Where to eat

Handwerk Botanisk

Sweet and fudge-like Norwegian brown cheese – made by caramelising the whey left-over from making goat's milk – is an absolute must-eat in Oslo, especially when it comes on a hunk of homemade sourdough bread from this cute café in the botanical gardens. If that doesn't tickle your fancy, try one of the pastries or drop by for an early dinner after a leisurely stroll around the park. Sarsgate 1, 0562. handwerk.no


Everything about Grådi [pictured] screams Scandi cool. Even the dishes are ridiculously attractive, like the duck, served on potato flour wraps with bright-pink cabbage and slices of mango. The bistro, which takes its name from the word for greedy, melds local produce with international ideas, serving plates of halibut ceviche with watermelon salsa; steak with chimichurri and salty side fat; and potato salad with crispy fried capers. If you sit there long enough, some of that Scandi cool might just rub off on you, too. Sørligata 40, 0651


Traditionally, Norwegian food revolved around a basic farmer’s diet of meat, potatoes and brown sauce – until Claus Meyer and Noma’s Réné Redzepi came along with New Nordic Cuisine and gave it a chic, ingredient-led revamp. One of the best-loved exponents of this understated style of cooking is wood-clad hipster hangout Pila, which sits alongside the Akerselva river that runs through the city (and where you can still catch salmon and other fish, FYI). Expect seasonal dishes like trout tartare with watercress cream, smoked shrimps and apple; and ling (a flakey white fish from the same family as cod) topped with sautéed cabbage, chilli chicken stock and wafer-thin cured coppa. Østre Elvebakke 7, 0182. pilaoslo.no

Where to drink


Want to sample the fiery Scandinavian spirit akvavit? Himkok's the place, as it's not only a super cool drinking den but a distillery that produces its own akvavit, gin and vodka. Enter through a discreet door just off Stroget Passajen and you'll find yourself in a courtyard with a cider bar, but venture up the stairs and you'll discover an atmospheric cocktail lounge with hipster bartenders and pounding music. You can also pop into the in-house barber shop Pels Pels and sip an old fashioned while your beard gets a trim. Storgata 27, 0184. himkok.no

Bar Lardo

Oh we do love a whiskey sour, and the ones at the casual and unpretentious Bar Lardo are no exception. Made with Buffalo Trace bourbon, they'll set you back a pretty penny – but we can tell you now it's definitely worth it. As is the resulting headache after one too many. This is also the place to try natural wine – or 'hipster juice' as it's referred to in Norway – while sampling some utterly delicious morsels of snacky, charcuterie-led bar food that will help soak up all that wonderful booze. Møllergata 38A, 0172. barlardo.no


If no holiday is complete without dancing, make sure you squeeze in a visit to Bla, an independent music club located in the trendy Grunerlokka neighbourhood. The riverside venue started life 20 years ago as a jazz bar, and still has a jazz night with the Frank Znort Quartet every Sunday evening. But there’s plenty more to discover here, too, with the artists ranging from hip hop to heavy metal and from under-the-radar Norwegian bands to well-known international performers. Head here after dark to get your groove on, or amble around the neighbouring streets during the day, soaking up the vibrant graffiti and perusing the stalls of Norwegian nik-naks at the Sunday morning market. Brenneriveien 9c, 0182. blaaoslo.no

Looking for more to do in Oslo, Norway? Read our guide to the best places to stay, and things to do here