As this was our first stop in Norway, we were seeking out Norwegian food…whatever that is. In Stavenger, Norwegian food meant local fresh items. That works for us so we explored some intersting dishes.
26 North. Our first meal was in our hotel. After 14 hours of flying and eating multiple airplane meals and airport lounge snacks, we only wanted to share three appetizers. The most interesting, by far, was medium-rare moose sliders topped with rounds of goat cheese, mushrooms and caramelized onions. The moose wasn’t very gamy and with the cheese, was quite good. We also enjoyed the spicy king crab spring rolls, especially for the sweet and sour tomato dipping sauce. The “bucket of shells” (small steamed local mussels in coconut broth) were less compelling, although we did enjoy the side disk of salt-baked avocado. Our server suggest that we order the dessert sampler. Sweet and sour black cherry mille-feuille with dry frozen berry crumble was the highlight of a dessert plate that also included mojito pear (with pear sorbet and lime syrup) and a dark chocolate sponge cake with raspberry ganache, milk chocolate mousse and kumquat and passionfruit syrup.
Skagen. A late-19th century building that proudly displays its original wooden frame at which we tried two native meat dishes. The reindeer burger (with mushrooms and cranberry sauce) was very good and not at all gamey. Our other dish was one that we had to try even though we hate the idea of killing whales after our trip to an Antarctican whaling station. Even so, the medium rare whale steak was tender, juicy and had the taste of a very lean, very mild piece of beef. Delicious. So good that Tom reserved the yellow curry that came with it for the potatoes.
Fishwtorget (Fish Market). The market itself has a huge, wonderful selection of day-old fish and crustaceans fresh from the ocean. Although we salivated over the lobsters and the king crab legs that were for sale, neither, unfortunately, was on the menu of the adjoining restaurant. We were, however, very pleased with each of our three choices: fish soup with shrimp, trout, salmon and croutons in a milk-based soup, mussels steamed in white wine, and grilled ling cod with cabbage, carrot, turnip and potato in cream sauce—all with a bottle of Chablis 1er Cru.
Matbaren. We had a light lunch of open-face sandwiches at this lovely bistro. One with shrimp and egg and another, slightly, overly mustardy version with herring, potato mayonnaise fennel and watercress. Tom ventured to try a local juice of elderberry, which neither the server nor he could describe, but which he did enjoy.
Our hotel was the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, on Lokkeveien (there are 2 Radisson Blu hotels within blocks of each other. It was a great location as it was only minutes to walk to the harbor and the museums. While the hotel was nothing special, nor was it nothing bad. The room was very comfortable and had a tea pot, safe and mini bar. The bathroom had great light (the room’s light was not as bright). Nor surprisingly, there were no washcloths. Also, towels, toilet paper and kleenex were a little stiffer than one would get in the US. Still, not bad though. Although we didn’t use it, the pool and exercise room looked nice. Breakfast had eggs (scrambled, fried and hard boiled), cereals, oatmeal, fruit, breads, cold cuts, cheese and probably a few other things I forget. Fresh pears and oranges were also available. You will not go away hungry. The only probably with breakfast is that it gets congested. But the staff tries to clear tables quickly.