Sweden’s Best Restaurants
In the last decade or so, Swedish cuisine has undergone a radical transformation, with young chefs embracing the local, organic, and sustainable ethos at popular restaurants, alongside food halls and cafés serving traditional dishes and pastries.
Karl XII:s torg, Stockholm, Sweden
The name translates as “Back Pocket,” an apt description for this one-room restaurant tucked into the side of the Royal Opera House. The tiled room is decorated with opera memorabilia, and sometimes you’ll find yourself dining next to tuxedo-clad members of the orchestra between performances. Diners perch at the counter at little tables affixed to the walls or, during the summer, outside in the sun. The food is traditional Swedish cuisine—husmanskost, as it’s known—with particularly good seafood, and best enjoyed with a Swedish beer.
Norr Mälarstrand 64, 112 35 Stockholm, Sweden
Swedish summer is usually an idyllic time. Days are long and hot, nights are short and warm. Most Swedes take the whole of July as vacation, and many Stockholmers leave the city for their country houses or boats. Those who remain enjoy alfresco dining and drinking, and Mälarpaviljongen is one of the best: an all-day café-bar with several floating pontoons. There’s nowhere nicer to sit with a glass of rosé and views over the water. Mixed during the day, it’s one of the city’s best gay bars by night.
Stureplan 2, 114 35 Stockholm, Sweden
Sturehof manages to be many things to many people. It’s open every day of the week and almost every day of the year, from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. You can come for an after-work drink in the fresh air at the outside bar at the front, or a late night drink in O-bar in the back, or a business lunch, casual meal, or grand family dinner in the large restaurant. You’ll see grandparents with grandchildren, young couples on a date, and older folks celebrating an anniversary. The place has a somewhat formal look, with red-jacketed waiters buzzing about the place, but there’s nothing stuffy about the atmosphere. It is one of the city’s gems.
Rådmansgatan 16, 114 25 Stockholm, Sweden
Modern Swedish food using locally produced ingredients and emphasizing simple, unfussy dishes is all the rage in Stockholm—and few places can beat this 50-seat restaurant opened by Adam Dahlberg and Albin Wessman in 2016. The pair previously worked with Mathias Dahlgren, one of Sweden’s most respected chefs. The five-course dinner will cost you just over $100 (wine pairing extra), or you can perch at the bar and order dishes one by one. The chefs also run a lunchtime-only restaurant next door called Tvätteriet, which is known for its delicious noodles.
Kungstorget, 411 17 Göteborg, Sweden
The city’s most historic food hall is housed in a grand old building with a distinctive arched roof of copper and glass that lets light flood into the bustling interior. Come here to browse the 40 or so stalls and buy cakes, cheese, fish, meat, and vegetables to take away, or better yet, perch at a counter and eat right there amid all the hubbub of the market. The building was completed in 1889 and was landmarked as one of the country’s important buildings in 1985.
Brunkebergstorg 2-4, 111 51 Stockholm, Sweden
Once a nondescript part of Stockholm’s center, Brunkebergstorg has been revitalized by the addition of two excellent new hotels (At Six and Hobo) and Tak, a rooftop bar with perhaps the best views you can see while enjoying an Aperol spritz or the house martini made with vodka, sake, and a touch of sherry. The panorama really is something special, taking in the whole of the city. One floor down is the restaurant where head chef Frida Ronge serves food that fuses Nordic ingredients and Japanese techniques, with dishes such as arctic char with daikon and grilled Swedish beef with yuzu kosho vinaigrette.