Restaurant AIRA is one of the newest and most ambitious restaurants to open in Sweden. The restaurant is a dream realized for chef Tommy Myllymäki, who has competed twice for Sweden in the world championship of cooking, Bocuse d’Or, where he won the silver in 2011 (the same year Rasmus Kofoed took gold) and bronze in 2015. After five years of planning, AIRA opened in March 2020 right as the international lockdowns shut down the world. However, despite a pandemic, Myllymäki got one Michelin star just a year after opening AIRA. This is, without a doubt, one of the best restaurants in Scandinavia; an absolutely breathtaking meal in a stunning location. We’re certain it will get its second star soon!
Looking for more great spots for food and drinks in the Swedish capital? Check out our city map of Stockholm!
Arrive by Boat
AIRA is located on the water in the Royal Djurgården park in Stockholm. This is on the island that is home to Stockholm’s amusement park (Gröna Lund) as well as almost all of the city’s museums, from the ABBA museum to the Spritmuseum to Vasamuseet (where the famous ship wreck is housed). It’s a beautiful walk through nature to get out to the restaurant, you can also take a car – but we decided to arrive in style: by boat. If you’re visiting AIRA for a special occasion, we highly recommend making it just that much more special and asking the restaurant to arrange boat transportation from the city center. It’s a stunning ride through the Swedish backwater (Djurgårdsbrunnsviken) and perfectly sets the mood for the fantastic experience you’re about to embark on. The sleek design of the restaurant is meant to resemble a boat garage – it’s a long, triangular building located right at the Biskopsuddens Marina. Hop off the dock, step inside, and walk through the open kitchen into the dining room.
A View to the Kitchen
The building was designed from scratch by the famous Swedish architect and designer Jonas Bohlin. You walk through the open kitchen when you enter the dining room, but instead of having the kitchen facing all of the tables, Myllymäki wanted to make sure that guests could enjoy each other’s company as well as enjoying the show in the kitchen. Guests can see as much prep as they want when walking through the kitchen, but they also have the space to relax and talk with their companions when at the table. (It’s a similar setup to Noma’s dining room, where you’re near enough to see the action in the kitchen, but it’s also not dominating the full experience.) AIRA does a lot of tableside preparations, and brings the action to you.
The dining room is split into two halves, with a beautiful service station in the middle lined with red carpet. It’s the central walkway and main artery of the restaurant, with curtains on either side, dividing the large room into smaller sections and making it feel more intimate. There’s also a sleek lounge for petit fours, coffee, and digestives, also with a cocktail bar. When the weather is nice, there is outdoor seating as well, with a view towards the water.
Sweden’s Next Two-Star Restaurant
Of course, the food at AIRA is absolutely fantastic – we expect that they will be upgraded from one to two Michelin stars next next year. The flavors in Myllymäki’s dishes are elegant and delicate, while still packing a lot of punch. They’re incredibly balanced, with a nice blend of local and luxurious ingredients. AIRA feels true to its Nordic roots, while also showing some fancy French flair – and a love for butter. What’s not to love?
The presentations are some of the most stunning we’ve seen – especially the laminated bread serving dusted with a gold crumble. From the snacks to the petit fours, this was a practically flawless meal. And the warm hospitality matched the high level of the food. The service was professional, yet extremely friendly and down-to-earth. We are eager to return to AIRA on future visits to Stockholm – this is a truly world-class restaurant that we are lucky to have in Scandinavia. Book your table if you haven’t already!
Worth noting: when we interviewed executive chef Tommy Myllymäki for our YouTube video, he stressed to us that even more important to him than the stars or awards he has received, is making sure that he provides a good work/life balance for himself and his employees. The staff works in two shifts so that nobody has to work long days. This applies to Myllymäki too, who had it as one of his goals when opening the restaurant. He says some guests are disappointed that he’s not always there, but he chooses to make that sacrifice to be able to be with his family – and he wants all his staff to have the same privilege.
Have you been to AIRA? Let us know in a comment below.