Review: Restaurant Zirbelzimmer, Hotel Sacher Salzburg, Austria

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I chose a table in the center of the room to take it all in. As soon as I had been seated, a waiter brought the menu and a local newspaper on a Viennese Kaffeehaus-style newspaper holder.

For my coffee, seeing Salzburg as an extension of Wiener Kaffeehauskultur or Viennese coffeehouse culture, I ordered a Kapuziner, a strong coffee with Schlagobers or whipped cream and sometimes frothed milk. The Kapuziner is the forbearer of the Italian Cappuccino.

Having had a rather extravagant buffet breakfast in Munich and a small sandwich on the way, I was in a dessert mood – but not for Sachertorte and not for the city’s special dessert, Salzburger Nockerl, a vanilla dessert soufflé. No, I wanted Kaiserschmarrn, the Emperor’s Nonsense, a rich sliced and caramelized pancake served with plum kompott.

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Since my arrival, a couple with a small child arrived and sat next to the window. The child shrieked, piercing the silence of the Zirbelzimmer, as the waiters winced. Fortunately, the parents had no issue about sending the child out onto the terrace until she calmed down.

The Kapuziner had arrived and had a smooth, rich flavor to tide me over until the Kaiserschmarren made it to the table. The shrieking child was outside on the terrace and all was calm in the Zirbelzimmer.

Kaiserschmarrn is a popular dish in Austria and Bavaria as well, as many former parts of the Habsburg Monarchy such as Hungary and Slovenia. Emperor Franz Joseph I, who reigned from 1848 to 1916 and for whom it was originally created, was known to be very fond of the fluffy and delicious pancake. Indeed, there are several apocryphal stories about how it was first served to the emperor ,including one in which Franz Joseph stopped at a poor farmer’s home and how the farmer was so nervous that he scrambled the pancake and then covered up his mistake with plum jam.

The Sacher’s rendition of the dish did not disappoint. It arrived on the plate split into small pieces, sprinkled with white powdered sugar, and accompanied by a plum kompott. While it’s often offered as a dessert option, it’s a very filling meal and is served as such in many inns in the Austrian Alps.

While I could have had a piece of Sachertorte for dessert, the Kaiserschmarrn was quite satisfying and I merely paid the bill, walked around the Altstadt a while longer, and drove back to Munich having dined like a Kaiser.


Restaurant Zirbelzimmer
Hotel Sacher Salzburg
Schwarzstraße 5-7
5020 Salzburg, Austria

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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