Soulful eateries in Norway’s cities

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From legendary hot dog stands to royal watering holes and restaurants – these urban institutions are attractions in themselves.

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Some places are more steeped in history and legend than others. Echoes of history resound in the very foundations of these buildings, and new generations keep the atmosphere of the past alive.

One of these Norwegian landmarks was even highlighted by The Guardian. The British newspaper paid a visit to Syverkiosken in Oslo – one of the capital's last hot dog kiosks. It's been operating independently from the major store chains since 1979.

“I'm lost in a moment of hot dog heaven.” That's how The Guardian’s foodie traveller David Atkinson described the wiener sausages Erlend Dahlbo served him from the family-owned kiosk by Alexander Kiellands plass.

In the footsteps of a royal affair

There are, however, several other places in Norway abundant with personality, history and soul – single-handedly justifying a trip to the cities where they are located.

One of them is found in the historical area Vågen in Bergen. Dyvekes Vinkjeller (“Dyveke’s wine cellar”) is named after the Dutch beauty Dyveke Sigbrittsdatter, the mistress of King Christian II of Norway and Denmark, who died under mysterious circumstances in September 1517.

Dyveke lived in Hollendergaten 10, which was rebuilt in its present form after the city fire in 1702. The authentic wine cellar named after her is located across the street. The award-winning restoration work was a collaboration between the City of Bergen and the Department for Cultural Heritage Management.

In the same area, you'll find Enhjørningen FiskerestaurantBergen’s oldest fish restaurant. Its history dates back to the Hanseatic League on the 14th century. The name Enhjørningen – meaning “unicorn” in Norwegian – was mentioned as far back as in 1304, and traditions are preserved with diligence at this popular eatery.

And let's not forget Bergen's famous hot dogs. The kiosk Trekroneren in the city centre has attracted hungry tourists and resident regulars since 1948, with an extensive selection of sausages on the menu – including Europe's biggest, weighing 250 grams.

Cosy times in Trondheim's old town

In Mid-Norway's major city Trondheim, there's no shortage of places with historical gravitas and contemporary charm.

The café Baklandet Skydsstation has been declared as "maybe the cosiest place in Scandinavia" by none other than National Geographic. Overlooking the mighty cathedral Nidarosdomen, the café’s host, Gurli Riis Holmen, serves homemade food and delicious cocoa.

The building has historical roots from the 1700s.

A 15-minute bus ride outside of the city centre, Skistua offers a stunning view, 436 meters above sea level. This ski lodge opened in 1896, but after a particularly festive New Year's Eve, the cabin burned to the ground on 1 January 1947.

After several years of decay during in 80s and the 90s, the cabin was restored in the new millennium. Today, many combine skiing with a meal in these calm and beautiful surroundings. Venison stew, tomato soup and pancakes are among the simple, but tasty dishes on the menu.

Hot dogs and rockets

We can’t let go of the hot dogs just yet. In Tromsø, a legendary, rocket-shaped landmark is located in the city’s main square Stortorget. Steeped in history, Raketten Bar & Pølse has been there for more than 100 years.

“Løkkekiosken”, as it was originally called, was founded by 18-year-old Margit Løkke in 1911. The kiosk has been listed as protected by the Department for Cultural Heritage. Still, an extensive selection of beers and sausages provides an even flow of new and regular customers.

The mere description of the small venue – “Norway's smallest bar since 2014 and Tromsø's meeting place since 1911” – should be reason enough to visit it. The square is also the place for the annual music festival Rakettnatt – Tromsø's hottest summer party.

Food for body and soul

In Stavanger, one of the most popular and traditional landmarks is a bakery. As the city’s oldest bakery and confectionery store, Fredriks has fed hungry residents since 1899, when Alfred Delin Fredriksen opened the bakery in the area Storhaug. That's where it's still located – owned by younger generations of the Fredriksen family.

According to the locals, Fredriks’ speciality is horn rolls with cheese and ham, but the store also provides elaborate and delicious cakes for any occasion.

Another, even older institution in the western part of the city, is butcher A. Idsøe. The famous meat shop is, in fact, the city's oldest shop, established in 1828.

For thirsty adults, the bars Cardinal and Cementen are good options. The former takes pride in offering 600 brands of beer, while the latter has been one of the most vital live scenes of the region for decades.

Munch, Ibsen and Madonna

Back to Oslo – the capital obviously has a lot more places steeped in history than just Syverkiosken. We’ll scratch the tip of the iceberg and pick two of them.

Artists, politicians, actors and other guests eat, drink, argue and make up at Lorry, an iconic and unique restaurant located where Oslo's city centre meets the westside. The venue's history dates back to the 1870s, and the same family has been running the place for the last 60 years.

If a good night’s sleep in historic surroundings appeals to you, Grand Hotel in the capital’s main street is recommended. Edvard Munch, Henrik Ibsen and the (in)famous bohemians of old Oslo used to hang out here back in the day, in the hotel’s Grand Café. In more recent years, stars such as Madonna, Bruce Springsteen and Barack Obama have been spotted here.

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