Do you eat tapas in Oslo?

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Yesterday I read a funny comment from a foreigner on one of my friend’s Facebook updates: ”Do you really eat tacos in Norway?”. Oh yes, we do eat taco! If I interpret my Facebook community correctly, it is the most common thing to eat on a family Friday night, when we want to have a good time (”kose oss”). Hardly anyone eat traditional Norwegian food during the week anymore. Or do we? What is Norwegian food to be honest…? But enough about tacos. This blogpost is about tapas, which is one of my favourites.

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Traditional Spanish tapas at Schiller’s (Folketeaterpassasjen)

Food habits in Oslo have changed a lot since I moved here 19 years ago. There were not that many interesting restaurants then. Going out for a meal was pretty expensive (I guess students and foreigners still feel that way). Now sushi have become the new pizza and Oslo have become a much more international city. This is also reflected in the restaurant market. You can find restaurants with all kinds of cuisines, nationalities and price ranges now. Last year Mathallen was opened. It’s a big food court where you can find booths with both local and foreign food. The place is accessible but can be quite crowded during the week-ends. Bar stools are also very common.

Unfortunately the restaurant market in Oslo is very ”unstable”. If you find a new favourite place, it might be closed the next month. Why? Well because they go bankrupt, loose their service license or because they are victims of bad marketing (or bad reviews). It can also be difficult to find a good restaurant if you don’t know the city very well. Around the main street Karl Johan there are not a lot of good restaurants. And the harbour area Aker Brygge has got many tourist traps (go to Tjuvholmen instead!). The best thing is to know someone that can guide you, or just to use the internet for updated information.

If you use a wheelchair – you can check out my guide. I got so tired from never remembering where the accessible restaurants were – so I made my own restaurant guide. It’s unfortunately not updated very often, but it gives you an idea of where to check.

Tapas is one of my favourites. And lately I have tried several good tapas restaurants in Oslo, and I thought I might share them with you. I have decided to make a list of my favourites – since my love of lists is never ending. 🙂

1. San Leandro

San Leandro is the best! They serve typical Spanish tapas and everything tastes deliciously. Both chefs and waitors are Spanish and the restaurant has a really good vibe. The restaurant in Vika (which is the best in my opinion) has only got high bar stools, but they can be removed and they also have some with ”back support.” In the Grünerløkka restaurant, they have lower tables as well. Both restaurants have accessible toilets (on the smaller side).  I never tried the restaurant in Majorstua, but I think it’s supposed to be accessible. Another option for traditional Spanish tapas is Cafe Tenerife (accessible via elevator) at Youngstorget.

2. Escalon

Escalon is situated on Tjuvholmen, the new area next to Aker Brygge with upscale restaurants, galleries and the new Astrup Fearnley museum. They serve traditional tapas with a twist.  And they also have some original courses like cod confit, quail breast and filet of hare. The prices are stiff but the portions are quite big for tapas. It’s a small restaurant on Tjuvholmen’s sunny side, so it’s almost impossible to get a table during the summer months. Make a reservation or try it out off season. The restaurant has level access and an accessible toilet (but people need to move for you to get there).

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3. Schiller’s tapas

Shiller’s is also a very popular tapas place. I have tried 3 or 4 times to get a table there, but it has always been full. This time I made a reservation (on a Tuesday) and I was successful. They have two different tapas menus. One with traditional Spanish tapas and one with more original choices. We went for traditional. The restaurant is situated inside Folketeaterpassasjen and there are not steps to the ”outside tables”. Bring a coat – since the big hallway can be chilly during winter time. If you need a toilet – you can use the accessible toilet in the Clarion hotel right next to it.

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The creme catalan at Schiller’s was also very good.

4. Hotel Havana

Hotel Havana has run a deli, café and catering in the heart of Grünerløkka since 2000. I have never been inside the deli (I think they have steps) but I have ordered tapas home for parties (very good)! I have also noticed that they have opened a new department in Mathallen, which I am planning to visit very soon.

5. Champagneria

If you want to hang out with pretty people or drink champagne on a late summer night, Champagneria is the place to be. It’s also a very good place for a date. 😉 I have only tried a few of their tapas courses, and they were good, but the place is extremely small (outside is a better option) and I don’t think they have an accessible toilet.

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At Schiller’s – good way to celebrate birthday!

Well, what’s left to say other than: Buen apetito!

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