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Mathallen, Oslo
Mathallen, Oslo.
Photo: Finn Ståle Felberg / Mathallen
Travel Trade

Ranked among the greatest culinary cities in Europe!

Published: 24 November 2017

As a relatively small capital, Oslo is used to rank behind larger cities on various culinary best of-lists. This week, however, the Norwegian city bypassed several established foodie destinations in not just one, but two food city rankings. 

On the British catering company Caterwings’ list of the world’s greatest food cities, Oslo lands an impressive 16th place – thus positioning itself as the second best Nordic food city, rivalled only by Stockholm.

The Norwegian capital does even better in the American real estate Cushman & Wakefield’s extensive ranking of Europe’s best food halls.

Among more than 100 food halls, Mathallen i Oslo came in third – only Dinerama in London and Time Out in Lisbon are ranked above.

This understandably makes Frode Rønne Malmo, general manager at Mathallen Oslo, proud.

"It’s a very welcome recognition of everybody who’s been contributing to this project, from shop owners to the staff of Mathallen. I’m proud on behalf of Oslo as a city as well. Having our food hall noted by an international audience is very inspiring."

Mathallen, Oslo
Mathallen, Oslo.
Photo: Finn Ståle Felberg / Mathallen

Beating Copenhagen is fun

Oslo’s culinary bronze medal was published in an extensive report this week, where Cushman & Wakefield lists what they consider to Europe’s ten best food halls:

1. Time Out, Lisbon
2. Dinerama, London
3. Mathallen Oslo
4. El Nacional, Barcelona
5. Papirøen, Copenhagen
6. Torvehallerne, Copenhagen
7. Market House, Manchester
8. Foodhallen, Amsterdam
9. La Platea, Madrid
10. The Kitchens på Old Spitalfields Market, London

The manager of Mathallen Oslo is not too concerned with the specific ranking on the list. However, he admits that it’s fun beating one of the competing cities in particular.

"Obviously, it’s nice being ranked just ahead of our “big brother” Torvhallerne in Copenhagen. We’ve received a lot of help and valuable advice from them, and I can hardly wait until the next time I meet my colleague Niels at Torvhallerne," Rønne Malmo grinningly says.

"A concept I’ve often had to defend"

Cushman & Wakefield especially emphasizes Mathallen Oslo’s combination of eateries and shops selling local commodities and products.

This concept provides the food hall’s visitors with the opportunity of shopping for dinner and grabbing a lunch or an appetizer while they’re at it.

Mathallen, Oslo
Mathallen, Oslo.
Photo: Finn Ståle Felberg / Mathallen

Mathallen, Oslo
Mathallen, Oslo.
Photo: Finn Ståle Felberg / Mathallen

"It’s interesting, because the concept is something I’ve often had to defend. We’ve been criticised for having many eateries alongside the shops, making Mathallen different from the traditional commodity halls in the Southern Europe. But this is precisely what makes us a unique and modern food hall," Rønn Malmo says and continues:

"The old school food halls are great spectacles for tourists, but they’re outdated and will have to become more like Time Out in Lisbon and Mathallen in Oslo. Cushman & Wakefield appreciating this point is especially pleasing."

The important X factor

In addition to the food, the location and the venue of Mathallen are described as a must-see in itself.

The building housing Mathallen is located at Vulkan, an old industry area where iron elements were welded in the early 1900s.

Mathallen, Oslo
Mathallen, Oslo.
Photo: Finn Ståle Felberg / Mathallen

"The industrial heritage of the building is a theme repeated in many of the bars and restaurants inside. [...] Mathallen was used as an anchor for the wider regeneration of the area and is now a must-see venue on the Oslo map", the review for Cushman & Wakefield reads. 

"A food hall needs soul, and that can be tricky to create in a new building. In the industrial building by Vulkan, containing more than 100 years of history, we get that as a bonus – that small, but important X factor," says Rønne Malmo.

Trendy Hawaiian arrival

Mathallen Oslo is known for its many arrangements. Pop quiz, a basic course in making sauce and “restefest” (leftover party) are among the happenings taking place in the near future. 

These days two new concepts are moving into Mathallen as well: Andorinha, serving foods, cakes and wines from Portugal, and Bistro Budapest, offering Hungarian specialties. And early next year, Mathallen opens its own poké-bar, where the trendy new dish poké – a raw fish salad from the Hawaiian cuisine – is served in various combinations. 
"There’s more still coming next year, so there’s a lot to look forward to," Rønne Malmo teasingly says. 

What should someone visiting Mathallen in Oslo for the first time absolutely not miss?

"That’s easy: Set aside time to really take in the atmosphere, and don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation. There are 180 competent people working in the hall, with genuine passion for their food and products. They’ll be happy to share their recipes and insider tips!"

3 other food halls in Norway

Mathallen Tromsø

Mathallen in the Tromsø city-center has both a restaurant and over the counter delicacies with produce from both near and far.

Smak & Behag, Oppdal

A small food hall in Oppdal in Sør-Trøndelag that offer meat, fresh fish, cheese and many other local treats. There's also a bakery and a cafe here.

Fisketorget i Bergen

Although not a hall as such, Fisketorget in Bergen is still one of the best known outdoors markets in Norway. Here you can buy fresh seafood, fruit and vegetables all year (only Saturdays during the winter months), and the town square has been a meeting place for people from Bergen and visitors since early 13th century.

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