Maaemo, in Oslo’s Old Town, was awarded two Michelin stars on its first rating, just 14 months after opening. It serves one menu for all guests, which changes with the seasons. It’s a real treat ($$) and one of many restaurants involved in the New Nordic Cuisine movement across Scandinavia.
Maaemo is located at Schweigaardsgate 15b by Annette Thommessens plass. It is a short walk from the central station and bus terminal. You can reserve online before your trip - be sure to book early as they are very popular and have a waitlist. Be warned - it is kr. 4000 per person for the Seasonal Menu.
The restaurant has just eight tables in the main dining room as well as a private Test Kitchen table, which has a direct view of the chefs at work and the modern skyline of Bjørvika. Maaemo has won accolades from food critics around the world. In 2012, just 15 months after opening, Maaemo was awarded two Michelin stars in its first ever mention in the prestigious guide, becoming the first, and only, restaurant in the Nordics to do so. In 2016 & 2018 Maaemo was awarded a third Michelin star, becoming the first Norwegian restaurant ever to hold Michelin’s highest accolade.
Here is what the 'World's Best 50 Restaurant' guide has to say about this restaurant:
Who, where, what and when? Maaemo’s 35-year-old head chef and co-owner, Esben Holmboe Bang, hails from Denmark but has made Oslo his home for the past 13 years. Since opening in 2010, Maaemo has become one of the most in-demand destination restaurants in all of Scandinavia.
Mission statement: Holmboe Bang says that his focus at Maaemo is on a complete experience that allows him to highlight “the relationship between the raw nature, produce and our cultural history.”
A culinary journey through a Nordic landscape: Reflecting the name – Maaemo is ancient Norse for “Mother Earth” – the menu is based almost entirely on ingredients sourced from the surrounding region. Some of the seafood, such as the hand-dived scallops, comes from the pristine waters of Norway’s northern coast, but most of the produce is grown or foraged in the area immediately around Oslo, focusing on organic and sustainable practices.
Any signature dishes? Among the stand-out dishes that helped put Maaemo on the map is Bang’s langoustine roasted in pine butter, glazed with a gel of spruce shoots. More recent classics include his remarkable chicken foot, with chicken liver and fermented lingonberry juice, decorated with glistening red sorrel leaves.
Theatrical dining: The kitchen is located on the mezzanine level and dinner is punctuated by the procession of waiters, and often chefs, too, carrying dishes down the gracefully curving stairs to the dining room. The best seats in the house are at the upstairs six-seat chef’s table, which faces directly in (through glass) to the intense activity in the kitchen.