You find one of the best pizzas in Oslo, and one of my all time favorite slices, at Lofthus Samvirkelag. There’s a few locations in Oslo, but my preferred spots are the orignal Lofthus Samvirkelag at Sandaker and the historical Tranen at Alexander Kiellands plass. In addition, they’re present at Holtet with a wood-fired oven, in Kunstnernes Hus and soon they open at Damplassen too. I bought the Lofthus Samvirkelag cookbook by co-founder Eirik Sevaldsen a few years ago, and have used his recipes ever since. The combination of a few high quality ingredients and a perfected pizza dough recipe is unbeatable for home cooking. With its thin and crispy crust, and a Nordic twist to the toppings, this pizza is definitely not Neapolitan style!
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TRANEN Address & Contact Information Waldemar Thranes Gate 70, Oslo, Norway Website Instagram Facebook
Bakery by Day – Pizzeria by Night
The story of Lofthus Samvirkelag goes back to 2011, when Åpent Bakeri in Åsengata 42 at Sandaker decided to extend their opening hours. At 4:00 pm every Wednesday to Sunday they would morph from a bakery into a pizzeria called Lofthus Samvirkelag. It must have been quite a gift to the neighborhood at first, because there really isn’t any other eateries worth visiting in this area. Soon, though, when the word got out that one of Oslo’s best pizzas was found a good 20 minutes tram ride from the city centre – booking became essential. Even today, with four more locations, it’s recommendable to book in advance.
A Menu in Red and White
When I lived in Nydalen, Lofthus Samvirkelag would be our go-to place when we got the cravings, but didn’t feel like cooking at home. It’s the quintessential neighborhood restaurant of Sandaker, and extends to the people of Torshov and Storo as well. The place has such a cosy atmosphere with chairs and tables in dark wood, checkered floors, red leather sofas and velvet drapes. Usually, there’s a daily special in addition to the regular menu with six red and seven white pizza options. The white sauce is made of crème fraîche, white wine vinegar, and fresh herbs. I love pizza with tomatoes, but Lofthus has made me love the white sauce just as much. Maybe more.
Tranen is a historical restaurant in Oslo dating back to the early 1920s. From the late ’70s, it was home to house artist Arnie “Skiffle Joe” Norse and a typical dive bar with smoke-stained walls, serving pretty shitty food and cheap beers. Åpen Bakeri bought the venerable venue in 2012 to renovate and modernize. Downstairs, they opened a combined bakery and restaurant offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Upstairs was home to one of Oslo’s most legendary cocktail lounges, Morgenstierne, with the awesome Sondre Kasin manning the bar. In 2015, the bartenders were also given the task to run the restaurant below. Tranen then changed from a rustic Nordic bistro to a contemporary and experimental eatery that flirted with Asian flavors. For a few sweet months this was one the best places to eat in Oslo, but sadly the concept didn’t catch on with the general public. Tranen closed again!
Pizza and Natural Wine!
In September last year, the restaurant reopened as a pizzeria. Tranen was now Lofthus Samvirkelag in the evening and Åpent Bakeri during the day. The circle was complete. “Once a baker, always a baker.” Even though Oslo’s best pizzeria has become a sort of mini-chain, they’ve managed to maintain the same quality across restaurants. What’s interesting, though, is that each place has its own identity. Tranen is all about pizza and natural wine! Magick Sulek is the restaurant manager and his personal preferences are reflected in the wine list. That’s good news for me.
Try the White Pizza With Reindeer or Truffle Salami
On my last visit, I ordered one of my favorites: white pizza with reindeer and pomegranate. I also treasure the white pizza with truffle salami and mushroom, though. However, if I should pick a red sauce variety it would be topped with ham from Idsøe. Our glasses were filled with Matassa Cuvee Marguerite, which is a ridiculously good natural wine with a tropical freshness. The night ended with a big bowl of tiramisu. I hope Tranen never closes.
What’s your favorite pizza place in Oslo? Please share in a comment below.