This blogpost was written by Henrik Norem, Mauricio Monzón del Castillo and Mithila Mehta, first-year MSc in Strategic Marketing Management students at BI
If you’re one of those people who loves food or lives for food (we feel you!) Oslo is a great destination. Whether it is the hip, vibrant hangouts of Grünerløkka, the plethora of restaurants that offer fine dining and luxurious experience or —, there is something for everyone. In this piece, we take you on a culinary journey across Oslo and tell you about ten awesome things to look out for on Oslo’s food scene.
- Tuck into Norwegian food traditions
When in Norway, make sure to get a taste of the traditional Norwegian worker’s diet, such as lamb and cabbage stew (in Norwegian called fårikål), brown stew (lapskaus) or fresh Norwegian seafood. At Kaffistova, Dovrehallen, Gamle Raadhus Restaurant or Louise Restaurant & Bar, you’ll find not only classic Norwegian food, but also get a taste of the traditional Norwegian culture. A great place to enjoy a delicious meal reminiscent of a bygone era is at the charming Lille Herbern Restaurant. It is located on a tiny island just off the shore at Bygdøy and has been around since 1929.
A Norwegian breakfast at our friend Gina Marie’s home
- Dine with a spectacular view of Oslo
Do you want to enjoy for dinner with a panorama view of Oslo in the evening? Visit Ekebergrestauranten, located in the hillside of Ekeberg. Here, you can see the sun set over the beautiful Oslo Fjord, Opera House, and Holmenkollen. Not only do you get a great view – the food in the fine dining area is just as enjoyable. Make sure to book your table in advance.
Another personal recommendation is the restaurant on top of the Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel. Located on Level 21, it offers a sweeping view of the city and is magnificent at sunset.
The view from the top of the Radisson Blu Scandinavia
- An Oslo legend called Mathallen
If you are looking for great specialty stores and amazing foods for a decent price, Mathallen will be your go-to place. An open space located in the heart of Grünerløkka with cafés and eateries that offer high-quality products from Norwegian small-scale producers and special foreign imports. A little piece of advice: If you want to get a sit, try to avoid going on weekends around lunch time. You might need to wait a long time to get a table.
- Urban dining experiences at Grünerløkka
At the heart of urban Oslo is Grünerløkka, the place to go for authentic food experiences at reasonable prices. Visit Villa Paradiso for flagrantly flavored pizzas, Eldhuset for the most tender meat you’ll ever have tasted, or one of the many cafés for the wonderful creations of the area’s hip baristas.
At Grünerløkka, you’ll find a restaurant for every taste. Photo: Glenn Wedin, Flickr
- Ethnic international food markets
Longing your traditional sweets our your granny’s specialty? You need to visit the many ethnic food markets around gronland. You will find ingredients from all over the world for very decent prices. The most famous store is located right out of the T-bane station. They offer a great variety and fresh greens, not to mention the homemade pickled vegetables, olives and other delicatessens. But do not limit yourself to one store, there are many small stores from all over the world around this area. And if you are a kebab fan or you are always craving indian food, you will most definitely love this place.
- On a dessert trail
As an absolute, sworn dessert addict, a personal recommendation would the the delicious waffles at Harald’s Vaffel – soft, traditional Norwegian waffles with sweet or savory toppings. Other great picks include the melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cake at Pastel de Nata, an extensive gluten-free dessert section at Baker Hansen and outstanding pastries at Cafe Pascal.
Waffles with Nugatti at Harald’s Vaffel, Oslo
If you are around in Oslo during December, definitely visit the Christmas Markets for yummy treats such as the traditional kransekake, candied apples, caramelised almonds and more.
Christmas treats at the Christmas Market
- Eat smart, on a budget
Sometimes, eating in Oslo can be really pricey. If you are looking for food-to-go and you are flexible with time, download an app called TooGoodtoGo. The concept of this app is not to waste food, so companies sell the products they couldn’t sell during the day. The foods are fresh and normally they are really good quality. Companies like starbucks and local cafes offer packages for prices as low as 29 kr. (around 3 euros) for products that you would normally pay 90+ kr for. You just need to purchase the food packages online, the company is going to give you a pick-up time and when you go to the store, you just need to show them your receipt to get your package. But be quick! Many students are always on the prowl for good bargains.
- Taco Fredag
This is a unique Norwegian food tradition and a rite of passage for those in Oslo. Here, every Friday night is unofficially but commonly referred to as Taco Friday (“Taco Fredag”). Studies estimate that 400,000 Norwegians follow Taco Fredag religiously – unsurprisingly, because there can’t be a better way to kick off the weekend! If you’re not making tacos at home, there are some great restaurants around town to grab your share of Mexican food. Check out the 4Gringos food cart at Aker Brygge, El Camino for customised burritos and Mucho Mas for guacamole like no other.
My first-ever Taco Fredag 🙂
- Vegetarian / Vegan options
Two out of the three authors of this blog post are vegetarians, so this topic is of special significance to us. The good news is that vegetarian (and even vegan) food is readily available in Oslo. At most restaurants, you may not have a lot of vegetarian variety, but there will surely be something for you. A great place to eat out at is Nordvegan, a vegan restaurant by Michelin-starred chef Reuben Waller with an organic-first, local-first approach.
- Michelin-starred dining
Speaking of Michelin stars, Oslo has several noteworthy Michelin-starred restaurants. In 2016, the restaurant Maaemo in Oslo was awarded three stars, making it the first Norwegian restaurant to achieve this feat. Restaurants with one Michelin star include Statholdergaarden, the gourmet restaurant by chef Bernt Stiansen and Kontrast, the modern Nordic restaurant at Vulkan. Sadly, we do not have any pictures to post of these restaurants because we are students on a budget 😉
There are plenty of other restaurants, cafes and food stops that Oslo has to offer – and it is impossible for us to list them all. Every Oslo resident has his or her favourites – so a great place to discover local culinary legends is to ask locals you know. On that note, bon appetit – or as we say in Norway, “vær så god”!