Home Blog 14 of the Best Nordic Food Experiences

14 of the Best Nordic Food Experiences

Friday, 24th November 2023

Will Gray

arctic europe food cloudberry dish lmb

In the Far North of Europe, food is as much a part of your Discover the World holiday experience as husky sledding or northern lights watching. Nordic cuisine is not only renowned for its fresh, seasonal ingredients, but you can enjoy some amazing travel experiences while trying it! Here are 14 of our favourite, tried-and-tested culinary adventures…

1. Chef’s Table at the Veranda, Icehotel, Sweden

Intimate and exclusive, this 12-course food experience at Swedish Lapland’s Icehotel is inspired by the eight seasons of the indigenous Sami people. After a welcome drink, you are invited to sit down at a large wooden larch table while two chefs prepare exquisite dishes using local ingredients such as Arctic char, reindeer, wild mushrooms and cloudberries. The tasting menu is embellished by the chefs’ fascinating insights into the food and its preparation, as well as tales about Sami culture and history. From late June to the end of August, the Icehotel also offers a unique Artistic Table for up to six guests, where a private chef serves seasonal delicacies at a decorated ice table set up in a forest glade. The Icehotel Restaurant, meanwhile, has a mouth-watering Ice Menu with gourmet treats like smoked ptarmigan and reindeer with chocolate sauce, all beautifully presented with the cold dishes served on plates of crystal-clear ice.

Experience it for yourself: Chef’s Table at the Veranda

swedish lapland icehotel sushi chefs table veranda restaurant

2. Wilderness Dinner, Icehotel, Sweden

Head out into the wild woods of Swedish Lapland, travelling by boat or minibus, to enjoy a three-course dinner served at a secluded wilderness camp and inspired by the flavours of the current season. From September through to March/April, your culinary experience might be spiced up with a display of the northern lights.

3. Ice Fishing

Throughout Nordic Europe during winter you will see people crouched over holes in frozen lakes or the ice-bound sea, dangling baited lines into the water below. Ice fishing is a wonderful way to spend an hour or two relaxing outside, revelling in the peace and pristine scenery of Europe’s Far North. Several lodges offer ice fishing excursions, providing everything you need from tackle and bait to a thick reindeer pelt to sit on. You’ll travel into the frozen wilderness by snowmobile (or snowmobile-pulled sleigh) and learn from your guide how to drill a hole in the thick ice. A lunch of fish soup or (if you’re lucky) freshly grilled fish is prepared over a camp fire.

finnish lapland ice fishing inari whs

4. King crab fishing in Northern Norway

Equally memorable, we can arrange a king crab safari in Norway’s Finnmark region where you’ll be checking baited pots for giant crustaceans measuring up to 1.8m across – they’re delicious with freshly-baked bread, mayonnaise and perhaps a glass of white wine.

5. Aanaar Restaurant, Wilderness Hotel Juutua, Finland

The latest addition to the Wilderness Hotel portfolio in Finnish Lapland, Juutua is becoming well-known for its award-winning cuisine. Located 350km north of the Arctic Circle, the hotel’s stylish Aanaar Restaurant serves imaginative dishes unique to Lapland, using ingredients such as angelica (a herb traditionally used by the Sami people), whitefish, pike and trout from Lake Inari, and reindeer, crowberries and blueberries from the forest. Some dishes are infused with aromas of smoked lichen, or accompanied by delicious fresh juices flavoured with heather, cranberry and birch.

Experience it for yourself: Juutua Wilderness Adventure

northern norway king crab safari havila

6. Aurora Hideaway Dinner, Brandon Lodge, Sweden

When the Gulf of Bothnia in northern Sweden freezes over, Brandon Lodge becomes a hub for winter activities, from hovercraft tours to husky sledding. Blending adventure with a wilderness dining experience, the Aurora Hideaway Dinner starts with a snowmobile sled ride out onto the frozen sea. Your destination is a small wooden hut with a cosy log fire inside, and a candlelit table set for dinner. A warming soup is followed by a main course prepared by your guide over an open fire outside. With luck, your dinner will be rounded off with an extra treat – the northern lights dancing overhead.

7. Dinner on Ice, Brandon Lodge, Sweden

We also love Brandon Lodge’s atmospheric Dinner on Ice. Walking a few hundred metres along a flare-lit avenue laid out across the frozen sea, you reach a cluster of large lavvu tents glowing with candelabras and crackling fires. Inside are beautifully set tables and benches covered with reindeer pelts – the perfect ambience for your meal. A typical three-course dinner might include mushroom soup with smoked salmon and truffle oil, reindeer fillet with lingonberry sauce and Swedish potato cakes, followed a meringue-wrapped bilberry pie.

8. Forest foraging at the Treehotel, Sweden

You’d expect Sweden’s Treehotel to have a strong connection to the forest – and that extends from its innovative treehouses to its activities and cuisine. Led by local guide and wild food connoisseur Eva Gunnare, a two-hour foraging walk in the pine and birch forests is a rewarding way to learn about local flavours and search for edible plants. The excursion culminates in a special ‘fika’ – a traditional coffee or tea break, with something sweet on the side. The restaurant at the Treehotel is also steeped in local, seasonal ingredients

9. Bergen Fish Market, Norway

Dating from the 1200s, this vibrant, colourful market is both social hub and foodie heaven. Piled with seafood, fruit and vegetables, the outdoor section is open all summer from early May. Browse the stalls and try crab sandwiches, fish cakes, reindeer hotdogs and other snacks. Don’t miss sampling the various types of caviar. You might also see whale meat on sale, but we recommend giving that a miss.

Experience it for yourself: Norwegian Fjord Highlights

norway bergen fish market detail istk

10. Michelin Star restaurants

Nordic Europe has no shortage of Michelin stars. At the last count, the Michelin Guide listed 96 in Denmark, 28 in Finland, 110 in Iceland, 48 in Norway and 70 in Sweden. Only four, however, boast three Michelin stars – Noma and Geranium (both in Copenhagen), Maaemo (Oslo) and Frantzén (Stockholm). Newly awarded restaurants include Palace in Helsinki and ÓX in Reykjavik. Whichever you choose, expect creative, perfectly executed dishes prepared by some of the world’s most exciting chefs.

11. Hotel Rangá, Iceland

Out in the countryside, about 90 minutes’ drive southeast from Reykjavik, Hotel Rangá treats its guests to outstanding cuisine. Inspired by fresh, local ingredients, its restaurant has a ‘farmers’ market’ concept. Menus are modern Nordic in style – prepare to be wowed by beautifully presented dishes of seriously fresh seafood; herby, mountain-reared lamb, and a flavour explosion of Icelandic wild mushrooms, berries and herbs.

Experience it for yourself: Northern Lights Special

hotel ranga gourmet dining2

12. Hotel Húsafell, Iceland

With large picture windows framing panoramic views of the fells of West Iceland, Hotel Húsafell’s contemporary restaurant fuses organic Icelandic produce, wild-foraged ingredients and Asian food culture to produce an exciting dining experience. A typical main course might include ginger-glazed salmon with an oolong rice crust, Skyr miso sauce, salmon roe and pickled angelica seeds.

13. Tundra to Table, Greenland

Quark Expeditions’ small-ship voyages to Greenland on the Ultramarine feature a superb array of activities, from sea kayaking to heli-hiking using the ship’s onboard choppers – but it’s the Tundra to Plate experience that will titillate your tastebuds. Hosted by Inuit chefs, this on-ship adventure immerses guests in local culture and culinary traditions. You’ll sample Inuit fusion dishes such as honey-glazed ptarmigan, pickled halibut and beer-braised muskox served with mushroom sauce and berry jam – all against a backdrop of Inuit storytelling.

Experience it for yourself: South Greenland Expedition Voyage

greenland inuit cuisine vg

14. Havila Coastal Voyage

Launched in 2022, the Havila fleet is the most sustainable and eco-friendly to sail the Norwegian Fjords. Its chefs take you on a culinary voyage, creating delicious Nordic cuisine with strong local provenance. For a special treat, book a table at the Hildring restaurant where the five-course signature menu might include king crab from Varanger, scallops from Hitra and rack of lamb from Dovrefjell.

Experience it for yourself: Havila Norwegian Coastal Voyage

norway coastal voyage dining havila

Feeling inspired?

Speak to our team about the foodie delights you can add into any tailor made Nordic holiday from unusual taste experiences to nightly fine dining. Or browse more about food and wine holidays.

Get in touch with our Travel Specialists 01737 214 250 or you can send an enquiry.