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Oct 18, 2009 03:11 PM

Stockholm pre-Christmas

Looking for recommendations for Stockholm in December just before Christmas? In particular:
Special smorgsbord lunch / buffets
Traditional Swedish food
Bars with a view or traditional (not so 'hip')
Stuck for evening ideas? (Good but not Michelin star standard?)Any suggestions gratefully received

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  1. Pretty much every hotel has a smorgasbord for breakfast. This hotel has a decent one included and is a 10min walk from central stockholm (

    This website has listing of bars and restaurants ( Where it says "Sök restaurang och bar" under "Alla typer av kök" choose "Svenskt": this process will list all the swedish restaurants and their locations in the city. Click on "karta" to see the menus. The most crowded places to eat and drink are probably in Gamla Stan. There are also a lot of restaurants surrounding Kungsträdgården and bars near Stureplan. The Grand Hotel has a nice bar.

    If you want to buy liquor/wine they have state run stores (Systembolaget) which close at 6 and are open for a short time on Sat. You have to take a number, decide what you want from the store's selection (menu), and then when your number is called, place your order.

    This nice lady is swedish, lives in stockholm, and has a food blog in english (

    Have fun!

    2 Replies
    1. re: hotmexi

      You can find beer in regular market although at the more "American" 3.5% alcohol level (and below). Only beers above 3.5% are regulated. My Swedish friends scoff at the 3.5, saying "you can't get drunk on that."

      1. re: ferret

        its called lättöl (light beer) and sometimes the people who are designated drivers will drink one of those.

    2. There is some misunderstanding here. Smörgåsbord in Sweden has nothing to do with Smorgåsbord in the US. In the US its just another word for a buffet. Here is it a buffet but that buffet must consist of specific dishes which vary depending on the season. There is no way to eat a smörgåsbord for breakfast. But most hotels do serve a buffet for breakfast. Many lunch places have buffets, particular Chinese and Thai. But again this is nothing to do with Sweden or smörgåsbord unless you are just looking to eat a lot of mediocre food for a low price.

      That was the bad news. The good news is you are coming at the right time of year to find a true smörgåsbord. But since it is Christmas time they will all be called Julbord.

      Since this is probably a once in a lifetime deal for you I suggest you prepare to spend around 100 USD per person for a proper Julbord at a good restaurant (the 100 USD will cover a bit of drinking as well). The places below all offer very special atmosphere as well.

      Places to consider are Clas på Hörnet (in an old house in the city) Lunch and dinner

      Lunch and dinner, a bit more than 100 US at lunch around 130 at dinner

      Grand Hotel Lunch and dinner

      Långholmens Värdshus Lunch and dinner

      You will have to book in advance. Make sure to ask a member of the staff for the proper way to eat a Julbord. You do not fill your plate to the brim with various things. Instead you go up several times taking different groups of foods one at a time. More trips with smaller portions is the way to go, but ask to make sure you go in the right order and to be sure you don't miss any specialties. If the person you ask doesn't seem helpful or knowledgable (there is a lot of extra staff during this season) ask someone else.

      You are paying a lot so you have a right to an evening to remember.

      4 Replies
      1. re: mdibiaso

        I'd add Berns to that list. Not very traditional but an excellent Asian-influenced Julbord:

        1. re: ferret

          Sorry to disagree, but I see no reason to come all the way to Sweden to eat an asian buffet meal instead of a true Swedish Smörgåsbord. The buffet at Berns may be nice for Swedes that have eaten dozens of smörgåsbords in their life, but not for a visitor.

          Sort of like eating pizza when you are in Kyoto.

          1. re: mdibiaso

            It was one of the better meals I've had in my visits, although I can honestly say I've - nearly (save for an awful Italian place in Gamla Stan) - never had a bad meal in Stockholm.

            And from what I understand they do have a special Christmas buffet. It's true that it's not traditional Swedish but it's still a modern Swedish approach.

            1. re: ferret

              The question is not whether or not Berns is good or if they have a Christmas buffet. The question is whether or not someone on their first and maybe only trip to Stockholm should spend what seems to be their celebration meal at a Pan Asian nightclub restaurant that could just as well be in Rome, LA, Rio or Sydney or eat a proper Swedish Julbord that can only be found in Sweden.

              Even if they are here a whole week there is more than enough good, authentic Swedish food available that they can avoid eating "international" on this trip. The situation is different for someone like you who seems to be a repeat visitor.

              3 or 4 meals of husmanskost (home cooking) at places like Operakällarens Bakficka or Eriks Bakficka. Just make sure to ask what dishes are husmanskost since non-Swedish dishes will also be on the menu. Ask your hotel for other options for husmanskost near where you are staying.

              The big Julbord.

              And if they want to spend a little extra, close to 200 USD a head, they can have some modern Swedish based on Swedish ingredients and traditions at Leijontornet. I would recommend this over more international Swedish modern ala F12 or Esperanto. Those restaurant are very good but they will cost just as much and also could just as well be in LA, NY or Sydney.

      2. KB Restaurant's ( menu looked great - traditional Swedish - and in a convenient location downtown. Reasonable prices.

        I wish we would have went there instead of Backfickan, which we did not care for.

        1 Reply
        1. re: RachelEsq.

          Thank you all for your great suggestions. I definitely fall into the when in Sweden eat swedish cuisine camp, so all those recommendations are great. We've ended up booking dinner at Lux and lunch (ie proper smorgabord) at the Grand Verandah. Like the sound of KB's and the Ostermalm market. Will report back! Am pathetically excited about Julbord and even about the fact that snow is forecast!

        2. Stockholm feedback
          Thanks to everyone who made their suggestins. We ate extremely well and in particular enjoyed the following without breaking the proverbial bank:
          Operakallen Bakfickan - terrific atmosphere, sitting around the old wooden bar. Good choice of beers and wines. Enjoyed traditional fare.
          Gerdas/Lindqvist in Ostermalm market - great seafood served very fresh from the market. Worth the 20 minute wait for a table.
          Julbord at Grand Hotel -Verandans. Marvellous and friendly service. Choice of about 8 types of herring; wide range of shellfish, brawn, venison, pork, meatballs, frankfurters, hamds, beef, Jensens special potatoes. Great view across the harbour. No pressure to rush your meal with 12.00-3.30 sitting for Sunday lunch. Set julbord SKr65 each. Not stuffy at all.
          We also ate at Lux - 116 Primusgaten. Greeted with an ''oh, you're English' by the maitre'd who then sauntered off in disgust after we declined to have a glass of champagne, opting for a g&t. Next waiter didn't wait for a response after we decided that we didn't want bottled water., opting for tap instead. Obviously not the done thing to not have the full tasting menu. Only one waiter was remote friendly. The food - well the food was good, although I really don't need to be waited on by staff wearing one white glove for serving, or amuses bouches served in their own little cellophane bags, nor do I need to know the provenance of what I'm eating to such a degree. By the end of the meal we felt that we were definitely not the kind of clientele that Lux expected to grace its hallowed halls.
          The plus points? Good wine list (at prices to make even the sternest of you whimper), food was good but I have eaten better elsewhere cheaper, and tables far enough apart to give your neighbour a good opportuntiy to look down their nose at you at distance.
          Verdict: avoid Lux, enjoy Stockholm !