Most first-time visitors to Stockholm erroneously believe that the city doesn’t have much to offer in terms of culinary discoveries. They usually quote the distinct lack of Swedish restaurants worldwide as their one and only argument. Yes, it’s true, Swedish cuisine may not be the most exported in the world but that does not mean your taste buds will go into hibernation the moment you set foot in the country.
Not only does Sweden have a long and illustrious gastronomic history, but the vibrant city offers plenty of food choices no matter what your budgets and tastes are. Don’t fancy a herring sandwich for lunch?? Fine, you’ll find plenty of kebab, pizza and hot dog stands all over town. But…if you want to be a real adventurer (ie. don’t be a wuss) stretch your comfort zone a little to include at least one local dish. You may go back for more.
Here’s our Best Eating Out Guide for Stockholm!
Start your day…Swedish style
We recently discovered just how uninformed the world is about Swedish cuisine and yes, we include(ed) ourselves in this observation. When it comes to typical breakfast habits, we know off the bat that the French eat croissants, as do the Italians, the Greeks have yoghurt, feta and olives (for lunch & dinner too), the Chinese eat noodle soups and the Germans enjoy those slimy white sausage thingys with mustard and twisted bread. But what about the Swedes?
For a mere moment we harboured the thought of herrings, but luckily, we were soon corrected…only just.
Whilst your average Swede will down a bowl of muesli for breakfast, or a toasted ham and cheese sandwich, the more traditional folks will indulge their taste buds on a smothering of fish caviar paste (kalles caviar) or mackerel (makrill fillet) atop a chunky piece of rather crispy knackerbrod. Oh, how lip-smacking that must be first thing in the morning?!
Now for the good news…
The above-mentioned treats are actually rather delish, especially for those are used to a savoury start to the day (although best not to test that if nursing a hangover). Moreover, most modern cafes, like Cafe String in Bohemian Soder, offer not only traditional treats but a wealth of other goodies like scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, pancakes, waffles and a vast array of delectable pastries for those who can’t bring themselves to swallowing unfertilized fish eggs at 8am.
Insider’s tip: meeting friends for brekkie is not yet popular in Stockholm, most people only becoming social from about 10am onwards. If you’re an early riser, make sure you suss out an early-bird cafe’ near your hotel, or hold off until 9am and even 10am on week-ends.
Indulge in the ultimate fika
Fika is to the Swedes what afternoon tea is to the Brits; an absolutely essential daily ritual and a most intrinsic part of local culture; only in Sweden coffee replaces tea and scones make way for delectable cinnamon scrolls called kanelbulle. Same same really.
Go for sweet-gold when visiting Stockholm and head for Saturnus Café in Ostermalm, one of the most respected fika institutions in town. Saturnus also offers an amazing array of brunch and light lunch specials but, to be honest, once you take a look at their eye-catching and oversized golden sugar-coated snails, you won’t be looking at anything else.
Indulge on a mega-sized capp and mega-sized kanelbulle and you’ll never think of afternoon-tea (or Swedish traditions) the same way again.
Splurge on the ultimate Swedish Smorgasbord
The all-you-can-eat buffet style meal is a bona fide Swedish invention, so it’s only fitting that you indulge your taste buds at its original birthplace. One of the city’s premier hotels, the Grand Hotel , offers what can only be described as THE best smorgasbord in town. Here, you’ll find just about every single delicacy known to Swede-mankind including herring, gravlax, spicy meatballs, roast beef, cured ham and the ever-popular lingonberry sauce.
To make your experience even better, your host will guide you through the different treats on offer and advise you what to eat with which sauce, in which order and what to wash it down with. Usually, that’ll be some sort of home-made schnapps. No complaints from this end!
The food is exceptional, the service brilliant as is the dining hall (temporarily relocated until Sept 2013) and, to top it all off, you’ll get fantabulous views of Stockholm; so head here for a sunset buffet dinner and you’ll score BIG time.
Let a local show you how yummy Stockholm can be
The guys at Food Tours Stockholm want to dispel the myth that their beloved city doesn’t offer much in terms of epicurean delights. Not only will they guarantee that you won’t leave after their 3-hour gorge session with a hint of an appetite, but they’ll make damn sure that you’ll be praising the culinary prowess of their city, and its best food purveyors, for years to come. Take them up on their challenge and join them on what is reputed to be one of the most delicious and enlightening discovery of some of Stockholm’s best foodie joints.
Rather than feed yourself senseless at just one place, Frederic and the gang will endeavour to present you with local and authentic Nordic offerings from no less than 7 different restaurants. Each meal comes complete with a side order of historical and cultural insight.
Choose the Nordic Experience if you want to delve deep into the heart of culinary Scandinavia, or opt for the Sodermalm Tour if you want to include an international and eclectic flavour to your indulgence.
Egg & fish paste brekkie via Wiki
Kanelbulle via wiki
Typical Swedish Smorgasbord via Wiki
Gravlax via Wiki