Eat Here: Cornelius, BergenBy Iona Goulder
There’s something about Cornelius that goes beyond just what’s on the plate. And it’s special whether you’re a fish lover or not.
You are never too far from water in Bergen. This is why a trip to Cornelius, one of Norway’s best seafood restaurants, is a must when visiting the city. Cornelius is amazingly situated right by the sea on a small island – you need a boat to get there – with spectacular views of the fjords. A meal at Cornelius feels almost otherworldly, and with a meteorological-inspired menu, it’s such a special place that has become a destination in itself.
The Lowdown: Cornelius
Needless to say, this isn’t a quick in-and-out dinner. This is a full-on sensory experience and it’s clear from the first scallop that this team know what they’re doing. It’s hardly a surprise that the owner is from a famous family in Bergen.
Alf Roald (who wanders around the tables to chat to diners as they eat) and his family have been fish farmers for years and fish, of course, is at the heart of what the restaurant offers. How many other restaurants have you been to where the owner himself caught the fish you’re eating that morning?
What to Eat: Cornelius
A five-course menu at Cornelius has been designed to give you a flavour of the Nordic sea; from the foraged seaweed butter served with bread to the raw hand-caught scallops, home-smoked salmon and fresh cod. For something a bit different, you can also try the new RAWbar. Here you’ll be introduced to new species of fish in a unique 30-minute session in which every dish is carefully prepared by chefs with a genuine passion for seafood and local produce. This is also a good option for those who don’t want to stretch to the full five-course experience.
The glass-fronted building itself makes for an enchanting setting to experience each dish. As we ate, mist sank over the fjord creating a dramatic setting for the fishing boat rocking in front of us. Looking out, you feel as if you’re floating.
After some delicious crusty bread and foraged seaweed butter, we had our first fish plate: raw cod and salmon with micro herbs and shaved apple. It was a sensational entrée into Alf’s world of local fish. This was followed by delicious hand-caught scallops served in their shells, before a sizable piece of cod – cooked to perfection – accompanied with potatoes, salmon roe and parsnip shavings. For dessert, a light sorbet was served with rhubarb, crumble clusters and baby mint leaves. The menu offers a wine menu that pairs wines to experience with each course, but they also have an enviable wine list (and enormous cellar) for those after a special bottle to enjoy at your own pace. Alf is also very enthusiastic about his wine collection, and is gladly on hand to advise and offer suggestions.
The Verdict: Cornelius
From the boat that pulls away from Bergen’s beautiful Bryggen and seeing the mountains and sea join on the fjord’s horizon, to arriving at the glass structure perched on the island and eating a curated selection of ingredients that were found practically beneath where you’re sitting, Cornelius is more than just a restaurant, it’s an unforgettable experience.
Address: Katlavika 14, 5177 Bjørøyhamn, Norway
For further information on Cornelius, see here.
Photo credit: Visit Norway