An idyllic alpine village with pastel coloured houses and birrerie, and a hive of artistic activity in the early 20th century, Chiusa has a very special eaterie with typical hearty warming fare of the Sud Tirol region and, if you’re lucky enough, you can eat in a booth made from a giant wine barrel.
Let’s just take a moment to appreciate the marvellous name of the restaurant: Schmuckhof Torgglkeller. Located in Via Tinne, it is tucked away in a courtyard, the entrance concealed by trailing branches. In fact it seems like a little hobbit house, or something from Snow White. Walk inside and you might be in the Three Bears house. The traditional ‘stube tirolese’ (Tyrolese room) features rustic wooden furniture, a characteristic blue and white stove and natural wood panelled walls. But the best part is further inside.
The restaurant was, a century ago, where artists of the Colonia Artistica loved to paint, and it’s clear why. The inner part of the restaurant, Torgglkeller, is housed in the old wine cellar. Dim and atmospheric, you eat at pitted dark wooden tables beneath creaking old beams and partitions made from logs. Some of the furniture is made from tree trunks, and the walls are crowded with wooden barrels, funnels and other wine-making equipment. The lucky few get to eat in a booth made from a wine barrel, which are accessed by little wooden ladders. The candle-lit interior is inscribed with years of signatures. From within your little cubby-hole you can survey the other diners, while you yourself having a private dining experience. An added charm is the necessity to help out the waiters when they bring your drinks and plates of food as they climb the ladder while precariously balancing plates. There are other rooms too, a large wood panelled room with a giant wheel on the ceiling is reserved for groups, and upstairs you can find the Sala Cavaliere in a more elegant style with some intriguingly shaped copper lamps.
Naturally Torgglkeller has a range of artisan beers produced in house, as well as local wines. You can choose from various delicious traditional menus. Starters include a plate of Tirolese cured meats or soups from pumpkin or chestnut (a particularly important produce in Chiusa). I highly recommend trying the ‘canederli’, which are similar to dumplings and made from left-over bread, speck, and cheese. They have a bis or tris (two or three different ones) with other flavours such as green spinach or pink radicchio, all coated in a thick cheesy sauce.
The secondi are heavy on pork, with a choice of home-made sausages, ribs or ‘carne salmistrata’, a typical cut of pork from the Alto Adige region. Naturally the meat is accompanied by cabbage. Desserts focus on autumnal flavours such as chestnuts, apples, walnuts and berries.
Schmuckhof is the hotel part which offers apartments and rooms, and breakfast in the restaurant.
Closed on Mondays.
Website in English.
Via tinne 7 • I-39043 Chiusa • South Tyrol – Italy