Taste your way through Oslo, and do not miss the sweet´n´salty diamond of brown cheese and caviar in a tube.
Hidden gems in Oslo
Many of Oslo’s best eateries are easy to find, but it can be worth the effort to look up some of the city’s hidden gems.
Here are seven of them:
Between the apartment buildings in Sørligata, Tøyen, lies Grådi (a spin on the Norwegian word for ‘greedy’). Grådi serves lunch and dinner on weekdays and brunch on weekends. The menu presents typican Scandinavian lunch dishes such as Skagen toast, rye bread with cheese and marmalade, pancakes with blueberries, and different types of eggs. Most dishes are around 100 NOK. It doesn’t matter you visit Grådi for breakfast, or for an evening drink, the place offers the same great atmosphere.
Brutus is located just behind the police station in Grønland. Here you’ll be served nature wine by some of the city’s leading nature wine experts. Book a table and try the six-course menu, or just drop in for some snacks at the bar. You’ll enjoy both! The Icelandic chef prepares the dishes with simple ingredients, with vegetables at the centre. Here’s a chance to taste traditional Scandinavian specialties such as pork ribs or mackerel, with a modern twist.
In idyllic surroundings inside Oslo’s perhaps most beautiful garden, the Botanical Garden, lies Handwerk Botaniske in an old manor. The café is open all year round, with outdoor tables during summer – the perfect spot for a coffee or lunch after visiting the Botanical Garden. Handwerk’s sourdough bread and rolls are delicious, but if you want to try a little bit of everything, their lunch plate comes highly recommended, representing a typical Norwegian lunch.
Next to the little park at Jessenløkken in Majorstua, you’ll find the café and design agency OsloK. In addition to quality coffee from Tim Wendelboe and Supreme Roastworks, the menu offers delicacies from Norwegian quality producers such as Rørosmeieriet, Essentially, and Godt Brød. OsloK is an excellent choice for a quick coffee and croissant in the sun. The café is on the ground floor of a green and lush apartment building, making you feel like you’re visiting somebody’s garden – informal and cosy, especially in summer.
Izakaya is a well-hidden gem in the street St. Olavs gate. An izakaya is a Japanese gastro pub, literally meaning to stay (‘i’) sake/alcohol (‘zaka’) place/shop(‘ya’), which might be compared to Irish pubs and Spanish tapas bars. At Izakaya you can order a beer from Japan’s oldest brewery Sapporo, or a cocktail made from Japanese liquor (scochu, sake, Japanese whisky and umeshu). The food menu is small, but solid, with a selection of small dishes intended for sharing. How about trying potato medallions with teriyaki sauce or some Japanese pancakes? You won’t be disappointed. Izakaya will make you forget where you are – it’s a little piece of Japan in the heart of Oslo.
The raw-food wave has also reached Oslo, and last year saw the opening of the bakery Oslo Raw at Adamstuen Torg. It may seem strange that they call it a bakery, seeing as nothing there is actually baked. Raw food means the food is not processed or heated above 42 °C. Oslo Raw is also vegan, but menu proves meat and dairy products are not needed to make interesting food. They have anything from chia pudding and bowls to salads and cakes. The perfect place if you want to try something new (you’re welcome to sit on the floor with your coffee mug in your lap), or if you’re vegan.
The ice cream shop and crêperie Gioia (Italian for ‘joy’) is located in the street Eckersbergs gate in Frogner. It’s run by Frenchman Pierre Espic and his wife Higinia d’Agrossi-Espic. Pierre makes all the ice cream himself, and proudly presents his newest creations to anyone who asks. This is the place to try Oslo’s best crêpes, both sweet and savoury. You can have your ice cream or crêpe inside or outside, or as take-away if you prefer that.
Norwegians drink more coffee than most, and Oslo is heaven for coffee lovers.
The Kasbah is a Mediterranean-influenced venue, which hosts quiz nights and open talks. They serve a delicious homemade hummus, which is a blend of chicken peas and tahini.
Kingos Gate 1B, 0457 Oslo, +47 21 94 90 99
Being Norway’s first Dutch cafe, Cafe Amsterdam offers you an authentic Dutch feeling to their guests. Cafe Amsterdam is a cozy and relaxing coffeehouse in the morning, and a vibrant and energetic pub at night. The decoration and the artworks on the walls are all imported from the Netherlands, and the traditional snacks are a great way to get a glimpse of Dutch cuisine. Bitterballen, which is a deep fried meatball, is a must try dish in the cafe and is very popular among the Dutch community.
Kristian Augusts Gate 12, 0164 Oslo, +47 40 16 90 89
Stockfleths Lille Grensen
Stockfleths is a coffee shop with multiple branches across Oslo. Stockfleths Lille Grensenis one of the oldest coffee houses in Oslo, and was established back in 1895. Their baristas have won international awards, so delicious beverages are guaranteed.
Lille Grensen, 0159 Oslo, +47 40 09 23 61
Joni Leskinen, the head chef of Alfred, was inspired by the success of eco restaurants. Alfred only uses locally sourced and sustainable produces for food preparation. The cafe is situated in the Nobel Peace Center and guests can choose to sit indoors or on a patio outside. The open faced shrimp sandwich is highly recommended.
Brynjulf Bulls Plass 1, 0250 Oslo, +47 90 57 16 54
Kulturehuset, meaning ‘culture house’, is situated in an old post office. The menu is simple and the venue often invites young musicians, artists and people working in the cultural industries to showcase their talents.
Situated in the National Museum of Architecture of Oslo, Grosch is a lunch cafe and a perfect venue for meetings and hang outs. The cafe is situated next to the Museum, which was built in 1828 as Norges Banks. The building is well preserved, and guests can enjoy a relaxing meal beside this historic building. Try the deliciously sweet passion fruit panna cotta and other homemade desserts, such as mousse and waffles.
Bankplassen 3 0151 Oslo, +47 21 98 21 90
If you are looking for an afternoon to appreciate historic Norwegian buildings, then Cafe Celsius should be on your itinerary. Located in the Christiania Square, the cafe is surrounded by some of the oldest buildings in town. The coffee and desserts are outstanding and the vanilla marinated strawberry is highly recommended. There are outdoor seating areas in this cafe which can be very crowded in summer.
Rådhusgata 19, 0158 Oslo, +47 22 42 45 39
Cafe Sorgenfri is decorated with interesting artefacts, collected from all over the world while the owners were traveling. Enjoy a cup of coffee and an impressive Danish breakfast.
Bryggetorget 4, 0250 Oslo, +47 21 50 10 90
Cafe Piccolo prides itself on its integration of Italian cuisine and Norwegian culture. The coffee served in this cafe is imported from a small family producer in Naples, Italy. Cafe Piccolo is situated next to the Royal Palace, offering fantastic views of the Palace and the nearby castles.
Parkveien 6, 0350 Oslo, +47 22 11 31 99