Late-Night Dining in Scandinavia

From thick seafood chowders, putrefied shark, and hot dog “boats” in Iceland to pickled herring and cured salmon in Sweden, here are some affordable traditional eats as well as fine-dining options. Get your late-night fill before exploring the night and enjoying the nonstop sunlight of a Scandinavian summer.

Schweigaards gate 15B, 0191 Oslo, Norway
Never heard of Esben Holmboe Bang? Experience a night at Maaemo and you’ll never forget his name. The Danish chef is the culinary genius behind Norway‘s prime Michelin-starred foodie destination. The restaurant’s interior is deliberately sparse to keep your focus on the seasonal menu, which blends ingredients sourced from biodynamic farms and foraging trips in the Norwegian mountains to create an unforgettable series of courses. You’ve got to book months in advance to snap up a table, but parties of more than two can lock down a reservation sooner.
Pretty islet Lille Herbern is located in the Oslo fjord, south of the Bygdøy peninsula on the west side of Oslo. The islet used to be a waiting place for ships arriving to and departing from Oslo. Lille Herbern has been open since 1929 and is one of the older eateries in Oslo. The menu has a nautical feel, serving fresh seafood along with gorgeous views of the fjord. To get there, hop on a bus to Bygdøynes and catch the ferry from there.
23 Josefines gate
Nobilis works as both a swanky bar and a foodie’s heaven (they change menus every week, featuring local specialities). They were shortlisted on newspaper OsloBy’s best bar list challenge, and their reputation is excellent. Open from 5pm till “late,” they claim all good things come in threes: something good on your plate, something good in your glass, and of course, a great DJ. Sounds good to me!
Tordenskiolds gate 6, 0160 Oslo, Norway
Oro Restaurant is run by Bocuse d’Or winner Terje Ness, and as such, you’re guaranteed a great meal. Its hallmarks are rustic, exceptionally tasty food but without the snob factor. Oro Restaurant caters to almost all purse strings; you can order the full five-course menu with wine, or one course and a glass of tap water. Oro’s philosophy is that gourmet food should be available to anyone, and that the food is natural and wholesome. If you’re after something more casual, Oro Bar & Grill next door is a good bet. Simple honest cooking dominates this restaurant, with the added bonus of quick service, many courses to choose from and a reasonable price range.
30 Stranden
“Onda” means “wave” in Spanish, and it’s certainly an apt name for this (mainly) seafood-based restaurant situated on trendy Aker Brygge. Onda is divided into two parts: Onda Sea and Onda Grill, each focusing on the best within the seafood and meat genres. Onda’s philosophy is to get as many fresh and local products as possible—and what cannot be produced in Norway is bought through small-scale suppliers in mainland Europe. Restaurateur Rune Pal guarantees that everything you’re served at Onda is made from scratch from the best ingredients. Besides food and interesting architecture, Onda has several works of art on display by, among others, Norwegian pop-artist Hariton Pushwagner. Eating gourmet food while looking at priceless works of art is never a bad idea.
Drottninggatan 89, 113 60 Stockholm, Sweden
Clearly inspired by Moulin Rouge and French culture—note the heavily textiles interior, vibrant décor, and offbeat period-piece furniture—Grill serves up five grilling styles: brick oven, rotisserie, smoke, charcoal, and table grill. You and a buddy can share its famous grill plate of lamb, tenderloin, pork loins, farm chicken, and spicy sausage (minimum two people), or try its set lunch buffet with meats, pastas, and salads.
Lækjargata 2a, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Strolling through beautiful Reykjavik with my husband on a chilly January night, I loved to watch the people tucked away in the town’s many restaurants, warm and cozy and enjoying a delicious dinner. One of the best restaurants we came across in Reykjavik was the impossible-to-pronounce Grillmarkaðurinn, or Grill Market ( Grillmarkaðurinn is a perfect example of farm-to-table cooking, working in tandem with local farmers to buy whatever produce is in season and incorporating it into their dishes each day. While Icelandic cuisine likely conjures up images of rotten shark and pickled fish, Grillmarkaðurinn specializes in delicious meats, grilled to absolute perfection. If you’re an adventurous eater, order the appetizer of three small burgers, one each of whale, puffin, and reindeer. You’ll get a taste for traditional Icelandic cuisine, but with a modern twist. Grillmarkaðurinn’s grilled lamb T-bone with asparagus and sweet potato fries is also a mouth-watering dish. And top it all off with some sweet, creamy homemade ice cream. You can’t help but be in a good mood when you wander through charming Reykjavik and see couples and families gathered in the city’s fine restaurants, enjoying each other’s company and the wonderful food Iceland has to offer.
More from AFAR
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
AFAR Journeys
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: United States
Journeys: Sports + Adventure