Stavanger, Norway

Photo: Restaurant RE-NAA

Home-cured speck. Buckling and almond potato. A milk bun. Quail “Milanese” covered with crispy smoked quinoa. Grilled “on the bone” monkfish. Reindeer from Røros with blueberry mole. A buckwheat and chocolate tart. Are you drooling yet?

These are just a few of the dishes that you might be served during tonight’s dinner. There are between 20 and 22 of them. Most of their ingredients are sourced from the sea and the fjords, the forests and the mountains within 30 miles. Wines are paired so perfectly that they seem obvious instead of well considered. While the service is so relaxed and friendly—it kind of has to be with zero separation between the tables and the kitchen—that it’s easy to forget you’re in a restaurant that just received its second Michelin star.

Welcome to Restaurant RE-NAA. The modern Scandinavian restaurant is the vision of Sven Erik Renaa. The Norwegian chef helmed kitchens in both his own country and New York City before opening his own spot in Stavanger. RE-NAA received its first Michelin star in 2016 and maintained it for a few years. Then the restaurant moved. It stayed in Norway’s third-largest metropolitan area but reopened in the Eilert Smith Hotel. The change was risky. It paid off, though. Last month, RE-NAA became the first Norwegian restaurant outside of Oslo to earn a second Michelin star.

Photo: Eilert Smith Hotel

The experience starts with your arrival at the Eilert Smith in Old Stavanger, the historic center of the modern city. The functional building near the waterfront is relatively new. It was built in 1937 as a warehouse for local farmers; wooden buildings from the 18th century surround it. A few years ago, it was turned into a boutique hotel named after the original, local architect. Eleven rooms were indidivually shaped and designed. They’re full of natural blonde wood and locally made furniture. While heated floors, kitchenettes stocked with beer and wine, and vinyl record players ensure that you’ll feel right at home.

In the morning, you can make coffee in the Nespresso machine. Breakfast from Xpress RE-NAA is delivered to your room in a little wooden box. You’ll devour the sourdough bread. Plus there’s a small bar with an impressive cocktail list in the lobby. It’s the perfect spot to get you excited about dinner or end the meal with one last digestif. Let the delicious evening begin.

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