Restaurants

Although major cities like Oslo, Bergen, and Stavanger have many options, there's less variety in more rural areas. Pizza restaurants are very popular, particularly in the south, and often offer the best value for money. Chains like Peppes and Dolly Dimples have outlets throughout the country. Norwegians usually eat their dinner, or middag, as soon as they get home from work (4 pm is not unusual). Reservations are required for the most sought-after restaurants in major cities, and during the extremely busy period between mid-November and Christmas, but are not usually necessary otherwise. It is generally much cheaper to eat out at lunchtime than in the evening, as many establishments have good value lunch menus. That said, most restaurants outside of major cities are not open for lunch.

Although not widely known abroad, Norwegian food is surprisingly tasty and varied. Fish, as one would expect from a country with such a long coastline, is a strong component of the Norwegian diet, with cod a particular favorite. The latter appears in many dishes, including lutefisk, a traditional Christmas dish (usually eaten with a dash of aquavit, or schnapps). Shellfish is also excellent—from prawns to lobster, the choice is ample, and the kongekrabbe, or giant crab, is a much-prized local specialty. Game is another specialty in season; make sure you try moose or reindeer if you get the chance. And do seek out the Lofoten lamb (free-range lamb reared on the Lofoten archipelago in the north). Last but not least, leave room for dessert—the pastries, from boller to skolebrød, are delicious, as are the many different breads.

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