The Best Sustainable Restaurants in Oslo, Norway
Oslo and its restaurants are creating a greener future | © Arvid Malde / Unsplash
Oslo is a city on a mission to create a greener future, and show the rest of the world how it’s done in the process.
In the past five years, Oslo’s city centre has transformed roads, formerly used by carbon-emitting cars, into urban parks and green spaces, and was awarded the title of European Green Capital in 2019. Norway’s capital has also become home to New Nordic cuisine – a growing food movement that champions seasonal produce and primarily uses hyper-local ingredients. From no-waste dishes to organic Michelin-star dinners, these are the best sustainable restaurants in Oslo.
The name of this restaurant signals its two main objectives: to be a place where guests can relax over a long meal and to create dishes using the “rest” of the produce and food products usually passed over by other restaurants. “The name literally means leftovers, and the concept is to use produce that others don’t want, such as crooked carrots or ‘ugly’ tomatoes,” says Oslo-based food writer, Anders Husa, who calls Rest an “absolute must”. Chef Jimmy Øien believes no ingredient should be wasted and hopes diners will be inspired to rethink the over-consumerism that drives food waste.
Einer flips society’s typically meat-centric approach to dining on its head by offering an entirely vegetarian menu as its primary option, with a secondary menu for meat-eaters. “We always wanted our restaurant to be sustainable – no other option seemed inviting to us… that’s the way we have worked in years previous to opening Einer,” says chef Svein Trandem, referring to him and his wife’s background at the three-Michelin-star Oslo restaurant, Maaemo. When asked what sustainable dining means to chef Trandem and his wife (Sara Johansson who is Einer’s sommelier), the chef said their focus is connecting directly with local farmers and purveyors, without the use of a middle man, so they can know exactly where their ingredients are coming from and who is growing them.
This stylish and intimate restaurant is helmed by TV-chef Sebastian Myhre and is a firm favourite with Oslo food writer Anders Husa. The name, which means “stable” in Norwegian, pays homage to the venue’s former, equine occupants. But don’t let the building’s humble beginnings fool you; Stallen has quickly gained recognition among residents for delivering authentic, Nordic cuisine fueled by local farms and purveyors. “A lot of the vegetables are from the chef’s own farm, located about half an hour outside of Oslo,” says Anders. “The goal is to be self-sustained with vegetables.”
Restaurant, European, $$$
Located in Oslo’s Frogner borough, Kolonihagen Frogner was the first organic restaurant in the city and continues to uphold its reputation for ethical dining. There are à la carte and tasting menus, and wine pairings come highly recommended. While there are meat dishes available, vegetarian options such as the red beetroot tartare standout for delivering just as much flavour. Beyond his delicious daily menus, Kolonihagen’s chef Jørgen Ravneberg sells a variety of sustainably made and Kolonihagen-branded food products, which are available at grocery stores throughout Norway.
Located on the 13th floor of the sustainable Clarion Hotel at the Hub, Norda offers eco-friendly cuisine paired with spectacular views of downtown Oslo. The restaurant is the brainchild of celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, who remarked “you won’t eat fresher and more locally than this” after commemorating Norda’s opening in March 2019. The chef’s team has curated a menu of North American-inspired dishes made exclusively with Nordic products, in order to reduce the carbon footprint. Many ingredients are sourced just steps away from the kitchen, from Oslo’s largest rooftop garden located atop the Clarion Hotel. Be sure to end your meal with pastry chef Hans Martin’s creative take on the American s’more.
Restaurant, Vegan, $$$
Michelin-star veteran chef Reuben Waller trained the team at Nordvegan, and diners won’t miss meat at this casual vegan eatery. It aims to inspire patrons to adopt a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle by exposing them to a variety of flavorful, meat-free dishes. Nordvegan reminds guests how eating one vegan meal saves 3kgs (7lbs) of CO2 from entering the atmosphere, as well as 1,100 gallons of water. Building on its plant-powered ethos, it partnered with the World Preservation Foundation in October 2019 to plant one tree for every meal sold by the restaurant.
Restaurant, European, $$$
While sourcing ingredients locally and reducing food waste are certainly important parts of the sustainable dining revolution, fostering close-knit communities is also essential. Carl Johan Bahre, the owner of Oslo’s Ett Bord, understands this philosophy. Not only does the restaurant produce local, organic dishes, but it serves them to diners seated around the restaurant’s single and communal, 24-seat table. The unusual dining experience is perfect for solo travellers and others looking to meet Oslo’s residents.
These recommendations were updated on June 29, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.