all sincere and disinterested recommendations from our own experience, they are not paid reviews.
Our top 3
We start the article with a bang, first describing those that, in our opinion, are the three best restaurants in Cortina as value for money.
First place is even too easy to assign, it goes to the "Tivoli" Restaurant of the chef Graziano Prest. The menu is delicious, sophisticated and unconventional, and the service is impeccable. Prices are pretty high, as it is a Michelin-starred restaurant. It is not too far from the centre, it would even be possible to walk there, but it's way better to get there by car or taxi. The street is dimly lit and is designed for cars, so there is no pavement.
Second place goes to "Al Camin" Restaurant, of the chef Fabio Pompanin. The food is really good and the atmosphere is very cozy. The value for money is good, the dishes are delicious, it is the best reviewed in the valley, there is also the terrace, in short, it is really worth it. Prices are not cheap in absolute terms, but it is not too expensive. Again, it is advisable to get there by car or taxi. The road is not excessively long, but it is not designed for pedestrians.
Third place goes to "Baita Fraina" restaurant, of the Menardi family. It is definitely the one in the most panoramic environment and it's surrounded by nature. The food is really good, the restaurant is very nice, the cost is reasonable, although not cheap. We really appreciate the fact that there are three smaller dining rooms, making it more intimate and quieter. They also have a covered terrace outside. Neither this restaurant is close to the centre but, unlike the others, it could also be reached walking. It is a fairly long walk, with some steep rises, but it is definitely doable and it's also enjoyable.
Where to eat very well in Cortina
In addition to the three restaurants mentioned in the previous chapter, there are other two names we really feel to recommend. These are three high quality places, so the price is in proportion to the quality. If you want some more affordable alternatives, you should go directly to the next chapter.
"Alajmo Cortina" has been a great discovery. It is part of the famous "Alajmo Group", which has ten restaurants around the world, five of which are Michelin-starred. The decor is very nice, the service is professional, the menu is very interesting and we ate really well. It is not far from the centre, but the road is not ideal for walking, as it has no pavement, it's certainly better to take a car or taxi.
The second place we would like to suggest is "El Camineto". It is family run restaurant, which is located at the foot of Mount Tofane. It offers an amazing and pristine view of the Dolomites. Its strength is the open terrace, from which you can enjoy an incredible panorama. The dining room is large and furnished in a nice and rustic style, with a beautiful fireplace in the centre. The cuisine offers both traditional and more sophisticated dishes, always at a high standard. It must be reached by a means of transport, as it is a twenty-minute drive from the centre. In winter it is extremely close to the Mount Tofane ski slopes.
Where to eat well in Cortina
Those mentioned in the previous two chapters are either expensive restaurants, or are located far from the town center. In this chapter we'll see six other names, three that are very centrally located and three that are really nice, all with more reasonable prices. They are not cheap restaurants, the quality is still good. We'll see the cheaper places in the final part of the article.
The first restaurant of the center is "Dolom'eats all'Aquila". It is the cheaper restaurant that allows you to eat overlooking Corso Italia, the pedestrian island of the centre. It offers very traditional dishes and is ideal for those who want to try typical Ampezzo cuisine.
Another one in a really central position is "Il Vizietto", an interesting restaurant that offers meat, fish and some typical Italian dishes that are not typical in our lands. Here is probably the best place in Cortina to eat some of the most famous and traditional pastas like the "Amatriciana", the "Gricia" and the "Carbonara". The place is cozy, even though a little squeezed in, during the warm season it's possible to sit in the external open terrace.
The third restaurant is called "Ariston", it's really close to the center, five minutes walking, near the former railway. The restaurant is very nice, the cuisine is refined and reflects the attention that chef "Roberto Piccolin" puts into the research of ingredients and preparation.
Our selection continues with three reasonably expensive restaurants, located in an amazing environment. To reach them, you need a car or a taxi, but it's definitely worth it.
"Baita Resch" is a restaurant with the soul of a mountain hut. It is located on the road to the Falzarego Pass, about twenty minutes by car from Cortina. It overlooks a wonderful panorama. In summer it's surrounded by greenery, in winter it's directly on the ski slopes. The interiors are beautiful and rustic, in short, it's a place that should be visited, even if only for a slice of cake and a cappuccino. The menu is very classic and typical.
The second restaurant is the "Franz Joseph Stube", new management of the former farmhouse. The new owner has made the most of the garden, making it an ideal destination for those who want to eat surrounded by nature. It is ten minutes by car, but it could also be reached on foot, if you are not afraid of an hour's and a half walk uphill. The restaurant offers a Tyrolean style menu.
Last but not least, the "Chalet Tofane" is a restaurant located on the "Socrepes" ski slopes. In summer it's surrounded by greenery, in winter by snow. It offers both dining and entertainment and is recommended to those who like cheerful and fun environments, as there is often music and people dancing or having a drink at the bar, especially in the afternoon. The dining room is quite secluded and remains fairly quiet even if there is a bit of a party at the bar.
Where to spend the right amount of money
If you prefer to eat in a cheaper restaurant there are a few places where you can eat, spending a reasonable amount of money.
The first restaurant we want to suggest is the "Pontejel Bierstube Forst". It's located in the center of the town and it offers typical Tyrolean and Veneto cuisine. Although the name might make you think of a noisy brewery, it is actually a quiet restaurant, where you can also drink excellent beer.
Another restaurant for all budgets, also very centrally located, is the "LP 26", It is a "prosciutteria" with a decent selection of ham-themed starters, burgers and tall pizzas. Reading online reviews, we noticed some complaints about the service. Personally, we never had any serious problem with the staff, we consider the service adequate for a place that keeps its prices reasonably low, while being in a great location.
The third option are all the pizzerias. There are many of them, all of them are quite similar in price and they are all of good quality. We do not feel to recommend any of them in particular, but we would like to mention that both the pizzeria "Al Passetto" and the pizzeria "Il Ponte" have pizzas for people intolerant to gluten.
Where to eat in Cortina with less money
There are many alternatives for eating in Cortina while spending relatively little. If you are in the mood for a quick snack there are two pizzas by the slice, both in a very central position.
The first is called Pizzeria "Ai due Forni", where our favorite pizza is the salami and peppers. If you want something special, you may try the pizza with potatoes "ampezzan style", roasted with onions and speck.
The second is located in Piazzale delle Poste and is called "Ampezzo Pizza", a pizza by the slice with some tables outside, if the climate allows it.
... but you might want to sit down, maybe enjoy a good beer ...
Surely a pizza eaten standing up is the quickest meal possible, but you might want to sit down, maybe enjoying a good beer. In this case the brewery "Hacker Pschorr Haus" offers a varied menu, with salads, sandwiches, Tyrolean dishes and a very good value for money. It is in the center of the town, so it's really easy to reach.
In front of the Hacker Pschorr there's also the "Janbo", it's open both day and night. It has a large covered terrace, where you can sit down to enjoy a burger with fries. Since it's also a nightclub, the alcohol selection is generous, with cocktails and other specialities.
It must be said that almost every bar in Cortina offers sandwiches or some other quick snack to eat without spending an excessive amount of money.
If you want to move out of the centre, taking a short walk, there are two really tasty alternatives that we would recommend.
Walking ten minutes, in the north direction, you will reach the "Molo Pub", a place where you can taste really good and well-made sandwiches and wraps, as well as a very refined selection of beers and cocktails. You will almost surely find it open in the evening, sometimes it's also open for lunch, but unfortunately it is a place with somewhat flexible hours, we can't be too precise.
The second place that we feel to recommend, outside the center, is about fifteen minutes walking south and it's really close to the walk of the former railroad. The "Bar Toto" is a cute little house run by two very friendly guys, where you can have lunch with tasty sandwiches in front of a wonderful view.
Takeaway food and home delivery
Those used to city life might take for granted the use of apps to receive food at home. Unfortunately Cortina is a small town and this kind of service is not sustainable. To overcome this problem, some restaurants make home delivery autonomously.
First is "Fvsion" Restaurant, it is specialized in Italian and Japanese fusion cuisine. Its flagship is sushi, but there are also other interesting dishes. We have to confess that we are in love with some of their desserts. If you need the takeaway service, we recommend booking at least half a day in advance.
The second place you can call is Pizzeria "Ai due Forni", which allows you to order a pizza by phone. In peak season, the service is very popular, so we recommend that you call in advance.
Another place worth a mention is "La Bottega di Graziano". It is a gourmet gastronomy run directly from the kitchen of the Tivoli Restaurant. Do you remember it? It's the one we put first in our favourite restaurants. We would like to remind you that it is a starred restaurant, the cuisine is of an excellent standard, so you should expect prices a little higher than those of the supermarket delicatessen.
The last we'd like to mention is the home delivery by the supermarkets of the center, which allow you to have your groceries delivered to your home for a small charge.
If you have your own car or live close to the centre it's easier. Practically every pizzeria and many restaurants will happily prepare lunch or dinner to take away, as long as you pick it up yourself.
In Italy the tip is not the norm, you may leave it, it's appreciated, but don't feel obliged. In the receipt there's always a 22% that many foreigners misrepresent as the suggested tip, but it's the mandatory tax (VAT) that's already included in the price, you don't have to add it.
In this article we've never talked about exact prices, as the bill changes depending on what you eat and, even more, what you drink. All bars and restaurants have a price list visible outside the door. If you don't want any surprises, we always suggest you take a look before entering.
Like all tourist resorts, Cortina also has a seasonality. At peak season finding a seat in the most popular restaurants may be quite difficult. On the other hand, in the off-season, some places may be closed for holidays or weekly rest periods.
If you want to know more about the tourist flow in each month, you may read the following article we've wrote about this topic:
If you want to increase your chances of finding a seat, at peak season, here are some tips:
- People on holiday are generally relaxed, aperitifs get longer and restaurants start to fill up after 8 PM. If you don't have a reservation, play early. It may be a good idea to reach the restaurant before the hustle and bustle arrives.
- If you have found a nice restaurant, it is always best to call ahead. In peak season to reserve a table, in low season to make sure they are open.
- If the restaurant you go to is full, the others probably will be too. It is generally useless to roam around the various places, it is better to stand in line and wait.
But what if after all this eating you want to go out and have some fun? No problem, Cortina also offers excellent alternatives for those who love nightlife. If you want to know more about this topic, we invite you to read the next article where we talked about all the places to have fun in Cortina:
Typical dishes of Cortina d'Ampezzo
Now that we have recommended the best restaurants in Cortina, we can only suggest that you try some typical dishes of the traditional Ampezzo cuisine, which blends Austrian and Venetian traditions. Be careful of what you read on the internet: we have never seen in the menu of any restaurant half of the dishes we have seen recommended on other websites (I challenge you to find a restaurant that offers for example rice with peas, "pestariei" or "Gröstl").
... the "chenedi" are a variation of the Tyrolean knödel...
A great classic of Cortina's cuisine are the "casunziei", ravioli filled with spinach or red beet seasoned with butter and poppy seeds. With the passing of time different fillings have been invented, but the ones listed above are the most traditional ones.
The second typical dish par excellence are the "chenedi", or "canederli", a variation of the Tyrolean "knödel" which consist of balls of bread kneaded with sliced meat or cheese and served with hot broth or melted butter. Ok, the description it's not so tempty, but they are delicious. The variant with broth is more wintery, while the one with melted butter is more suited to warm weather.
... cold cuts, sausages, venison, mushrooms, cheeses and polenta...
As second courses, the cuisine is the traditional mountain one, with cold cuts, sausages, venison, mushrooms, cheese and polenta. A classic Ampezzo second course is the "gulasch süppe", a specialty meat-based soup originally from Hungary. Alternatively, deer and roe deer, animals naturally found in the valley that have been hunted and eaten since time immemorial, can be found on almost every menu. The side dish par excellence to eat in Cortina are the potatoes "all'ampezzana", slices of boiled potato sautéed in a pan with onion and speck. Maybe not exactly light, but certainly tasty.
For desserts, in restaurants and bakeries, the tradition has often given way to modern tastes. A mountain classic that in Cortina is always present is the apple strudel, but if you want to try something really local you have to wait until Carnival week, when "Nigele" are fried in front of the "Cooperativa".
We hope you liked this page on where to eat in Cortina d'Ampezzo. Before saying goodbye, we would suggest you read all the articles we wrote about Cortina d'Ampezzo by clicking here.
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