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Oslo

herring mustard sauce norwayNot surprisingly, many of Norway's signature dishes come from the sea. Salmon, trout, cod and halibut are on most menus. So is spekemat, a plate that includes cured ham, sausage and mutton. Smorbrod, the popular Scandinavian open-face sandwich, makes a nice appetizer, and koldbord (or "cold table") is the equivalent of Sweden's smorgasbord. A couple of local favorites: fiskesuppe, a fish soup rich with egg yolks and cream, and freshly boiled shrimp on white bread with mayonnaise and lemon juice. Locally produced beer is noted for its high quality. Suggested tipping is 5 to 10 percent for good service.

For People Watching: The famous Grand Cafe in the Grand Hotel, where Henrik Ibsen and Edvard Munch once hung out, is the oldest and most fashionable cafe in the city. (It is from the balcony of the venerable Grand Hotel that the Nobel Peace Prize winner is introduced to the public each year.) The cafe, which has a mural painted in 1928 of Ibsen's and Munch's likenesses, is also perfectly positioned for people-watching. Lunch selections include regional fare, such as wild salmon and grass-fed lamb. It's located one block from Parliament at Karl Johans Gate and Rosenkrantz Gate. Look for the red awnings.

Best Upscale Eats: Gourmet seekers should try Theatercafeen. It's a Viennese-style cafe that's long been popular with local theatergoers and visiting celebrities.

Best for Families: Check out Najaden at the Norwegian Maritime Museum, where kids younger than 12 can have the Scandinavian lunch buffet (lots of fish and meat) for half price.

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