Stockholm: where to eat swedish food (guide)
Stockholm is a great city for foodies. However, rooting out places that serve traditional swedish (“husmanskost”) food can sometimes be difficult. Which is a shame, really, as there are some really interesting and unique dishes to sample in the city.
Having grown up in the city, I thought I'd share a few of my top picks. Whenever I have friends visiting I try to visit at least one of the places below. All are moderately priced (200 SEK or thereabouts for a main course, except for fika and late night grub, of course) and lean towards the “husmanskost” side of things (home-style/traditional food).
This is just a quick list of the top of my head, so apologies if I’ve missed out on some obvious places. As said, I’ll focus on traditional stuff here. If you want modern or international dining there are plenty of other threads out there to browse already (Matbaren/Matsalen, Frantzen/Lindeberg, Djuret, Pubologi and Rolfs Kök are all excellent, in my opinion).
A nice restaurant close to Odenplan tube. Traditional but not stuffy, with excellent service and atmosphere. Crowded most nights of the week - go early or book ahead. The fried herring (stekt strömming), meatballs (köttbullar), cured salmon (rimmad lax) and isterband (coarsely ground sausage) are all excellent and well worth a try. Also - try the biff rydberg, which is diced beef served with fried potatoes, horseradish and egg.
Operakällaren is a fancy but very beautiful dining room serving traditional french-style fare. Next door is Bakfickan, which is a simpler, bistro-style place. I actually prefer Operabaren to both it’s siblings, however. It’s a tiny little bar/dining room just next door to Bakfickan, cozier and with a much more intimate atmosphere. The regular menu is good, but I’d say the place is worth checking out mainly for their daily “husmanskost” specials. If you’re lucky you’ll find classics like pytt i panna, matjessill, fläsklägg or kalvjärpar on the menu.
If the weather is nice, make sure to head out to this place located on Djurgården. The atmosphere is great - an old, beautifully renovated house situated in a big park - and the food is top quality as well. I usually have the herring plate, which is various forms of cured fish served with cheese and bread. They also do good meatballs, biff rydberg and gravlax.
Most people recommend Wedholms Fisk (http://www.wedholmsfisk.se/), which is of course excellent, but this is another great (and slightly less pricey) option for seafood. There are a few branches to choose from - the one at Söderhallarna looks a bit dull and is primarily for lunch, but does a fantastic poached cod with butter and horseradish. The Dalagatan one is more of a proper restaurant with daily and monthly husmanskost specials, all great in my opinion.
Most people recommend a visit to Östermalmshallen (http://www.ostermalmshallen.se/) and I agree. It’s a really beautiful indoors market with plenty of fresh meat and seafood to check out. There are also a few places to eat inside - most are good but quite overpriced.
For a less polished and more international experience - check out Hötorgshallen (http://www.hotorgshallen.se/) located just below the big cinema at Hötorget tube. There you’ll find a few good fishmongers plus a few places selling turkish and middle-eastern wares. There are also cheap and tasty döner kebabs (with free ayran!) to fill up on.
Fika basically means sitting down for a quick break with a cup of coffee or tea and a sweet pastry. Nevertheless it’s a swedish tradition and shouldn’t be missed out.
For the quintessential experience you can’t go wrong with Vete-katten (www.vetekatten.se). It’s a very old fashioned and slightly touristy café in the centre of Stockholm, but very nice nonetheless (I actually used to work there in my teens). Stay away from the sandwiches and the lunch menu - these are nothing special. Instead, get a regular cup of coffee and a selection of baked goods to go with it. I recommend a slice of Princess cake (a light, airy cream cake wrapped in green marzipan), a cinnamon bun and/or a dammsugare (a very sweet, chocolatey mixture wrapped in green marzipan and then dipped in chocolate, made to resemble an old 50s style vacuum cleaner. You’ll find these pretty much everywhere, but the ones here are among the best). Everything is baked on site with high quality ingredients.
On your way home from drinking, you absolutely shouldn’t pass up an opportunity to try a tunnbrödrulle (thin-bread roll). It’s a classic type of swedish fast food that I haven’t come across anywhere else in the world. Basically, it’s soft, thin bread kind of resembling a tortilla wrapped around mashed potatoes and a grilled sausage. Most people - and I absolutely recommend you do - ask for a big dollop of prawn sallad to go inside it (“räksallad” in swedish). It’s tasty, very filling and the prawns oddly go very well together with the grilled sausage.
Pretty much any streetside grill (look for big signs saying “Sibylla”, “Grill” or “Gatukök” do these well. Myself, I prefer Rörstrandsgrillen close to St Eriksplan tube.
Verandan at Grand Hotel (http://www.grandhotel.se/upplev/mat-och-dryck/verandan/smorgasbord) does this very well and is absolutely worth a visit.
If you’re in town in december, make sure not to miss out on the Christmas variety (called Julbord). Claes på Hörnet restaurant (www.claespahornet.se) does this in an amazing, 18th century setting with wonderful food.
And that’s it! Again, this list is far from complete but all the places above are well worth a visit, in my experience.
Any questions just post them below - I’ll be happy to answer!