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While you’ll find the traditional meat cakes and brown gravy, lutefisk and other Norwegian delicacies in Oslo, there are many modern gourmet restaurants as well. In recent years, the capital city has made its mark on the international culinary scene. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ picks for the best places to eat in Oslo:
1. Maaemo. Splurge-worthy Maaemo serves up contemporary Scandinavian cuisine using organic local ingredients. Expect memorable dishes like arctic char garnished with crisp onions and a gentle drizzle of aquavit, visually striking and executed to perfection. Expect to spend hours enjoying nine small courses at this must-visit restaurant. Reservations are recommended well in advance as Maaemo is in high demand.
2. Ylajali. Travel back in time to enjoy an eight-course meal in this charming converted apartment, complete with chandeliers, detailed molding and wood-paneled walls. Named for a mythical, beautiful woman from one of Knut Hamsun’s novels, upscale restaurant Ylajali is located in the same building where this elusive character was said to live. Young chefs Even Ramsvik and Ronny Kolvik use classic Norwegian flavors to prepare inventive dishes like their halibut in a light citrus crust, served in a faint tube of rye with a sauce of fennel, tiny saltwater clams and sago pearls.
3. Solsiden. The name of this mid-range restaurant means “the sunny side” in Norwegian, and it is indeed the place to celebrate summer. Open May through September, Solsiden looks out to the sparkling waters of the Oslo Fjord and serves the city’s freshest seafood. Its specialty is the towering shellfish platter, a tasty mix of scallops, oysters, crayfish, crab, lobster, mussels and prawns. Book ahead and ask for an ocean view.
4. Arakataka. This hidden gem restaurant in central Oslo offers affordable gourmet dishes like its glazed veal shank and sweetbreads, served with yellow beets and wild garlic. The ever-changing menu offers three-, four-, and five-course options, in addition to à la carte. Just be sure to reserve a table here in advance.
5. Fiskeriet. One of Oslo’s last fishmongers standing, Fiskeriet is a great place to buy fresh seafood or have a casual lunch. The beloved fish and chips feature fresh, tender haddock in a light batter, fried to a delicate crisp and served with tartar sauce and pickled onion.