The best flavours in Tromsø
Superb restaurants, the world’s most northerly distillery and top-class seafood.
A relaxed bistro that combines the welcoming heat of Southern Europe with the best ingredients from the continent’s north. Bardus offers an ever-changing menu including local delicacies such as elk, reindeer, crab and whale, always with seasonal ingredients.
Cora Sandels gate 4
The best fish and shellfish restaurant in town. Enjoy a shellfish platter or pan-fried straight-out-of-the-water cod with matching wines while seated along the quayside with spectacular views over Tromsdalen. Don’t miss the king crab, one of the most delicious specialties of the region.
A delicatessen and gourmet restaurant in one. In the deli section, you can buy fresh fish and shellfish, meat from the local abattoir, arctic gelato and local delicacies, such as carrot and cardamom marmalade. The menu in the adjacent restaurant mostly features dishes based on local produce, including updated classics, such as herring and potatoes, or trendy modern favorites such as poké bowl with premium salmon.
One of the best sushi restaurants in the north of Norway. Between the colorful walls – a far cry from traditional Japanese restaurants – playful combinations such as fried almonds, cream cheese, salmon and strawberries or halibut with asparagus and apple are served. Choose Napp or Fiskelyke for a plate of the best selection of the day.
Midnight sun and delicacies
Sitting on a reindeer-skin rug, in front of an open fire, with a plate of local delicacies and views over the sea, is a pretty spectacular way to experience the midnight sun. Wandering Owl offers tours that include all the above. Fishing too.
Fish is undoubtedly at the heart of Tromsø’s food culture, and since the local restaurants are constantly finding new ways to refresh the taste experience, it’s impossible to grow tired of this ocean favourite. Hibana therefore serves fish, of course, as well as vegetarian options and carefully selected meat in inviting ways, according to the tradition of Japanese Robatayaki. Think barbecue, only Japanese style.
As a child, Anne Brit Andreassen dreamed of running a restaurant. Around 30 years ago, that dream came true and ever since, Emmas Drømmekjøkken has been renowned as one of the best restaurants in the north of Norway. On the ground floor is Emmas Under, a more informal alternative to the fine dining restaurant upstairs. Here, they serve refined home cooking, such as a rustic fish gratin in a heart-shaped oven dish – comfort food at its very best.
The world’s most northerly distillery, situated in the bay of Årøybukten in Lyngen, boasts wonderful views of the fjord and surrounding mountains. Here, they distill gin, vodka, schnapps and whiskey under the umbrella name Bivrost, the Viking name for the Northern Lights. The distillery offers day tours from Tromsø.
This Tromsø institution has been serving residents with locally-produced goodies since 1953 and has the largest fresh food counter in the north of Norway where you can buy lamb (including pinnekjøtt), dried cod and smoked fish. The store is around 10km outside Tromsø, on the road to Sommarøy.
Fjordvegen 16, Kvaløysletta
Two cheeky challengers to Mack have emerged in recent years. Bryggeri 13 and Graff. The latter makes craft beer in the American and German style in a timber building over 100 years old, on Storgata. They offer both guided tours and tastings. The range includes Stille Hav, an IPA with hints of both grapefruit and papaya – the perfect thirst quencher on a hot summer day.
Ludwig Mack Brygghus
Mack long held the title of the world’s most northerly brewery until they started brewing beer on Svalbard. The brewery dates back to 1877 and it added a more experimental microbrewery a few years ago. Kjeller 5 caters for the most discerning of beer lovers and the adjacent Ølhallen, the oldest pub in Tromsø, has 67 Norwegian beers on tap. You can also take a guided tour (twice daily in summer) to learn more about the history of the brewery and its beers.
Catch your own lunch
A perfect opportunity to combine a boat trip with the local food culture. There are several outings to choose from, including a fishing trip on a catamaran. If you manage to catch a fish, you can eat it for lunch, prepared in the traditional way. If you want a more action-packed outing, you can take a RIB boat to a nearby island where a buffet of traditional seafood from Tromsø is served.
Kystens Mathus is an architecturally spectac ular food hall with fantastic fish and meat counters, offering the local specialty fish and chips and other Scandinavian delicacies. An excellent place to find culinary souvenirs to take home.
Text by Annika Goldhammer