Monday, June 8, 2015

Good seafood in a historic atmosphere

Straen has closed permanently!

Straen Fiskerestaurant is one of few restaurants in Stavanger that focus mainly on fish – hence the name. Fiskerestaurant means Fish restaurant and Straen marks the location of the restaurant. The city of Stavanger is linked to fish and fishing industry so it makes sense to have a restaurant that focus on this. We went there on a Wednesday and I booked a table online. When I say that you book online it means that you fill in s form on their website but it still seems a mail is sent to the restaurant as you have to wait for a confirmation by e-mail or text to find out if you have a table or not. When will find out that there is technology out there (like OpenTable) that will allow people to do online booking in real time.
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The restaurant was very quiet when we arrived there at about 6.30 PM – only 4 other people were seated. There was only one waitress taking care of taking the orders, serving etc so it took a couple of minutes to get seated, get the menus etc. The menu is mainly about fish but they do have a steak on the menu as well just in case you don’t like fish – but then I think you are in the wrong restaurant.
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The interior of the place is kept old fashioned to give you a historic atmosphere so there are old photos, old newspapers etc on the walls. The Chambre séparée is also quite charming as it is set in a small library. You also get a pretty good view of you are seated by a window – we got a view to the Skagen side of the harbor and the Valberg tower. We looked at the menu and decided to go for a couple of starters each as we were not that hungry. It was a bit weird that the waitress informed us that they only had one portion left of mussels (blåskjell) – there were hardly any people in the restaurant so they ran out of that a bit early. I decided to have the classical fish soup and croquet of cod – also known as bolinos I guess.
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After a couple of minutes we got a small complimentary starter – a small piece of gravlax on a toast. I don’t have much experience with gravlax but I think I prefer sashimi or even better, slightly fried. We also got some flat bread crackers that seemed to be homemade and some lemon butter and that was very tasty. When the waitress came to serve the fish soup I got a bowl with 3-4 pieces of fish and she poured the soup over the fish – a nice way to present it and to prepare it. The fish pieces where thin so they got prepared in the warm soup. I found the soup to be quite good but it was a small portion at least for the 175 Norwegian kroner that it cost (about 22 USD). The croquet of cod was also very good – they seemed to be freshly made and were both hot and fluffy in consistency but I would have enjoyed to taste more of the cod in these fish balls. It was served with some Norwegian cured ham and leeks. Nikki had the last portion of mussels and they were huge compared to the ones that we can get a hold of in the store – and they came with a good sauce made from white wine, herbs and garlic. She also had some sushi rolls that were also approved.
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All in all I was quite pleased with the meal and I would love to try a larger meal here one time. The portions that we had were quite small and they cost from 125 to 175 Norwegian kroner. As a Norwegian I guess I should not complain about prices of wine but I was a bit shocked when Nikki’s small glass of red wine cost 125 Kroner (16 USD) – it was not an amazing wine in any way. Check out Straen Fiskerestaurant if you want some seafood in a historic setting – the dishes are not innovative in any way but you get some good and solid flavors. Check out for more information.
Gard – trip reports and pictures
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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Starbucks coffee–now also in Stavanger!

I guess it should not be a big thing – but for a small town like Stavanger it is big news when Starbucks comes to town. I started hearing about this a year back and they were able to get a great location in the middle of town with access from Torget (the city square). After a bit of back and forth the opening took place in May 2015 and I stopped by to check it out a couple of days after it opened. The coffee shop has opened in what used to be a bank. This part of the building used to be where all the bank boxes were located and Starbucks have used this as a theme for the place. On your way in you can see parts of the locks for the vault, there is a big red vault door and they have kept some of the green bank safety deposit boxes.

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If you want to check out what Starbucks coffee Norway serves you should check out their homepage. I’m not really crazy about their coffee to be honest. We had an Americano that was pretty tasteless, the espresso con panna was served with a whipped cream that didn’t last long and the caffe moccha didn’t have a proper coffee taste. But I do love their frappuccino but then again that is more of a dessert and not coffee. If you come to Stavanger there are other coffee shops that can provide better coffee – try e.g. Coffeeberry or Bluebird. But I think it is good to see that big brands are also finding their way to Stavanger.

Gard – trip reports and pictures

Photo 28.05.15, 19.40.39 Photo 28.05.15, 19.47.08