The Bakken & Bæck Oslo Guide

Illustration by Owen Gatley

Since we are receiving a lot of international guests for our annual conference An Interesting Day, we decided to put together our very own city guide. The guide is filled with our favorite hot spots for food, drinks, desserts, dancing, events and activities.

We even made a special route for you to be able to drop by most of our favorite picks in one go.

Accommodation

Want to live like home or be waited on hand and foot? Oslo is prepared to accommodate you in any way your prefer.

For the ultimate Oslo experience, how about living as an Osloite through Airbnb? There are plenty of interesting and fancy homes in this city. But if you want the full vacation treatment, Scandic Vulkan is a comfortable city central choice. This 4-star hotel has a variety of rooms for all price ranges, and is located in the immediate vicinity of Mathallen and Bar Vulkan. If you want to go all out, try luxury spa hotel The Thief, winner of World Luxury Spa Awards in 2016. Located on the banks of the Oslo fjord, this hotel has the scenic advantage as well as being close to some of the best restaurants in Oslo. For a low-cost option, Comfort Xpress is a comfortable choice.

Eats

Breakfast
For all you early birds eager to taste the local breakfast cuisine, Oslo offers a wide range of alternatives from 8 am.

Start the day with a sweet pancake and milkshake breakfast at The Nighthawk Diner or get your full English breakfast on at Café Laundromat. For those of you with crazy Italian morning cravings, Villa Paradiso and Café Vespa will sate any hankering. Want everything with a side of everything? Grilleriet offers a lavish homemade breakfast buffet complete with a barista ready to make the morning brew of your choice.

Lunch
Take a break from shopping and sightseeing to taste the culinary range of Oslo.

Want another round of everything? Visit the upscale indoor food market Mathallen to catch up on current Norwegian and international food trends, or try GRÅDI’s sharing platter «Hyggefjøl» at Tøyen, two metro stops from the city center. Treat yourself to the «Liebling Tallerken», a brunch plate with breads, cheeses and meats, at café Liebling if you want it the Berlin way. Get the best sandwiches and pizzas in town at Lofthus Tranen, or satisfy your burger hunger at Munchies by feasting on the deliciously sloppy «Munchie» burger, complete with caramelized onions and blue cheese. MELT will have you toasted in no time.

Dinner
Whether you are a traditional cuisine diner or a fusion enthusiast, Oslo can do you a bit of both. Top it off with some conceptual restaurants, and there you have it.

Still not done trying everything? At informal Japanese gastropub Izakaya (meaning just that, «informal Japanese gastropub») and — essentially, informal Scandinavian gastropub — Bass, you can have it all and eat it too. With short, but well-constructed menus, you can mix and match small dishes to your current level of appetite. Or enjoy a delicious meal in relaxed surroundings at Territoriet and Kolonialen. For all you Spanish inquisitors, Publiko is perfecto. Smalhans and Arakataka will have you covered for authentic Scandinavian cuisine and then some. As will the seafood-based Tjuvholmen Sjømagasin and Solsiden Restaurant — both appropriately located by the Aker Brygge boardwalk. And for all you tapas loving people, Delicatessen (Grünerløkka & Aker Brygge) is top dog, whereas french connoisseurs will appreciate dimly lit Le Benjamin. Anyone up for some Asian (con)fusion? KAMAI, Restaurant Sawan and Südøst will throw you in every direction. Or have your meal and view it too at Ekebergrestauranten. Trouble deciding? Just go have dinner at delectable Chinese restaurant Dinner.

From the left: Mathallen, Munchies and Tim Wendelboe

Coffee
Need an extra pick-me-up or simply want a damn good cup of coffee? Say no more. Oslo prides itself on its rich coffee culture, being the home of the best coffee roasters in the world. Seriously, we got awards and everything.

Bakken & Bæck’s favorite coffee supplier Supreme Roastworks is a micro roastery, coffee bean hunter, coffee shop and the 2015 World Brewers Cup Champion(!). For high-quality coffee in wood & bare-brick surroundings, multi-award winning Tim Wendelboe is your guy (try the Cappuccino Al Freddo!). Throw some culture into the mix by visiting one of the Stockfleths coffee chains, a 120 year old Norwegian brand name focused on serving up an experience as well as a good cup of joe. 1960’s furnished Fuglen is a must-visit, a coffee bar concept that has branched out to Tokyo. For locals brews, check out Java.

Desserts
Not full yet? Oslo will have you sugarcoated in no time.

Sweet tooths needn’t look further than French cakery Pascal or delicious Danish ice-cream franchise Paradis (Mathallen, Tjuvholmen & Sørenga) to satisfy their hankering. Oh yeah, and then there is this guy selling the best waffles in town out of his kitchen window; Haralds Vaffel. Be sure to try the one with Nutella or blue cheese & bacon!

Drinks

Is it noon yet? It must be somewhere. Get your drink on at one of Oslo’s many watering holes. Or go bar hopping.

For those of you wanting an exotic alternative for your late night escapades, you should visit tiki bar Aku aku for long drinks, round drinks and altogether weird drinks, or quench your sake thirst at Izakaya. Want to test your Viking aptitude? Fuglen and Himkok are the go-to places for local aquavit and home brewed liquor, whereas Bettola and №19 are your safe, but awesome bets for cocktails. For atmospheric satisfaction, make sure to visit botanical-themed Torggata Botaniske and bar & bicycle shop Café Rouleur. Experience the panoramic view of Oslo from the rooftop terrace of Bar Vulkan or The Thief.

Nightlife

Bring your sexy back at one of Oslo’s dance clubs or fulfill your lifelong dream of pop stardom at a karaoke bar. Or just chill, Oslo does chill too.

Bike shop and café by day/bar by night, Oslovelo, and the backyard at Justisen, are your cool late night hangouts. At Angst Bar, you can enjoy a relaxed, but still dance-friendly atmosphere with current DJs. But if you’re in the business of murdering dancefloors, then sexytimedance (their words, not ours) hot spot The Villa is the place for you. Other cool DJ venues to check out are Jaeger and Blå. If you’re seeking to lose yourself in a flailing dance crowd, Ingensteds («nowhere») is where you need to be — or not be. Syng is the popular karaoke bar where you and your company can book private karaoke rooms and get those gullets going, or simply whip out your 90’s dance moves to your guilty pleasures — no judgement here!

Torggata Botaniske (left), and Blå

Shopping

Shop around the clock. Or at least until 6–8 pm, that’s when most shops close. But Oslo offers a wide range of exclusive, vintage and niche shops.

Visit women’s wear shops Ensemble and Babel for brands like Carven, C.l.e.a.n by Christina Ledang, RebekkaRebekka and A.P.C, or Hunting Lodge for the latest in male fashion. YME carries a wide selection of sneakers, including brands like Adidas, Nike, New Balance, Norse Projects and Wood Wood. Kaibosh will keep you well shaded, and for all your biking, men’s clothes and barber equipment needs, Dapper is the store for you. Be sure to also check out the Grünerløkka vintage scene. Second-hand treasure hunters are sure to find one-of-a-kind vintage items at Velouria Vintage and Frøken Dianas Salonger. And on Sundays you can explore the second-hand markets at Birkelunden park and Blå for unique items. For your more exclusive shopping needs, visit shopping street Nedre Slottsgate for high-end brands like Gucci, Hermès and Louis Vuitton.

Sights

Oslo has its highs and lows, geographically speaking. Be sure to experience the city from every angle.

Visit Oslo Opera House, the beautiful must-see architectural gem located on the banks of the Oslo fjord. They urge you to walk onto the roof, so go do that. For a steeper challenge, try walking up the stairs of the ski jump Holmenkollen. Or to get a full overview of the city, plan a trip up to Grefsenkollen or Ekebergrestauranten. Visit Gustav Vigeland’s famous sculpture park Vigelandsparken for its beautiful scenery and freaky contortionist poses, or step into the purgatorial mausoleum at Emanuel Vigeland’s Museum. Explore the city by taking a stroll through Kampen, Telthusbakken and Rodeløkka for insta-friendly, traditional Norwegian wooden houses. And while you are at it, head over to the botanical garden Botanisk hage to smell the flowers.

Events

There are tons of events happening in Oslo — catch them all!

For cultural stimulation, visit the Astrup Fearnley museum for the current exhibit Chinese Summer or the Knausgård-curated Munch exhibit Towards the Forest at the Munch Museum. To fuck up your Mondays, check out Frank Znort Orchestra, the recurring jazz-punk Sunday act at Blå. Then get ready for our eventful conference An Interesting Day and following after party. Continue dancing after An Interesting Day at Øyafestivalen, one of the biggest Norwegian music festivals, starting on Wednesday August 9th. Headlining acts this year include Lana Del Rey, The Shins, Pixies and Ryan Adams. Book your tickets before they sell out! When the festival area clears at 11pm, Øyanatt takes over with lots of different club concepts and concerts around the city.

Activities

When in Oslo, do as Osloers. Osloites. Oslos? Anyway, do as the people of Oslo and fill up your days with fun and interesting activities.

If the weather is nice and the going is good, go island hopping in the Oslo fjord. Board a boat at Aker Brygge using your bus ticket, and head for Hovedøya or Gressholmen. The Norwegian way: bring a disposable grill, some beers and swimwear, and you are good to go. On a sunny day you can also walk or take the bus to Sørenga, Tjuvholmen and Huk for bathing and chilling. Or just relax in the park at St. Hanshaugen or Frognerparken. Is your resting heart rate making you restless? Check out the outdoor strength training at Tufteparken. Or unlock a city bike with your mobile phone to get around. You can also rent kayaks, go indoor or outdoor rock-climbing and fishing! Pamper yourself with a massage at DaiKai or a spa treatment at The Well, or take a boat ride to a tiny island in the Oslo fjord for a scenic lunch at Lille Herbern. Book a day-long boat ride in the Oslo fjord at Bookbaat.no.

The Opera House, Sørenga Sjøbad and Vigeland Park

Hiking routes

There are lots of beautiful hike routes in Oslo, just remember to charge your phone before setting out for uncharted territory.

Follow the river trail of Akerselva from Maridalsvannet to Bjørvika for a 8,2 kilometer hike, or just start at the bottom and walk up to Sagene for a shorter city-scenic walk. Walk along the Oslo fjord from Bygdøy Sjøbad to Paradisbukta or walk around the lake at Sognsvann for quiet and scenic hiking routes by the water. Take the tram up to Frognerseteren and walk, bike, longboard or tram your way back down to the city. If you want a more forested terrain, take the bus to Rundvannet to hike in Østmarka. For other routes, check out ut.no.

And last, but not least

Be sure to visit Bakken & Bæck HQ for a tour of the office and a cup of Supreme Roastworks’ finest brews, or a cup of tea with fresh honey from our buzzing bees.

We have collected all our favorite spots in a handy map right here.


An Interesting Travel Route

Set out from Scandic Vulkan and walk across the street to upscale food court Mathallen for the latest food trends. Cross the river up to Grünerløkka and visit either Tim Wendelboe or Supreme Roastworks for amazing coffee. Walk back down to the fountain at Olaf Ryes plass, follow the shopping street Markveien and cross the «fairytale bridge» Eventyrbrua at the bottom of the street to get to Torggata. Walk down the street and grab a delicious burger at Munchies before continuing through town square Youngstorget on your way to the Oslo Opera House. Walk to the end of the pier at Sørenga before turning back to Karl Johans gate and up to The Royal Castle. Do a 360-spin around the lot before turning westward to get to the shopping street Bogstadveien. Walk up to Frognerparken and snap some pictures before continuing onwards to St. Hanshaugen and the wooden houses down Telthusbakken. When you get to the bottom of the hill, you should be back at your starting point at Scandic Vulkan.

By now, you’ve probably worked up quite an appetite, and should head back across the river to Grünerløkka to dine at Delicatessen or Le Benjamin.

Enjoy Oslo!