Olympen restaurant is a bit like Oslo city itself: they both have changed significantly over the years without ever losing their identity. Located in the heart of the quickly gentrifying Grønland neighborhood, Olympen or ‘Lompa’, as the locals call it, has been there in some form or another since 1892. Here’s why you need to step inside this historical place and enjoy a meal with a slice of nostalgia.
Grønlandsleiret 15 certainly has a long history. Olympen (named after Olympus, where the Ancient Greek Gods lived) was built in 1892 by Schous Brewery. For 10 years, from 1894 to 1904, Olympen was rented out as a theater called ‘Olympen Christiania Morskabsteater’, operated by the People’s Theater in Grønland.
Its first reincarnation as a cafe and restaurant took place in 1904, when it was renovated by Jørgen and Cathinka Jensens – but that was only the beginning. In 1927, architect Lars Backer changed the facade and expanded the building, including a roof terrace. In the ’60s, Olympen was refurbished twice. It was reimagined as a ‘French den’ for the people of the East Side (as the city’s divide into East and West sides was very prominent back then) but when that didn’t take, it returned to its previous style, operating mainly as a beer hall.
Flash forward to 2006, when the doors closed for another refurbishment and opened a year later to great success. The decor still maintains the continental style ‘Lompa’ has been known for, with heavy chandeliers, dark wood and brass details. The paintings, depicting motifs from Grønland and Enerhaugen, are actually of great cultural value. Painted by Hans Henrik Sartz Backer in 1928, they act as a window into a past long gone, but not forgotten.
In a city where eating out is always a bit of a luxury, Olympen manages to serve food that is both classy and affordable. The cuisine is Nordic but with a modern touch and some continental and pub elements. You will find classics like baked cod with egg, shrimps, horseradish, browned butter and potatoes, or even a simple but great steak tartar with french fries. For big companies, there is even a roast pig menu (that you need to order in advance). Their desserts are also unabashedly Norwegian: think marinated strawberries with sour cream sorbet and basil.
Olympen’s past as a beer hall is still evident: to this day, they serve about 150 types of beer. But if you want to sip on a cocktail at one of Oslo’s best cocktail bars, all you need to do is… stay at Olympen. On the second floor, Pigalle still maintains the art-deco feel and French aesthetics from one of Olympen’s former lifetimes, but also serves cocktails that are on point (and some of them on tap) and cool South American bites in the courtyard.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.