Oslo, the relatively small capital of Norway, is great for a weekend getaway in the summer. The city center is compact, the palace is centrally located and there are many musea to flee to when it’s cold or rainy. The Opera House is great for architecture lovers and there’s a coffee house on every streetcorner. You can have a stroll in Vigeland park and watch over 100 statues of humans with their emotions and stages in life all created by the same sculptor: Gustav Vigeland.
And of course: you can have a nice meal. In meat and fish dominated Oslo, it might be nice to know about the options listed below. All my favorite hotspots in Oslo serve vegetarian or vegan food (and I’ve also mentioned the gluten free options if prefered)
The Fragrance of the Heart
My favorite restaurant in Oslo is The Fragrance of the Heart, a vegetarian cafe. Their first and biggest location is between Akerbrygge and the ‘Kongelige Slott’, and they have a second smaller branch at the Glasmagasinet department store. They serve a delicious quiche for lunch that you can order with soup or salad. I had a heartwarming lentil soup.
They also serve several cakes and pies, with many vegan and gluten free options.
LETT is mostly a salad bar but also has breakfast items like Turkish yogurt, cottage cheese with blueberries or an acai bowl with banana, kokos flakes and granola. If you go for a salad you can get a box with lettuce and order toppings of your choice at the counter.
Funky Fresh Foods
Funky Fresh Foods is an organic restaurant with many vegan, raw and gluten free options. Located in a park you have a wonderful view of the Akerselva river. They have two vegan burgers and a Funky Fresh Plate with quinoa, vegetables and hummus. My favorite option at the Funky Fresh Cafe is the raw vegan pie plate with 4 different pies like a raspberry ‘cheesecake’ and chocolate cake. Want to make your own raw vegan cheesecake? Check the recipe of my blueberry ‘cheesecake’ bites!
The Mathallen is Oslo’s modern market hall. Locals buy their good quality groceries here, but the Mathallen is also a great place for lunch or a drink with some bites. There are several food stalls with their own specialties as well as several restaurants both inside the Mathallen as around it.
As the name suggests Taco Republica serves tacos. Their serving sizes are small so that you can order several different ones. You’ll need about 3 per person to have the size of a main dish and I recommend getting the nachos with guacamole as well. I had a vegan taco with mushrooms and caramelized onion and a vegetarian taco with black beans and guacamole. They use organic and local products. Their tacos are made with gluten free corn tortillas made on the day itself.
The Norwegians love coffee! Except for the Fins, they drink the most amount of coffee in the world. You’ll find several coffee house franchises in Oslo like Wayne’s Coffee and Kaffebrenneriet. The latter serves good quality coffee as well as sandwiches and pastries. They have a focaccia with hummus and vegetables, yogurt with granola and whole wheat blueberry muffins just to name a few options.
The Kasbah serves Oslo’s best falafel and hummus. You can have a pita falafel to go but you can also sit down at a table and order your favorite nibbles like tabbouleh, different kinds of hummus or vegetables. I recommend that you get a (vegan) mezze platter, so you can taste many different items from the menu
Bagel & Juice
A perfect stop for bagel lovers. At Bagel and Juice you choose your kind of bagel like multigrain or sesame and your favorite toppings. I went for a nice vegetarian option with cream cheese and avocado. They also serve several fresh juices and coffee and tea.
Blå (Norwegian for blue) was recommended to me by a good friend who lived in Oslo. Although they serve food at Blå (burgers), I don’t recommend it for the food. I recommend it for the Frank Znort quartet that performs here on Sunday evenings. They are a lot more than the jazz quartet that they’re called, they play many more genres and have many more people on stage. Every week the musicians invite several guest to play with them. You’ll be amazed by the talent of the singers and musicians. You’ll find yourself amongst a big young crowd in this Grünerløkka hotspot.