The Best Restaurant in Norway Learn the 10 Secrets to Why Pjoltergeist is No. 1

There are no other restaurants in the world I have been to more often than Pjoltergeist, and it’s not only because it’s walking distance from where I live (although, admittedly that helps). People often ask me what my favorite restaurant is, and I’ve had the same boring answer ever since the day Pjoltergeist opened back in 2013. Boring, because I’d love for there to be some competition, and for that question to actually make me have to think. But the fact remains, I’ve never left dissatisfied after a meal at Rosteds gate 15 B.

Deep fried white asparagus with parmesan cheese, chives mayo & lemon. Only at Pjoltergeist!
Deep fried white asparagus with parmesan cheese, chives mayo & lemon. Only at Pjoltergeist!

1. There’s No Other Place Like Pjoltergeist

The food, the ambiance, and the constant beat of hip-hop music over the speakers. There’s simply no other place like Pjoltergeist. Where else can you get deep fried white asparagus with parmesan and chives mayo, langoustine with Icelandic söl seaweed, or crispy pork fat served with pork fat mayo? Sure, some restaurants have similar elements, like Egget in Stavanger, Brutus in Oslo, or Geist in Copenhagen. But I would only compare them to Pjoltergeist, and not the other way around. Punk Royale in Stockholm is rumored to have a resemblance as well, but I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting yet. Feel free to leave a comment below if you got tips to similar restaurants around the world.

Langoustine, chives mayo & söl (Icelandic seaweed)
Langoustine, chives mayo & söl (Icelandic seaweed)

2. Pjoltergeist is a Chef’s Hangout Serving Comfort Food

You’ll see young and old at Pjoltergeist. Big spenders and poor students. Business dinners and romantic couples are rarer, but not unheard of. More than anything, though, you’ll find industry people. Chefs, waiters, sommeliers, restaurant owners, and foodies. They all have one thing in common: a craving for comfort food. Kitchen genius Atli Mar Yngvason delivers. The Icelandic head chef has admitted that he’s not a big fan of vegetables. “I hate red beets,” he once said to me. Jerusalem artichoke and celeriac gets the same verdict (I don’t share that sentiment, though). However, Atli loves meat, fat, salt, and spices and he’ll serve you lots of it with plenty of carbs on the side. Langoustine in an oily sauce, to be scooped up with steam buns, or minke whale served with sticky rice and sea salt.

Wagyu beef in bone marrow sauce, served with grilled steam buns
Wagyu beef in bone marrow sauce, served with grilled steam buns
You can't beat this combo
You can’t beat this combo

3. You’ll Get Weird and Exclusive Ingredients

During my visit to Noma Mexico, I got a text from Atli. He needed more chapulines. In case your Spanish is poor, that’s grasshoppers! The entire Pjoltergeist family had been to Tulum a week prior and purchased a few kilos of the Mexican specialty, but they were quickly running out. The salty and crunchy insects were to be used as topping on blue corn tortillas. Bug taco! I’ve also enjoyed delicious Japanese Kobe beef, wagyu beef in bone marrow sauce, shavings of elk heart, half a pig’s head, and rotten shark from Iceland. That’s a lie. I didn’t enjoy the latter.

Blue corn tortillas with avocado and chapulines (grasshoppers)
Blue corn tortillas with avocado and chapulines (grasshoppers)

4. The Wine Selection Pleases Both Natural Wine Lovers and Traditionalists

If you love wine, Pjoltergeist got you covered. Whether that’s naturally fermented grape juice or more conventional stuff. Personally, I have one foot in each camp, but I tend to lean towards producers like Matassa, Testalonga, and Patrick Sullivan. To be honest, though, I just ask Susanne or Sverre for a recommendation. They always know what I want before I do. Get a pjolter if you don’t fancy wine.

Testalonga El Bandito, Sweet Cheeks
Testalonga El Bandito, Sweet Cheeks

5. If You’re Lucky, There Might be a Special Guest Chef

Pjoltergeist won’t warn you, but sometimes there’s a special guest chef lurking in the kitchen. Like Even Ramsvik did the other day. Ramsvik used to be Atli’s head chef when they worked together at the now-closed, former one-Michelin-starred restaurant Ylajali.

Special guest chef Even Ramsvik
Special guest chef Even Ramsvik

6. The Michelin Guide Hasn’t Even Got Pjoltergeist Listed

Imagine that. The Michelin Guide hasn’t even got Pjoltergeist listed in their Nordic Guide 2017. I’m not talking about stars, but their regular list of recommendations rated from one to five fork and spoon symbols. Instead, the guide lists completely outdated places like Hos Thea. That’s how special Pjoltergeist is! Inspectors won’t even set their foot inside.

Too scary for the Michelin Guide
Too scary for the Michelin Guide

7. The Kitchen is Open Past Midnight!

The kitchen of Pjoltergeist is open past midnight! Clearly, this should have been point number one on this list, and I hereby apologize for this error.

Late night snack: gyoza in curry sauce
Late night snack: gyoza in curry sauce

8. The Zuper Pakki is Only Bookable by SMS

The only way to book a table at Pjoltergeist is via SMS. The mobile number is +47 40 23 77 88. There you go. My pleasure. Please note that by booking a table you automatically sign up for the Zuper Pakki for the entire group. It’s currently priced at NOK 795, and it’s one hell of a deal with 10+ courses. You’re guaranteed to leave stuffed.

Crispy cod tongue & söl
Crispy cod tongue & söl

9. You Can Drop by the Bar if You’re Smart

If you know what you’re doing, you can drop by the bar at Pjoltergeist and skip the booking altogether. That gives you the freedom to order as much or as little as you want to. You can choose from the bar menu, but you can also ask what’s available from the Zuper Pakki. Usually, they have some leftovers. I shouldn’t be revealing this particular secret, but here we go: The trick to dropping by the bar is to come either very early or very late. Especially on busy Fridays and Saturdays. From 5.30 PM until 7 PM is normally safe, but after that, you have to wait until 10.30 PM or maybe as late as 11.30 PM. Don’t tell anyone!

10. There’s a Happy Ending

Pjoltergeist is always glad to offer you a happy ending if you want it. Not the kind your dirty mind is thinking of, though. Remember: they don’t accept credit cards, but Icelandic kronur are ok (I swear, I will test that one day).

A happy ending at Pjoltergeist
A happy ending at Pjoltergeist
No Pjoltergeist without dirty napkins
No Pjoltergeist without dirty napkins

Where do you get your comfort food cravings satisfied? Please leave a comment below.

12 comments

  • Ah, I’ve been waiting for another Pjoltergeist write-up! Will be dropping by the bar later this week.

    Question: Do you think the zuperpakki could be shared by two people at the bar?
    I was thinking of treating my girlfriend to a meal there but she is concerned that a whole zp alone would be to much. So sharing a zp and a few bar menu items seems like a good way to do it if they would allow it.

    • I am pretty sure that would be possible. I haven’t seen any restrictions to ordering that at the bar (it’s listed on the bar menu). You are free to share it at the bar.

      • Quick update: They won’t allow you to share the zp. They actually won’t allow you to order it by yourself if you go there alone either, as you have to be at least two people to order it.

  • Enig. Ingen over eller ved siden av her i Norge. Og når jeg reiser, prøver jeg alltid å finne en pjoltergeist-ekvivalent som jeg kan sjekke i utlandet, men so far .. nope

  • Yo! Stupid question: I havent been to Pjoltereist since Valentines in 2015, and they rarely update their menu on social media.. The pictures from above, are they from the Zuperpakke or is it from the Bar menu?

    Really want to celebrate my 24th birthday next week there!

  • Hi,Anders ,this is a first comment.I live in Tokyo,Japan. I went to LYSVERKET in Bergen Oct, 2015. The restaurant chef told me about PjOLTERGEiST. I went to Oslo after Bergen, but I had not enough time to go to PjOLTERGEiST. I am very sorry. I found your article about the restaurant. Next time I visit to Oslo, I definitely plan on going again !!

  • I’m staying in Oslo for one night and looking for a must eat place for dinner. Would you recommend Pjoltereist or do you have other suggestions?

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