Norway’s second largest city has become a high-class culinary city. The fact that Bergen is one of the world’s most beautiful cities is well known. But it’s growing culinary reputation has taken place in recent years. Read more about culinary Bergen, Norway.
Traditionally, Bergen has been known to Norwegians for its “penny buns” and the Hagelin sisters’ fish cakes. It’s also an interesting fact that McDonald’s opened a branch in the Soviet Union before Bergen got the taste of a Big Mac.
But something has happened. Restaurants like Hanne På Høyden and Colonialen aroused the people of Bergen’s sleepy taste buds. Bien (The Bee) opened in a closed protected pharmacy on Danmarks plass and in 2015, Bergen was included in the UNESCO list of gastronomic cities.
The Fana Cheese was awarded ‘the Best Cheese in the World’ at the Culinary World Cup in 2018. Not bad for a small farm in Fana with only 11 cows. The Bergen cuisine is dominated by the fresh local ingredients that abounds on the west coast of Norway, from fish to the array of plants that thrive in the green mountains by the fjords.
Journalists from the New York Times, the BBC and other international media have flown to Bergen to tell what’s happening in culinary Bergen right now. At Enhjøringen travelers can taste whale carpaccio, one of the typical Bergen dishes on the restaurant’s seafood-heavy menu. The restaurant is located in Bryggen, a picturesque 18th-century area rich with wooden buildings with painted walls and sloping roofs.
Restaurant To Kokker (Two Cooks) is also tucked away in one of Bryggen’s old houses and can be reached by strolling down a back alley and up a flight of stairs. The amazing food served in this top-notch restaurant is worth the detour.
The Oslo-based newspaper Dagbladet called Hoggorm (Viper), a new pizzeria which opened in a closed hairdressing saloon, “probably the coolest dining in Norway right now”.
In a wooden house with white walls and blue windows situated along a narrow, quiet cobblestone street, you find the coffeehouse Krok og Kringen with numerous volumes of books which are free to read, and even buy. However, the irresistible pastries, cookies and cakes, enjoyed with a steaming cup of coffee or tea are the very reason to pay this book café a visit.
Gin producer Stig Bareksten has received many gold medals and World Cup titles for his botanical gin, which is made with exquisite, local ingredients. If you’re a beer lover, head to Henrik Øl & Vinstove with a selection of over 50 craft beers on tap, most of which are Norwegian and Scandinavian.
Last winter, Gordon Ramsay was in Bergen to produce an episode for the TV foodie program Uncharted. To the travel magazine Travel + Leisure, he said, “Regarding food, it’s impossible to beat Bergen.” His most memorable dinner was at Lysverket.
Personally, I must admit that a visit to Lysverket did not meet expectations. The service was eminent, but the venue was more like a cafeteria in a museum (Code 4, Bergen) than a luxury restaurant.
The dry aged beef we were served was not particularly tender and I missed a sharp steak knife featuring a serrated blade. The skate fish with squid ink sauce and baby fennel we had as side dish was, however, superb. So were the accompanying wines. On a harsh autumn evening in Bergen, I would rather, though recommend a warming soup at the cozy soup bar Bastant. Inspired by the international cuisines of Thailand, Mecico, Marocco, Italy and beyond, you can enjoy some of the tastiest soups in the city there.
When we visited Hotel Børsen in Bergen three years ago, the hotel restaurant Bare Mat (Food Only) was a fantastic place to eat. In February this year, the restaurant was awarded the city’s first Michelin star.
Private chef Anna Davis keeps coming back to Bergen summer after summer. “The chefs in Bergen really care about their ingredients,” she says. “They forage and stick to their roots, even in the developing culinary scene, focusing on pure, fresh food and specific flavors. The seafood here is also some of the best in Europe.” Over the past three years, she’s eaten her way through the region along the way.
Feature image (on top) From Bergen Aquarium. Photo: Visit Bergen
Culinary Bergen, Norway, written by Tor Kjolberg