Review: Operakällaren Sweden's Most Decadent Dining Experience

In our opinion, Operakällaren will be the next two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Sweden. There are few dining rooms in the world this grand, and now with chef Viktor Westerlind leading the kitchen, the food finally matches the spectacular setting. The service is old school, but even with the formal setting, fancy chandeliers, and silver trolleys, it doesn’t feel pretentious or stiff, it feels decadent and fun. This is a must-visit for any food lover in Stockholm

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There are few dining rooms in the world as grand as the one at Operakällaren.
There are few dining rooms in the world as grand as the one at Operakällaren.
OPERAKÄLLAREN

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Operahuset, Karl XII:s torg, Stockholm, Sweden
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Operakällaren is situated in the bottom floor of the opera building.
Operakällaren is situated in the bottom floor of the opera building.

A Historic Restaurant Venue

Operakällaren means “the basement of the opera” (since the restaurant is situated in the bottom floor of the opera building). It first opened in 1787, burned down, and reopened again in the late 1800s. But it didn’t become the fine dining establishment it is today until the 60’s, and it didn’t receive a Michelin star until 1996. Chef Viktor Westerlind (formerly of Frantzén and the former head chef of AIRA) took over about a year ago. There are few dining rooms in the world this grand – you literally feel like you’re dining in a palace (and you basically are, the royal family dines here all the time and hires the chef for their private events). Westerlind believes the dining room is a three star dining room, and the wine cellar is a three star wine cellar, so he wants to bring the level of food up to match the incredible setting. They are aiming for two stars in the next couple of years – and we think they are on track to get them.

Snacks to start: pea tartelette, pâte à choux with crème fraîche and vendace roe, & foie gras puff pastry.
Snacks to start: pea tartelette, pâte à choux with crème fraîche and vendace roe, & foie gras puff pastry.
Leeks, leek cream, Norwegian scallops, Swedish oyster velouté, & Rossini gold caviar.
Leeks, leek cream, Norwegian scallops, Swedish oyster velouté, & Rossini gold caviar.
The snaps trolley has arrived!
The snaps trolley has arrived!
Swedish dairy cow tartare, lumpfish roe, chive oil, & buttermilk dressing with horseradish.
Swedish dairy cow tartare, lumpfish roe, chive oil, & buttermilk dressing with horseradish.

Operakällaren is Trolley Heaven

Your meal begins in the Veranda, where you have snacks and a glass of Champagne with a view of the royal palace. Operakällaren is trolley heaven! They have trolleys of all shapes and sizes, currently around ten trolleys but they want to keep adding more. You start with a Champagne trolley, there’s a snaps trolley, a meat carving trolley, a cheese trolley, and various tableside trolleys to prepare courses during the meal. They even have four dedicated digestif trolleys at the end of your meal – and they’re adding a petit four trolley soon.

After finishing our snacks, we moved into the ornate dining room for the full tasting menu. The ceiling and walls are made entirely of hand-carved wood, with intricate design details. It’s mesmerizing, awe-inspiring, and feels a bit like you could be dining in Versailles. Sometimes you just want to feel like royalty, and this is the place to scratch that itch. The service is top notch, technically perfect, but never overbearing or hovering. The team is friendly and knowledgeable, and describe the change with Westerlind as head chef as bringing a breath of fresh air into the restaurant; the excitement and high ambitions are palpable. Finally, the level of food matches the magical dining room, and Operakällaren is once again restored to its former status as one of the best restaurants in Sweden.

Mackerel, gooseberry cream, kohlrabi, pickled elderflower, cucumber grapefruit, & rosewater consommé.
Mackerel, gooseberry cream, kohlrabi, pickled elderflower, cucumber grapefruit, & rosewater consommé.
The ornate, hand-carved wood ceilings.
The ornate, hand-carved wood ceilings.
Egg cream, brown butter, nettle foam, fennel, & dried egg yolk.
Egg cream, brown butter, nettle foam, fennel, & dried egg yolk.
Flambéed pineapple, natural foie gras terrine, pistachio crunch, and caramel with cardamom, black pepper, & ginger.
Flambéed pineapple, natural foie gras terrine, pistachio crunch, and caramel with cardamom, black pepper, & ginger.

The first bites were excellent and set the tone for what we knew would be a very high level meal. The dish of flambéed pineapple (tableside, of course) and (natural, non force-fed) foie gras was out of this world. The bread serving was our favorite of the year. Although they love trolleys, there’s no bread trolley here, since they want to make every bread fresh to order. But they do offer endless refills (which is absolutely dangerous, and most welcome). One favorite was the Hokkaido milk bread with garlic and herbs, but we also loved the dark rye bread with syrup, the laminated malted rye brioche, and the fennel knaekkebrod (crisp bread). All the breads are served with their house-made salted butter.

If you’re looking for a grand, luxurious setting with fantastic food, Operakällaren is the restaurant for you. Sometimes you want to be spoiled, and this is the place to sit back, relax, and be treated like royalty.

Green asparagus and monkfish.
Green asparagus and monkfish.
White asparagus with caviar, chive oil, and Sandefjord butter sauce.
White asparagus with caviar, chive oil, and Sandefjord butter sauce.
Lamb brisket, confit shoulder, shoulder, ramson shiso, & lamb jus.
Lamb brisket, confit shoulder, shoulder, ramson shiso, & lamb jus.
Dark chocolate soufflé and cherry gelato.
Dark chocolate soufflé and cherry gelato.
Rhubarb foam, vanilla sugar, chamomile foam, and caramelized vanilla ice cream.
Rhubarb foam, vanilla sugar, chamomile foam, and caramelized vanilla ice cream.
Madeleines and chocolate petit fours.
Madeleines and chocolate petit fours.

Have you been to Operakällaren? Let us know in a comment below.

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