Friday, February 13, 2009

Cheap and Easy Eating in Oslo.

Eating is generally hellishly expensive in Oslo, and if you're after a quick and easy meal, you're overwhelmed by the number of franchise restaurants spreading like viri throughout the city, homogenizing its look and feel, stealing its cool making everything look corporate and shitty. However, there is light! A few places in town have kept on feeding the poor and conscious for years. Here are some of them:

- Punjab Tandoori, Grønland 24.

*Apparently, there's another Indian place just around the corner, where the food is much cheaper, much better and comes in bigger portions!
My mum tipped me off about this mysterious eatery, I'll be checking it out with a mate sometime soon.*

This is an old Indian / Pakistani place on the East side of town, where you'll generally find the least expensive and most interesting places. Two minutes walk from the Grønland subway station on the left hand side of the street (facing the police station) you find Punjabi Tandoori where most dinners cost 60 Norwegian Crowns (Under ten USD or Euros) including rice, a little bit of salad and nan bread. You wont get food poisoning and the staff is friendly, they have a lot of "exotic" brands of beer in the fridge (Cobra and the like, mostly Indian beers) but I'm always piss broke and go for water, so I don1t know what they charge.
This isn't a fancy place, but they have really cheap good food.

- Cafe Blitz, Pilestredet 30.
Originally an old squat in Skippergata 6, this place is now a landmark in Oslo. An activist hub, autonomous youth house, concert scene and vegan / vegetarian cafe.
The place got fixed up recently and the punks inside are busy covering the walls back up with graffiti, banners and posters. The café serves what has to be the cheapest food in Oslo. All of it is either vegan or vegetarian, some of it is both, the waffles especially are incredibly good and the coffee is nice and strong to keep young hearts pumping warm and rebellious. Dinner is served to you in big generous portions for 30 - 40 NOK, which is a little under 6 USD or Eurobucks. Sometimes this dinner is pretty good, sometimes it's incredible. Always edible.
The book shop / info shop place is back up and running on the first floor with the feminist radio station on top.
Not a high class place, but a friendly one with a lot of different and good people and a lot of political shit going on.

- Sushi Tokyo, Kirkeveien 51.
Okay, so sushi isn't going to be cheap, even if you dig long and hard through the city. However, if you're really craving, you might as well go for the cheapest (this is debatable, but I've never eaten sushi at this quality any cheaper anywhere in my life) and actually best place in Oslo.
Located surprisingly on the posher west side of town, somewhere along the road between the Major's Station subway station and Vigeland's Park (AKA the Statue Park AKA that park with all the nekkid people in it) lies a humble little place called Sushi Tokyo. They have really good food, friendly staff and a kind of strange atmosphere, there's a lot of contrasting art on the walls, but they have fresh flowers at all the tables and they won't rob you for eating there. Kind of cramped but clean toilets, which is nice. you can ask for a student's discount, which they allegedly do have, but I've never remembered to ask. I think it's ten per cent, not too shabby.

- Mitsu Sushi, (I don't know the address, let me get back to that.)
Near the river, close to the Hausmann's Street and the Møller street, there's an obscure little place called Mitsu. I can't find their info on the web, so I don't know their address. However I was always a bit flabbergasted walking by the place seeing as they specialize in sushi and, err, baguettes. I imagine that seeing as they're so close to the Elvebakken high school (I think that is the closest comparison to make between different educational systems...) they figured they'd try to make a buck selling the school kids lunch. Seems like it's working pretty well, they always have quite a few people in there eating mostly sushi or noodles or other oriental food, I've never personally seen anyone order a baguette there...
Owned by the same people as Sushi Tokyo above they offer incredibly good sushi (especially on Tuesdays...) at a really affordable price. I eat at both places with my Superior Other, we'll both get stuffed with raw fish for 310 NOK which is about 45 USD or 35 Eurobucks (at todays rates). Not too shabby!
Oh, and the interior at Mitsu is awesome!

Both Mitsu and Sushi Tokyo sell expensive beer, one Norwegian brand from Bergen; Hansa, and Japanese beers Kirin and Sapporo or Asahi. Not exactly my cup of tea..
For a nice beer to enjoy with your sushi [assuming it's summer and you can eat in the park or by the river] is Lysholmer Ice. So there you have it.

- the University, Blindern. Take subway lines 3, 4 or 5 to the Blindern subway station.
At university campus there's a building housing a pub and a cinema (I think...) and also a large, good and cheap cafeteria. They have cheap dailies, always one vegetarian alternative as well as a halal dish. They specialize in making students eat healthily.

This list is by no means finished, I'm going to add a few places that I haven't been for a while but at least used to be really cheap, really good and really friendly.
I'll visit them first before I write summaries; on my list of places to visit are Fred, a Chinese restaurant near where my dad used to live and Curry and Ketchup next doors to Sushi Tokyo.
Good times!


  1. Will you continue posting? No matter what I think you should keep it on the web. This about Oslo is better than nothing. And I wanna be able to have an Oslo link on my blog.

    / Stockholm

  2. We are coming to Oslo on Friday, so very good to read you blog! Thanks! Dee