Nuuk, Greenland

Photo: Oliver Schauf (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Oliver Schauf (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
What are your dinner plans this week? Hopefully not leftovers. You could order Italian, Chinese, or Mexican food like usual. You might go out for a Greek, Argentinian, or Egyptian meal. Or you could try something completely different. How about Greenlandic cuisine?

The best place to try Greenlandic food is Greenland, of course. While right now, during the short summer months, is the best time to visit. Meat, fish, and shellfish are always available. But during the brief growing season, fresh herbs and vegetables are abundant, as well. Add an innovative chef and a seven-course tasting menu for a meal well worth the long travel time.

Once you arrive in Reykjavík, Iceland, Nuuk is only another three-hour flight away. Greenland’s capital and largest city sits on the west coast along the Labrador Sea. It’s known for its stunning location with Sermitsiaq mountain on one side and Nuup Kangerlua fjord on the other. The red Nuuk Cathedral is visible from everywhere in the city. The Greenland National Museum, the Katuaq cultural center, and the Nuuk Art Museum lure visitors to this remote location. While whale watching, hiking, and skiing are just steps aways.

Photo: Hotel Hans Egede
Photo: Hotel Hans Egede

But you’re here to eat. Your dinner reservation is in Hotel Hans Egede, Nuuk’s largest hotel. Sarfalik means “a gathering place” in Greenlandic, and Restaurant Sarfalik has become a gathering place for both locals and visitors. Chef Björn Johansson, who is originally from Sweden, has built close relationships with local hunters and fishermen, farmers and brewers. By doing so, he has to import less from abroad and challenge himself more.

You opt for the local, seven-course tasting menu with wine pairings. A new interpretation of Vichyssoise, and whale and scallops from the fjord arrive first. The leg and the heart of a musk ox have been marinated and are served with musk-ox mayonnaise. Tempered trout, with lobster and angelica root, quickly becomes your favorite dish of the night. You’re taking deep breaths by the time pigeon, with salt-baked celery and a red-white reduction, are set in front of you. The wines—from Alsace Gewürztraminers to Carneros Pinot Noirs to Mendoza Malbecs—are certainly not from Greenland, though they match the food quite well. While every technique, from pâté and powder to mousse and sherbet, has been used to create the chocolate and raspberry dessert.

After dinner, move to the Skyline Bar. The hotel’s fifth-floor bar has views of the city, the fjord, and the mountain. A pianist plays vaguely familiar tunes. Plus Greenland Brewhouse’s brown and pale ales are served in icy bottles. You grab a drink, sit facing the windows, and try to remember each course that you ate tonight. You don’t want to forget one bite of that memorable meal.

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