A few weeks ago, we set off on a road trip along the west coast of Sweden. We drove from Copenhagen up through Falkenberg, out into the Swedish woods to Stedsans Farm and Restaurant, and ended our journey at Ästad Vingard, where we had a spectacular meal at restaurant ÄNG. We ate pretty much nonstop during our long weekend in Halland, and compiled a guide of our favorite discoveries and eateries along the way. Without further ado, here’s our complete guide to the best restaurants and food experiences in Halland.
Borgmästargården Kafé & Konditori
First stop: fika! The only way to kick off a trip in Sweden is with some sweets, so we began our Swedish eating adventures with cardamom buns, pastries, and Rwandan coffee from Slöinge Coffee Roastery. Borgmästargården Kafé & Konditori is located in the house where the beloved former mayor, Anders Lundberg, lived; the coffee shop’s name (translated: “the mayor’s house”) is a tribute to him. Our favorite item here was their signature porridge with vanilla whipped cream, caramel, and fresh raspberries.
Borgmästargården Kafé & Konditori Address & Contact Information Storgatan 31, Falkenberg, Sweden Website Instagram Facebook
The pride and joy of Falkenberg is Lilla Napoli, a little slice of Italy in Sweden! Anders first visited this humble pizza shack back in 2016, and now we have to pay this amazing pizzeria a visit anytime we pass by the area. It’s simply not a trip along Sweden’s west coast without a stop here. Ville and Besmir are arguably the two most passionate pizzaiolos in the world. You don’t get much nerdier than this. They are obsessed with their pizza dough. If they’re not absolutely happy with it on a given day (due to humidity or temperature), they will give it away for free. Unlike most business owners, their goal is not to get rich, it’s to make the most perfect pizza they can. They’ve refined their pizza recipes over the years (you can find them in their cookbook), they’ve custom-built their perfect pizza oven, and they’re still making small tweaks and adjustments to their operations daily. All in the pursuit of perfect pizza. Taking a bite of Lilla Napoli’s pizza is like sinking your teeth into a soft and fluffy pillow. Bouncy, chewy, and light as air. Their limited menu only features eight pizzas, most with classic toppings, one seasonal pizza with mushrooms, and a dessert pizza. They have one special pizza inspired by “The Speckenwolf” from Roberta’s in NYC with speck, red onion, and oregano. All pizzas cost 95 Swedish kroner – only a ten kroner increase from the price when they opened in 2016.
Note: Be sure to reserve your dough online before visiting – they are usually fully booked a month in advance.
Lilla Napoli Address & Contact Information Halmstadvägen 1, Falkenberg, Sweden Website Instagram Facebook
Swerl Coffee Club
Need a caffeine pick me up? Swerl Coffee Club gives a new meaning to drive-through coffee – they serve their java from an adorable blue Mercedes bus by the beach in Falkenberg. We absolutely loved the vibe here. With string lights hanging above the outside seating, it feels like a piece of Austin, Texas in Sweden. In addition to specialty coffee (both hand brew and espresso options), they also serve gluten free pastries and fluffy American pancakes. The truck is only open during the summer, but stay tuned – they’re about to open their own roastery in Skrea.
Swerl Coffee Club Address & Contact Information Klittervägen 19, Falkenberg, Sweden Website Instagram Facebook
Falkenberg Strandbad Hotel
Take a break between meals to indulge in a spa day at the waterfront Falkenberg Strandbad Hotel. Hotel guests have access to the amazing spa facilities, which include both indoor and outdoor pools, cabanas, jacuzzis, and saunas. They even have a room with comfortable beds where you can nap while curled up next to a wood-burning fireplace. One step inside the spa area and you feel transported into a tropical paradise – the color palette and design feels almost like walking into a Wes Anderson film. Coffee drinks, pitchers of cocktails, wine, and food are also available at the pool bar for you to sip and snack while you lounge.
Falkenberg Strandbad Hotel Address & Contact Information Havsbadsallén 2A, Falkenberg, Sweden Website Instagram Facebook
After an afternoon at the spa, we were ready for dinner. We set our navigation and drove up a dusty country road about ten minutes outside the Falkenberg city center. In the middle of nowhere, it seemed we had reached our destination: Lis Mejeri. On the side of the road, a three year old in a princess crown stood waving and smiling. We parked the car and Marigel (the three-year-old) skipped ahead of us, leading us to her dad (Johan, the chef) who was pouring welcome drinks. After being handed glasses of bubbles, we were told to relax in the garden. Seating options included bohemian daybeds, pillows on the ground, an old horse-drawn carriage (our choice!), and a large plastic cow with a saddle on top. Once all the guests (about 40) had arrived, they took us inside for dinner.
The adorable Blidberg family took over an old dairy farmhouse; they live upstairs and have converted the whole ground floor into a pop-up restaurant of sorts. The eclectic two-level dining room has lots of retro touches, vintage furniture, and even a mannequin sitting at one of the tables. As the dishes come out, the volume is pumped up to the max, and the servers come out singing and dancing while serving your food. For one dish, you had to play Lis Mejeri’s version of Bingo, finding the ingredients of the dish.
The food was fairly simple, but quite tasty – made from seasonal ingredients from local farms. One of the courses was a kale semla, a fun, savory twist on the Swedish classic – this was served with incredibly juicy fried chicken. But our favorite dish of all was the buttery spelt and salted caramel cake, with toasted oat ice cream and marinated strawberries. The dessert was extra delicious with a pole dancing strawberry and exploding confetti on the side. (Spoiler alert!) All in all, we had a wonderful and completely unique dining experience at Lis Mejeri and can’t wait to return. Anders described it as “Punk Royale lite” – a more family-friendly version of the other crazy Swedish dining experience.
TO THE WOODS…
Stedsans Farm & Restaurant
The Danish couple Flemming Hansen and Mette Helbak used to run Stedsans at ØsterGRO on a rooftop in Copenhagen. Since then, they’ve relocated to the Swedish woods, in Hyltebruk (between Falkenberg and Växjö). Here, they have built a glamping getaway and social dining experience in the woods. It looks very glamorous on Instagram, and on their website they refer to it as a luxury forest resort – we’ve been dreaming of coming here for years. If you love camping and nature, you will probably love Stedsans. But be warned – the photos romanticize the experience a bit, and they hide all the dirt and all the bugs.
Know before you go: pack light! Don’t bring a suitcase here – it’s a ten minute rocky hike through the forest from the parking lot to your cabin. But do bring bug spray – there are a lot of bugs inside the rooms including mosquitos, bees, flies, and spiders. (Yup, you’re really out in nature!) It’s also important to note that there is no running water – the toilets are outhouses (compost toilets), with sawdust for you to throw after you go. Similarly, the showers are communal, with water from the lake. The sinks in the outhouses also use lake water, and thus cannot be used for brushing teeth. These choices are rooted in Flemming and Mette’s desire to do their part to conserve water.
Stedsans has an admirable sustainable philosophy, but they’re charging a premium for very simple lodgings and simple food, most of which comes from their own farm. It’s quite a pricy getaway – it costs 8,700 SEK (€860) a night for one of the cabins, and 10,500 SEK (€1035) for the fancy suite. This price is for two people and includes breakfast, dinner, and access to the lakeside sauna. But if you aren’t bothered by bugs and you’ve got money to burn, Stedsans is a beautiful escape from the real world. There’s no WiFi or electricity, so you can completely detach and escape into nature.
The highlight of the Stedsans experience was, without a doubt, the communal dinner. Most of their ingredients are from their own farm and greenhouses, as well as from local farmers in the area. The food is veggie-focused; a signature dish is carrots with hollandaise and buckwheat. They serve natural wine from the Danish importer Rosforth and Rosforth; the pairing included some of our favorite producers, like Sebastian Riffault. Flemming and his staff were extremely generous with the wine (which is included in the price) and kept refilling our glasses all night long. But the best part of the communal dinner was getting to come together around a long table and meet like-minded foodies from around the world. We were craving this kind of interaction after having to social distance for a year and a half! We ended up chatting by the fire and stargazing quite late into the evening with the other guests.
Stedsans Farm & Restaurant Address & Contact Information Bohult 109, Hyltebruk, Sweden Website Instagram
TO THE VINEYARD…
Our Swedish road trip continued north to Tvååker, a 30 minute drive from Falkenberg. Ästad Vingård is a luxury hotel with a spa and an organic Swedish winery. Yes, you heard right – they’re making wine in Sweden! All rooms include access to the spa, and it’s also possible to book a tour of the winery. Sinnenas Spa is one of the biggest spas we’ve seen – it felt like the Disneyland of spas, with multiple pools, natural lakes, a rain room, a hammock room, and at least five different saunas at varying temperatures. One was an underwater sauna with views into the lake. And that’s not all – we even had a private sauna in our hotel room!
The hotel has a casual restaurant, Logen, which is located in a charming old farmhouse. A large breakfast buffet is available for guests here each morning, and the restaurant also serves dinner. The style is rustic and rural, hearty dishes rooted in the Nordic cuisine.
Our main reason for visiting Ästad was to visit the fine dining restaurant ÄNG. We have really been wanting to visit, and finally were lucky enough to eat at ÄNG this summer – just weeks before they received their first Michelin star! Previously, they have won awards from the 360°Eat Guide for their sustainability efforts. They use only local ingredients from small farms and producers in Sweden and Denmark and use creative substitutes for things they don’t have available (i.e. solaris grape for acidity instead of lemon, since they are located on a vineyard). Chef Filip Gemzell is originally from Stockholm; before opening ÄNG, he was the chef at Huset in Svalbard. His partner Ann-Catrine is the sommelier; the wine pairing is very classic in style and features a couple of wines they have made in collaboration with Ästad Vingård. We also really enjoyed their non-alcoholic pairing, which consists of house-made juices.
Our dinner at ÄNG was a meal highlight of the year, and exceeded our already high expectations. The tasting menu was delicious, and with a great philosophy focused on small, local farmers. We predicted that they would get a Michelin star this year, and were thrilled that the French guide agreed with our assessment of the meal. The entire experience at Ästad Vingård is a great value-for-money – you can stay at the hotel and have a package including the tasting menu at ÄNG for 4600 SEK for two people. This price excludes wine, but includes breakfast at Logen as well as access to the hotel’s incredible spa.
What are your favorite restaurants in Halland? Let us know in a comment below!
This is paid promotion by Visit Halland. The selection of places to feature was curated by us.