Many times those who come to Cortina d'Ampezzo are afraid that in order to eat well you have to spend a lot of money. Ok, there are some really expensive restaurants in Cortina, but you can also eat well by spending less. Living here since always, we have learned the places where to eat well in Cortina spending the right amount of money, and in this article we'll give you some advice. For those who love good food and have no problems spending something more, jump directly to the second part of the article.
...we didn't receive any advantage to recommend them...
First of all consider that the article is subject to updates, so you may always find some little changes. We also want to emphasize that all the places and restaurants that we are going to recommend are those in which we have really eaten and of which we have been really satisfied. We have not received any advantage to recommend them, it's an honest opinion. We have written this article as if an old friend of ours, coming to Cortina, would phone us asking for advice on where to go to eat, giving us a budget. The article is divided by price range, starting with the cheapest places, and includes only the places that we personally and sincerely would recommend.
If some restaurants are missing, and surely there are some, it is only because we didn't think to include it, or because we didn't go there in the last few years. Finally, considering that the quality level of eating in Cortina is pretty high, it is really difficult to find a place where you can eat objectively bad. Easier, rather, is to spend a little more than you'd expect, but by following our advice you'll avoid this problem.(1) A great meal to save money. (2) The casunziei, a typical Ampezzo dish. (3) A dessert from Tivoli restaurant.
In this article we'll never talk about prices, as the bill changes depending on what you eat and, even more, what you drink. If you go into a bar and ask for a beer, Cortina costs the same as any other city or maybe a little more, but if you go to a fancy place and ask for a beer, the bill could be quite high. All bars and restaurants have a price list posted outside the door, so if you don't want any surprises, we always suggest you take a look before entering. In general, if you want to spend less, you should look for places frequented by young people or locals.
Another issue to consider when you want to eat in Cortina is the crowd. If you're on vacation at Christmas time, finding a seat without having to wait could be quite difficult. On the contrary, on the 15th of November (extremely low season) you'd find a seat almost everywhere, but many restaurants might be closed. If you want to know more about the touristic flow in Cortina each month, you can read this article. Below there are a few tips that you might find useful:
- Cortina's guests are generally "relaxed": aperitifs could get long, so the restaurants generally start to fill up after 8pm or even later.
- If you don't want bad surprises, play in advance, maybe eating early and having a drink afterwards.
- Always call ahead: to make reservations in the peak seasons, and to make sure it's open in the off-season.
- If you've got your eye on a nice restaurant, try to book in advance, huge in advance if it's Christmas week or August.
- If you want to learn more, if you click on the name of the restaurant, it will open the official website or the page where it is reviewed.
Where to eat in Cortina with less money
As mentioned above, there are plenty of alternatives for eating in Cortina while spending relatively little. If you are in the mood for a quick snack go to Pizzeria ai due Forni, a high quality pizza by the slice, where you can eat well for a few euros. We recommend that you try the pizza with tuna and onion or the salami and peppers or, if you want something special, the pizza with potatoes "all'ampezzana" (roasted with onions and speck). Alternatively, in "piazzale delle Poste" you can find Ampezzo Pizza, a pizza by the slice with tables outside.
... but you might want to sit down, maybe even enjoy a good beer ...
Surely a pizza is the quickest meal, but you might want to sit down, maybe even enjoying a good beer. In this case the brewery Hacker Pschorr Haus offers a fairly varied menu, with salads, sandwiches, Tyrolean dishes and a very good value for money.
If you want to eat a sandwich or a flatbread, a good alternative could also be the Panino Top Bar, where you can create personalized sandwiches and drink a good beer or a cocktail. The Top bar is popular with both tourists and locals, but it is usually not too crowded at lunchtime. In the evening it becomes a local where young people go to have fun, remember it if you are looking for a quiet environment to dine: the Top Bar may not be the right choice. If you like soccer, they often play them on their televison, sometimes without sound because they prefer to leave the music for those who want to party.
If you want to get out of the center a little, a 10 minute walk is possible to go to 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. Generally it's open only in the evening. In high season, sometimes, it also opens for lunch, but unfortunately it is a place with somewhat flexible hours.
Almost every bar in Cortina offers sandwiches, and some quick snacks, some of them are the Bar Sport and Bar El Becalen. Heading south instead you can find, about twenty minutes from the center and very close to the ex-railroad walk, the Toto Bar, run by two very nice guys and where you can have lunch with tasty sandwiches.
If you really want to spend very little, we recommend going to a supermarket, where you can buy a sandwich or something to eat at home. If you are looking for an alternative to the well-known Cooperative, we recommend going to Conad City, a shopping center located at the end of Corso Italia. If you eat outside, try to be polite and not leave dirt around.(1) Dish of pressed Canederli in the mountain lodge. (2) Pizza, a quick lunch in Cortina. (3) Onion soup, simple and tasty.
If you want to raise the bar a bit you can go to the Pontejel Bierstube Forst, a place where you can eat very well and spend the right amount of money. The restaurant offers a selection of Tyrolean and Ampezzo dishes. Be careful not to confuse it with a brewery for binge drinking when you pass in front of it, even if it looks like one, it's a restaurant.
An alternative for those who do not want to spend too much is the classic pizza. The pizzerias in Cortina are many and practically all good, we then let you decide according to your own taste. If you are looking for a gluten-free pizza you can go to Al Passetto
Another restaurant in the center for all budgets is the LP 26, a prosciutteria with a good selection of prosciutto-themed entrees, interesting burgers and tall pizzas. The place was born as a bar, so it could be frequented by people who just want to have a drink. If you like burgers and fries we can also recommend the Janbo, a nightclub that at lunch and dinner offers table service and restaurant.
Another option that you should consider is to reach one of the many mountain lodges in the valley. Maybe you could think of an austere mountain hut, but believe me, in Cortina most of the mountain mountain lodges are in fact both wonderful mountain lodges, surrounded by greenery and high quality restaurants, with also an amazing panorama. If you need to know more about the experience of eating surrounded by nature, here you can read our article about the mountain lodges of Cortina.
Where to eat in Cortina spending the right amount of money
Let's move on to higher quality restaurants, where you can eat well without spending too much. As already mentioned above, the level of food in Cortina is really high, so don't hesitate to "take some risks". If the restaurant seems interesting, go in, it's very difficult to eat badly. In Cortina prices may be slightly higher than average, but so is the quality.
In the center of Cortina restaurants are not so many, but we feel like recommending the Restaurant Ariston, or the Dolom'eats to the Aquila, where you can taste very typical dishes in a rustic environment.
If you want to try a less "mountain traditional", the restaurant Vizietto in the center offers excellent italian dishes, in an interesting location. Another excellent alternative is given by Ciasa Lorenzi, a restaurant, bar and hotel near the station of Cortina.
If you want to take the car or the cab and go a few kilometers away, a restaurant in Cortina with an excellent value for money, located in a very picturesque place, is the Lago Scin Restaurant, Although it takes 15 minutes by car from the center, it is worth visiting. At about the same distance, but on the opposite side, you'll find the agriturismo Jagerhaus. Another great alternative if you want to move a bit from the center is the Chalet Tofane, a restaurant that stands on the ski slope and that alternates dining and entertainment. It also has delicious pizzas. We'd like to recommend it to those who like cheerful and fun environments, as there is often music and people drinking at the bar.
If you have already tried all the typical dishes, and you want to eat something different, you can also consider the Fvsion Restaurant. As the name suggests, it offers a fusion cuisine with Japanese culture. You will find sushi, but also some dishes that combine Italian and Japanese culture. The price is a little bit higher.(1) A second course at Pianozes Restaurant. (2) An appetizer from Baita Fraina. (3) A second dish of Piè Tofana.
Where to eat very well in Cortina
All of the best restaurants are relatively close to the center, but not enough to be reached by walking, at least for most of us. The medium distance is less than 2km, but you'd probably want a car or a taxi to reach them comfortably.
As we've already said there are a lot of high quality restaurants in Cortina, from the restaurant Dolomiti Lodge to the Leone Anna, from El Camineto to Baita Fraina or Villa Oretta.
If you have a car and you want to try something different, you can reach the Giau pass, an amazing road with some incredible panoramas, to eat at Aurelio, a restaurant where you can experience a cuisine with the flavors of local raw materials. A recent discovery that really impressed us is the new management of Piè Tofana.
In these restaurants a dinner or a lunch are an experience that has to be lived to the full, ordering a good bottle of wine and eating all you can taste,
maybe ending with a good "grappa", as mountain tradition requires, hoping you don't have to drive.
From our experience however, we'd like to suggest to you, in the next chapter, three restaurants of which we are sure you will be very impressed.
The top 3
Our favorite restaurant, considering the quality/price ratio, as well as being quite accessible and the best reviewed, is the Al Camin Restaurant of Pompanin Fabio, where you can eat extremely well with a reasonably proportionate bill, always remembering that it is a place of class and high quality.
To raise the level a bit we recommend the Pianozes Lake Restaurant of Alberti Massimo, a lakefront restaurant with a beautiful terrace and first-class cuisine.
Tivoli: definitely the best choice.
If, on the other hand, you want to reach the best that Cortina has to offer, we can only recommend the Tivoli Restaurant of Graziano Prest. The menu is delightful, classy and unconventional and the service is impeccable. Obviously the prices are in line with those of a Michelin starred restaurant, as Tivoli is.
As already said, what we've written are only personal opinions, probably other people would give you different advice. We surely have forgotten some famous names, so we apologize. In any case, when we talk about restaurants with 4,5 star ratings, it is difficult to objectively define the best one.
In our life we have been lucky enough to eat at least once in all the places that we have listed and we can assure you that we would gladly return to all of them.(1) An appetizer at Tivoli Restaurant. (2) A delicious venison dish. (3) A dessert from Tivoli restaurant.
Typical dishes of Cortina d'Ampezzo
Now that we have recommended the best restaurants in Cortina, we can only suggest you to taste 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 sites (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 Cortina Cooperative. A good alternative to taste the traditional sweets of Cortina is during the summer, when the country festivals takes place. We recommend you to read this specific page to know more.
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 section of the site where we talked about all the places to have fun in Cortina.
Hoping you liked the page about where eat in Cortina d'Ampezzo, before saying goodbye, we would suggest you to read all the articles we wrote about what to do in Cortina d'Ampezzo by clicking here.
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