Preservation Order

If you associate contemporary Scandinavian dining with cloudberries, minimalist tableware and breathtakingly expensive menus, you'll find the Pingvinen (Penguin) restaurant in Bergen, Norway, a refreshing departure from form. Tucked into a corner of Bergen's university district, the year-old gastropub trades on unpretentious local fare, done the way it used to be. "People come in here and eat my food and you can see they get nostalgic," says 38-year-old chef Alma Valle. "They want to talk about it."

Before Norway became one of the world's wealthiest nations on the strength of its North Sea oil reserves, it was a...

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