If Bergen was a living, breathing organism, Bryggen would be its beating heart. And although Norway’s second largest city has many great restaurants, let’s face it: you’ll probably spend most of your time walking up and down the beautiful Hanseatic Wharf. See below which restaurants of the area deserve your attention (and your NOK) while you’re at it.
This is probably the crown jewel of Bergen’s culinary scene. Focusing on traditional Norwegian cooking methods, the chefs at 1877 completely change the menu every six weeks to make the most of the local, seasonal produce available. There’s no traditional à la carte menu here; instead you can opt for the whole five-course evening menu (that always includes seafood, fish, meat, cheese and a dessert) or the three-course half-evening menu (to choose whichever you want from the five courses). The restaurant has four different spaces you can sit at – from the more relaxed veranda to the more formal business dining room – but whichever you choose you can rest assured the décor is going to be as unique as the food on your plate.
Another example of a place untouched by time: Bryggen Tracteursted is an intimate à la carte restaurant, located in a building that dates back to 1708. You can enjoy ‘Norwegian tapas’ (a sampler platter of sausage, smoked trout, smoked whale and fish stew for instance) and a wide range of international beers while feeling like you’re part of the scenery.
Bergen is largely a seafood city. There are many great places to enjoy seafood here, and Anne Madam is definitely one of them. The menu changes based on the season, but you can always count on quality ingredients, honest portions that are flawlessly executed and, what is most important, a warm environment.
Another fantastic seafood option in Bryggen, Enhjørningen – also known by the English translation of its name, The Unicorn – is an intimate dining place with a cosy, dimly-lit wooden interior that serves some superb Norwegian fish and seafood dishes. The servers are prompt, knowledgeable and happy to help you select the best dish or the best wine to pair with your meal – although you can never go wrong with the scallops, or any dish that involves lobster tail.
Okay, Sjøboden is not technically a restaurant – but it’s literally right down the stairs from Enhjørningen and can keep you happy for many hours, with its combination of live music, tasty bites and wide selection of beers (over 65 labels to choose from), so we just had to include it on this list.
A classic dinner choice among locals, Bryggeloftet & Stuene offers an extensive menu of traditional Norwegian fish and game dishes, like reindeer steak, smalahove (apologies to vegetarians, but this is an actual sheep’s head), pinnekjøtt (salty and herby lamb chops), lutefisk (dried cod) or simply prawns served on toast. Everything is unbelievably fresh since you’re right by the harbour.
To call Nama just a sushi bar, would be doing it a big disservice. This fusion restaurant offers a menu of innovative sushi dishes and hearty noodle recipes, using excellent, fresh fish straight from the nearby fish market. However, they also give their own twist to staple Asian recipes, like the tataki dish, here made with beef and served with mustard and ginger.