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Norway is not famous for it's traditional food, but in the last 15 to 20 years Norwegian Chefs have grabbed an extensive amonut of medals in international championships like Bocouse D'or and similar events. This has resulted in numerous restaurants delivering the finest dining experiences for a not that expensive bill, based on the quality that is. A general rule about dining in Oslo is that the more upscale places are in many ways "cheaper" than average eateries beacuse the price don't differ as much here as in most European city. So a general rule in Oslo must be to stay away from middle of the road and go for that little extra. Also stay away from the paradestreet Karl Johan Gate where you will spend fortunes (compared to what you get) on boring experiences (except watching the bypassers).
The menu changes more or less daily at this casual but stylish restaurant. The Chefs challenges themselves and their guests with new composititions that are more or less successful. And at a price that usually would be at a higher level. Arakataka uses often typical Norwegian rawmaterials like reindeer and fish from the North Sea but creates new tastings with them inspired by modern continental way of preparation. An example would be dried & salted reindeer with cherries, pecorino and Port wine foie gras sauce. A daring and great combination of flavours. The best way to get most for your money is to to order todays set course menu (3 or 5) and choose between fish or meat as main course. The 3 course menu will cost you appr. 33 Euro, ecxluding wine. They also have winemenus for the set course that are highly reccomended and affordable.
Arakataka is located in Mariboes Gate close to Youngstorget downtown
Arakata homepage www.arakataka.no
Matfinken are located at Torshov, a 15 minute tramride from the citycentre, and definately worth visiting. This small modern restaurant in a very up and coming area has honestly some of the most proffesional service you will find in town. Not fancy but discreetly attentinding your needs in an unformal setting (the food is not!). Example from the weekly menu is BAKED HALIBUT with braised romaine and red-wine juice. But it is highly reccomended to go for the set piece menues. 4 courses for 50 Euro, with wine 85, will give you some hours of delight. It might sound a bit expensive for some but it is seldom you get this quality for that price. PS If you come early you can walk 100 metres along the street after the dinner and enjoy the best outdoor serving pub to see the sunset in summertime in Oslo, namely Oscar Braaten (good place as well as sunset). Sun goes down over the hilltops around 10 o'clock.
Matfinken is located at the corner of Torshovgata and Vogts Gate at Torshov (Tram nmb 12 & 15)
Matfinken homepage www.matfinken.no
Close to the National Gallery downtown you'll find Restaurant Eik. Eik was awarded a Bib Gourmand in Guide Michelin in 2004, which means they serve very good food for a reasonable price. And who can say no to that combination? Eik is located at (Clarion) Hotel Savoy with stylish interior in a old fashioned building. They have weekly menus so don't come back 2 nights in a row if you don't want more of the same, becasue this is a set menu. You can choose between 3 or 5 courses (3 cost 42 Euro) with a highly reccomended winemenu (good value for money). A typical piece on the menu could be fresh Trout with softshell crab, grilled scampi and mango sauce. This restaurant has not the informal feeling the two mentioned above has, so expect to feel and dress a bit more elegant. No, men don't need tie but a descent shirt is propably a good idea:-). Apart from being located in a really nice hotel (recently refurbished) the bar next door, Savoy Bar, are highly reccomended. Excellent drinks after the meal if you can after 5 courses.
Restaurant Eik is located in Universitets Gt 11 downtown
Norwegian only homepage www.restauranteik.no
5 minutes away from the Central Station with the subway in Toyen you'll find Kampens Hete. A very affordable gourmet restaurant. It can be a bit crowdy and the tables are quite close to each other, a social place is perhaps the right way to describe it. They can easily be called a rock'n'roll establishment, not for the music but for their approach to food and dining. A five course menu don't cost you more than 50 Euro and a maincourse cost around 23 Euro. Shouldn't be any wonder how to get most value for your money then. Example on a maincourse is steamed Halibut, season vegetables and a orange/soya-sauce. Kampens Hete has a location that has not much else in it's neighbourhood apart from the Munch Museum so expect to go to another part of town after dinner. It should be easy to get tips from the locals at the restaurant, and as allways don't be afraid to start a conversation, norwegians love to help a nice tourist in need of some guidance.
Kampens Hete is located in Hage Gata 39 at Toyen
Norwegian only homepage www.kampenshete.no
SudOst was opened in 2005 and immediately became The It Place at lower Grunerlokka. A wonderful bank building turned restaurant/ bar/ nightclub. Looks really great, but the food is at best averege and the service is honestly poor and chaotic. Have tried to dine there two times with same result. But their outdoor cafe is really nice and crowded with good looking people on sunny days, so stick to the beer and nothing else.
Norwegian only homepage www.sydost.no