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Juleaften, the evening before Christmas, is a big deal in Norway. Traditionally, the family gathers around the table to enjoy julemat (Christmas food)—but lately, more and more Norwegians opt to go out instead. If you feel like treating yourself to a nice julebord (Christmas table) during the holidays, this guide will definitely come in handy. We scoured Norway’s best restaurants to find the ones that really deliver an exceptional experience (whether they have a special julemeny or not). Don’t waste any time booking your table, these seats will be filling up soon.
Restaurant 1877 in Bergen has no traditional a la carte menu: here 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 (where you can choose whichever of the five courses you want). The chefs completely change the menu every six weeks to make the most of the local, seasonal produce available. For the holidays, they’re also giving the opportunity to buy a gift card for your foodie friends who would like to dine here.
A completely authentic sushi experience outside side of Japan? Sounds like a tall order, but Stavanger’s Sabi Omakase has been making waves since last year, when they got their first Michelin star. Serving strictly Edomae-style sushi, accredited sushi chef Roger Asakil Joya uses local produce (like reindeer) to create an intimate dining menu for 20 guests: all the food is prepared by him, and every seat is at the chef’s table. Time to plan your next trip to Stavanger.
Artistically presented, fresh and healthy dishes, and innovative food and wine pairings really come into their own in the special six- and nine-course tasting menus of the restaurant that has taken the city of Bergen by storm. If you’re feeling less extravagant though, Colonialen also has a more economical, weekly rotating menu with two or three different dishes each day.
Another one of Oslo’s latest gems in Majorstua, Fyr manages to balance grilling things to perfection and offering a refreshingly Nordic twist on bistro dishes that are at the same time elaborate and authentic. If you have to choose one dish (although their menu, Full Fyr, is excellent and paired with wine and cocktails), make it their langoustine, served simply with bread and infused butter.
Another cozy place with great, hearty food in Trondheim that deserves your attention, To Rom og Kjøkken serves meaty dishes in a to-die-for red wine sauce, accompanied by a truffle potato puree that will make you feel like it’s Christmas in your mouth. But this place is also a wine bar, so make sure to make a lot of toasts.
Let’s be real: There’s no way you will be able to find a table for Christmas at Maaemo, Norway’s only three-starred Michelin restaurant. Not when on any normal day there’s usually a three-month waiting list to savor Esben Holmboe Bang’s superb, seasonal tasting menu. But we just had to include it in this list, if only for you to bookmark it and book a table for Christmas 2018. The waiting will be worth it.