Mama Pho, a gem in central Oslo

At a glance

Newly opened Mama Pho makes enjoying delicious Vietnamese food in central Oslo both accessible and comfortable. Unlike many other Vietnamese restaurants, the menu is concise and straightforward and the atmosphere is open and friendly. Since the crew behind Mama Pho also runs TeaOlogy, you can easily order bubble tea to go with your meal 😉

Spring rolls at Mama Pho, Oslo

“Everyone is family!”

Mama Pho is tucked away from the busy main street of Karl Johans gate inside the courtyard of Posthallen. Upon arrival at the restaurant, you are greeted by friendly staff who try to seat you as soon as possible. It is easy to feel at home as you sit down at your table amidst Scandinavian furniture and a sign that promises “Good food, good vibes, good times”. It is quite likely that you will be sitting in close proximity to complete strangers, but that hardly matters because (as a waiter happily told me) “Mama Pho is a family restaurant, so here, everyone is family!”

Phở a cut above the competition

Having sampled phở (Vietnamese noodle soup) various other Vietnamese restaurants in Oslo, I must say that Mama Pho’s preparation of the dish is a cut above the competition – fresh, flavourful, and authentic. While other Vietnamese restaurants let you choose whether you want phở with thinly-sliced beef, brisket, or meatballs; Mama Pho keeps it simple by offering only one (non-vegetarian) phở, containing all aforementioned kinds of beef. Those who are well-acquainted with Vietnamese cuisine may find that Mama Pho’s dishes are closer to the Hanoi style (simpler ingredients and less sweet than Saigon style).

Mama Pho at Mama Pho, Oslo
"Hanoi style's bún" at Mama Pho
“Hanoi style’s bún” at Mama Pho

I must also mention that bún bò Huế at Mama Pho is distinct from others I have tried (in Vietnam, the US, and Norway). The Mama Pho version of this dish much more umami-oriented and comes with its own chili sauce that adds both spice and flavour to the broth in a balanced way. Worth a try if you are looking to branch out from the usual phở 🙂

Bun bo Hue at Mama Pho, Oslo
Bún bò Huế at Mama Pho

P.S. Some of you may have noticed that I did not post my annual highlights before 2019 came to a close as well as general decrease in frequency of posts. I must confess that this is due to a combination of me working on various other projects and my indecision about the direction RFB will be heading in for the new decade. All I can say for now is that there will be changes in store. Stay tuned for updates, dear readers, and thank you for your support! ♥

La Bettola del Gusto

Dinner at La Bettola del Gusto

Earlier this month, I was in Italy and visited Rome, Pompei, and Naples (with a day-trip to Tivoli). This and upcoming posts will revolve around these places, so stay tuned 😉

“La Bettola del Gusto” roughly translates to something like “hole in the wall of enjoyment” – odd, considering the restaurant’s central location across from Pompei Train Station, yet somehow fitting, because one can hardly believe that such a remarkable restaurant experience is found in the small Italian city of Pompei.

The food in Italy is generally delicious, but what stood out about La Bettola del Gusto was the cosy atmosphere, complemented by outstanding service – perfect for date night or just to wind down after a day of exploring the ruins of Pompeii. The simple dishes – typical of the Campania region – are thoughtfully prepared to bring out exquisite flavours and craftily presented in hearty portions. The extensive wine list and complimentary appetiser and dessert (served in addition to those you order) make this the best value (money- and taste-wise) dining experience I had the entire trip.

Eirik and I had dinner here our first night in Pompei. We initially planned to spend the second night dining elsewhere, but after an exhausting day of exploring the ruins, the only adventure left in us was to try a different cut of beef followed by a different dessert – our wish was graciously granted by the attentive staff at La Bettola del Gusto.

Complimentary appetiser at La Bettola del Gusto
Complimentary appetiser

If you are heading to Pompei – whether for a day trip or for several nights – make a reservation at La Bettola del Gusto. I am already looking forward to having dinner there again on my next visit to the city! 🙂