Local's Guide to Oslo, Norway


One of the best things about traveling long term is all of the wonderful people you meet from around the world, people who quickly become irreplaceable and meaningful friends. 

By the time I went to Norway in the summer of 2017, I had made good friends living in Oslo, Norway who so graciously compiled a few of their favorite things to do and places to eat and drink to share their city with me. Which in turn I've tested and now sharing with you, enjoy!

Food & Drink

Wendelbo - Located by the Grunerløkka neighborhood, it's the best coffee in town, the owner Tim Wendelbo is consistenly ranked as the best roaster and best coffee barista in the world. Try the Cafe Alfredo, it's thick and creamy and completely unique!

TIm Wendelbo Coffee in Oslo

TIm Wendelbo Coffee in Oslo

Der Peppern Gror - Amazing Indian and such a trendy and cool spot.

Alex Sushi - Considered the best sushi in Oslo. Only open for dinner. 

Statholdergaarden - Very delicious classic gourmet dishes with a menu that rotates daily. Very high end due to it's Michelin star. They also have a restaurant called Statholderens Food & Wine cellar in which their speciality is a 10 course meal that rotates every seventh week.

Bokbacka - High end Nordic menu that focuses on ecology, quality, and simplicity.

Hanami Asian fusion - Modern Japanese cuisine, an undeniable favorite!

Underbar - Possibly the coziest bar in Oslo with it's fireplaces and under ground location. Known for whiskey, it's got 550 varieties of whiskey in the shelves behind the bar!

Sapphire & Elm Travel co-founder,  Stephanie , enjoying a beer at underbar in oslo

Sapphire & Elm Travel co-founder, Stephanie, enjoying a beer at underbar in oslo

Sentralen - Informal dining focusing on quality Norwegian ingredients and continental flavors, with a relaxed and rustic vibe.

THIEF FOODBAR - This relaxed and elegant lifestyle restaurant is the heart and soul of THE THIEF hotel. THIEF FOODBAR offers a global menu with a Nordic twist: Rock star attitude, top quality food and a warm, elegant setting. Seasonal Norwegian fish and local meats, endless weekend brunch buffets, and pre-batched classic cocktails by the bottle.

Pinerolo Americano - A very popular and good vibe American inspired restaurant with classics like Caesar salad, burger and mac & cheese.

Kolonialen Bislett - Another very popular spot to try. It's informal and international atmosphere compliment it's carefully sourced ingredients.

Ostebutikken - A hidden gem; small cheese store that also serves food. Super tiny, but so charming!

Kolonihagen - Known for their eco friendly menu. In fact they were the first eco-friendly restaurant in Oslo 8 years ago when they opened. Very popular.

Teatro - Arguably Oslo's best pizza. Located in the hip boutique Hotel Christiania Teater.

Le Benjamin - Casual French bistro with a warm atmosphere and authentic food made from scratch.

Funky Fresh Food - Arguably the best vegan food in Oslo!

Himkok - A bar that's at the forefront of the craft cocktail revolution. Part speakeasy, part micro-distillery, it was voted one of the world's best 50 bars.

Ling Ling - Newly opened by Hakkasan, Ling Ling offers enticing world of sights, sounds and tastes.

Bar Boca - Located in the hip neighborhood of grunerløkka, Oslo's smallest bar is a cozy place to grab great drinks.

Villa Paradiso - Great pizza's and good prices. Additionally, their Panda Pizza donates proceeds to World Wildlife Fund.

Südøst - Asian Fusion that will never do you wrong!

Nedre Løkka Cocktailbar - Norwegian American cocktails that pays tribute to the origin of cocktails, New York City. Grab a drink and relax for a while in the lounge.



Explore the neighborhood of Grunerløkka and especially a street called “Markveien” for very cool, independent shops, thrift stores and boutiques like Mitt Lille Hjem for clothing & home goods, Hasla for jewelry, and Marita Butikken for a treasure trove of second hand home goods & accessories. It is buzzing on the weekends.

In this area you can also find “Mathallen” which is an indoor food market with lots of local gems. On Sundays they have a Sunday market around the Blå area. It is amazing, and really colorful in every sense of the word. A great place to hang around on a Sunday during the day.

Frogner Park aka Vigelandsparken - The world's largest sculpture park made by a single artist, containing more than 200 sculptures from Gustav Vigeland. Gustav Vigeland is a productive and imaginative Norwegian sculpture from the early 20th century. He also designed the Nobel Peace Prize medal.

Ekebergsparken - Unique and diverse sculpture and heritage park free to the public. Installations include the works of Salvador Dalí, Auguste Rodin, Damien Hirst and many more.

Relax in Dronningsparken - Pack a picnic, a book or grab some friends and spend some time in the garden of the King's castle.

Take a Day Trip to Hovedøya island - A small island known for lush and green nature. Explore the ruins of the Cistercian monastery built on the island, and opened on 18 May 1147.

Oslo is a city not to be missed, and there's no better way to explore Oslo than with the recommendations of locals!

One incredible benefit of hiring Sapphire & Elm Travel and your travel consultant, is our knowledge, personal experience, and relationships around the world. This puts us in a unique position to create a very personalized, unique and memorable travel experience just for you! 

To begin planning your trip to Oslo, Norway (or anywhere else in the world), Contact Us to begin your next great adventure. 


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Special thanks to Andrea Belck-Olsen from THE THIEF and Lukas for their wonderful Oslo recommendations and help on this blog!