| images by john ecker, pantheon photography

Cafe Chair, Finsterwirt Restaurant, Bressanone (Brixen), photo by John Ecker, pantheon photography

CAFE CHAIR, FINSTERWIRT RESTAURANT, BRESSANONE (BRIXEN), ITALY:  The map may say Italy, but most everything about this pretty town in northern Italy is Austrian.  While formally called by its Italian name, Bressanone, it’s called Brixen by most of the people who live there.  When we walked into the “Künstlerstübele Oste Scuro/Finsterwirt’ restaurant, we had no idea what to expect. It was a late summer weeknight and our choices were becoming limited as many restaurants in the old town were closed or closing.  As luck would have it, Finsterwirt, as we’d learn later, was the number #1 restaurant in Bressanone as ranked on Trip Advisor.  We sat on the semi-covered terrace at a table sheltered from evening rain and  were given German language menus.

While my grasp of the language is not great, I was able to discern much of it. Or so I thought. The dish that caught my eye was beef, a green salad and potato salad.  When our waiter next appeared, he had an English language menu for us.  The dish I was about to order was “Calf’s head, tongue and cheeks with salsa verde and potato salad.”  I ordered something else.  My friend had the “Slices of cafl, stilt from the oven with rice and vegetables.” The meal really was terrific and Finsterwirt is likely the best resto in Bressanone.  Fun Fact:  Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, spent time in his youth nearby in the village where his mother was born.  As a Cardinal he would often visit Finsterwirt during summer visits.  One of his favourite meals there is venison filet with cold-stirred cranberries and roast potatoes.  It is now a regular feature on the August menu.   Click here to visit Finsterwirt’s website.

Shot Handheld with a Nikon D300, Nikon AF-S 70-300 lens at 82mm, f5, 1/10th sec. ISO 1250, photo by John Ecker        pantheon photography

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