Mountain trout at Sabi Omakase. Courtesy of Sabi Omakase. | Courtesy of 26 North-Stavanger
Gone are the days when the only reason to go to Stavanger was so you can visit the Swords in Rock (Sverd i fjell) monument. This vibrant, university city has experienced a culinary renaissance in the past few years, proving that Norwegian restaurants don’t have to be in Oslo to be awarded Michelin stars. Here are the ten restaurants you absolutely need to visit when in Stavanger. Bring your appetite!
A completely authentic sushi experience outside 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.
Døgnvill has three other locations (two in Oslo and one in Trondheim), all equally worthy of including in “best of” lists. At the Stavanger locale, you can taste their delicious burgers in their trademark artisanal buns, packing inventive flavours and even more inventive names (Saucy Joe, Blue Monday and Birdie Nam Nam to name a few). As any frequent customer will tell you, don’t leave without trying one of the milkshakes.
RENAA is the first restaurant in Norway outside of Oslo to be awarded a Michelin star; it’s not an exaggeration to say it put Stavanger on the culinary map. Creating an intimate 21-seating experience where each guest is served the chef’s tasting menu (that you can choose to pair with wine), Sven Erik Renaa’s focus is getting the best products from the sea, fjords, land, forests, and mountains — and experiment with imaginative platings. This is fresh, Nordic cuisine at its finest.
Linguine with mussels and clams at Casa Gio | Courtesy of Casa Gio
A small, intimate restaurant that will make you feel as if you’re in some Italian village. Casa Gio serves freshly made pasta focusing on simple yet superb flavors and traditional dishes made with high quality products imported from Italy. The menu changes frequently based on the local fresh ingredients on offer, but you can always count on staples like their linguine with mussels and clams, or their tagliatelle with duck ragu that’s slow cooked for hours. They also have a carefully curated selection of small-scale, bio-dynamic Italian wines.
We’ll just go ahead and say it, Egget is weird. But it’s also brilliant. This is a restaurant with no set menu; there’s a blackboard that mentions some options but don’t pay any attention to it — here you will be served whatever the chef, Anthony Martin, found when he went grocery shopping on that given day. This is also a restaurant with no set price list; they will serve you what they have, pair it with loads of wine and just bring you the bill at the end. Egget has been described as “chaotic”, but the fresh, unpretentious flavours and the overall spunky attitude will definitely make your experience one to remember.
Homemade vanilla ice cream at Fortou | Courtesy of Fortou
Technically, Fortou is more of a street-food takeaway (although they do offer outside seating) — but it’s too good to not be included in this list. Here you can enjoy crunchy tostadas and banh mis, some great vegetarian options (like their falafel bowl with quinoa, yogurt and avocado) as well as fish and chips — that last one was supposed to be a one-off, but the locals loved it so much it’s now a staple on the menu. Oh, and don’t forget to try one of their homemade sorbets and ice creams with a variety of cool toppings. Vanilla with popcorn, anyone?
Pasha opened in 2017 and, according to frequent customers, “it keeps getting better”. This authentic Turkish restaurant is certainly a novelty for a city like Stavanger, but it’s getting more and more traction as locals learn to love (and properly order) things like Døner Lavash and Adana Kebab. The food is barbecued in a stone oven, just like tradition demands, and the menu comprises classic Turkish dishes with a modern spin. The fact that it’s value for money and the portions are very generous doesn’t hurt, either.
Pan fried duck breast with port wine glazed gnocchi at 26 North-Stavanger | Courtesy of 26-North Stavanger
Just like its sister restaurants in Oslo and Bergen, 26 North Restaurant & Social Club in Stavanger is inspired by Nordic cuisine, using local ingredients and produce from the fjords, and paying attention to detail (they bake their own bread, every day). Try their pan fried duck breast with port wine glazed gnocchi, cheese that has matured for three years and colourful cauliflower, and wash it down with one of their inventive cocktails. If you’re in the mood for dessert, the deconstructed strawberry cheesecake with yoghurt & lime sorbet will hit just the spot.
Norway being Norway, almost every city has its own fish market (fisketorget) by the port. And in many of them, there’s also some kind of eatery operating on the premises. Stavanger is no different: Fisketorget comprises a seafood counter and a restaurant helmed by chef Karl Erik Pallesen, where you can bet the fish you’re eating is coming straight from the fishermen’s boats. Try their trout with onions and chives, their chili crab or their oyster platter — and don’t forget to shop some ocean goodies from the market before you leave.
Although not starred yet, Tango has been mentioned in the Michelin guides both in 2016 and 2017 — so you know this restaurant is going places. Since January 2018, they moved to a new locale next to their sister restaurant, Fish & Cow, but they’ve kept their focus on hyper-local, seasonal produce. The 30-seat intimate dining experience is accompanied by a wide range of wines and the 7-dish menu changes seasonally, but you can trust the staff to navigate you properly in this culinary dance. On Saturdays, they also offer lunch.