One of the challenges when you visit a new city is where to eat. It is not always easy to know which restaurants that offers a good meal at a reasonable price. Nikki and I enjoy going out and eating in Stavanger and here is a bit of information about our favorite restaurants in town :-). I would like to say that this is based on our own experiences and the places below are places that we go back to…or would like to go back to if money didn’t matter :-). We are not affiliated with the restaurants mentioned in any way and the list is of course based on our subjective taste. The map shown here will indicate the location of the different places that are recommended. Please click on the map to enlarge it. The map is kindly provided by the web site www.stavanger-guide.no.
First of all…it is surprisingly hard to find a place that serves decent Norwegian food in Stavanger. Due to this I will start with the more international cuisine :-) We have been to Thailand a couple of times and we enjoy our Thai food. I would say that the best Thai meal in town can be found at a small place called Thai Isan marked with no. 1 on the map. This place is located in Nordbøgata 11 and it is close to the Oil museum (by the red sea houses). Even if the place is quite tiny they serve good food and the prices are good (at least compared to Norwegian standards) and they make pretty authentic food as far as we can tell. It is not very busy so there is no need to make reservations. Remember to try out the traditional spicy shrimp soup (Tom Yam Goong) and my favorite Masaman curry (if they have it ready).
In the same neighborhood you will also find our favorite Indian place: Indian Tandoori marked as no. 2 on the map. The interior of this place is a bit “strange” but never mind that…the most important thing is the food and it is good…my favorite is the lamb in spinach…with garlic nan bread on the side :-). The waiter normally asks if you want your dish mild, medium or hot…at least when he/she spots a Norwegian with a delicate pallet :-). I look forward to going to India to try out the food there.
After a couple of trips to Italy we also enjoy our Italian food. I think the best Italian food in town can be found at Uncle Toni’s place called Ristorante Allegro marked as no. 3 on the map. The restaurant is located behind Skagen Brygge hotel and there are not that many table in the restaurant so remember to book ahead. The menu is not very big but the different dishes that we have had have been full of flavor and the wine has been excellent. The price is a bit above average but it is worth it :-)
If you want to go all the way in Stavanger the place to go is “Jans mat og vinhus” marked as no. 4 on the map. This is a gourmet restaurant located in Breitorget right next to Sølvberget (where the cinema and library is located). This is the place where you go for a special occasion so we have only been there once. We had a 7 course meal (for about 500 kroner each) and we also took a wine package which included a glass of wine for each meal…and that will also cost you about 500 kroner. So it will be an expensive meal…but you are guaranteed to have a great experience. The menu change but here is a bit of information what we had when we went there: frog legs with garlic cream, trout with mussels, scallops with quail egg and chive sauce, fois gras with curry apples, cod with stockfish soufflé, chicken with olives and tomato, cheese and I think the dessert was a lovely passion fruit ice and chocolate mousse.
While we are in the category of “fine dining” I also have to mention one of the newer places in town called Paparazzi marked as no. 5 on the map. The place is actually a cocktail bar / restaurant so it is not as posh as “Jans mat og vinhus” mentioned above but their menu is more like a gourmet restaurant. The serve a 5/6 course preset menu that they change more or less every day. Nikki and I went here to celebrate an anniversary in March 2005 and we had a very good meal. We had salmon in a petit pois sauce, chili scampi on saffron risotto, chicken roll filled with mushroom and duck liver froth(!), filet of antelope with shitake and onion and a lemon soufflé with fresh fruit. The reviews of the place in the press have also been very good. It’s not that hard to find the place…it is located near the Skagen side of the Harbour. It is located right next to the Phileas Fogg restaurant in something called Tårngalleriet. And the price? Well, a 5 course meal will set you back about 500 Norwegian Kroner per person.
Back to less extraordinary food….Tapas can be quite good and we have been to Emilios Tapas Bar a few times (marked as no 6 on the map). This place is located not far from Sølvberget (where the cinema is located) and here you will find the traditional tapas dishes such as patatas bravas, scampi in chili oil, Serrano ham, Spanish cheese e.g. Manchego…and also a nice wine menu with good Spanish wines. Spanish red wine is my favorite these days but buying it on a restaurant can be a bit on the expensive side for someone not used to Norwegian prices. Right across the street from Emilios is Akropolis…the Greek restaurant (marked with 7 on th map). This is a great place if you want to go out for a Sunday buffet dinner. I think that you pay around 130 kroner and then you can eat as much as you want and the food is not bad. But be warned: it can be pretty crowded so you better come early or late. I think the buffet is from about 1 pm to 6 pm.
Another nice place to dine is Gaffel og Karaffel marked with 8 on the map. I’m not sure why this place is not more popular because they serve good food that is presented in a nice way. The main dishes are about 200-250 kroner so the price is more or less average. The restaurant is now located in the most colorful street in Stavanger…you’ll know what I mean when you get there :-)
Let’s talk more about smaller places. If you are looking for just a quick and “cheap” meal (remember that we’re talking about Norway) there are a few places that I would like to recommend. Ostehuset sells cheese, bread etc but they also have a nice menu where you can get sandwiches, pizzas, salads etc and you can also get a nice cup of cappuccino. And due to the focus on eating healthy they even have a few options on the menu that are listed as low glychemic index. Right next to Ostehuset is Food Story which is a similar place but with a smaller menu. Both places are located in Klubbgaten and they are marked as no. 9 on the map.
Café Sting is located near Vallbergtårnet and is maked with no. 10 on the map. This place is quite strange because the interior is not very nice, the floors are skew like the place is about to fall apart etc. But they still serve quite tasty food at a reasonable price and it is quite popular so it can be hard getting a table here at night. Each year this place has a garlic week where they use a lot of garlic in the menu…I don’t think we are that popular when we go to the movies after eating out there in the garlic week.
There are lots of coffee bars around town but I would like to mention one: Charlie Brown. This is located in the “mall” Stavanger Storsenter (entrance from Torget, the city square). They have a limited menu of sandwiches and salads but the coffee that they make is what makes this place stand out in the crowd of other coffee shops. This is where we get our weekly dose of cappuccino and Caffe Moccha :-). They also have an internet café set up now so you can check your mail while you have your coffee. The place is marked with no. 11 on the map.
As mentioned in the beginning it can be tricky to find Norwegian food in Stavanger. In the middle of town the only one I can think of is Vertshuset Mat og Vin (no 12 on the map) and City Bistro (last one located a couple of minutes away from the city center). The latter is famous for serving some pretty interesting dishes when we get close to Christmas…the most interesting one is maybe smalahove (half head of lamb) served with mashed Swedish turnip. It is quite good actually but seeing a lamb straight into the eye may put some of this dish :-). If you want the same taste but don’t want a head try pinnekjøtt (salted rib of lamb). City Bistro also serves the best lutefisk in town…I’m not sure you want to know how this fish is prepared. The fish is preserved by using an old technique…it is soaked in lye! Before it can be prepared it has to be soaked in water for some time to remove the lye of course. I’m not a lutefisk lover so I can’t really recommend it.
Get in touch if you have any questions or comments. I will do my very best to answer.