Review: Arakataka (2015) A Restaurant to Return to, Again and Again!

Alas! Arakataka is a restaurant that I have visited way too seldom. I have always considered it one of my favorite spots in Oslo, and yet I’ve not eaten here enough. I have tried to drop by many times, but they used to have a weird policy that if you had not booked a table, you had to choose the three-course dinner.  I don’t mind paying for a full menu, but I enjoy my freedom of choice. This summer, they closed for an extended time to refurbish the place. I booked a table in the opening week together with my foodie friend Linn. Talking to the head chef, Ronny Kolvik, I learned that they have added a new concept to the restaurant – “Matbaren” (the food bar), which is a drop-in-zone to the right when you enter. Here, you can sit down and order from a special bar menu. The kitchen is open until 12.30 am and the bar will serve you until 2.00 am. This is just what Arakataka needed!

Looking for more great spots for food and drinks in Norway’s capital? Check out our city map of Oslo!

Ronny Kolvik is the head chef of Arakataka.
Ronny Kolvik is the head chef of Arakataka.

A Restaurant to Return to, Again, and Again!

The menu at Araktaka consists of a lot of small dishes – all fairly priced between 130 and 190 NOK. The idea is that you order two to four dishes depending on how hungry you are. If you’re very hungry and want five or more dishes, you get a discounted price of 119 NOK per dish. A nice idea but also a bit confusing. What if one person orders five dishes, and the other person orders only two? How will the bill look in the end? I also didn’t quite get whether the dishes were supposed to be shared or not. In my opinion, this kind of menu is perfect for sharing. However, a lot of the plates were not designed to be shared among several people. Personally, I love it when I can try as many flavors from the menu as possible. I hope Arakataka considers that in the future.

Most of the dishes we had were very good, with a great taste and a good balance between flavors as well as textures. The atmosphere is relaxed, and the new interior makes it a very pleasant place to enjoy an evening of good food, wine, and company. Now, Linn doesn’t call herself a foodie or food person, but rather a wine person. I disagree – she is a foodie. Sometimes, she even had a more critical point of view on the food than me. I guess her heart belongs more in the wine world, though. As such, I gave her full control of the wine choices this evening. I love wine too, but I am far from considering myself an expert in this field. I know a good wine when I taste it, but I don’t remember all the details or flavors.

For a peek inside the restaurant before they refurbished check out the report from my foodie friend Lars.

Jerusalem artichokes, oysters, and a seaweed salad. Two fake oysters and one real.
Jerusalem artichokes, oysters, and a seaweed salad. Two fake oysters and one real.
"Matbaren" - the food bar, where you can drop by and enjoy some small plates until 00.30 and drink until 02.00.
“Matbaren” – the food bar, where you can drop by and enjoy some small plates until 00.30 and drink until 02.00.
Tartare with raw shrimps and nasturtium.
Tartare with raw shrimps and nasturtium.
Fermented bread and "løyrom."
Fermented bread and “løyrom.”
Linn dreaming about wine?
Linn dreaming about wine?
The bread serving at Arakataka. A malt and fennel bread with whipped butter.
The bread serving at Arakataka. A malt and fennel bread with whipped butter.
A tart with a cep mushroom cream and sprinkled with "Høvding Sverre" cheese.
A tart with a cep mushroom cream and sprinkled with “Høvding Sverre” cheese.
The interior is really nice at Arakataka and sets the mood for a good evening.
The interior is really nice at Arakataka and sets the mood for a good evening.
Pepper crab. Super tasty, but a mess to eat, obviously.
Pepper crab. Super tasty, but a mess to eat, obviously.
Trout, cucumber and "krondill".
Trout, cucumber and “krondill”.
A very Scandinavian interior.
A very Scandinavian interior.
Salt cod, mussels, and peas. Some green unripe strawberries in there too! They seem to be very trendy at the moment.
Salt cod, mussels, and peas. Some green unripe strawberries in there too! They seem to be very trendy at the moment.
Linn googling some wine facts?
Linn googling some wine facts?
Spaghetti and "løyrom" – a classic from the old menu that survived the refurbishment.
Spaghetti and “løyrom” – a classic from the old menu that survived the refurbishment.
Linn reflecting on the wine: "It struck me with its well-balanced red cherries, well-integrated alcohol, and soft tannins. Ready to drink. A producer to return to..."
Linn reflecting on the wine: “It struck me with its well-balanced red cherries, well-integrated alcohol, and soft tannins. Ready to drink. A producer to return to…”
Dry-aged beef, turnip, spring onions, and fresh garlic. A sauce of snail butter... Wow! this was extremely tasty. Perfectly cooked and tender meat, with a lot of flavors. Fatty, rich, and well balanced by the slight sweetness from the turnip.
Dry-aged beef, turnip, spring onions, and fresh garlic. A sauce of snail butter… Wow! this was extremely tasty. Perfectly cooked and tender meat, with a lot of flavors. Fatty, rich, and well balanced by the slight sweetness from the turnip.
Raspberries, chanterelles, and chervil! This combo was too tempting not to try. The chanterelles were either cured or fried in something sweet, I believe. Not sure they added much to the dish, but besides that, this was maybe the best raspberry dessert I ever ate! Raspberries and chervil worked splendidly together. Acidic and sweet. A feast for the palate.
Raspberries, chanterelles, and chervil! This combo was too tempting not to try. The chanterelles were either cured or fried in something sweet, I believe. Not sure they added much to the dish, but besides that, this was maybe the best raspberry dessert I ever ate! Raspberries and chervil worked splendidly together. Acidic and sweet. A feast for the palate.
Norwegian cheeses. Starting in the upper left corner, going clockwise: Kraftkar from Tingvoll, Høvding Sverre, Munkeby, and Kubbeost from Hole.
Norwegian cheeses. Starting in the upper left corner, going clockwise: Kraftkar from Tingvoll, Høvding Sverre, Munkeby, and Kubbeost from Hole.
Coffee is served! Solberg & Hansen.
Coffee is served! Solberg & Hansen.
Petit four – a chocolate mousse with a candied black currant leaf and dried black currants.
Petit four – a chocolate mousse with a candied black currant leaf and dried black currants.
The art on the walls is still the same.
The art on the walls is still the same.

Have you been to Arakataka? Feel free to leave a comment with your opinion below.

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Foodie Stories by Anders Husa
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Anders Husa

Anders Husa and Kaitlin Orr are food & travel bloggers and creative content creators. From their base in Copenhagen, they operate the largest and most influential restaurant-focused travel blog in Scandinavia.

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