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May 26, 2007 03:58 AM

Finnish, Norwegian or Bolivian Restaurants?

I used to live in the above countries and understandably find these cuisines difficult to find We go to the NYC area every couple of months. We always go into Queens just to pig out at Mi Bolivia, a great find w/ authentic Bolivian food. Stay away from the saltenas or risk addiction.
Can anyone help us?

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  1. About 150 years ago, there was a thriving Norwegian community in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Some remanants still exist, bakeries and food stores, though I walked around the area many years ago without finding any. But here are 5 year old posts by people who did find them.

    There might be one or two other Bolivian restos not far from Mi Bolivia, but I don't think they are better. I once found one in Elmhurst on the same block as a Hindu temple and an Irish bar, which I thought was really cool, but I'm pretty sure it's gone.

    I dont know of any Finnish restaurants. But there are of course Swedish restaurants in Manhattan... such as Aquavit of course. And once a year there's a Danish food festival in Brooklyn Heights.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Brian S

      It's not Norwegian, but perhaps they offer a few Norsk specialties on the menu:

      I've been meaning to go there for years, and I think I'll have to make a trek out there soon...

      1. re: lambretta76

        Until last year, I worked a block away and we ate there on many occasions.
        The food is pretty dreary. More like high school cafeteria food. The whole place is what I would imagine a 1950's Elk's Club would be like. And yet, we always had fun when we went. I think it's because we just enjoyed each other's company. and the food, while bland and uninspired, reminded me of going to visit and eating dinner at my Great Aunt's house... Sort of nostalgic. Again: Do not go expecting an inspired gastronomic performance.or you will be sorely disappointed.

      2. Mi Bolivia as mentioned elsewhere is best Bolivian. Having said that, its not great. My father is Bolivian, so we go about twice a year, and I warn you its very uneven......

        1. For Bolivian you can try Copacabana on 31st Avenue in East Elmhurst. There is also Nostalgias about five blocks away on Northern Blvd.

          As far as Norwegian goes you posted a little too late to take advantage of Norwegian Constitution Day which was May 17th, they always have a parade in Bay Ridge. Nordic Delicacies on third avenue is one of the few places still open in Bay Ridge, also one of the social clubs has a restaurant I forget which one.

          The best option is in Manhattan at The Norwegian Seaman's Church 317 East 52nd Street. They have a little shop in the back of the church where you can get everything, home made lutefisk, fish pudding, etc... They also serve lunch but I forget which days of the week.

          7 Replies
          1. re: JohnnyCT

            Wowser, thanks a lot! We had a 17 Mai fest near Brunswick, here in Maine. We'll give your recs a try next time in NYC. Funny, no Finnish Restaurant suggestions. But I guess that when the national dish is pea soup w/ blood pancakes, that is to be expected. I would love to eat a lija pirraka again.

            1. re: Passadumkeg

              For what it's worth, there is a fantastic Finnish chef in NYC, Rick Laakkonen, though I'm not sure if anyone can persuade him to make you a "lija pirraka"...(what is that?!)

              1. re: HLing

                Rick Laakkonen is an American, of Finnish descent.

                But he is fantastic, and I was really bummed out when ILO closed. I miss his cooking.

                1. re: FoodWine

                  FoodWine, thank you for your passionate and insightful post about Finnish food (which I got to read before it moved to the General board). Also, nice to hear froma fellow ILO fan. Is it true that Rick Laakkonen is the chief chef at Tao? (!)

                  1. re: HLing

                    He did work at Tao for a couple of years, but he is not there anymore.

              2. re: JohnnyCT

                Nostalgia's was replaced by a lounge called Kabu. Not sure whether it also serves as a restaurant, much less a Bolivian one. Though I believe there is at least one place on the opposite side of Northern a little further west that is Bolivian.

              3. Just a quick note that we split a reply about the food of Finland over to our General Chowhounding board. It's off topic here, but we didn't want to lose the conversation. If you want to continue that discussion, please reply here:

                1. Brian S is right (Brian S is always right lol!) Bay Ridge used to be home to a thriving Norwegian community. 8th Ave is now almost exclusively an Asian community.
                  If it's still there and under the same ownership, Mejlander and Mulgannon 's Deli 7615 5th Ave Brooklyn, New York 11209, used to make some Norwegian daily specials that were really tasty. I am not a big fan of Deli foods but I'd have to say this one was always A+++ in terms of salad preparations and Specials. If it helps, here's the link:
                  There is a bakery across the street called Leske's that used to specialize in Norwegian baked goods. As the neighborhood's ethnicity has changed, so have the offerings so I don't know if this still applies.
                  There used to be a facinating place on 8th Ave that was, half chinese and half Norwegian takeout... Next time I visit 8th if I can do it w/o running anyone over, I will see if I can find it or any other places