You can now dine internationally without leaving the city of Oslo. The influx of foreigners in recent years has led to the growth of Mexican-, Turkish-, Moroccan-, Chinese-, Greek-, and American-style restaurants. Among European cuisines, French and Italian are the most popular. The biggest concentration of restaurants is at Aker Brygge. This former shipbuilding yard on the harborfront is now the smartest dining and shopping complex in Norway.

Not all restaurants in Oslo are newcomers. Some have long been associated with artists and writers -- the Grand Café, for example, was the stamping ground of Henrik Ibsen and Edvard Munch.

At most restaurants, a 15% service charge and 20% value-added tax are included in the bill. It's customary to leave some additional small change if the service has been satisfactory. Wine and beer can be lethal to your final bill, so be careful.

Family-Friendly Restaurants

Brasserie 45 -- This traditional-with-a-twist bistro has a good menu for little ones, especially the picky eaters among them.

Mamma Rosa -- The best place to fill up on pasta dishes or one of ten kinds of pizzas, each a meal in itself.

Najaden -- As if being in the Norwegian Maritime Museum weren't enough for kids, those under 12 can also enjoy an elaborate summer lunch buffet here for half-price.

Santino's Spaghetteria -- Delectable pasta and pizza, served in a quirky setting that kids should love.

Dining Secrets of Oslo

One of Oslovians' favorite pastimes is visiting Aker Brygge. Formerly a dilapidated shipbuilding yard, the futuristic complex now combines more shopping, entertainment, and dining diversions in one area than anywhere else in Norway. Many visitors, some with children, come here to check out the restaurants and cafes, watch the people, and listen to music in the bars. Part of the fun is strolling through the complex and picking a restaurant. Norwegian food is served along with a representative selection of foreign food offerings, including American. In the summer visitors and locals fill the outdoor tables overlooking the harbor. There are also many nightlife options. To reach Aker Brygge, take bus no. 27 or walk down from the center west of the Rådhus.

A local favorite here is the Albertine Café & Bar, Stranden 3, Aker Brygge (tel. 22-83-00-60), an informal place on the wharf's edge, offering a panoramic view over the harbor and Akershus fortress. This place consistently serves some of the freshest and tastiest oysters in Oslo. You can drop in for just a hamburger or a full Norwegian seafood dinner. It's also an easy place for meeting singles.

In front of the Rådhuset, you can join Oslovians for a special picnic treat. From 7 to 8am, shrimp fishermen pull their boats into the harbor after having caught and cooked a fresh batch of shrimp during their night at sea. You can order shrimp in a bag (it comes in two sizes). Seafood fanciers take their shrimp to the dock's edge, remove the shells, and feast. The fishermen usually stick around until they've sold the last batch, saving just enough for their families.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.