Last July I visited Sthlm and wrote a little love blog post about a city totally positive and in good mood due to the summer weather. The warm season had returned after 3 cold summers. Swedes live for summer so to get a bad one is like not getting a dose of your life saving medicine. Things can easily feel pretty heavy in the Nordic darkness.
However, Stockholm is nice to visit for other reasons than its summer mood inhabitants. In fact, it is really nice due to this dark season. Apart for that the city is beautiful in white, and close to the islands and water, I often go to check out the latest developments in the food scene. Because it always seem to be something new cooking up there.
Recently I needed a break in Berlin and decided to go. The problem was that it was short notice. Lets put it that way, it seem like Stockholm is not really made for short notice trip. At least not if you want to go out and eat well. Actually, I find this really irritating. I am used to Berlin where you can get a table at your favorite restaurant just a couple of days in advance (without knowing the owner of the restaurant.) In Stockholm it is not that easy. Most restaurants bookings are made online and maybe it makes it just really easy for people to book.
It all becomes a bit frustrating when you are visiting Stockholm with someone you like and want to show the best side of your city (and its booming food scene) and then, crap, no free tables. At least not at the places where you want to go.
So, I thought I give you the tips on where to go if you did not manage to make that booking with Franzen Lindeberg or Matsalen. When Niklas Ekstedt amazing fire cooked meals seem harder to catch than the smoke it selves. Because there are solutions better than ending up with room service of a BLT with extra fries.
WHERE TO EAT
This newly opened Veggivore lunch place in Vasastan is a good suggestion if you like to try good, high quality, Nordic cuisine. With a focus on locally produced ingredients it is also a really fun visit. It is fairly small, 18 seats, so come early or late. On Thursday they also serve dinner.
My all time favorite. I already went here with my mom as a young girl. The back kitchen of the Swedish opera. Simple classic Swedish dishes in brasseri style. Do not miss the Löjrom, a Swedish caviar from the northern part (actually around the corner from where I am from!) and the hering plate. If you are into shellfish, the Crayfish toast is great too. The meatballs are my absolute favorite and I can’t help that I crave for them when I go home. They serve both lunch and dinner.
My favorite – Löjrom
Speceriet seemed to me like the perfect quarter restaurant if you eat meat. This new little sister of the more established Gastrologik serves a small selection of dishes, all perfect for sharing. The wine cellar is shared with Gastrologik. The rain deer heart kebab made a great first impression on me.
Mathias Dahlgren is running two star decorated restaurants in the same location; Matbaren and Matsalen. Matbaren, or the Food Bar is, as the name is indicating, the more down to earth of the two. I have written about this place before. The simple, small dishes, often served around the bar are some of the best food you can get in Sthlm right now. And the best thing is that Mathias always saves a couple of seats unreserved at the bar.
(AND, Mathias has actually contributed in my book! But for once, I didn’t trade my own bread with him. Instead I brought him a bread from San Francisco, made by Chad from Tartine Bakery.)
You will often need to wait quite a while for a table at this place, but the good thing is that they do not take reservations so you will most likely get a seat.
This place is right now my favorite Burger place in Europe. I like its simplicity. Here I order a classic cheese burger which comes without ketchup, cucumbers, onions or whatever. Simple Cheeseburger with nothing but Bread, Meat and Cheese. And it was always perfect.
The only thing I do not understand is why Flipping Burgers is closed on Sundays. I love eating burgers on Sunday night.
We stayed at Story Hotel, which has an unbeatable location at Östermalm. Right in between of Nybroviken (water), Nybrogatan (shopping and the great food hall Östermalmshallen), Norrmalmstorg (ACNE and Hope stores). You have walking distance to Djurgården (huge park) which is perfect for running. At night, you are practically next door to Riche (Bar), which sometimes can be practical. In other words, If you are in sthlm for just a weekend, this location is perfect.
The rooms are not very large, if you do not like to rent the 95 m2 attic. To me, this does not really matter since all I need is a really good bed (with good sheets!), a good shower in a nice bathroom, good body products (they offer FACE). Story has all of this. And on top they offer great bread for breakfast (included). It can be a good idea to book a room with balcony in the summer.
Another good add on is that all beds are really a queen/king size beds and not 2 twin put together*.
*Swedes has some kind of love for putting together 2 twin size beds and offering it as a king bed. I have stayed at (apart from this topic) great hotels which still finds it totally normal to offer 2 twin beds in a “romantic suite”. Like here, by the Swedish paper DN top rated, so called “romantic hotel”.
Make sure to ask in advance if you, like me, don’t like to sleep in that middle crack of the bed. Again, Story hotels beds where not like this.
*As always, a large thank you to Martin Bundock who always brief me on new founds in his city. His tip on Gro was great!
**A good site to get help with your Stockholm travels is the homepage of Visit Sweden. It is the official Swedish tourist site.