While Norway may not be known for restaurants with months-long waiting lists or world-famous chefs, that doesn’t mean the country lacks interesting and delicious food. The food scene of Oslo relies heavily on local ingredients and features everything from freshly caught seafood to reindeer. Here are some of the best restaurants in Oslo to try some of these culinary delights.
If you’re looking for seafood, it’s hard to beat Restaurant Fjord and its weekly changing menu. There’s an option for a 3, 4, or 5 course menu featuring some of the best ingredients available. A corresponding wine menu is also available, which I highly recommend. I loved every wine served with my courses and they were perfectly paired.
Alex Sushi is one of the best sushi restaurants I’ve ever eaten at, and certainly one of the best sushi restaurants in Oslo. There are several menus to choose from (White, Red, Black, Black Omakase and Full Omakase), as well as numerous a la carte options. The service here was a little slow, but extremely helpful. My husband and I ordered the Black and White menus (I wasn’t sure if I could eat as much food as the Black menu included). Our waiter told us they would basically combine the dishes for us so I could still try some of the dishes exclusive to the Black menu. The majority of the seating is around a horseshoe-shaped sushi bar, so everyone has a view of the sushi being prepared.
Maaemo is the only three Michelin star restaurant in Norway and a unique dining experience. Diners are recommended to set aside an entire evening to fully savor and appreciate the tasting menu of more than a dozen dishes. Norwegian food traditions are interpreted in a modern way by Chef Esben Holmboe Bang, and wines are carefully paired with dishes to bring out the best in the ingredients used. Some of the restaurant’s signature dishes have been on the menu since Maaemo opened.
Hanami is a unique Japanese restaurant in Oslo that grills meat and fish using the robata technique, which involves cooking over simmering embers of white-oak coal with no flames. Along with the cooked dishes, the menu at Hanami also includes sushi and other raw fish dishes. This is one of the best restaurants in Oslo to go to for modern Japanese cuisine.
A casual, yet fine dining restaurant, Hos Thea is one of the best restaurants in Oslo for both its food and service. This is the place to go if you want that high-end, quality food without the stuffy setting typically found with fine dining. The chef and owner is quite a character as well. We loved talking to him. There’s a choice of two small menus (Chef’s Menu or Fish Menu), and you can order either the entire 6-course menu or a la carte. Each dish was explained by either the waitress or the chef and everything was delicious (even the cold potato soup that we thought had no business being as good as it was).
Den Glade Gris
If you need a break from all the amazing seafood in Oslo or just not a fan of seafood, try Den Glade Gris and its pork-focused menu. The house specialty is the slow cooked pork knuckle, although there’s a variety of other dishes on the menu that aren’t pork. There’s also an extensive selection of beers to choose from, ranging from more craft breweries located throughout Norway to more mainstream beers.
Ruffino Ristorante Italiano
Ruffino Ristorante Italiano comes highly recommended among both locals and travelers alike. If you’re looking for quality, authentic Italian cuisine in Oslo, it’s hard to find better than the food served here. Not only is the food delicious, the friendly and helpful service is great, too. The menu includes a good selection of antipasti, home-made pasta, seafood and meat main dishes, as well as classic Italian desserts.
If you want a variety of cuisine choices in one place, head to Mathallen. Located in a neighborhood known as Vulkan, this international food market features over 25 eateries and specialty shops offering baked goods, coffee, charcuterie, seafood, and much more. My personal favorite was Via Italia, where you can watch the fresh pasta being made right in front of you. Just come hungry because the portions are large (I ordered the child’s size and was completely full). VulkanFisk is also a great option if you’re craving some Norwegian seafood.
Arakataka serves small plates of seasonal Nordic cuisine with a bit of an experimental approach to its presentations and flavor combinations. The restaurant is a very welcoming place with its central food bar, open kitchen, and glass-front facade. You can make a meal of inventive small plates or go for the tasting menu. Maybe throw in a wine pairing, too.
Engebret Cafe is noted as the oldest restaurant in Oslo and serves a traditional Norwegian menu that changes with the seasons. A Norway of the past is captured through food, wood paneling, and candlelight. Reindeer is a constant on the menu, as well as fresh Norwegian seafood and locally grown produce. No imported ingredients are used here.