I need to remember one thing – ‘cool’ harbour areas recommended by local tourist offices usually aren’t the best place to visit if you want to have good food at a good price. Darling Harbour in Sydney and Docklands in Melbourne aren’t any good for local food – and it’s certainly the same for Aker Brygge in Oslo.
The friendly lady at the Oslo tourist office drew a self-guided walking tour route on a city map for us, and recommended that we go for lunch at the harbourside precinct of Aker Brygge after visiting their Opera House. “There’s a good variety of restaurants there,” she said. “From high end to McDonalds, there’s everything.”
Well if there was fast or casual eateries in the area, we certainly couldn’t find them! We wandered around Aker Brygge for almost half an hour peering hopefully at the menus of numerous restaurants hoping they wouldn’t break our budget, only to find that the average cost of a main was around 250NOK. I wasn’t prepared to pay that much at an un-researched restaurant – if we’re spending $100AUD on a meal, I want to read some reviews first to make sure that it’s worth the expense!
Getting hungry, we decided on going to Louise Restaurant and Bar as it had slightly more reasonable prices than some of the other restaurants – around 180NOK for a main.
The restaurant was chock full of businesspeople when we arrived, but had nearly emptied by the time we left. I suspect that the lunch hour is much earlier in Norway – around 11.30am – 12.30pm because that’s when the restaurant started to empty. It certainly makes a change from the late dining hours we’d been getting used to while we were travelling through France and Spain – and I have to say, these earlier dining hours suit me much better!
I ordered the Smoked Salmon Fillet from Leroy, served with herb salad, rye bread crisps, pickled gherkin, egg, chive sour cream and grated horseradish, for 168NOK. This was a delightful little salad, with a very generous serving of some plump and rich smoked salmon pieces. The combination of smoky salmon, dressed salad, crisp rye crisps and sour gherkins worked really well – my only disappointment was that the egg wasn’t soft-boiled. A soft-boiled egg with a runny yolk mixed through the salad would have really lifted the whole dish.
K ordered the Exclusive Louise Burger, with a patty made with a blend of beef brisket, rib, and chuck steak, served with melted Jarlsberg, tomato and bacon (195NOK). The meat blend of the burger patty was quite delicious and unique, and it was really lifted by the melted Jarlsberg cheese as well. A softer brioche bun could have improved the burger overall, but it was quite a good meal with the crispy crunchy fries on the side.
We ordered two Cokes with our meal as well to help quench our thirst…then regretted it when we got the bill and realised we’d been charged 49NOK ($8AUD) for each 300ml drink – $16 in total just for soft drinks! Buyer beware – while the meals may be a little cheaper than elsewhere in Aker Brygge, they make it up by overcharging you for drinks!
While the food at Louise Restaurant and Bar was quite satisfying, we left the restaurant a bit disappointed. For one, we felt ripped off by the cost of the drinks, and for another, while the food was nice, it wasn’t remarkable – we felt that we could have had a better meal elsewhere for cheaper. Aker Brygge in Oslo is not a great place to visit for a meal if you’re on a budget – do your research in advance and look elsewhere!
Louise Restaurant and Bar is located at 3 Stranden in Oslo, Norway.