Renaa Matbaren–still a great option for a meal!
It has been almost 2 years since Renaa took over both Jans and Craigs Kjøkken and created Renaa Matbaren and Renaa Restauranten. Matbaren is the more informal hangout spot while Restauranten has replaced Jans as a fine dining and gourmet restaurant. I was invited to the opening a couple of years back (as you can see here) but after that I have been back a number of time – after all Stavanger is a small place and there are not that many restaurants to choose from ;-)
This is just a few words about Renaa Matbaren which I have checked out many times. First of all: the good news is that it seems like the place is going really good and most days when I have been there it is always crowded. We have just popped in a few time in connection with going to the movies and it is not always easy getting a table – so if you want to make sure to get a seat, make a reservation! We stopped by there on a weekday before going to the movies and as I had gotten recommendations from Thanks for the food blog about the hamburger I decided to go for that. The setup at Renaa is quite cool – the menu, cutlery, glasses, menu and butter is already laid out on the table so when you sit down you can just start looking at the menu which is both in Norwegian and English. Well done guys! Their menu also varies a bit and I have attached the menu for evening – for some reason I took a photo of the Norwegian version – my bad. But it contains smaller portions like oysters, or local blue mussels, or mozzarella with Parma ham and local tomatoes and basil, beef tartar etc. Other larger options are tagine, homemade sausages and also a variety of barbeque stuff. They actually have a coal barbeque in the kitchen where they fry up burgers, meat and fish.
I went for the burger as I mentioned and in this place they actually ask you how you want the burger fried, that does not happen very often in Stavanger. The burger took a while to get served but in the mean time we got some bread and the butter is already on the plate. The burger was served split as you can see on the photo and it was quite a challenge to deal with. It is always a delicate decision – try to eat it in a civilized way with fork and knife OR just put it together and use your hands to dig in. I’m not sure my mouth is big enough so I went for the fork and knife option and the burger was excellent. It was fried to medium as I asked for and it had a great barbeque taste as well (most likely from the coal fired barbeque). On it there were cheese, bacon, large slices of tomato, onion and pickles. And on the side fresh and hot (as in very warm) French fries with two sauces on the side. An excellent meal, presented in a nice way (as nice as you can present a burger I guess) with fresh ingredients and a great taste. So not much to complain about in other words. The burger is 220 Norwegian kroner (about 40 USD).
The second time I went there lately I went there on a Friday evening. It was still early but already full so we had to sit in the bar. Not the best place at least if you want to talk to your company as you are not facing each other and you have the noise from the kitchen. But as you are facing the kitchen it can also be interesting – obviously they are confident in their product if they allow people to look straight into their main operation. I wasn’t that hungry this evening so I just went for a platter of Italian ham and a selection of cheese while my friend went for the fish of the day fried on the barbeque. I think they were a bit busy this evening and they seemed to forget us a bit in terms of serving us e.g. bread. It was also a bit when they came to serve the fish as they brought two portions and I said that I was still waiting for my ham and cheese. But they seemed to handle the challenge pretty well, the fish was sent back to the kitchen and I got my food pretty fast. I love the combination of salami and cheese and this was served in a rustic way…on two wooden boards and with a bit of rocket and honey. The meat and cheese was good but it would have been great to get just a short presentation of what I was actually eating. The salami/ham plate was 185 Norwegian Kroner (33 USD) and 150 Kroner for the cheese (27 USD).
Conclusion is that Renaa Matbaren still works and they still serve some great food in a nice environment. So if you haven’t been there already, there is no reason to not try it out :-) Enjoy.