A huge bowl of mussels steamed in white wine on a lazy summer's day beside the harbour in Henningsvær, or light and crispy cod tongues amidst the howl of a winter storm; the Fiskekrogen restaurant in Henningsvær is the perfect place for excellent food in stunningly beautiful surroundings.

A fish pioneer

Fiskekrogen has been here for a quarter of a century. When it opened, fish restaurants were relatively unknown in Lofoten — fish was what you ate at home. If you went out for dinner, meat was what you wanted. This traditional restaurant is right on the harbour at Henningsvær, an exceptionally beautiful fishing village whose main thoroughfare is its busy harbour.

'Inedible fish'

'Taking fish to Lofoten' is what they say in the north when they mean that something is superfluous. And Lofoten really does have a surfeit of fish, which we suppose could make you a bit fussy. Monkfish (anglerfish) and wolffish aren't exactly the most attractive fish to look at, although, like most of us, they are much nicer on the inside. So it used to be common custom to throw them back into the sea. However, Sepp Perger, the legendary chef at the old Fiskekrogen restaurant in Tromsø, discovered that these varieties of fish actually tasted wonderful, and brought the 'inedible fish' into restaurant kitchens. Ever since then, Fiskekrogen in Henningsvær has followed up that tradition and serves these firm, tasty fish varieties in a number of interesting and imaginative ways.

Two tonnes of mussels

Mussels, which were traditionally used as bait in Northern Norway, are a huge summer favourite. Else Marie Larsen, manager of Fiskekrogen, had to double-check with her supplier, but yes, she did actually buy two tonnes of mussels from him last year. Steamed in white wine with cream and herbs, they taste of summer by the sea — whether that's summer of the warm, sunny variety, or summer of the damp, chilly variety. The seafood platter is another favourite. There is always fish stock ready for making fish soup, and the fish soup at Fiskekrogen is famous. In summer, during the whaling season, even whale meat makes it onto the menu.

Winter food

During the Lofoten Fishery, Fiskekrogen is busy with winter tourists, fish buyers and locals. The traditional mølja is quite common up here, but cod tongues are a favourite with everyone. At Fiskekrogen, they are served breaded and fried with remoulade, potatoes and cucumber salad — home-cooked, but with that little extra something. Halibut makes regular appearances on the menu in winter, and is usually served steamed with a cream sauce and vegetables. The most popular dish of all, however, is probably boknafesk, a semi-dried fish with a concentrated taste and firm consistency, served here with bacon, boiled potatoes and creamed peas.

Visiting Fiskekrogen

Fiskekrogen is open most of the year, and in summer it's a good idea to book a table in advance.