I never managed to get into this establishment - if was full all the times I tried! Hardly standing room! Because I have really tried to get in, I collected this info about the place:
Karls-Berger Pub was established by a Dane, and is obviously named after a certain brew from the sandbank down in Skagerak. The Dane apparently gave up on the Fjeldaberne (Norwegians) and the people who took over has continued the good Danish tradition as excellent hosts.
Karls-Berger is by the first look of it a brown pub, no windows, sort of huddling with a bottle-in-paper-bag. That much I saw. But I also saw the shelf selection, oh my! How wrong can you be? This place is surpassed only by an ambitious Swedish bar/pub only in its selection of hard drinks in Europe, fronting 1020 kinds of brandies, cognac, whisky, you name it. They have Baston LeGrand armagnac from 1809 to 1989 complete! Some stuff here is plain and cheap, some plain exotic, and the most expensive appears to be a cognac from 1899 at a cost of 2240 USD for 4 cl.
The main empahsis is on cognac/brandy and whisky, the armagnac as the outstanding piece in the collection. For a pub it is basic, only Carlsberg on cans. What a let-down.
Favorite Dish: Hmph, the carlsberg... probably.
Maybe a MaCallan of the best qualities....? Does go with a beer, doesn't it?
Of all the eateries in Longyearbyen, Kroa at Basecamp Spitsbergen takes my prize. It has that mix of simplicity, rough decor reminicent of the place you are, unsnobbish service and mix of locals, students and visitors. And the food, of course!
Favorite Dish: They have one item called the chef's special/catch of the day or whatever, and it is normally an Arctic meat item very well prepared. If you cannot find seal, whale or something other exotic in other restaurants in Longyearbyen they will have it here.
Their pepper steak, "Peppernøis" named after a great trapper here is great. In our group we also tried the seal and the duck breast, all very well prepared and tasty.
As we poured over the menu the staff served a snack of polar bear meat and Norwegian berry pickles - the best polar bear dish tasted so far here.
The above was written in 2006. I I came back in May 2008 and can confirm the above quality. The Peppernøis was still there, as was the day's catch. The manu remains limited but with good quality. One more type of fish on the menu, please? Otherwise, excellent!
Regardless of where you eat in Svalbard (except if you are on an expendition cruise) is EXPENSIVE. I paid $3 for a banana and $3.50 for an apple. So make sure to budget extra (double) for food. Everything here is expensive without exception.
If you are a vegetarian (like me) your food selection is limited to cheese, bread and occasional vegetables such as cucumbers and tomatoes but don't expect more.
There is very little in the way of vegetarian food on offer in Svalbard's eateries. The closest may be Kafe Busen which has a salad bar. This is very, very far from any tofu or veggieburger... In the Svalbard shop you will find veggetables etc. for your own cooking, but you will soon discover that vegetables and milk are the relatively speaking most costly items to be bought in Svalbard.
If you insist on remaining fully vegetarian, do find a place to stay where you can do some self-catering, bring some food with you from the mainland or abroad, and seek out the chefs on the restaurants to make you a veggie special. I am 90% sure they will help you.
Huset used to be the mining community's r&r facility and meeting place. Always a place that served food, it also continues to be a cultural centre. It is also just about the only place where local people may dress up for an event or dinner.
Despite this the place is entirely informal and lively.
Here you can sample Arctic food that you wouldn't easily get on menues elsewhere; seal, whale, even the odd polar bear steak. Their Arctic sampler is a great choise. However, most items on the meny feature hearty meals of fish, birds, reindeer, beef etc. Not much in the way of vegetarian slant, but hey, this is far from any living cabbage.
The vine cellar is outstanding, and they come cheap compared with Norway's mainland, as Svalbard is tax- and duty free.
Favorite Dish: I'd go for the reindeer, or goose steak if available. For a starter their haneskjell scallops are fantastic.
Desert: cognac marinated cloudberries.
They have a fixed three or four course dinner, too that takes your through the Arctic. Good as a sampler.
In our search for local food, Arctic menus etc., we came across MAry Ann Riggen, which is actually a gisesthouse with a good restaurant kitchen. They provide Arctic items on the menu - but was closed when we tried. Moral is: call first! I provide the phone number below...
OK, your VT food category "Arctic" doesn't really fit in here.
But if you take Arctic raw materials (reindeer, seal, whale, arctic char, deep sea red fish, salomon, goose etc. etc.) and turn them into edibles for an international clientele you will get it. The restaurant prides itself for it's international kitchen.
Great view of the isfjorden scenery from the window side of the restaurant. Well, not all year...
This is probably the best and most upmarket dining you can have this far north. Come here for excellent food and a splash-out. If you want to go for the mood, go to "Huset".
Favorite Dish: I had arctic char (a fish) fried/baked on a plank of Siberian larch (driftwood) and then various stuff with it.
Locals in Longyearbyen meet here for a chat and a coffee during the day, huddle here during blistery weather, and the local workforce have their dinners here.
The food is very standard Norwegian fare, low on excitement. This place used to be the canteen/cafeteria of the mining workforce, and has retained the name from that time, Kafe Busen and the Lompen Senteret. Lompen refers to the miners' clothing/sturdy overalls, which again comes from the German Lumpen (add Marx' "proletariat" and you get a feel for it). Busen is a designation of a worker in a mine shaft.
Anyway, what's left is this cafe, and I'd recommend the Saturday noon/afternoon cake buffet.
The dinners are as said, standard fare at a resonable price. The posted labels indicate many food items available, but it doesn't rellay to reflect today's truth!
There is a distinct focus on serving locals here, less interest in visitors, including mainlanders.
Favorite Dish: Saturday cake buffet was good, waffles likewise. Otherwise, very standard.
Stay off the hot chocolate, that smelled and tasted a mix of chocolate-related chemicals, water added.
Not for vegetarians, even if you may have your polar bear meat slice with ruccola salad...
At least 4 restaurants in Longyearbyen serve polar bear meat if you ask for it. it doesn't normally feature on the regular menu. Due to the price (toward NOK 2000 per kg) it is not a good idea as a main dish... Also, it is not particularily healthy in large amounts. However, for a taste and adventure, why not?
Polar bear meat comes from polar bears on Svalbard shot in self defence. As the animal is protected, and self-defence situations that lead to kills are rare, the meat is at a premium. It is confiscated by the state (Sysselmannen on Svalbard) but distributed/sold to restaurants after the law, researchers and health authorities have done their part.
Favorite Dish: Huset serves a slice of polar bear meat with red wine sauce made with broth as a starter if you enquire. They will even, as a gimmic, ask you to sign a certificate that you ate this by your own free will...
By the way, the polar bear taste is sufficiently unique not to regret you didn't order a full plate...
There would be no way of knowing except by some reviews and word by mouth:
Huset has one of the best wine cellars in Europe, certainly the best one in Northern Europe, with a selection of 30.000 bottles. First of all, an anachronism: houses built on the permafrost do not have cellars, but Huset does. Probably heated, not cooled as most caves...
The wine chart/menu is limited to selections that go with the food, mainly, so while big, it doesn't cover more than a fraction of what they can come up with. You can basically ask for any wine here and get it. The prices are modest by Norwegian standards (Svalbard is a tax free area), but the great vintages come with a price tag...
Favorite Dish: If you are a wine lover, it is really worth coming here. They will have just about anything you'd want among classic and more modern wines.
This is the only place in Svalbard for dedicated coffee lovers beyond the standard Norwegian tar. They have fresh bakery goods every day, too. Never went there, but judging by the success indicator parked strollers and baby cots outside it must have a certain attraction for Longyearbyen's ladies. They pass as a wine bar, too, and get rave reviews from locals. But what is theri other choice?
Open Mon-Tue 10-18, Wed-Sat 10-23, Sun 12-16.
This is the Radisson SAS version of Svalbard life. However, they try to be informal and attract locals in for the evening , too. There is occasional live music, pub quiz competitions and champions league football TV events.
Open 16-02 every day. The outdoor section stops serving at midnight. When I was there it was -20C and people were sitting outside, chatting with drinks in hand - hardy folks!!!
Favorite Dish: Generally, good stuff here.
Definitely worth a visit, this pub and/or bar is carved out of a snow buildup behind Funken Hotel. It is run by Funktionærmessen Restaurant of said hotel, and staffed by youthful bartenders in full polar style down jackets. No wonder, because ot's cold to spend long nights here. But extremely fun for a short while. It is catacomb-like with small sitting areas along a U-corridor. You need to show a certain agitlity to get in, out and around as you cannot stand upright. don't forget: warm clothes.
Opening hours: Thu-Sun 17-22.
You can contact Funken for closed parties on other days.
Favorite Dish: Hot blackcurrent juice with vodka, nice and warm and steamy. Serves to glace the ceiling, too as it steams off.
They had some more drinks available, too, wine, beer, whisky, beer chasers, others.
Going budget, going local or simply fed up with hard to chew polar bear, reindeer, seal and whale? This pizza outlet will be your rescue!
Or, too lazy; the weather is too bad, or you do not like the hotel food? Call them for service!
They charge NOK 39 for taking the pizza to your door: Mon-Thu 15-03; Fri-Sat 15-05, Sun 15-24.
Favorite Dish: Any pizza in contrast to the hefty restaurant menues on offer elsewhere.
Also in terms of restaurants Svalbard is a bit more tourist friendly then 20 years ago.
Several places are offering food and drinks.
Check the web for details:
P.O. Box 500, Longyearbyen, 9170, Norway
Good for: Families
The SAS hotel has a very central location only 100 m from the main shopping area. It has 95 rooms...more
P.O. Box 500, Longyearbyen, I 9171, Norway
Good for: Business