Unique Food Spots in Oslo

An old Bohemian artist hangout, a place to eat Norwegian reindeer sausage, and a European-style food market... These eateries offer an extra special touch.

12 Tordenskiolds gate
Brunost (brown cheese) is a staple of Norwegian kitchens, usually cut thin with a cheese slicer to top buttered toast or warm waffles. Despite the name, brunost isn’t technically cheese; it’s the whey of goat’s milk, boiled for hours until caramelized. This imparts a distinctive brown color, a salty taste, and a texture like goat-cheese fudge. The specialty food store Fenaknoken carries brunost from a range of brands, including the ubiquitous Ski Queen and the more traditional Synnøve Finden. Tordenskioldsgate 12, 47/2242-3457.
1 Bankplassen
Engebret Café is still as popular as when it opened its doors 157 years ago. Back then, it was known as a second home to some of the nation’s most prolific artists, including Henrik Ibsen, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, Edvard Munch, Knut Hamsun, and Edvard Grieg. The café still retains it artistic air, and is still favoured by writers, actors, and politicians, who come here mainly for the delicious open-faced-sandwich buffet. The menu varies throughout the seasons, featuring fish in the winter, seafood and vegetables in the spring and summer, and lamb, venison, and mushrooms during autumn. Whichever season you go, you’re sure to find something mouthwatering on the menu!
Vulkan 5, 0178 Oslo, Norway
The centerpiece of the city’s emerging Vulkan neighborhood, Oslo’s very first food hall is a culinary utopia. Let your nose guide you to one (or five!) of 27 eateries peddling everything from cupcakes to tapas to bento boxes. Can’t decide? Stop at the Torget stall and order the Taste of Mathallen menu to sample mind-altering dishes from the hall’s best restaurants. The communal wooden benches in the center of the hall encourage sharing, so you and your friends can divide and conquer. Finish your visit with a craft beer in the basement pub Smelteverket, which features Norway’s longest bar.
Bankplassen 3, 0151 Oslo, Norway
Architecture fiends should make a lunch date at Café Grosch. Located on historic site Bankplassen, the building dates from 1828 and was originally used as – you guessed it – a bank. The café’s namesake was architect Christian Grosch, and even the tables and chairs in the café are designed by architects and designers. The arched ceilings and antique red brick floor gives this place a distinctive Scandinavian feel, and the menu complements the ambience nicely.
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.
14 Kristian Augusts gate
At Elias, a quaint little eatery located next to the National Gallery (another afar.com highlight), you’ll find exciting food at competitive prices. The people at Elias focus on fuss-free food: organic drinks, hand-brewed coffee, Norwegian beers, and solid homemade food – not a latté, Coca Cola or Pepsi in sight! The walls display different works of art throughout the year, and music sessions are often held here. A centrally located foodie destination that you certainly won’t find anywhere else.
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