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Very long Norway report (Bergen, Tromsø, Oslo)

Joanie Sep 13, 2011 12:53 PM

Here's my wrap up for 10 days in Norway. Thanks to the few who have Norway info, not the most popular destination for eating I guess. As we all know, it's very expensive and after a while, if I saw entrees for <200NOK, I considered it a deal (rate was about 5.4 to a $1) and started ignoring my "bargain eats". Left our bags in the Bergen tourist office and wandered around, then as we headed to our guesthouse by the Aquarium, we got lunch at Café Opera (Engen 24, cafeopera.org) where I had a very tasty veggie omelet w/ salad and oddly, served on bread rather than on the side for 89. A. had a seafood salad sandwich of sorts for about the same, cute place, order at the counter and it's delivered to you. That nite we rushed to a show at the Garage and the only food was a cheap rullekebab (49 NOK) down the street. Fri. morning we picked up a snack at the café in the train station and headed off on the fjords trip. Nice lunch in Flåm at Furojroa which is associated with a brewery so A enjoyed his beer (he's a big beer drinker). I had a tasty (yet not hot enough) cauliflower soup and piece of cake, A had Norwegian meatballs, from a cafeteria type place, fairly good deal. That evening we went to a cool club, Hulen, for a drink but the weather turned on us. When we got back to town, we ended up at Wesslestuen which I'd asked about and had on my list. The restaurant was fairly dead at 10:30 but we had nice service and split the reindeer dinner served w/ a potato cake and Brussels sprouts w/ bacon, it was very tasty. It was 299NOK but they split our plates in advance so you'd never know this wasn't a normal sized dinner. That way, you think you paid 150 each and feel like you got a deal (see pic). Nightcap at Inside Rock around the corner.

On Sat. we rode up the funicular and walked down, checked out some live music by the fountain, wandered around downtown, got a fish cake snack for 10NOK at the mkt but can someone explain those to me (see pic)? It was the weirdest consistency and I threw half of it away. What's in those anyway? We then had a late lunch at Hot Wok (Vestre Torggaten 1) which had been recommended by a band friend and had good reviews. Most entrees are <99 and it was fine but the spicy beef had absolutely no spice and the fried rice was just okay. Good for a quick meal and they serve water with LOTS of ice which was nice. We were told that Biblioteket (in the meat market bldg) made the best cocktails so had a civilized cocktail there and a fun time talking to Julian who knew his stuff. Then more random bars and another rullerkebab later that nite. Our last day we rode out to see the Fantoft Stave church (where I had an excellent donut from the market by the train station), A had some tasty crab legs from the fish market then we had our nice nite out w/ another drink at Biblioteket and the Sun. 3 course 295NOK special at Smauet Mat & Vinhus (Vaskereivsmauet 1, smauet.no/) where they served redfish in an excellent sauce, pork belly and a great chocolate dessert. Plus a very good and fun server. We ended up at Altona Vinbar (Strandgaten 81) on the way back to our place, the oldest bar in town I guess.

Flew up to Tromsø (surprisingly good croissant in the airport), good stay at the Viking Hotel, walked around town and got a beer at Ølhallen (Storgata 4, olhallen.no,) part of the Mack brewery. We unfortunately just missed a tour and when we went the next day to take one, they wouldn't give it to just the two of us, lame. A drizzly nite led us to dinner at Pasta Fabriken (Sjøgata 17a, pastafabrikken.no), a very large and pleasant space where you surprisingly order at the counter and pick up your food (you'd never think it was this style restaurant). They had some meals for children that anyone could order so we got that size pasta carbonara which was very good and split a regular sized pizza w/ prosciutto, mushrooms and onions which was fair. Decent prices. Stumbled upon the Mon. nite beer special at Driv down the street. The next day we saw the Arctic Church, botanical gardens, Polar Museum and Perspektivet Museum. A got a cheeseburger at Flyt (Sjøgata 29, cafeaflyt.no) but thankfully I wasn't wooed into getting one. No offense Europeans, but I've put a moratorium on having burgers in other countries since 1996 (except Argentina) and I almost broke down. But after a bite of that burger, it's still in effect. It looked great, nice roll, fresh tomato and lettuce but the meat… Just not that good (let me know when you come to Boston and we'll do a burger tour). On the other hand, their side of potatoes was excellent and I almost went back to get those for dinner. Instead we hit Snappes kebab place on the main drag which was fine (and relatively pleasant space) then ended at the very cool Blå Rock and Bastard Bar.

Got to Oslo on a Wed., Thon Hotel Munch was in a good location. Walked around and A got food at some slow kebab place by the Rathus, he then decided enough with the kebabs. Dinner was at Ya Ya's Thai Beach Café (Øvre Vollgate 13, yayas.no), pretty fresh and tasty, okay priced, and one waiter was super nice. Their schtick is the jungle atmosphere and the occasional "monsoon" that happens during dinner. Stopped at the bars Rock In around the corner and Unholy (St. Olavs gt. 23). Thurs. I wandered around town, knew the Munch was closed but got a 35 NOK cookie (yowzer) at the café then walked to Grünerløkka and enjoyed that area. Nice panini and salad (about 130) for lunch at Bugges (Leirfallsgate 6 @Markveien, bugges.net/) where lots of women and their babies were hanging out. That nite we wandered around Grønland and ended up at Olympen (Grønlandsleiret 15, olympen.no/) for a nice meal. Cool room, great beer selection, tasty fish dish and pork shank and sausage, entrees <199. Then a stop at Elm St. bar who also had good beers and music.

Fri. was a trip to the Holmenkollen ski jump but I didn't realize we needed to go further on the tram for the apple cake at Frognerseteren so we unfortunately missed that. Then the ferry to and from the Viking Museum and a relaxing strawberry capirinha at Lektern (Stranden 3) sitting in the bright sun (weather was good 3/4 of our trip). That nite we went to an outdoor show way out at the end of the 31 bus line then ended up at Arakataka (Mariboesgate 7, arakataka.no/). Even tho there were only 3 other tables there, they stuck us in the back corner. Had a nice meal tho w/ great bread, a starter of whale for 99 (kind of carpaccio like) and split another good fish entree with an interesting sauce. Went across the street to Tilt, a bar with tons of beer selections and games, and good music that nite (horrible music the next nite). Then we hit "Super Friday" at Unholy where every drink is 49NOK. This isn't everyone's cup of tea (loud rock/black metal, dark downstairs bar) but with the prices you guys pay, you might want to check out that Fri. deal.

Last day was a constant drizzle hitting the Vigeland park, flea markets, Vårt Daglige Brød on Schweigaardsgate 56 for an iced coffee (not quite like here but very good) which used to be the site of black metal craziness (see pic of the basement), the Resistance Museum and lunch at Sub Scene, a cute café (see pic) and all ages venue on Kirkegata where I got a good grilled ham, cheese and tomato for 25NOK!! That nite was my big travel agent dinner at Theatercafeen (Stortingsgaten 24/26, theatercafeen.no/), mostly cuz the Elk set menu wasn't really my faves. Didn't have reservations but we were seated in 5-10 min, had a fancy drink and split an awesome duck confit app. My entrecote was fine, rarer than I'd like. A's fish w/ crab was good and the espresso cheesecake was great. Fine service, fun brasserie style atmosphere but w/ entrees at 260-300, not sure it was worth the price. Beers at Deville where the music was good and the last stop at Tilt where the music was so much worse and the beer didn't live up to A's expectation.

So this is a lot of info for the next time someone travels to Norway. Best meal was that great Sun. deal at Smauet Mat & Vinhus in Bergen and a few other surprises here and there. Doners don't hold a candle to Berlin and burgers, well I told you my thoughts on that already. Croissants were surprisingly good overall tho. Can't believe I didn't get to the Kaffistova cafeteria in the Oslo est Western for reindeer cakes, next time.

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Kaffistova
Rosenkrantz' gate 8, Oslo, Oslo 0159, NO

 
 
 
 
 
  1. atomeyes Sep 21, 2011 10:24 AM

    pretty certain my friend in Bergen walked by you on the street. she recognized you from your blog. It didn't connect for a while.

    1. shekamoo Sep 25, 2011 11:50 AM

      reports like this make Chowhound a great resource. keep up the good work!

      2 Replies
      1. re: shekamoo
        Joanie Sep 26, 2011 05:06 AM

        Thanks, glad someone liked it. I still want to know about those weird fishcakes in Bergen tho. What are they made out of? They're so rubbery and not what I'd consider a real fishcake.

        Also wanted to mention Globus cafe in Tromsø which was a very cute space w/ good cafe au lait and an Ethiopian menu which I didn't try. Something different for people to try up north.

        1. re: Joanie
          Ikkeikea Sep 29, 2011 01:30 PM

          I went to a friend's house for dinner in Bergen. She keeps a few packs of those fishcakes in her fridge at all times for her picky dog to eat. I love to eat all kinds of fish but I consider those the "canned squeeze cheese" of the sea. Glad you enjoyed the food and survived the prices :)

      2. rloffthaugo Nov 2, 2011 01:57 PM

        Thanks for the detailed review! As a resident in Norway it is nice to read a critique from someone visiting the country. We live in the countryside without many restaurants, so I am looking forward to going to some of the places you went when we get to the cities.

        1. s
          sarahellis Jun 9, 2012 06:35 PM

          Where is Biblioteket? I can't find it. Going to Bergen and Oslo next month. Really appreciate your detailed post!

          2 Replies
          1. re: sarahellis
            Joanie Jun 11, 2012 05:33 AM

            http://www.kjøttbasaren.no/biblioteke...

            Tell Julian he owes me an email from 9 months ago.

            1. re: Joanie
              s
              sarahellis Jun 11, 2012 08:15 AM

              thanks so much! looks awesome - although must limit ourselves to 1 drink as not to go bankrupt!

          2. Kat Jun 13, 2012 05:22 PM

            Great Report! Norway is on my bucket list.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Kat
              Joanie Jun 14, 2012 04:24 AM

              And there'll probably only be 4 other reports by the time you go, haha. Hopefully sarahellis reports back.

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