I visited Svalbard during the polar night season, which was special for a variety of reasons which I will explain in a later post. However with it being so cold and dark outside, and so cozy and warm inside, I found myself doing A LOT of eating in Svalbard restaurants. Which is never a bad thing in a place like Longyearbyen where restaurants are of a surprisingly high quality and many have very unique and wacky interiors! So let me give you my recommendations of the best restaurants in Longyearbyen and Svalbard.
This is a must-go Longyearbyen restaurant. The wonderfully decorated interior has antlers and animal hides adorning long wooden walls, creating a feeling of being transported back in time to a Svalbard hunting lodge from the early 20th century.
The food’s good too. I went here twice during my stay, and enjoyed hearty meals (the reindeer burger is especially tasty), with big portions and all served by super friendly staff. With a large selection of meals, you can even try whale…… Or for the less adventurous, there’s pizza. An added bonus, they have a great whiskey selection, including one whiskey (Glenmorangie) from my hometown in Scotland 🙂 A sure-fire way to make Kroa one of my favorite restaurants in Longyearbyen!
Probably the most famous Svalbard restaurant, Huset really does deserve to be held in such high regard. Dining here feels like a real experience, and sometimes you can forget that you’re in the middle of the Arctic, and not in a fine eatery in Paris or New York.
However you can be easily reminded by looking at the menu – so much of the food on offer is locally sourced and inspired which is astonishing considering how little flora and fauna exists on Svalbard.
The food is outstanding, albeit expensive – even by Longyearbyen standards – and the wine collection impressive. It’s a place you must eat at least once, in fact I was so impressed by Huset it was my featured restaurant in this USA TODAY piece I wrote on Arctic cuisine.
A very cozy restaurant with long wooden tables that makes the whole place feel like a dining experience at a Svalbard coal miners cabin – and the outside looks a little like that too. The food is good (lots of locally inspired dishes) and the atmosphere ambient, with the candles throughout creating that hygge feel – especially during Svalbard’s polar night season. To get there from Longyearbyen requires a 30 minute to one hour walk (watch out for polar bears!), but that does make the food and wine at the end that little bit more special. If you’re lucky there might even be live music. One of the best restaurants in Longyearbyen.
This place looks like it’s been put together in a Svalbard jumble sale – but I mean that in the nicest possible way. Vinterhagen restaurant is eclectic with wacky decorations and full of indoor greenery, but the food is tasty and service friendly. We found that the seafood here was especially good, so if you’re a fan of the sea’s bounty, then get yourself down here! Again, a lot of locally inspired dishes and lots of meat – no complaints from me 🙂 A very casual atmosphere, and a nice place to hunker down when it’s snowing outside. A good choice for a meal lunch or dinner.
Polfareren Hotel and Restaurant
A tip for anyone who wants a good meal but for a cheap price – by Longyearbyen standards anyway. The Polfareren Hotel (where I stayed) has a soup buffet between 11am and 3pm daily for 139 NOK – a great way to fill up on hot soup, bread, tea and coffee. The soup changes frequently so this is a great place to have a tasty lunch without busting the wallet, and you don’t need to worry about having the same thing two days in a row. With a nice fireplace to chill out in front of, and good WIFI, this is a lovely relaxed way to have lunch.