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Food and drink in Tromsø

Arctic food with a modern take

The food in Tromsø feels as fresh as the city’s numerous outdoor activities. Restaurant SMAK is only one of several eateries with a menu based on local ingredients.

“Having a high-quality restaurant this far north has its challenges, but we see opportunities”, says Espen Ramnestedt, who runs restaurant Smak together with his wife Eva-Linda. Smak has earned a place in the respected restaurant handbook White Guide Nordic and seats only 24 guests.

In the city of Tromsø, world-famous as a hub for brave Arctic explorers, proper meals based on the best local produce has always been crucial.

Eva-Linda likes to spend time explaining the origins of the local ingredients to her restaurant guests. “I want to share the enthusiasm of our local producers.”

“We use the old techniques and traditions that have been passed on for generations, and serve true northern dishes. The tastes of my childhood, with a modern touch”, Espen explains.

At this fine-dining spot, you can expect delicacies such as fish soup with lobster, rosefish and carrots, potato waffle with vendace roe (“løyrom” in Norwegian), along with a neat use of prize-winning local cheese and sour cream.

Many other eateries in Tromsø have earned excellent ratings by locals and travellers on TripAdvisor and such. For instance, the elegant Skirri that serves reindeer, veal, and the catch of the day, the more low-key Emmas Under, or seafood restaurants like Fiskekompaniet Sjøsiden and Rå Sushi.

You also have Presis Tapas, the versatile Bardus Bistro, the internationally oriented Kitchen & Table, and Compagniet, which claims to be the city’s oldest restaurant. In addition, people rave about the food court Mathallen Tromsø, known for its tasty seafood and relaxed vibe.

And, because everything from seafood to vegetables grows slower in the climate of the Arctic than in other parts of the world, it all tastes fantastic. The Tromsøya island is a treasury of high-quality fresh ingredients and has inventive and skilled chefs to make the most of it.

“The scenery surrounding the city is overwhelming”, adds Eva-Linda.

The food culture mirrors the city’s strong heritage of polar explorers. From the 1850s Tromsø became a hub for hunting expeditions and scientific exploring of the Arctic and was soon called “The gateway to the Arctic” and “The Paris of the north” because of its international vibe.

“Even when you’re in the middle of the city, the mountains are so close you can almost reach out and touch them”, says Espen, before he heads off to a nearby farm where ingredients for this evening’s dinners are waiting.

Find more inspiration on Tromsø’s official website.

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