Lola A. Åkerström gives you a quick overview of Stockholm’s culinary scene.
By hosting the prestigious Bocuse d’Or cooking competition in 2014, Stockholm’s culinary scene was once again cast into the spotlight – from world-class chefs running Michelin stared restaurants and bakficka (back pocket) bistro alternatives to cheap eats, microbreweries and street food trucks.
Fine dining with Michelin stars
Stockholm’s fine dining is driven by the new Nordic cuisine movement which focuses heavily on fresh ingredients, ecological seafood and local produce like organic vegetables, seasonal fruits and berries, and handpicked wild mushrooms. Leading the pack with two stars each are Restaurant Frantzén and Mathias Dahlgren Matsal. There are seven other restaurants with one Michelin star each in Stockholm.
Bakficka (Back pocket) restaurants
There’s also a rising number of bakficka (back pocket) restaurants run by Michelin-starred chefs. The concept behind these bakfickor is to provide value for money and make high quality food accessible to everyone without special table reservations. Examples include Mathias Dahlgren’s Matbaren and Gastrologik’s bakficka restaurant Speceriet which offer up the same quality of food but in smaller portions and at more affordable prices.
Street food trucks
Inspired by the street food truck craze currently sweeping across the United States, food trucks have finally hit the streets of Stockholm with over 20 vendors circling the city and serving an array of international dishes from Mexican enchiladas and vegetarian falafel to grilled Turkish Köfte and French-Vietnamese fusion sandwiches called Bánh Mì.
Going back to the basics of Swedish cuisine called husmanskost, many restaurants serve up contemporary takes on traditional cooking. From local game like reindeer, moose, and wild boar to seafood classics like pickled herring and cured salmon, traditional restaurants like Pelikan and Prinsen are preserving the city’s rich culinary heritage.
The Swedish love for Southeast Asia means you’ll find a lot of Asian-fusion restaurants around town that serve up high quality regional Asian cuisine from Thailand and Vietnam as well as Japan and India too using local Swedish ingredients.
A local insider tip is to keep an eye out for signs that say “Dagens rätt” or “Dagens lunch,” placed outside restaurant windows. This means “dish of the day” usually served at affordable prices.
Fika like locals
Pronounced “fee-ka”, this cultural norm is widely translated into taking a break (fikarast) or pause (fikapaus) from work to socialize over cups of coffee, and Stockholm is peppered with small coffeeshops, cafés, and bakeries (konditori) which cater to hourly fika crowds.
There are three major indoor fresh food markets in town – Hötorgshallen located at Hötorget, Östermalms Saluhall at Östermalmstorg, and Söderhallarna located at Medborgarplatsen – alongside open air farmers’ markets that are temporarily setup on weekends. At these markets, you’ll find a wide selection of fresh produce and gourmet foods such as pickled herring and seafood, cured meats, artisan breads, specialty cheeses, and handmade chocolates.
More and more breweries are opening up in Stockholm alongside a rising interest in artisan beers and brews. You might be surprised to find out that Stockholm’s strong brewing history was inspired by German beer-making and dates back to the 19th and 20th centuries. Today, you’ll find a slew of microbreweries around town such as St Eriks Bryggeri and its sister brewery Sigtuna as well as Pang Pang Brewery, Södra Maltfabriken, and Gamla Enskede Bryggeri.