There's no better time than winter to visit the high altitude restaurants in picturesque northern Italy -surrounded by a white capped mountains, just a stone's throw from the ski slopes or hiking trails or housed within luxurious SPA hotels, afterall we're not all adrenalin junkies, where the stars descend and light up these Michelin rated restaurants.
These are the places with pedigree that will bring as much pleasure as a satisfying day on the slopes (or at the spa) whether in the picture perfect Dolomites, Valle d'Aosta or the Lombardy Alps.
Here are the michelin rated restaurants in the Italian mountains:
1. Zur Rose - San Michele (Bolzano)
In this multi-Michelin starred territory local chefs dedicate themselves to creating networks between producers and supporting each other with a passionate dedication - undoubtedly helped by a very strong tourism. One such example is Herbert Hintner, who has held a star at Zur Rose since 1995 and has always had the opportunity to teach and train new generations of South Tyrolean chefs. Infact, he considers "the preservation of traditional cuisine" as a "social responsibility". On the winter menu, don't miss the cornmeal millefeuille with cumin vinaigrette, pumpkin cappuccino with gorgonzola cream, polenta ravioli with black truffle, veal kidney on a potato slice with mustard sauce and lamb with thyme gremolata. To finish on a sweet not try the panettone soufflé with orange sauce and honey zabaglione and pralines with sparkling wine and chocolate on persimmon cream.
2. Il Gallo Cedrone - Madonna di Campiglio (TN)
With 10 years of history behind it, Il Gallo Cedrone in Madonna di Campiglio is a guaranteed address if you want to play it safe. Hotel Bertelli , which houses the restaurant, combines modern comfort with classical Alps style, with a small indoor SPA where to relax after a long day's skiing, but the real pleasure is undoubtedly at the table. It starts with a glass of sparkling wine - preferably Dom Pérignon since Il Gallo Cedrone is one of the few restaurants in Italy to be a repository of fine champagne. Here, you will not find only mountain cuisine: the young chef, Sabino Fortunato, experiments with lobster and sea bass, as well as with game and earthy flavors. For further excellent drinking, put your trust in the maitre and patron Marco Masè, and a splendid wine cellar.(we suggest you visit).
3. Dolomieu - Madonna di Campiglio (TN)
After 10 years in the driver's seat the Dolomieu has changed chef Enrico Croatti (and retained its star) with chef Fabio Groppi. The restaurant houses just seven tables for brilliant dishes that find their cues both in the sea and in the mountains. The menu holiday menu includes elegant and opulent dishes at the same time, like monkfish cheek, thistle gratin and crumbled cheek; Tortellini in capon broth and black truffle, and roast guinea fowl, potato millefeuille, chicory and sautéed sauce.
4. La Stua de Michil - Corvara (BZ)
After the recent departure of the chef Arturo Spicocchi, La Perla Hotel's restaurant has spent the last year in the hands of Nicola Laera, who has had the (not easy) task of ensuring that the cooking is befits the atmosphere of one of the more romantic and enchanted restaurants in Italy. The chef brings with him his Ladin-Pugliese roots and his youth (he was born in1983) to the kitchen, that in a year, has already managed to establish itself as one of the most solid and innovative in the South Tyrol. The must try dish: the pressed grey canederli.
5. Locanda Margon - Ravina (TN)
Two Michelin-starred Alfio Ghezzi, is one of the big names in Italian cuisine, whose style is a synthesis of "formal rigor, precision and creativity". Two paths create the taste: the research, with the Ferrari bubbles (the historic family from the presitigous wine house own the restaurant) that become an integral part of the dish, and the territory, with the celebration of the Trentino culture and the Charter with the classics section, the symbolic dishes of the Locanda. Do not miss the "Locanda Margon" free-range Chicken, which requires a 30 minute wait, and which is sliced directly by the chef in the dining room for a very "spectacular" experience. Also not to be missed are the riso and bubbles, creamy rice with goat cheese and Ferrari Perlé Rosé Riserva Trentodoc, Ziti and capelonghe which are a tribute to Gualtiero Marchesi and cod, leek and potato cream and the Chardonnay soup.
6. La Siriola - San Cassiano (Bolzano )
Chef Matthew Metullio obtained a Michelin star while only in his mid twenties. The territory remains at the center of the five course tasting menu (pine, larch, birch, Stone Pine and Spruce) that enhances the mountain and its products.
7. Tivoli - Cortina d'Ampezzo (Bolzano)
Not just a glamorous ski destination: Cortina also makes space for a gourmet stop stop at Tivoli, a Michelin star on the road to Passo Falzarego. The menu stars local products, such as Lamon beans, Cadore mushrooms and Alpago lamb.
8. Aga San Vito di Cadore (BL)
A couple in life and in work, chefs Oliver Piras and Alessandra Del Favero host a small dining room with only 16 seats establishing a very human relationship with customers. In 2015 the Michelin Guide also rewarded them with a star, which helps them to make their philosophy known throughout Italy and the small restaurant hosted by Alessandra's family hotel, Hotel Villa Trieste. Among the first courses you can taste the fregola Soup, Schie Broth with Ribes, Tarragon and Cappelletti with Germano, Roasted Vegetable Juice, Karkadè, Lemon Thyme and among the main courses smoked Salmerino, Cocco, Crescione, Cima di Rapaa Croccanti, Quaglia Frosted 'Pomegranate vinegar, Late Radicchio, Licorice and Capriolo Saddle, Mashed Potatoes with Malga butter and Bay juice and a choice of desserts including white, Juniper ice-cream, Chicory roots, Yoghurt.
9. St. Hubertus - San Cassiano (Bolzano)
It's imporrisble to speak about high end dining in the Italian mountains without mentioning three Michelin starred St. Hubertus, the hotel restaurant at Rosa Alpina under chef Norbert Niederkofler.
Niederkofler is also a keen protagonaist of events in the Dolomites promoting collaborations between chefs and producers in order to enhance South Tyrolean cuisine in events like Care's.
10. Umami - Bormio (Sondrio)
And who said that the mountain, the most beautiful and fascinating from a culinary point of view, is only in Trentino Alto Adige or Valle d'Aosta? In Bormio you will find the new "creature" of the starred Chef Antonio Borruso, a Bistrot Pizzeria a stone's throw from the center of Bormio. Umami Bistrot is a challenge, a space for sharing and conviviality, both for regular customers and for tourists. A place where you can enjoy pizza, panuozzi and traditional Italian dishes. The star is not there yet (if not on the chef's jacket) but we know that for Michelin the star pizza is still a hot topic! But beware: there is no lack of excellent cuisine. In the menu you will find a mix of Mediterranean and high altitude inspirations, with dishes such as pumpkin flowers stuffed with ricotta, Neapolitan salami, fresh provola in buckwheat and valerian batter, Arancino of pizzocchero with field salad; octopus cooked at low temperature with potato cream and grilled porcino.
11. Laite - Sappada (Belluno)
Fabrizia moved to Sappada for his love of Roberto and, together, they opened their first restaurant. While she manages the kitchen, he runs the wine cellar, and together, in amidst a beautiful love story, they have won a Michelin star. A little like the magic that will be born between you and the savory cheese apple and onion seeds Manicaretti or the aromatic deer with fir sprouts oil.
12. Castel Fragsburg - Merano (Bolzano)
This former hunting lodge, surrounded by orchards and vineyards in Merano, became a rare jewel in the Relais & Châteaux portfolio. An extraordinary panorama and a Michelin starred restaurant completes the enchantment.
Da Vittorio - San Moritz (Switzerland)
Not far from the Italian border, St. Moritz is one of the most famous winter tourist destinations for international tourism. This is why the thee Michelin starred Fratelli Cerea decided to open a spin off of their restaurant in Brusaporto (in the province of Bergamo) - the Da Vittorio St. Moritz - in the picturesque setting of the Hotel Carlton, one of the most beautiful in the Engadine. In addition to the "guarantee" given by the 3-star Fratelli Cerea, Da Vittorio St. Moritz won, in turn, a Michelin star in 2016. The resident chef is the young man called Stefano Bacchelli. Among the dishes to try, in addition to the classic Paccheri alla Vittorio are the risotto with smoked onion, purple shrimp and marmalade of mandarins and black cod with turnip tops, Romanesco sauce and bacon emulsion.