Sunday, November 17, 2013

Crêperie de Marie: French Pancakes in Oslo

Crêperie de Mari is a restaurant for people who wants to eat French pancakes, either the savory ones ("galettes") or the sweet ones ("crêpes"). There are two restaurants and last Sunday we went to the one in Grunerløkka.

I ordered a "Dalen" with Feta cheese (the cheese can be chosen from a list) and with extra pesto (supplement).

Dalen (with feta cheese) + pesto, 131 NOK

It tasted very nicely. The tomats, the feta cheese and the pesto went very well together with the French galette. My wife went for something more classic: a "complete" galette with eggs and ham:

Komplett, 99 NOK

It tasted good too but was maybe a bit more "boring" in terms of taste. For our son, we ordered a chicken-pesto galette:

Chicken & pesto, 109 NOK

It was good too, maybe a bit too much pesto.

For dessert we shared one crêpe (sweet French pancake) as we were quite full from the main pancakces.

Sweet Angel, 79 NOK

It was called "Sweet Angel" and it was indeed heavenly. Fresh strawberries, whipped cream and ice cream.

What else to say? The restaurant can be full, avoid busy hours if possible. We had to wait ourselves about 20 minutes before getting a table. But all in all we enjoyed the food and we recommend this restaurant for people who want a French pancake, either a sweet one or a savory one.

Grill's Ville: a Premium Burger Experience?

Grill's Ville is a small burger restaurant in Frogner, just next to the tramway stop (line 12). There are actually several restaurants in this area, including Sato, a Japanese restaurant and an Italian pizzeria.

The motto of the restaurant: "Food with Care" and it is obvious that the chef there indeed cares about the food and tries to give a premium experience to his customers.

Here is an example:

Doesn't look so nice because I am not a good photograph but it tastes better than well-known fast food chain restaurants. Also, the service was very nice when we were there.

Our only regret is that the meat itself (patty) isn't anything special and it kind of drags the whole burger quality down. In the menu, you have the option to get a bigger burger or a double meat burger. Maybe including the option to get higher quality meat should be added.

So all in all a nice place for a burger but it could be better by using higher quality patties.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Eating Vietnamese at Far East (Oslo)

Far East is a Thai-Vietnamese restaurant located in Oslo city center (close to Oslo S). It took me some time to try it because I wasn't so convinced about the combination Thai/Vietnamese (I had tried a Chinese-Vietnamese restaurant in the past without finding anything Vietnamese) but I let me convinced by the fact that the restaurant is often quite full. I don't regret it.

About the menu, the restaurant really proposes Vietnamese dishes: Pho, Bun Bo, Bun Cha Gio etc... It also has some Thai dishes (Pad Thai, some Thai soups, ...). We generally have Vietnamese food when we go there.

Their springrolls are really nice:

Cha Gio (springrolls) 78 NOK (or 54 NOK for 3)

The only thing is that I find the sauce a bit spicy which I don't find necessary for springrolls.

Here is a Bun Bo (sorry for the lack of focus, I am a terrible photograph). It is a dish composed of rice noodles and beef with a lemon taste.

Bun Bo 98 NOK

My wife generally order the Pho Bo (noodle soup with beef) but last time we went there, she went for some skewers with shrimps and beef.

It is an original combination in my opinion but it worked nicely and she really enjoyed it. 

We ordered some fried rice for our son. The kingprawn was ordered in addition to the normal dish.

All in all, we really enjoy the food there. We will have to try some dishes from their Thai menu too.

Otherwise, the restaurant itself is quite modest, maybe a bit outdated. Beware that the restaurant can get quite full during popular hours (Friday evening, Saturday evening, ...). 

Miso Cafe: a Place to Enjoy Korean Food in Oslo!

Miso Cafe is a cafe but it also serves very nice Korean food.

It is located in Røa, not far from the subway station (line 5). I generally try to feature restaurants near city center in this blog but this place deserves the effort to go a bit farther.

The choice isn't big, especially if you want to try Korean food but everything this cafe serves tastes good.

Here, for example, is a picture of a Dolsot Bibimbap we had last time we went there:

Dolsot Bibimbap (a bit spicy), 149 NOK

You may not see it in the picture but the pan is very hot. They basically heat it, put the ingredients in it and bring it to you. You season it if you want to and mix it. The dish is a bit spicy.

Something else we like there is there Bulgogi bento which mixes different Asian styles (Korea for the Bulgogi, Vietnam for hte springrolls and Japan for the presentation).

Bulgogi Bento, 179 NOK

One thing to note is that every tastes good and I believe the springrolls to be hand made. And by the way, Bulgogi is the beef dish on the lower left side of the picture. Sauteed beef in a Korean style.

They also serve everything cafes serve (coffee, sandwiches, rolls,...).

All in all, I really like this place.

To sum up advantages and inconveniences of this place, here are the advantages:
- serving Korean food that tastes great
- the price is quite nice
- it is opened on Sunday

What is less good:
- a bit farther from the city center than other restaurants I am reviewing in this blog
- tables and chairs are more of a cafe than of a restaurant (logical since this is a cafe)
- it closes quite early (18 normally, 21 on Thursdays)

Sato: a Real Japanese Restaurant in Oslo

There are many Japanese restaurants in Olso but only a few are managed by Japanese people and serving something else than sushi. Well, Sato is one of them. The owner and main cook is Sato-san and he is Japanese.

You can find the restaurant in Niels Juels gate, next to the tramway stop (line 12). It is quite close to Solli too, if this makes it easier for you (more buses/trams go there).

So what do you find other than sushi? Well, a couple of things like Oyakodon (rice with chicken and eggs), Gyudon (rice with beef, in a Japanese style), or Unagidon (eel in a sweet soya sauce, again with rice).

The "donburi" dishes (things that end with "don") are generally the small version of the original dishes, with the main component laid on rice in a bowl.

But actually, those dishes are quite big in this restaurant.

I am really sorry I don't have any photos yet but I promise I will take some next time I go there.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Olivia: a Nice Place for Pizza!

There are  3 Olivia restaurants in Oslo and we have been to two of them. They offer different Italian dishes but what we like best there are their pizzas.

Yesterday, we went to the Olivia restaurant located on the back side of Aker Brygge, in Tjuvholmen. There is also an Olivia restaurant in Aker Brygge, next to the sea (at the beginning of the walking area) but we were afraid there would be too many people there.

There was actually quite some customers in Tjuvholmen too, but we didn't have to wait to be seated.

We ordered 3 pizzas:
  • children pizza with ham
  • White pizza with chicken
  • pizza alla diavola
Pizza for children with ham, 100 NOK

Same pizza, another angle

Pizza alla diavola, 172 NOK

Pollo Bianco (white chicken), 172 NOK

The pizza alla diavola was actually quite spicy because of the salami (a spicy type). But "diavola" in the name of the pizza was indeed warning the pizza would be... diabolic.

I am generally not a big fan of white pizzas (I like tomato sauce) but I must admit that this "white chicken" pizza tasted very good and had me reconsider my views about white pizzas in general.

The service was good but I recommend you to avoid rush hours like Saturday night if possible.

The official website of Olivia:

Nam Fah: a Nice Little Thai Restaurant in Oslo Sentrum

There are many Thai restaurants and take-aways in Oslo and we decided to go to one called Nam Fah last Thursday. It is located in the city center, not far from the Stortinget station and very close to Steen&Strøm building.

We went for a dish called "Pad Se Eew moo" for our son.

Pad Se Eew moo: fried noodles with pork, 158 NOK

It wasn't spicy at all. On the contrary it was quite sweet. So a good choice for a child but I would have found it too sweet for me.

My wife went for "Pad Poong Karrii gai", a curry-based dish.

Poong Karrii gai, 168 NOK

Surprisingly, this wasn't really spicy either. A good thing for my wife who cannot eat too spicy food but if it was for me, I would have expected a curry based dish to be a bit more spicy.

When it comes to me, I had "Ratnah gai":

Ratnah Gai, 178 NOK

It is also fried noodles but has much more sauce than the "Pad Se Eew" we had for my son. I liked it but this is more for people who like sauces in general.

All in all, Nam Fah is a nice little restaurant in city center and a good choice if you like Thai food.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Xich Lo, a Vietnamese Restaurant in Oslo City Center

My wife and I are big fans of the Vietnamese cuisine. We have never been to Vietnam but we have tasted Vietnamese food in both France and Japan and had some nice experiences with it in both countries.

This is why we decided to try Xich Lo as soon as we heard positive comments about it. The restaurant is in Karl Johans gate (so you cannot do more central than this) and is on the 4th floor of a building with Nespresso on the first floor (just some help if you look for it).

Otherwise the restaurant is pretty and quite "classy". We were received at once and followed to the table. Before we even order anything, we get some water (flavored with lemon, orange and some herbs) and when we ordered, to make us wait, we got the following appetizer:

Vietnamese style beef stew - complimentary

It tasted really nice. The Vietnamese taste was rendered by the spices and despite the chili at the top, it wasn't hot. My wife removed the small chili part and had no problems eating it.

As a starter, we shared a "springroll"

Vietnamese Springrolls, 87 NOK

It was actually a combination of 2 fried springrolls (the usual ones) and 1 "fresh" springroll (cut in 2). Both type of rolls tasted good and at least the fresh one was hand made.

My wife ordered a lamb tenderloin with red wine sauce as a main:

Lamb tenderloin with red wine sauce, 257 NOK

It was good but it did not seem traditional Vietnamese to us (we may be wrong though, we are not Vietnamese). As for me, I went for the duck breast a la Xich Lo:

Duck breast a la Xich Lo, 257 NOK

The duck meat was really nice: soft, tasty but not too strong and I really appreciated it. I liked the sauce too but it was spicy and after a while, I couldn't take it anymore. I wasn't particularly impressed by the mushrooms but I may be too demanding about it.

Both dishes came with flavored rice::

Flavored rice, incl in the dish

Overall, we had a nice meal and we are satisfied with it. The prices are a bit high, but this has something to do with the restaurant being right in the heart of Oslo

Friday, August 16, 2013

Mahayana: a Very Good Asian Restaurant in Nationaltheatret

*** Update 14 Nov 2013: new photos at the end of this article ***

There are many Asian restaurants in Nationaltheatret and I have already reviewed two of them: Dinner and Tabibito. My wife wanted to try Mahayana for a long time but as we knew two nice restaurants in the same area already, it took us some time to actually do it. But we don't regret it as this is a nice place.

The decoration is classy, the restaurant is clean, the food tastes good, with the option to eat Japanese or Chinese (maybe even Thai, I don't remember). We actually ordered both Japanese and Chinese food. 

Everything tasted good but I must warn you that Chinese food may be spicy, even if the menu does not mention it. The Japanese dishes should be fine.

Here are a few photos:
Sweet-sour Pork

Chinese style beef in the foreground and sushi in the background ("natural born salmon")

Japanese style beef

Green tea tiramisu

A special mention for the sweet sour pork which is not the common dish we are used to but something particular which was very good. The Japanese-style beef was really good too. I didn't try it but my wife enjoyed her green tea tiramisu a lot.

All in all, a really nice restaurant and probably one of our favorite.

*** update ***

I took some new photos last time we went there. I still like this place very much. However, I now believe that they use the word "mild" in the menu to signify that the dish is spicy (if nothing is written, the dish is not, if the mention "only available mild" or something, it means the dish is a bit spicy). Kind of the opposite of the intent, in my opinion.

Anyway, here are the photos:

"Gu Lou Yuk", sweet sour pork, a bit spicy

"Gyuniku Teriyaki", Japanese style beef

Dinner at Grand Palais

A while ago, I wrote that we had been to a Friday Waffle event at Grand Palais and how I had been disappointed with it (link here). However, Grand Palais is still a nice place to have dinner and I was happy to go there with my family a few months ago.

The service was of course better than last time we were there, with just the small problem that the stroller was not accepted on the side of the table, despite my son being asleep in it and despite the available space for it (it was a sunny day and most customers were sitting outside while we were inside ourselves). But well, rules are rules and if you don't have a stroller, you will be fine.

Here are a few of the pictures I took:
A Starter

A Salad

A Main Course (meat)

We were three people and we took 2 starters and 3 main dishes (including a salad). Everything was good, especially the lamb shank (last picture), with is small vegetables and delicate sauce.

I also liked the fact that the menu was featuring some "local specialties" so that people visiting Norway would easily find what to taste in priority.

The menu is changing according to the season, so you will probably not have the same choice as we did, but all in all this is a good place to have dinner and I recommend it.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Delicatessen: Popular Tapas Restaurant in Majorstuen

Tonight we went to a popular Tapas restaurant in Majorstuen. This place is actually the victim of its success as it is often full and it may take some time to get a table or to get served.

Fortunately, tonight was a Monday night (restaurants are generally less busy early in the week) and we are during the summer holiday period which is also a factor for quiet evenings.

Worth noting: Delicatessen can be found in both Grünerløkka and Majorstuen. I am reviewing here the one in Majorstuen.
Chicken skewers and home-made sausages

It wouldn't be smart to review in details each dish as the principle of tapas is to order quite a lot of them and as they may vary depending on the season (available fresh products). 

Grilled asparagus, Pan con tomate and Mini-burger

What we can say is that on the whole, the tapas we ordered were good, that the restaurant had a nice choice of dish (going from Spanish ham to scampi, not forgetting potato-omelet, grilled asparagus, and many other dishes) and that most of it was homemade. Also, I am not an expert of Spanish cuisine but I have been several times to Spain and can say that this restaurant definitively had a Spanish touch.

Warm Chevre salad, croquetas Iberias and Serrano ham

About the service and restaurant: we had a little incident at the beginning. The staff told us we couldn't go in because of the stroller (which is understandable) but they were of little help trying to find a solution to it. Basically, sorry you cannot come in. That's it. After that, the service was fine, though and we enjoyed the meal.

Sitronterte  med bringebær

Otherwise, the restaurant is nice, especially when it comes to its location. Central enough (Majorstuen) to be easy to go to while not too noisy as it is a bit away from the main street.

When it comes to the price, we paid about 1000 NOK, knowing that we were two adults and one 3-yo child. We didn't have drinks but ate a lot and had desserts. So all-in-all a bit expensive but not exaggerated pricing.  Advice: avoid rush hours or be ready to have some waiting time.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Mini Sushi in Majorstuen: Better than Expected

Mini sushi i Majorstuen is a new take away and I must admit it is better than what I was expecting.

First, the restaurant is nice looking and with a nice interior design. Here is a review based on when we ate there (we generally opt for the take away option).

Here are the starters we chose:

Thai Beef Salad 80 NOK (take away price)

I went for the Thai beef salad. It has a strong lemony taste that I like. Please note that the meat is half cooked which is normal for this dish but may surprise you if you aren't expecting it.

Futomaki 1 (tofu, egg, asparagus, cucumber, avocado) 65 NOK (take away price)

We ordered sushi for our child and it wasn't bad at all.

Summer Springrolls 40 NOK (take away price)

My wife went for summer springrolls. They are good, fresh, and a healthier alternative to normal fried springrolls.

As a main, we shared a crispy duck, which is like the famous Peking duck.

Crispy Duck (for 2) 269 NOK (take away price)

It was really good and the skin of the duck was indeed crispy. My only regret is that the sauce was a bit spicy and I did not find it necessary to have a spicy sauce for this dish. Maybe the sauce used for the sommer springrolls would have been better.

Overall, mini sushi is a good place, especially at this price level at Majorstuen. Recommended.

Sunday Buffet Brunch in Oslo: Kolonihagen

Kolonihagen is a restaurant which offers a buffet brunch on Sundays. We have been there several times and here a quick review of it.

Frist, Kolonihagen is quite nicely placed at the back of a garden ("hage" means garden in Norwegian). It may surprise you a bit at first but it is quite cute.

The buffet has both warm dishes and cold dishes. Everything is home made with organic products.

Warm Dishes

The buffet generally includes some meat dishes, vegetables and a savory pie.

Cold Dishes

Cold dishes include starters, cold main and desserts. For example, organic bread, salmon or trout, tomat and mozzarella salad, etc...

Example of a dessert: apple crumble pie

It is not relevant to give so much more details about what we had as it changes every time and you may have something completely else than what we did. However, the dishes taste good, the choice is quite nice and overall, this is a nice Sunday brunch.

If I recall correctly, the buffet costs about 300 NOK for adults and 150 NOK for children (from 3 yo). The official website (only in Norwegian): It can get full quite quickly so it is a good idea to book a table in advance or to avoid busy hours (go there early for example).

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Friday Waffle at the Grand Cafe

The first Friday of each month takes place an event called "Friday Waffle" (or "FredagsVaffel" in Norwegian) at the Grand Palais. It is a waffle buffet where you can eat as many waffles as you want/can.

The Grand Palais is a beautiful place and generally speaking a nice restaurant. Here is one of the room.

Beautiful Room

As for the waffles, the first ones had been cooked before the start of the event (the event starts at 16:00), so that we could start eating at once without having to wait but unfortunately this also means they were lukewarm, not warm.

Some Waffles Made in Advance

A cook started to make waffles a bit after the start of the event but, probably because of the pressure of having many people queuing, the waffles were generally under-cooked. Otherwise, I would say that the dough was good but not exceptional.

Traditional Toppings: 3 Sorts of Jam, Sugar, Brown Cheese and Sour Cream

The price was good: 65 NOK for an adult and 32.5 NOK  for a child (half price). I was however disappointed with the service. We had to wait just for a waiter to show some attention (no drinks, no napkins for about 15 minutes). When we left, no "goodbye", no "thank you" and no "here is your receipt". From a place of this standing, I was expecting better.

To sum up: it is a cheap opportunity to eat a lot of waffles in a beautiful restaurant but you should not expect outstanding waffles or great service.