Laidback dining at Lakeside in southern Austria

This buzzy restaurant serves up seared tuna salad and schnitzel amid serene surroundings

Seared tuna with Balinese mango and papaya salad is among the appetising starters
Seared tuna with Balinese mango and papaya salad is among the appetising starters

Every summer I look forward eagerly to spending a week at Wörthersee, a lakeside refuge in southern Austria that is R&R incarnate. Its translucent, fresh blue waters bordered by verdant forests and snow-capped peaks are famously calming and restorative (it’s little wonder the celebrity-frequented detox and wellness Mayr Clinic has an outlet here), while this serene spot has an equally buzzy side – exemplified by the cool and perennially crowded Lakeside lounge and restaurant in Reifnitz, on the southern shore.

Lakeside’s eponymous waterfront setting
Lakeside’s eponymous waterfront setting
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Accessible by boat, car or foot, this sun-soaked spot serves lunch and dinner – in fact, the two often blur into one – amid chic clapboard interiors, with bossa nova tunes and excellent people-watching opportunities as motorboats moor at Lakeside’s dock. Both the menu and wine list are superb. I nearly always order the seared tuna (€18) with a tangy Balinese mango and papaya salad as a starter, while the rose-water-sprinkled watermelon (€13.50) with Persian feta-esque cheese is as refreshing as it sounds.

Local fare includes freshwater saibling fish with Parmesan potatoes
Local fare includes freshwater saibling fish with Parmesan potatoes
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For the mains, the pasta dishes are delicious – it’s usually a toss-up between spicy salami and tomato (€12.50) and a seasonal chanterelle with creamy truffle sauce (€16) – while there is more local fare on offer too. The freshwater saibling fish (€24), for example, is cooked in its entirety with lemon and herb butter alongside Parmesan potatoes, and there’s also a traditional wiener schnitzel (€22) with parsley, potatoes and cranberry sauce. The homemade sorbets and ice creams (€2.50 per scoop) are a fine finish, as is the traditional sweet cheese curd cake (€6.50) – which I’m sincerely hoping to find on the handwritten menu again come August.

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