In this article, I will share with you my favorite restaurants in Oslo serving authentic Norwegian food. You may be surprised how difficult it is to find restaurants that serve authentic Norwegian traditional food in Oslo. It seems like Norwegians prefer to eat international food when they hang out. But don’t give up. If you do some proper research you may find the hidden gems of Oslo where you can eat Norwegian Food at its very best.
Guide – Best Norwegian food in Oslo
You may first ask: What do Oslo people eat? The traditional food is a combination of brown bread, fish, and meat. Among fish dishes, salmon, trout and cod are the most popular fishes. Hot dogs are also very popular, and all the kiosks use to serve a huge selection of sausages. Wiener sausage is a sausage that was originally made exclusively of pork. It is long and thin and has a characteristic bend, which naturally occurs as a result of the natural gut used in production. Wiener sausages are lightly flavored and mild in taste. They are normally served in “lompe”, a flat, soft pastry made from potatoes. Other sausages are grill and bacon sausages that are bigger and thicker in size, often served in bread, accompanied with ketchup and mustard.
Here is some more typical Norwegian food worth to try out:
- meatballs with brown sauce and pea stew
- brown bread with goat cheese
- potato dumplings (“raspeballer”)
- waffles with goat cheese or blueberry jam
- lamb and cabbage (fårikål)
- bacon and sauce (“flesk i duppe”
- boiled potatoes are served with most dinner dishes
If you are looking for the best places to find traditional Norwegian food in Oslo, I will share my favorite restaurants in the next chapter.
Rorbua is located in my favorite area of Oslo, next to the exclusive harbor area of Aker Brygge. This is not only a cozy restaurant but also a relaxing bar. They are serving Norwegian dishes with a focus on the specialties from the North. Here you can try smoked whale, fried filet of cod, creamy fish soup, long fried reindeer shank, shellfish platters, king crab, mussels, crab & crab claws, crayfish and much more. The price level is surprisingly low to be located at the harbor, especially if you ask for “Today’s special”.
- Every day Rorbua serves one traditional dish for 175 kroner and it also includes a cup of coffee.
- Lightly fried whale (200 gr.) served with a mushroom stew for 298 NOK
- Stew of game: Moose, reindeer and deer creamed and cooked in a pot with bacon, onions and mushrooms. Served with mashed potatoes and lingonberries for 299 NOK
- The taste of Norway: skewers with whale, deer, beef and reindeer served with fried potatoes and salad with sour cream & ramson dressing for 375 NOK.
They also have a huge selection of aquavit, more than 15 different aquavits to choose from. What is aquavit?
Aquavit, also spelled Aquavite, or Akvavit is a flavored, distilled spirit, clear to pale yellow in color, dry in flavor, and ranging in alcohol content from about 42 to 45%.
It is distilled from a fermented potato or grain mash, redistilled with flavorings, filtered with charcoal, and usually bottled without aging. Various aromatic flavors are used in production, usually including caraway and cumin seed; lemon or orange peel, cardamom, aniseed, and fennel also may be used.
Aquavit is an important part of Scandinavian drinking culture, where it is often drunk during festive gatherings, such as Christmas dinners and weddings, and as an aperitif. Make sure to have a beer too and some good snacks.
Check out this video of Rorbua Oslo: Eating traditional Norwegian food at Rorbua Restaurant in Oslo, Norway.
Dovrehallen is one of the very few remaining brown bars in also that have kept the old Norwegian food culture seriously. Up the stairs you come to a room where the interior seems a little old, but with a very nice atmosphere. Mostly seating areas that create an intimate atmosphere. Nice service, obvious that there are many regular customers here, the average visitors are 50 years or older. Beer and food come quickly to the table, this has to be one of the city’s fastest serving restaurants. The price for a big beer (0.5 liters) is only 69 NOK. Dovrehallen is definitely not a tourist trap. Here you meet local people, and you get really good value for money:
- E.g. fårikål (lamb in cabbage and potatoes, known as Norwegians’ national dish) costs only 150 NOK, and the portions are huge.
- Steak of reindeer meet with vegetables and cream sauce costs 174 NOK.
- Steak of minced meat with onion, mixed vegetables and gravy costs 149 NOK.
Always ask for the “Today’s special menu” which is affordable and very traditional food. They use to have live entertainment from Wednesday to Saturday in the evenings.
At Kaffistova, whole Norwegian foods are grown. Here you can try eating grater balls, bonefish, and sour cream porridge, truly authentic Norwegian food. This cafeteria is a very popular choice for lunch and early dinner, located close to the Royal Palace, and not far from the parade street Karl Johans Gate. Please note that they may close as early as 7pm to 9pm, so it’s better to check out their opening hours in advance. Kaffistova has served traditional Norwegian food for more than a century. The first café opened in 1901 with traditional carved and painted wood furniture. Some of the original interiors are moved to the Norwegian Folk Museum at Bygdøy.
Now the cafe is held in a modern and light style with several pictures and details connecting the present with the past. 220 seats on two floors allow them to arrange lunch and dinner for groups up to 100 people. Here you get the food really quick, then you eat and leave. Kaffistova is not a place you spend a long time after eating.
Tips: Thursday is always The day of potato dumplings (“raspeballer”) at Kaffistova. Served with a salted shoulder of lamb or local sausage from the fjords and bacon. Price: Medium Portion 175 NOK and Big Portion 195 NOK. (Only Thursdays)
- Famous Norwegian meatballs served with mashed peas and brown sauce. Big Portion 155 NOK.
- Norwegian waffle 42 NOK
- Home made Hardangerkling cake 29 NOK
#4 Restaurant Schrøder
Restaurant Schrøder, another charming brown bar, is located in Waldemar Thranes gate 8 in the suburb St. Hanshaugen in Oslo. You can take bus 37 from Jernbanetorget to St. Hanshaugen, an 8 minutes long journey. The atmosphere is relaxed and is a mix of local neighbors and others. If you have read the “Harry Hole” crime romans by Jo Nesbø, you may have noticed that Harry loves this restaurant and visits it frequently! The restaurant is also one of the locations for the movie “Snowman” (2016).
Check out their daily, affordable menu with local Norwegian food specialties. Example of what you can expect:
- Flesk og duppe (bacon and sauce), creamy sauce, vegetables and potatoes. Price: 159 NOK (every Friday)
- Reindeer meet with pea stew, sauerkraut, cranberry jam sauce and potatoes. Price: 179 NOK (every Saturday)
- Fresh damp trout with potatoes. Price: 189 NOK (every Tuesday)
#5 Den glade gris
This restaurant specializes in pork based dishes, and the house specialty is slow grilled pork knuckle. The dishes are prepared using the slow cooking method. The chef spends several days marinating and slow cooking the food which in turn means more taste, and incredibly tender meat. The whole animal is used – from nose to tail. Every day the chief makes two different soups for lunch, based on leftover ingredients from the day before.
Den glade gris (which can be translated “The Happy Pork”) offers great Norwegian food presented in an honest and rustic way. They are cooperating with several breweries across the country, so the selection of beer is quite large.
Example of their menu:
- 2 soups are served for lunch. Eat as much as you want for 119 NOK. (Served every day from 11am to 4pm)
- Smoked whale from the Norwegian Sea, served with red onion, ruccola and lingonberry sour cream Price: 143 NOK
- Neck of pork with baby potatoes, seasonal vegetables and red wine sauce. Price 259 NOK.
- Juniper smoked salmon from Etne, marinated in Cognac, served with creamy dill potatoes and mustard sauce. Price: 263 NOK
If you are not super hungry, you may also order a sharing course. Den glade gris offers a sharing platter named “A taste of Norway” with a selection of Norwegian whale, smoked salmon, shrimps, crackling pork skin, reindeer and other cured meat. Price: 289 NOK
This little kiosk is giving a picture of traditional, Norwegian food culture. Syverkiosken has served wiener sausages and mustard with their own personal recipe since 1952. The hotdog kiosks are a seldom view in Oslo today, but in Syverkiosken you will get an authentic feeling of how the era was when the hotdog kiosks were the natural gathering point for the locals – and there were more than 40 hot dog kiosks just in Oslo!
Even the American newspaper The Guardian has visited Syverkiosken and posted a great review:
Oslo’s last remaining hotdog kiosk serves up boiled sausage with fiery mustard. It’s cheap, comforting and tastes explosively marvellous!
In Syverkiosken you can choose to have bread, lompe or waffel around the sausage. And the list to have above it is long:
Mustard, ketchup, caramelized onion with honey, fried onion, pickled onion, jalapenos salad, fresh jalapeño, cranberry jam, cucumber relish, pickled cucumber, potato stew, shrimp salad, chopped tomatoes, tomato beans, grated cheese, beetroot.
It’s affordable to buy hot dogs in Syverkiosken. Prices begin at 20 NOK.
#7 Larsen Restaurant
Classic, wooden interior design makes the perfect surroundings for having a traditional Norwegian dinner. Located in Majorstuen, close to Vigeland Sculpture Park. The restaurant opened in 1951 and they have kept the old furniture and style. If you order today’s special, you get an affordable dinner based on classic Norwegian cooking. Prices from 159 NOK to 198 NOK.
Been there many times and have tried a few of their dishes from the daily menu “Dagensmeny”, never been let down. Easily better than many top restaurants in Oslo. Nice traditional atmosphere. The price for the “Dagensmeny” is reasonable for the Oslo standards. Highly recommended!
Examples of what you can expect:
- The Chefs schnitzel (calf). Price: 179 NOK (Served every Tuesday)
- Fried mackerel with cucumber salad and potatoes. Price: 179 NOK (Served every Wednesday)
- Roasted lamb with red wine sauce. Price: 159 NOK (Served every Sunday)