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Maaemo / Visit Oslo

Maaemo closes in on Geranium for best Nordic dining

A dining destinations in Oslo is named one of the world’s finest, while others in Scandinavia are mentioned in a top 100.

The earthy Oslo restaurant Maaemo has reached the world’s top 50 – the first Norwegian restaurant ever to do so. It places at number 35 on the prestigious World’s 50 Best Restaurants, edging closer to the Nordic star, Copenhagen’s Geranium.

The list produced by the British magazine Restaurant is based on a survey of international chefs, restaurateurs and critics.

Maaemo, which currently has three Michelin stars, took 79th place last year, missing out on the top 50. The 50 best are gushed over in detail in the list, unlike places 50 to 100.

“I am incredibly proud and happy,” co-owner and chef Esben Holmboe Bang enthused to the newspaper Dagbladet.

“To be considered at the forefront of the restaurant industry globally is huge. At this level there is no room for error and everything must work on all levels – every day!”

Maaemo posted pre-tax profits for the first time last year since opening in 2010 and has been praised by international guests for its drive to carve out its own identity.

“Norwegian food traditions have a very exotic appeal throughout the world. Oslo has become a city to visit for the food; over 60% of our guests have flown in just to visit us. Who’d have thought that ten years ago?” Holmboe Bang adds.

Hand-dived scallops
Described in the top 50 list as “Nordic passion and precision on a plate”, Maaemo, which is ancient Norse for Mother Earth, has a menu based almost entirely on ingredients sourced from the surrounding region.

Some of the seafood, such as the hand-dived scallops, comes from the 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, the magazine Restaurant writes.

Among the stand-out dishes, it recommends the langoustine roasted in pine butter, glazed with a gel of spruce shoots. A more recent addition is the “remarkable chicken foot, with chicken liver and fermented lingonberry juice, decorated with glistening red sorrel leaves”.

Top among the Nordic region’s restaurants, according to the list, is still Geranium, described as “edible art” and “detailed, artful plates that celebrate Scandinavia’s best seasonal ingredients”.

Between places 51 and 100 are two restaurants in Sweden, namely Stockholm’s well-known Frantzén at 65 and, just two positions behind it, Fäviken based in Järpen in Åre Municipality. Two restaurants in the Danish capital make up the rest of the Scandinavian entries – Relae in 71st and 108 in 98th place.

Top of the heap overall is Osteria Francescana of Modena, Italy, while two restaurants in the top ten are from the same city – Lima, Peru.

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