Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hall toll

Update 26/07/2012: if you want a more recent review, you could check this article. It is from another blog about Stavanger restaurants.

Hall toll is a famous bar / night club in Stavanger but something that is less well known is that this place is also a pretty nice restaurant.

The restaurant is located on the harbour but a bit further towards the sea and less "central Stavanger". It is a really good spot in summer to see the sunset.

About the name and the icon, I have to say that the building where Hall Toll is located seems to be an old house for customs ("toll" means customs in Norwegian). So Hall Toll basically means the hall of the customs. The funny thing is when you pronounce it, we cannot know if you mean Hall Toll, or "Halv tolv" (which means 11:30), or even "Halv toll" (half of the customs building ?). They redesigned the customs traditional icon so that the lion holds a fork and a glass instead of an axe (I would not have dared to do so in France for example).

The restaurant is a bit more expensive than the other restaurants I have reviewed here but the food is good. We also had a good surprise to get some olives and small dry sausages before the meal.

Three of us had fish and one meat. Both were really nice, well presented and the service was really nice.

The interior was really nice but I have heard they changed it completely and have not been there since then.

All in all, not a restaurant I would go to every day (a bit too formal and expensive for me) but a very good on-occasion-restaurant.

Bølgen & Moi

This restaurant is somehow a new discovery for me. It was recommended to me by a friend and I have been there several times since then.

First of all, the restaurant is located in the same building as the oil museum. So generally a good place to go before or after visiting this museum.

Then, I have to say that this restaurant has been evolving since I first went there. In the past, this restaurant was a bit more for business men or at least for formal evenings. It tends to become more and more informal / family oriented and I think it is a good thing as the museum does attract many families.

The interior is elegant and it must be really nice to sit by the window (or outside) when it is sunny.

Before the meals come, you will be served some bread. Nothing particular except that in the past the bread was too salty (at least the top of the bread was covered by salt, which looked nice but did not taste good). They have changed this and the bread is now good. The sauce that comes with the bread is also really nice.

Above is the Entrecôte sandwich, one of the best presented sandwich I have ever had. The fries are also pretty good. Otherwise, the restaurant proposes a sanwdich of the day and a soup of the day and you can even get half a portion of each.

Here is a meat dish I had. It tasted really good, especially the sauce and the mushrooms. I tried once their coq-au-vin, a French recipe and it was pretty good.

Here their apple crumble with ice cream. Tasted nice but I would have expected a bit more crumble.

PS: since this review, I have been there several times. We tried their fish soup once which was good and once their soup of the day was a crab soup with shrimps and fennel and it was lovely. The children menu includes a burger, a pizza, some grilled chicken and some ice cream. Children around us seem to enjoy it.

PS2: I forgot to mention 1 little thing about the service. It is a bit slow. I have seen several times people simply giving up at the entrance of the restaurant (too long to get seated) and some of the reviews on the internet do pinpoint the fact that it can take a long time to be served. So yes, if you are in a hurry, you may consider another restaurant; otherwise, just relax, and enjoy the view on the sea if possible :)


Renaa is actually not 1 restaurant but 3:
- Renaa: Matbaren ("the food bar"), upstairs is the informal place to eat and this is the place I am going to review here
- Renaa: Restauranten ("the restaurant"), downstairs for some real sophisticated cuisine experience. I am not going to review it here now but I did eat there once and had a lovely evening
- Renaa: Xpress, the new one, not on the photo above. I cannot comment on it as I have not tried it yet

Just before I begin, I would like to say that 'aa' in Norwegian is the equivalent of 'å', which is the equivalent of the English 'o'. So please refrain from pronouncing it "Renaaaaaa" with a long 'a', and please pronounce it "Reno" like the car brand "Renault" (actually more like the surname Renault but anyway).

The matbaren is generally a good compromise for people who want to have nice food but can't afford the price of Renaa: Restauranten (or are simply looking for something more informal).

Something I really like in the matbaren, is the menu of the day. You will generally have the choice between the fish of the day, the meat of the day and the soup of the day (either as a main dish or as a starter).

Above was the meat of the day I ordered. The meat was good, the small chorizo pieces (difficult to spot on the photos) were excellent but I found the beans a little bit hard. They may have been better a bit more cooked.

My wife had the fish of the day and really enjoyed it. I think this restaurant is really serving good fish.

We then had 2 desserts. Both were good and were offering a nice culinary experience: 3 different chocolates below and strawberry ice cream + strawberry coulis above.

The service is generally very nice and the prices are in my opinion below Stavanger's average for meals outside the ordinary burger/salad/sandwich.


Egon is not the kind of restaurant I would generally review here. A bit too "family/easy-going", a bit too much of a "chain restaurant". However I have to admit that Egon in Stavanger has managed to overcome this status.

First of all Egon is situated next to the fish market, which in my opinion is a good thing. Less crowded that on the other side of the harbour and the perfect place to have lunch before or after visiting the old Stavanger district.

The menu is wide and I am impressed by the fact they have menus in Japanese. My wife ordered some salmon as seen above and liked it. Not the best salmon ever, but pretty good. I myself ordered a sandwich and really appreciated it.

The good thing about Egon is that it is really all about family. Contrary to other restaurants where you may wonder if it is OK or not to bring children, here you may wonder if it is OK or not NOT to bring children. There is a small play room with TV and video games (personally I am 100% against letting my son mix TV/video game and meal time but for those who are not it is nice to have). They have air balloons and some pretty cute children meals as shown below (salmon too, not too bad compared to my wife's salmon).

Another thing I really enjoy about Egon in Stavanger is the decoration. Entering the restaurant is a bit like entering Ali Baba cave or some sort of Stavanger history museum. I particularly like their lamps and their photos of old Stavanger.

Just a small thing I did not really like is the pizza buffet. Only two sorts of pizzas, generally too hot when they arrived and quickly gone after that. I would not recommend it.

To sum up, Egon is not the restaurant you would go to if you want to eat some fancy Norwegian cuisine but is a nice place for family or even group of friends who want to have lunch/dinner in an unformal atmosphere. The staff in Stavanger has impressed me so far, being really polite and nice.


I am a bit nostalgic while writing this review as I was going quite often to this restaurant when I first moved to Norway.

Something that surprised me the first time I went there was that everyone around me had ordered the fish soup. Well, I do know now that this is because they have a really good fish soup, maybe one of the best in Stavanger. My friends who tried it when they visited me are still talking to me about it.

Something else that I particularly like in this restaurant is the way they are cooking vegetables that are presented with the meat dishes. Cooked perfectly with some kind of meat/wine sauce... Difficult to describe but I have seldomly liked my vegetables that much

The restaurant is really central, in one of those 2 main restaurant streets of Stavanger. As most restaurants there, this restaurant is also a bar / restaurant with light meals. You can get for example a salad, a hamburger, ... but I don't think there is anything particularly good there. Good food but simple and a bit "as usual".

Also, I was a bit disappointed by their traditional Norwegian Christmas food. Not bad but not the best in Stavanger.

As I don't want to finish on a negative note for such a nice restaurant, I would like to say that the staff is really nice and the decoration original. The restaurant is not too much children-friendly (not so much space for strollers, tables are a bit small too) but it is not impossible to eat there with children. If you plan to eat there, I advise you to book a table. In normal time, this restaurant can be quite full.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sunday buffet - Part3: Alanya

**** Update 19/05/2012 ****
I have just been told that Alanya will not offer Sunday buffet anymore. That was a sad news. I let the review here just for information purpose.

The third part of this Sunday buffets review will feature a restaurant that is a little less well-known than the other two but in my opinion a good alternative: Alanya.

(the restaurant may be difficult to spot: the entrance is on the right of the picture but the restaurant itself is located between Søstrene Grene and Vierdal Avokatfirma AS)
The restaurant is named after a city in Turkey and people having been living in Stavanger for a long time will generally tell you about a fire that took place there. In 2006 the whole building took fire but today the restaurant is beautiful and you will not see any trace of fire.

If you don't really know the Turkish cuisine, the Sunday buffet is a good way to discover it. You will find a wide choice of starters and generally 3-4 main dishes and 3-4 side dishes (rice, fries, calamar rings, potatoes...). As dessert, the buffet includes some fresh fruits.

Something really nice about this buffet is that all the dishes are presented with a small tag giving the name of the dish as well as its composition.

Every time I have been there, they had a varied choice of main dishes (lamb/chicken and fish for example). Those dishes are not always the same, so can go there several times without getting bored of them.
I have composed two plates to give you an idea of what you can eat:

As I am not an expert of Turkish cuisine, it is difficult for me to really comment about the quality of the food but I personally enjoy it. I find the restaurant beautiful, the staff nice and warm and the food is varied and original. A definitive recommendation, especially if you don't know the Turkish cuisine and are not afraid to taste something you are not used to.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sunday buffet - Part2: Mikado

Another restaurant to propose a buffet on Sunday is Mikado, a Chinese/Japanese restaurant near Magasinblaa.

The buffet is composed of Chinese dishes, Japanese sushi and a variety of desserts.

Let's begin with the chinese part. There are generally 3 fried dishes (sweet sour pork, deep fried scampi and another one) and 3 -4 other dishes, for example, meat balls, a curry-base meal and some satay skewers. As side dish, you can get fried rice or fried noodles. I think there was some white rice once but I did not find it last time I was there.

There is also some soup, not always the same (I think they alternate between Pekin soup and Won ton soup). So, the choice is quite wide. The quality is not bad either but I would not go as far as saying that I am impressed by the food. It is good, but not overwhelming.

Concerning the Japanese sushi, I must admit that it is better than expected. Many sushi places I know that are hold by Chinese people are really not that good but in Mikado the sushi is well made. Even my wife who is Japanese enjoys it :) The choice is also good and they are quick to refill the ones missing.

Other than that, you will find some salads and some nicely presented smoked salmon

Finally, if you are still not full with all this, you can aim to the dessert part composed of various cakes, fruid salad and puddings. Coffee/tea is included in the buffet

All in all, Mikado is a good alternative for a Sunday buffet, especially because of the choice. It is also the only buffet presented here that includes dessert and coffee/tea. On a side note, the restaurant is difficult to access for strollers or people on wheelchairs. For children, a popular activity is to go watch the several fish the restaurant has (even had som lobsters in the past).

Sunday buffet - Part1: Akropolis

Several restaurants in Stavanger offer a buffet on Sunday. I decided to gather some info here as I never saw any compilation or list of restaurants that propose it.

Let me begin with the well-known greek restaurant Akropolis. The buffet offers a great variety of dish.

On the "starters" table, you can get:
- a mushroom soup with bread/garlic toast
- a vegetable salad and feta cheese
- some vine leaves (many people don't know what it is and don't try it. I don't love it but I like to have some when I go there)
- some fried vegetables (peppers, eggplants, ... I really like it)
- some home made tsatsiki
- some kind of spicy tomato puree

On the "main dishes" table, you can get:
- 2 kind of moussaka (I think 1 is moussaka and the other is lasagna but I am not sure)
- some gyros meat (kind of meat you get in kebab/greek/turkish sandwich)
- some nicely spiced grilled chiken
- rice/small pasta that look like rice (I also like it)/calamar rings

For children, you also have french fries and sausages.

I am sorry but I could not get photos of the buffet as many people were there last time I was there. In stead I took some pictures of some plates I have composed from different components of the buffet:

All in all, a good buffet, a nice variety and the restaurant decoration makes the customer feel he is in Greece (especially upstairs). On the + side, we also find some original dishes I haven't seen otherwise in Stavanger (vine leaves, small pasta that look like rice). The soup is highly appeciated when the weather is cold and rainy, and when the weather is warm, the vegetable salad is nice. On the - side, I would say this buffet is rich in meat, so vegetarians, or people who like fish better may not be satisfied with the choice.