Tromsø has some of the best places to eat above the arctic circle. The town has been nicknamed the Paris of the North, because of its bustling nightlife and award-winning restaurants. This guide is all about the best places to eat in Tromsø, and you can find out what to do in Tromsø in my other guide. If you’re there to see the Northern Lights you won’t have much time to eat out for dinner, but you should definitey try and get to these for lunch.
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Breakfast - Risø Food & Coffee Shop
This place is warm, quirky, unpretentious, and one of the best breakfast places in Tromsø. There are small bar like tables and large shared tables, giving it the atmosphere of a hipster campus cafe. It’s been painted with blackboard paint on the ceiling and walls, and the bits in English that I could read were funny. The coffee is the main focus of the place and is made from drip or machine. If you’re not into coffee then they do a rich hot chocolate to warm you up.
For the food, I highly recommend the cinnamon scrolls. They make them fresh on site and I was lucky enough to get one warm, and straight from the oven. One of the best I’ve ever had. The rest of the food sounds simple, but will come out with dressings of salad and pickles. It was, tasty, warm, and filling.
Breakfast - Kaffebønna AS
Kaffebønna is a simplistic, Scandic design cafe, with an American diner style back room. Found on any best places to eat list, It sells simple breakfast paninis and tasty breakfast pastries. The coffee is good, and If you’re on the hunt for a chai latte, they make a traditional one with chai tea and frothed milk.
It’s set up for long stays over coffee and sweets. The seats are comfortable, and each table has a plug for a charger. They also played chilled, Australian music while we were there, which made me feel at home.
Dinner - Mathallen
Mathallan is the best fine dining in Tromsø, and tops my personal list of best places to eat in Tromsø. Set in a professionally casual space, it has large windows looking over the street. It doesn’t look fancy, but as soon as you walk in the door the experience starts with a warm welcome and your coat being taken. The service was always attentive and friendly, and they all speak excellent English.
You can choose your food or opt for one of their tasting menus. We did the first tasting menu and everything was amazing and crafted with care. All food has been chosen from local vendors and showcases traditional Norway in an untraditional way.
The flavours are rich in each dish, and you’ll want to savour each one. Word of warning; if you choose the tasting menu you will eat dried whale flakes, which I’m still really conflicted about. Whale is part of Norway’s diet, but as an Australian, where we protect our whales fiercely (we have unofficial wars with hunters to protect them), I just wasn’t sure about it.
Overall a restaurant that I would highly recommend for a special experience in Tromsø.
Lunch - Bards Bistro
Rounding out my list of best places to eat in Tromsø is Bards Bistro. This is a great lunch or dinner place in central Tromsø. It’s casual and warm, and all packed into a tiny little room. The menu reflects Norwegian food origins while still following the trends of today. Order a drink and chat at one of the little tables, or watch the snow fall outside.
The food was well crafted and warming, and if you want to be adventurous try the moose. It was delicious. It even has vegan or vegetarian meals, which can be tricky to find in Norway.