Cheap eats in Stockholm
I'm off to Stockholm with my friend on the 12 sept 08 for a long wkend to stockholm and I was wondering if there are any unmissbale mid-range restaurants I should head for??
I have been looking at guides on the internet and while there are loads of wonderful expensive places to eat I was wondering if there was any great places which are a bit cheaper. By cheap I mean £60/700sk/76euro or 110$ for two including a few drinks.
If there is anywhere cheaper than that then let me know as well!
p.s. Any tips for a good lunch place too would be welcomed!
Let's face it ... Stockholm is going to be expensive, and you might feel that the affordable places will be much like restaurants in any other city. But there are ways to eat in Sthlm where you get a good sample of local specialties and nice environment. I don't think there there are "unmissable" restaurants in Sthlm. When you go one or two tiers down from the expensive trendy places, you will find restaurants that are quite similar in menu, though quality will definitely vary. So, if you are looking for a very Stockholm experience, focus on traditional menus and environment -- Swedes value calm, nature and understatement. Until recently, swedes did most of their dining out during lunch, but now restaurants get quite busy in the evenings. (that said, there are a lot of new busy trendy places that appeal to the young professional crowd -- swedes have become much wealthier in the last few years due to low unemployment -- and I would not know how to recommend those places because they come and go, but don't expect bargains.)
Stockholm has a number of older well established restaurants which, as you note, are expensive. These are institutions that have been around for years (Prinsen, KB, Operakällaren, Sturehof, etc.) But do try one of them, namely a weekday lunch at KB (Smålandsgatan 7), because it serves traditional Swedish comfort food in an elegant way. Lunch menus change daily and are affordable. One of my favorites at KB is the Wallenbergare -- minced veal or beef mixed with lots of cream and formed into a patty ... served with fresh peas normally and probably pureed potatos.
Speaking of lunch, nearly every restaurant offers a "dagens lunch" on weekdays, and saturdays to a lesser degree. The menus are smaller, and change daily. I don't have a guide on choosing a better restaurant -- look at the choices, prices and clientele.
If the reason for your trip is sight-seeing, I recommend carrying a little notebook and writing down the locations of restaurants you find while walking/biking. I would almost recommend shifting your focus from "must try because of the food" type places to "must try because the mood and environment are so pleasing." If you wander or bike through Djurgården, there are little cafe/restaurants along the way, and the scenery is beautiful. Like I said early, the offerings on the menus are similar, so you might as well go for setting, which will make the experience more memorable than the actual food.
Another suggestion is to wander through the food halls and buy some prepared traditional foods -- which are typically made at home but of course you won't have a kitchen. These are Kungshallen, the Food Hall in the NK department store, and my favorite Östermalms Saluhall, because it is in a nice quiet part of town, a little more residential, but only about 15-20 minute walk from Central Stockholm. There's a prominent purveyor there with really good kåldomar (stuffed cabbage), biff Lindström (beef patties with capers, beets, beet juice), and of course köttbullar (meat balls). Be sure to get a container of lingon to go with.
Stockholmers may have their opinions about places that you shouldn't miss, but that is no guarantee you will enjoy the place as much. I say, go for nice atmosphere, location, etc.
I was in Stockholm for a few days a few years ago and had a fun meal at this century-old beer hall: http://www.pelikan.se/
Friendly atmosphere, helpful (and patient!) wait staff, traditional and (relatively) inexpensive menu, generous portions. My boyfriend ordered a lamb special they had that day—five different cuts. He adores lamb and thought it was excellent. A sausage or two, a chop, and what he described as the filet mignon cut. My experience in Stockholm is very, very limited, but I'd recommend this place.
You problem is going to be a few drinks. Most places will charge around 100 sek per drink. So två people having 3 drinks each means about 600 sek for your bar bill. That leaves you 100 for food. Even with 2 drinks each you will see half of your 700 sek budget disappear. To save some money and eat more Swedish find places that have "back pockets" Bakficka. They usually served good food at more reasonable prices. The Bakficka at Operakällaren is a great example. Stick to beer and you might, just might, get out under 700 sek for a single course meal for two