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Stockholm is a great city for foodies. There’s so much I want to check out, but I never seem to have enough time. At least I make sure to spend my time wisely when I’m there. Finally, I can present a foodie guide to Stockholm. These are my top recommendations in the Swedish capital, based on my visits in 2015 and 2016. I’ve divided my tips into different days spent in different parts of town. In each area I present a few breakfast and/or coffee options, lunch recommendations, top spots for dinner and occasionally wine and cocktail bars. Stockholm is not a huge city, but if you’re only staying for a short time I would focus my attention on one part of town at a time.
Update: I now have a complete foodie map of Stockholm! Check it out.
Day 1 – Nest in Norrmalm
Several of the districts in Stockholm are called malms – Norrmalm (northern district), Södermalm (southern district), and Östermalm (eastern district). I’m covering them all in this guide, in addition to Vasastan, Gamla Stan (the old town), Djurgården and a few recommendations outside the city center. Norrmalm is smack in the middle of Stockholm city, which makes it the perfect place to live since you have about equal travel distance to wherever you want to go.
Check in to Hotel With Urban Deli
We stayed at Hotel with Urban Deli (ad: affiliate link) on our latest visit. I really like their concept, especially if you’re mainly looking for a place to sleep. The ground floor hosts an Urban Deli store, in addition to the reception area and a restaurant. All the rooms are located below ground level and are guaranteed free from sunlight and disturbing sounds. If you’re looking for a hotel with more offers and activities I would recommend the brand new The Winery Hotel (ad: affiliate link), which looks exciting for a foodie. It’s a bit outside of the city, though, but I hope to check it out myself soon – possibly next year.
Lunch Extraordinaire at Mathias Dahlgren Matbaren
Mathias Dahlgren is one of Sweden’s most famous chefs. You find his two-Michelin-starred restaurant Mathias Dahlgren Matsalen by the waterfront facing Gamla Stan. However, I’ll save you some money by letting you in on a secret: The more casual food bar next door – Matbaren – is actually preferred by most foodies. It even has one Michelin star! We had a lunch booking here just one hour after the Norwegian flight was scheduled to land at Arlanda. Luckily our flight was on time and an Uber brought us quickly to the city. I wouldn’t want to have missed this meal. If you want to read more and see all the dishes from the food bar, check out the full story from Mathias Dahlgren – Matbaren.
Eat Bao at Restaurant Eat
Restaurant Eat is an Asian inspired restaurant in Stockholm, awarded with a Bib Gourmand in the Michelin Guide. One of their specialties is the steamed bao. In the summer season, they even have a concept called Eat Bao on the terrace. Bao has become a very trendy dish in the Nordics lately. Although it was originally made famous by David Chang of New York’s Momofuku many years ago, it hasn’t really found its way into many restaurants here until recent years. Now I see it everywhere.
Day 2 – Explore Södermalm
Enjoy Hand-Brewed Coffee at Drop Coffee or Johan & Nyström
Take the green subway line from Hötorget to T-centralen and change to the red line. Stop at Mariatorget and find yourself in the hipster paradise of Stockholm – Södermalm. Mariatorget is a tiny park square where it’s pleasant to sit down when the weather is nice. From here you have a short walk to two of Stockholm’s best coffee shops – Drop Coffee and Johan & Nyström.
Grab a Snack at Falafelbaren
I once asked the guys at Drop Coffee where to eat lunch nearby and they told me: Falafelbaren! The place is located just across Mariatorget, but due to bad timing with opening-hours, it would take me another two years until I finally got there. In my humble opinion, the falafel balls weren’t as good as the ones at Lille Amir in Oslo, which are bigger and lighter. Despite more compact balls, the whole package looked more fresh and homemade and less like a fast food kebab shop. I’ll be sure to return here.
Explore Contemporary Photo Art at Fotografiska
Fotografiska museum of contemporary photo art is a must-visit on a trip to Stockholm. Especially if you’re into modern expression forms – but also for the food. We only had time for a quick peek inside the restaurant on the top floor this time. The exhibitions were simply too exciting and immersive – in particular, the one called Ikoner. This was the location for the launch party of the Michelin Guide – Nordic Cities in 2015, where I took part.
Shop Sweet Gifts at Pärlans Confectionery
We headed up to another great park square called Nytorget and laid down in the sun for a while. Going all the way up here was not a coincidence. I was recommended by a friend to visit Pärlans Konfektyr – a confectionery store nearby, where they make the most heavenly caramels imaginable. The store interior and clientele are straight out of the 1930s – I absolutely love it! The caramels are the best I have ever tasted. Now, wonder when they make it in the classic French way. Only top ingredients: heavy cream, real butter, and high-quality sugar, all cooked in a copper kettle. The vanilla and sea salt is my favorite.
Pick Your Favorite from Teatern at Ringen
Ringen is a rather ordinary mall at Södermalm, but it has become host to an awesome restaurant concept called Teatern. The name is due to the amphitheater design of it, with all the restaurants gathered in a circle in the middle and seating tiers surrounding them. Nine top restaurateurs have been invited to contribute: amongst them Raamen by Adam och Albin, Korvkiosk by Magnus Nilsson of Fäviken, and Nook Market by Restaurant Nook. The latter is another recommendation I want to check out for dinner in Södermalm, in addition to Punk Royale.
Want to read more about Teatern at Ringen?
Day 3 – Head Out to Djurgården
Wake Up In Your Underground Cave
We had to check out the breakfast at Hotel With Urban Deli one of the days, of course. It turned out it was quite decent. A classic hotel buffet breakfast, but with a nice selection of good ingredients. I often find that the litmus test of a hotel restaurant is the scrambled eggs. If they look yellow and have a velvety soft consistency, instead of dry and grey-looking, it usually means the chef knows what he’s doing. Hotel With passed the test.
Take the Ferry from Gamla Stan to Djurgården
This morning we took the subway to Gamla Stan and went for a stroll. There are some really nice restaurants here. I’ve yet to visit two Michelin starred Frantzén (and now it’s moving!), but I’ve been twice to their sister restaurant and gastro bar – The Flying Elk. It’s highly recommended! Last year we had a cocktail in the comfortable bar Tweed. The same restaurant group has several places in Gamla Stan that I want to eat at – amongst them Djuret, Omakase Köttslöjd, and Pubologi. The reason to stop by Gamla Stan this time was mainly to take the ferry over to Djurgården. You don’t have to take a ferry to get there, but it’s definitely the coolest way to arrive.
Eat Lunch at Spritmuseum by the Waterfront
Back on shore, we headed straight to Spritmuseum. It’s a combined liquor museum and restaurant. I had seen so many beautiful pictures from this place, and it always seemed like the perfect lunch spot. That turned out to be true, especially on a day like this when the sun was shining and reflecting in the water. Almost a shame to sit inside, but Spritmuseum opened their big barn doors and let the warmth and wind inside. Make sure to visit the museum afterward, and see the Absolut Art Collection. Do you want to read more and see all the dishes from Spritmuseum?
While you’re in Djurgården you might as well explore the most visited museum in Scandinavia – Vasamuseet. Here you can see the world’s only preserved 1600-century ship in almost perfect condition. In the evening you should eat at Oaxen Slip like I did last year. The sister restaurant of two Michelin starred Oaxen Krog and worthy of a Bib Gourmand in the Michelin Guide.
Day 4 – Walk in Vasastan
Vasastan is the northern part of Norrmalm. It’s a beautiful and quiet neighborhood to walk in. I’ve mostly spent my evenings and nights here, which is reflected in my top recommendations this time. However, you can eat breakfast and have a coffee at Café Pascal. As for lunch, I’m dying to test Flippin’ Burgers – they have a legendary status it seems.
Grab a Spot in the Bar at Jim & Jacob
This place was off my radar, but our friends Charlotte and Tom wanted to show us their favorite neighborhood hangout. We gladly accepted the invitation to Jim & Jacob. As it turned out, this gastropub was one of the highlights of the trip, and I only wish we could have spent more time here. The small taste we had of their menu and the atmosphere makes it one of those places I’ll definitely return to. I wish Oslo had a bar just like this.
Enjoy a Hearty Meal at the Legendary Lilla Ego
Lilla Ego is probably the most common recommendation I get in Stockholm from fellow foodies. It’s been on my wish-list for years and finally, we managed to score a booking. You immediately notice that this place is special when you enter. Sheets of paper stuck to the wall with duct tape and written on with a marker pen serves as a board for the daily menu.
– Do you want a better glass of skumpa (slang for Champagne) or an ok glass of fulbubbel (slang for any sparkling wine that isn’t Champagne)? was the first question we had to answer.
The food is a modern twist on traditional Swedish cuisine, with a rustic and bistro-esque presentation. I’ve written a complete report from Lilla Ego in a separate post, so check it out if you want to know what a pickles shot is.
Check out the Drinks and Ambiance at Svartengrens
After Lilla Ego, we headed to Svartengrens. A meat-focused restaurant that turns cocktail bar in the evening. It happened to be their 5-year-anniversary this day, which was celebrated with a remarkable circus-themed party. All the staff members and parts of the clientele wore circus-related costumes and danced around. The bartender in the tiger suit jumped up on the bar counter and started pouring liquor straight into people’s mouth – including mine! Quite the contrast to my last visit here, which was a quiet evening with conversation and cocktails. This night I don’t think they had time to mix anything other than a gin & tonic, as the place was completely packed. We sought refuge in a photo booth they had installed for the occasion until our pictures were ready and we had to leave for fresh air. Svartengrens is awesome. Another cool place for late nights in Vasastan is Babette – a popular chef’s hangout after service.
Day 5 – Extravagance in Östermalm
Östermalm reminds me of Frogner in Oslo. It’s clean and quiet, with a classic style of architecture and a lot of upper-class places. Wienercafeet is a nice breakfast spot right on the border to Norrmalm. Make sure you get the almond croissant! Last year I had lunch at Taverna Brillo and dinner at restaurant Volt. Both great places! This time I wanted to return to my favorite lunch spot in Stockholm, the beautiful Speceriet, and finally get to try the mothership Gastrologik for dinner.
Speceriet is a Favorite Lunch Spot
I’m not sure if it’s the beautiful copper lamps, the tiny chalkboard on the wall with a brief daily menu or the uncomplicated and flavorful food at Speceriet which makes it my favorite lunch spot in Stockholm. It’s probably a combination. I always recommend people to go here if they ask me for tips. I like the ambiance and people. Read the full feature about Speceriet.
Aperol Spritz in the Sun at Hotel Diplomat
You can’t go straight from lunch to dinner, so why not have an Aperol spritz at the elegant Hotel Diplomat? This exclusive hotel may not be where a foodie chooses to waste his money on luxurious lodging, but it’s a delightful place to sit outside in the sun along the waterfront. Order a drink and snack on a råraka med Kalix löjrom – shredded hash browns with Swedish vendace roe.
Gastrologik is the Ultimate Fine Dining Restaurant
If you only have time for one dinner in Stockholm – choose Gastrologik. It’s one of my most memorable meals. Perfect in every way: creative, tasty, elegant and unique. Simply sublime! I’m not sure I want to reveal much more here because you can check out the complete experience in this extended feature!
In the northern part of Östermalm, almost in Vasastan, there are a few places I cannot leave unmentioned. I’ve had the pleasure of eating lunch several times at Råkultur. It’s part of the Esperanto restaurant group, which consists of four restaurants that should be on any foodie’s bucket list. Finally, Adam & Albin now offers dinner almost every night and still serves lunch Monday to Friday from their casual joint next door – Tvätteriet.
Day 6 – True Gems Out of Town
Stockholm could keep you busy with great food for weeks, but there are some proper gems just outside the city borders as well. I’ve previously praised restaurant Yolo in Djursholm. The hottest foodie spot right now is probably restaurant Aloë in Älvsjö. Don’t miss their lunch option either – Crispy Duck Café. Do like we did: grab a snack at Urban Deli, order an Uber and head out of town. Our destination this time was Görvalns Slott.
Live Like a Royal At Görvalns Slott
Ever since I met Stefan Ekengren during the chef’s dinner at Kontrast last year, I’ve wanted to go to his restaurant. His interpretation of an onion soup simply blew me away. When I looked up the place where he was the head chef I was even more tempted, as it turned out to be an old castle! Görvalns Slott was actually the main reason we went to Stockholm this summer, and what better way to finish off my guide than to end with the main attraction. You won’t believe how beautiful the surroundings out in Järfälla are before you experience the sunset with your own eyes from the castle park. Check into one of the individually designed rooms, grab a cocktail on the castle balcony and just relax. Soon enough it’s time for dinner and then you’re in the safe hands of Stefan Ekengren, Martin Lindmark, and a bunch of crazy chefs. Bonus: The sommelier has a thing for nature wine. My full feature includes a video, so check it out.
Did you use my guide in order to plan your Stockholm trip? Please let me know what you think in a comment.
This travel guide is sponsored by Visit Sweden. All the places were selected by me, and the sponsor had no influence on the recommendations or content of this article. I received no monetary payment. The guide contains affiliate links to booking.com.