Sky-high ambitions in Northern Norway

Eva-Linda Ramnestedt wants to give people in Tromsø a feeling of what it is like to visit a Michelin-starred restaurant. 

On June 26th 2017 White Guide Nordic released the 2017-18 edition. One of the great surprises in the new edition was the newly opened Restaurant Smak, located in Tromsø. Restaurant Smak had only been open for about three months at the time when the new edition was released.

It was however already ranked the 15th best restaurant in Norway.

We spoke to CEO Eva-Linda Ramnestedt before the restaurant opened on March 15th 2017.

Inspired by the best

On paper, Eva-Linda Ramnestedt is the CEO of the newly opened Restaurant Smak in Tromsø. But Eva-Linda does not use the title herself. After all, a title like “CEO” indicates that you are above someone else.

“I’m Eva-Linda, nothing else,” she said.

The talkative Swede has many years of experience working as a waiter. Together with her husband, the chef Espen Ramnestedt, she has visited restaurants everywhere in the world. When the couple opened their own restaurant in Bodø in 2010, they took on inspiration from the best. They wanted to offer something new to the region.

“When we first came to Bodø, we didn’t dare to tell everyone that we served oxtail. Instead we called it a type of burger. But many has later said that they had their first great restaurant experience when they visited us. I live for things like that. It is fun to give great experiences to someone else,” Eva-Linda said.

Finding the right place

The years in Bodø showed them that it was fully possible to run a gourmet restaurant in Northern Norway. The only problem was the size of the restaurant.

“The restaurant did well, but it was a bit too big. The kitchen was too far away. We wanted to have an open kitchen, but we were not given permission,” Eva-Linda said.

In 2015 Eva-Linda and Espen travelled further up north, to Lofoten, to try their luck there. They wanted to open a hotel and a restaurant, but the size and look of the place was not right this time either. In Tromsø they finally found the right place.

“It is much smaller, and the guests have a view to the open kitchen. Vi want to create a warm atmosphere, and a restaurant where people feel that they are at home,” said Eva-Linda.

A taste of the world

When Restaurant Smak was located in Bodø, it was ranked as one of the best in Norway. Great reviews and talk about a star in the Michelin guide was not unusual.

“In Bodø we were spoiled and almost always fully booked. People knew what to expect,” Eva-Linda said.

The beginning of the new Restaurant Smak in Tromsø has been humble, but the ambitions are still sky-high and the quality of the produce is as great as before. Everything is based on fresh ingredients, and the restaurant changes the menu every second week.

“We want to give people a feeling of what it is like to visit a Michelin-starred restaurant, a type of place where you forget about time and everyday worries. It is important that people can have these experiences, also here in Tromsø,” Eva-Linda said.

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