You may not expect to find an impeccable upscale restaurant in the middle of absolutely nowhere, but that's what »Huset« is. Housed in a white nondescript building at the southern end of Longyearbyen – literally a few feet from where the safe zone ends and polar bear territory begins – the restaurant will get you a surreal yet stunningly awesome experience.
There are two parts to it. First, the surroundings. Longyearbyen is a cold and tiny, tiny place right in the middle of Barents Sea not too far from the north pole, with barren mountains lined with old, abandoned structures from a mining era long gone. Add a sun that never sets during summer, creating infinite daytime, and everything feels like the very opposite of being in a multi-million skyscraper metropolis.
Second, the food. It's delicious. The staff, providing excellent levels of service, will guide you through a multi-course set menu along with a range of wine options from a cellar stocked with 25,000 bottles. The only food related thing giving away the fact that you are dining on a very, very remote island is the odd logistical hiccup. Yesterday evening the waiter apologized and said the cauliflowers hadn't made the morning flight and was being swapped for broccoli. The stand-ins were absolutely delicious, though.
Getting to »Huset« is pretty much a three-part affair. Catch a flight to Longyearbyen, board the airport coach and be sure to let the driver know at what hotel you want to get off, then go for a walk (weather permitting) in a southern direction along either side of the valley until you reach the white building housing the restaurant. It's an easy 30 minute trek from most hotels in downtown Longyearbyen.
And be sure not to overshoot. Venturing south of »Huset« will get you outside the safe zone and into the off-city limits where polar bears roam. Ask your hotel for a map with clear indications on where the safe zone borders are. You do want to stay safe.
- Huset – official website