I thought it was about time that I wrote this post as it is one that I had wanted to write for a long time. I may not live in Norway anymore but still wanted to write this and share my knowledge of what it was like being vegetarian in Norway. This first post is about eating out in Norway and I am going to follow up at a later date about home cooking as a vegetarian in Norway. I have put this as a Friday Favourite as I am going to list some of favourite places I ate while in Norway.
It was very tricky to be vegetarian in Norway. Traditional Norwegian food is based around fish and vegetarianism hasn’t been embraced as widely as some other countries. Even large chain restaurants that exist in other countries such as TGIF only had one vegetarian option as opposed to the numerous options there are in the UK. Choices everywhere are limited but even though they are limited you can find some amazing places to eat. It can require some research and Google translate is a great tool. I found Norwegian very easy to read so very quickly could see if there was a vegetarian option. Everyone in Norway also speaks incredible English so don’t be afraid to ask if you are unsure about anything, plus if you try to speak Norwegian they will usually start speaking English to you when they see that you aren’t Norwegian.
During the day though the bakeries and coffee shops were amazing. Norwegian baking is incredible. I really miss having my Skolebrod for breakfast on a Saturday from Blings. Something I think everyone should try is the rye bread that Scandinavian countries are famous for. I have always loved rye bread but being able to buy it fresh was amazing. I am going to have to perfect a recipe for it. I know that it really is a love it or hate it with rye bread but I love it and really miss being able to have it.
Something that I loved about Norwegian cafes and restaurants is how much outside seating there is. Even in the middle of winter Norwegians would still sit outside under heaters and wrapped in blankets and sheepskins rather than sit indoors. During September the weather was incredible and I loved eating outside in an evening at restaurants.
Some places I would recommend going to eat are:
Litteraturhuset (Literature House). I love this place. I would meet here with my friends to knit but also have lunch. The vegetarian option is limited but when I was there the pumpkin soup was amazing.
Cafe Tekehtopa; this is a great restaurant just round the corner from where I used to live. It really opened my eyes to some great vegetarian cooking. There is only one vegetarian option on the menu which changes regularly but when I was there it was a cauliflower steak with hazelnut sauce. It was amazing, I had always been a skeptic about cauliflower steaks as I thought it was quite lazy but after having it there I was converted. The hazelnut sauce was quite like a hazelnut butter and it was delicious.
Mathallen; I practically used to live here, it was heaven! This is an old warehouse which was been converted into an indoor food market. The shops in it are stationary but at the weekend pop up shops would also appear. They sell everything from fruit, vegetables, meat and fish to tapas restaurants and a raw food vegan shop. There are lots of restaurants and bars so there is something for everyone! The Tine cheese shop had an amazing Brie like cheese which was half goats milk, half cows milk which was amazing, I can not remember the name of it now but I wish I had a piece of that in my fridge now. At Christmas the selection of Jule Ale (Christmas ales) was great, I’m hoping that I will be able to find some British Christmas ales this Christmas as I will miss that! I could write an entire post just about Mathallen, it is fantastic!
Pascal; I remember the first time I walked past the window of Pascal and saw all of the beautiful desserts they sell, it draws you inside instantly. I also had a wonderful goats cheese salad. Goats cheese salad in the autumn seemed to be a very common vegetarian dish in a lot of restaurants, which I didn’t mind as I love goats cheese.
Stormkjokkenet, I had an incredible tomato salad with smoked cucumber here which was amazing. Vegetarians sometimes get hard done by with smoking as it is mainly fish and meat that gets smoked so this was great to be able to have. The atmosphere in there was wonderful too.
Another place with a large number restaurants is Aker Brygge. This is right on the edge of the Oslo Fjord and the views from the restaurants here are great. There is a huge selection, prices can be quite expensive here, even for Norway as it is incredibly popular. There is a lot of restaurants here so there will be a vegetarian option somewhere!
I will also put in one of my favourite places to eat in Asker too. Asker is a small town about 20 minutes away from Oslo. I loved Asker, I lived there for one month and would have very happily lived there. My favourite cafe to go to was Cafe Overens. The atmosphere in it was lovely and the staff were always very friendly. I first went there 5 years ago on my first visit to Norway. The food is also great, the salads are wonderful and the sandwiches are huge.
It is always important to remember when you travel as a vegetarian to do some research before you go so you know how easy/difficult it will be.
Wow this has been quite a massive post, I hope that is has been helpful if anyone is planning on going to Norway, especially the Oslo area! It is a beautiful country and there are some great vegetarian dishes to be found, just make sure you go prepared but it is possible to eat very well as a vegetarian in Norway.