Cheap eats in Stockholm
I'm gonna spend 3 days in Stockholm for this thanksgiving (11.24-11.27). Do "cheap eats" exist in the city at all? I know I'm gonna visit one of the expensive restaurants listed in White Guide:
5. Edsbacka krog
6. Pontus in the green house
8. Vassa Eggen
k, one little dirty secret, I'm actually allergic to alcohol. No expensive dinner with wine is out of the question. I DO want to try a decent smorgasbord with about US$50, if possible. What would be considered as Swedish national dish or national snack? I'm definitely gonna try one or two dagens rätt. Where should I go?
On a side note that has nothing to do with food, is the 3-day stockholm worth the SEK540 price?
I wrestled with the idea of getting a one day card and I definitely didn't need it. There are only so many museums you (at least I) can do in a day and I tend to walk a LOT, so even one day wasn't gonna be worth my while. In 4 days in Stockholm, I rode a bus or T a total of 4 times. We stayed right by Central Station which made walking north or south quite easy. Best overall meal was lunch at Backfickan. There were Mongolian bbq lunch buffets by the hotel (Scandic Continental) that I would have like to have tried but lunch was seldom a major meal.
Fair point mdibiaso and thanks for clearing that up. My frame of reference is flawed as I tend to compare everything against the best value wine I've had elsewhere (France and Argentina). Just for reference, the tasting menu at Mistral was SEK 995, the wine pairing to go with every course SEK 1030. In light of what you just said regarding retail tax, I suppose that is good value.
re: Sea Urchin Ragout
1030 sek is about 140 USD tax and service included. With the tasting menu I would guess that you got 6-7 glasses of wine from bottles that probably all retail at 30 USD a bottle and above in the USA. I think most restaurants in the US would charge 20 USD a glass for a bottle that costs them 20 USD retail. 20 times 6 and you have 120. Add tax and tip and you are over the 140 US you paid at Mistral. And if you were in Paris you would probably pay significantly more for 6-7 glasses of wine of the caliber you drank in a 1 star restaurant. I think alcohol seems expensive in Sweden for several reasons.
1. No really cheap alternatives like 2 buck chuck or whatever its called.
2. High taxes on spirits like vodka, gin.
3. Prices in restaurants include tax and service.
The overpriced wine point is a matter of what you drink. If you drink wine from France or Italy that would cost more than 100 USD retail in the US you will find that it is probably cheaper in Sweden both retail compared to retail and restaurant compared to restaurant. In fact when it comes to really expensive retail wine, 250 USD and up, Sweden may be the cheapest place in the world to purchase. Reason is the goverment monopoly has the same liquor tax on cheap and expensive wine and does not try to make extra profit from rare wares as a retailer in other countries would. Look at the prices for prestige champagne and you will see what I mean.
Sadly, nothing in Stockholm is cheap other than Jerusalem Kebab and hot dogs!
I very recently tried Mistral (amazing food, but expensive). Leijontornet (excellent lunch, expensive-ish but good value) and Pelikan (more traditional husmanskost, still expensive for non-Nordics).
As a general rule, I would say food is expensive though decent value, wine on the other hand is ridiculously overpriced.
What do you consider cheap? There are lunch offers during the week (dagens rätt), after work dinners or happy hours. You can always find food but it depends on what your definition of expensive vs. cheap is.
Oaxen is closed for the season. They open for a few weeks in December to offer christmas smörgåsbord, dec 1st - dec 21st.
They open again in late April 2007.
I'd take Edsbacka over Pontus in the greenhouse.
Esperanto has a cool and very experimental kitchen.
PicklingJessica, you seem to be quite familiar with Stockholm dining scene. Can you tell me where I should go for some good dagens ratt? I'll be arriving at Stockholm on Friday morning and want to get some good food right away. Btw, is the smorgasbord at Grand hotel worth a try?
I'm sorry I didn't respond to your querie before you left for Sweden. Since I still don't really understand what cheap vs. expensive is (I live here so I am left with paying what it costs when we are out dining). Stockholm is more expensive as is most big cities around the world compared to price range outside the city.
Usually the fine restaurants offer lunch or after work at lower charge than actual dinner. I love Grand hotel, sometimes we pop by to have their breakfast which you can have without being an actual guest. Their french restaurant has unfortunately closed but a new restaurant will open (not sure of the date but the chef will be the former owner and chef of Bon Lloc). I don't live in Stockholm so comparatively the prices where I live are decidedly lower. Not over the top lower but if you are price aware you do notice it.
Usually prices echo quality but not always. Sometimes you pay for the spot and for the chance to spot celebs while doing it. You CAN find fine food outside the very pricy places although that might take some searching and like everywhere else, you can hit gold and at an equal rate pretty much miss.
Too bad, the Grand Hotel Smorgasbord won't be available until late December. But I did get a chance to have Julbord at Ulla Winbladh after my visit to the Vasa Museum. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. I have also tried F12 and have their shellfish...yummy! Overall, I don't think Stockholm is extremely pricy. Yes, it's a little bit expensive comparatively, but not by much especially if you compare it with NY or London.