This charming destination at the foot of mountains overlooking the Mediterranean is just a couple of hundred yards from the border with Italy. It’s easily reached by train from Nice, yet it feels exotic, almost isolated. The dining room, housed in a 1930s rotunda, offers spectacular views. Argentine-born chef Mauro Colagreco uses local produce to create seasonal dishes inspired by the sea, the mountains and the garden. It’s worth splurging on the tasting menu, which features signature dishes such as blue lobster, French coco beans and chamomile broth.
Steirereck is frequently described as the Noma of Austria, a time-tested restaurant with a modern menu in a city not known for gastronomy. In fact, Steirereck is completely singular. The old building was essentially rebuilt with walls of glass to look out on the surrounding Stadtpark (City Park); the view feels as thrilling as Chef Heinz Reitbauer’s inventive cuisine, with such plates as coconut-water-poached crayfish with celery root salad, and barbecued beef forerib with potato cream, blue poppy seeds, and alpine sorrel. The honey course-a tasting of exemplary jars-is accompanied by the buzz of a bee colony. The mood here is completely relaxed, which is good because meals tend to stretch over several hours. There’s a more casual option: The wine-focused Milchbar is hidden below Steirereck.