Tucked away in Northern Europe is a small Norwegian island in the Arctic Circle named Tromsø. Although not as widely known as certain other European cities like London, Paris or Venice, this Norwegian city is rich in sightseeing spots as well as culture, specifically food culture. On this island, you will have the opportunity to experience uniquely Norwegian foods, including brown cheese (brunost), whale meat, reindeer steak or sausage, and salmon.

Travel Tips

Leigh Williams

Before your trip to Norway, it's worth mentioning that dining out is quite pricey. Due to the high labor costs, a simple pizza may add up to around $30. So during your stay you might find yourself at a grocery store needing to prepare a few meals on your own in order to conserve some of that hard earned cash. Not to mention, as customary in many European countries, most shops and restaurants are closed on Sundays so it will be necessary to stock up ahead of time.

Food and Restaurant Recommendations

Moving on to the food, seafood is a big part of Norwegian cuisine, and the freshness of it in Tromsø is truly unparalleled. From smoked salmon, and clip fish to bacalao (salt cod stew, believe me it's really good!), you can find a variety of preparation methods in both restaurants and grocery stores. In particular, the salmon is phenomenal, and the refrigerated aisles in most grocery stores are lined with many varieties of it, smoked or raw. To prepare it yourself, just purchase a salmon fillet and bake it in the oven. Another way to taste the extraordinary Norwegian fresh salmon is– you guessed it, sushi! In particular, Rå sushi is a fantastic restaurant recommended by many locals with unique sushi rolls and delicious sashimi. However, it is on the expensive side and will run about 220-300 NOK ($25-35) for a full meal.

Leigh Williams

In addition to seafood, there is a vast amount of unique meat options you can try in Tromsø. For example, whale steak, roasted kid, reindeer steak or sausage, and even seal meat! Graffi Grill is a lively and great place to taste a course of grilled meats as well as some traditionally Norwegian side dishes. Their “Grillfest” is a fan favorite and is a platter of various grilled meats, including spareribs, and chicken wings to name a few. The "Grillfest" also comes with soppstuing (a Norwegian mushroom side dish), maiskrem (Norwegian corn cream dish), fries and a few other sides. Another highly recommended restaurant in Tromsø is Emma’s Dream Kitchen (Emmas Drømmekjøkken), located in the downtown, it is known for being one of the oldest and most well-renowned restaurants in town. Emma's offers braised leg of reindeer and a more fine-dining experience than Graffi Grill.

Leigh Williams

Having said that, the amazing food in Norway is not limited to just restaurants. During your visit, it is a must to try some of the famous chocolate-corn chip hybrid "Smash." According to the locals, "you can't just have one" because they are that good. Another thing to try is brown cheese (brunost), specifically the brown goat cheese. It has a unique rich and sweet taste unlike normal cheeses. Grocery stores are lined with many different brands of the cheese and the Norwegians pride themselves in the fact that they invented the Ostehøvel, a cheese-slicer and potato-peeler-like tool used to cut extremely thin slices of brown cheese because of its exceptional density and firmness.

Though it may be off the beaten path, Tromsø, Norway is definitely worth a visit if not for their beautiful northern lights then for their unique food culture. You’ll be able to have the unique opportunity of trying uncommon meats, their famous incredibly fresh fish, and a wide array of other delicious Norwegian foods that you wouldn't get to taste anywhere else.