After a few hours of investigating the fictionalized haunts of Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomvkist through Södermalm’s dark alleys, one can work up quite a hunger, and the iconic Restaurant Pelikan is a good place to refuel with hearty Swedish fare.
Located in the eastern margin of Södermalm, Pelikan’s low-hanging chandeliers, spartan design, and dark paneled interior hark back to the days when deals were brokered over long lunches in shadowed corners. Pelikan has been around since the 1600s, though it has been moved to different locations in Stockholm over the years.
Pelikan’s menu is unabashedly old-school Swedish: pickled herring and cheese, green asparagus soup, salmon and dill creamed potatoes, Doppsko (a creamed Swedish hash with egg yolk and beetroots), schnitzel of veal, meatballs with cream sauce and lingonberries, and a salad tossed in for good measure.
I decided to go with the plate-sized boiled knuckle of pork served with mashed swede and three mustards (one of which could double as a decongestant); the Wisby Sleepy Winter Ale, a dark brown ale brewed by the Gotlands Bryggeri; and a shot of the house aquavit. The pork was very tender, the mashed swedes unexpectedly sweet, the ale rich, the aquavit potato-like—and afterward I was certain I had enough calories ingested, if not the stamina required, to outrun any of the mysterious characters who might be lurking in Södermalm.