Enjoy Stockholm’s “fika” tradition, which means meeting over pastries and coffee. // © 2017 VisitSweden
Feature image (above): Ostermalms Saluhall has stalls devoted to produce, cheese, coffee and much more. // © 2017 VisitSweden
When it comes to eating your way across Europe, there are the obvious heavy-hitters: Italy, France and Spain. Even the U.K. now sits at the top of the foodie list.
However, Scandinavia is emerging as a culinary destination, and Stockholm is especially rising in the ranks. This is due to a slew of new restaurant openings that are shaking up the way the world sees Scandinavian food, or what is known as “New Nordic” cuisine.
The Scandinavian gastronomic movement kicked off with the success of Noma in Copenhagen, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant where a focus on uniquely prepared local ingredients elevated Nordic cuisine to fine-dining status. The same has carried over into Stockholm, where the destination has embraced its local resources — namely, seafood — to take its regional cuisine to haute heights.
Once-traditional market halls now have a sophisticated twist. All over the world, these enclosed markets have been reinventing themselves, emerging as trendy hot spots for dining and socializing. It’s no different in Stockholm, where the food halls have kiosks hawking all types of foods, from baked goods and cheeses to raw meats, produce and fish.
Ostermalms Saluhall is probably the most widely recognized name in Stockholm food hall hype. The historic hall dates back to the 19th century and has stalls devoted to fish, vegetables, cheese, charcuterie, coffee, breads and more. A temporary location has been set up since the original Ostermalms is undergoing renovation. It will reemerge in 2018.
The centrally located K25 food court has 11 casual dining options, complete with communal seating. The international market spans everything from Swedish eats and dim sum to burgers and sushi. It’s most popular among the young, bearded and tattooed.
In February, Stockholm residents and visitors said hello to a brand-new mecca for vegetarians: Rutabaga. The restaurant sits within the five-star Grand Hotel and is the brainchild of Swedish chef Mathias Dahlgren. Rutabaga’s menu features fresh produce in family-style portions. The type of produce that the restaurant is named after — rutabaga — is one of the few vegetables that originates from Sweden.
Open since November 2011, Ekstedt in central Stockholm is a classic and favorite take on old-world cooking, with a modern slant. Its menu is based on recipes from cookbooks from the 18th century, all of which are still prepared without electricity, and the food is cooked over a fire pit, in a wood-fired oven or on a wooden stove. Ekstedt recently added a smoker and extra fires to continue perfecting longtime Swedish cooking techniques. Menu options include a four-course dinner and a six-course dinner, with highlights such as dried reindeer, birch-fired wild duck, juniper-baked turbot fish and wood-fired, oven-baked quince.
Devoted foodies will want to indulge in the decadent Michelin-starred Gastrologik, which focuses on seasonal Swedish produce, as well as meat and seafood. The restaurant prides itself on its elaborate and pricey 18-course dinner. Reservations must be made several months in advance.
If the Gastrologik experience seems a bit too much to stomach, opt for the casual Speceriet next door, which has a la carte menu items such as beef tartar with beetroot and horseradish, and Jerusalem artichoke with goat cheese, parsley and capers.
Stockholm is known for its “fika” tradition, which literally translates to a meeting of coffee and pastry. This cozy piece of culture has been a Swedish tradition since the 1700s, but has recently adapted to the modernized Stockholm culture.
One example of modern fika is Green Rabbit, which opened last May by Michelin-starred chefs Martin Berg and Mathias Dahlgren. The focus here is on rye bread made using an old Nordic recipe. Those with a sweet tooth will love the blueberry and raspberry muffins, as well.
K-Markt Patisserie and Bakery
Daniel Roos, the 2012 gold medalist at the Culinary Olympics, has flexed his epicurean muscles in Stockholm with the opening of a bakery stall located in K-markt. K-markt is a new culinary center that’s the creation of Roos, Johan Gottberg and sommelier Jens Dolk. Roos’ bakery menu tantalizes diners with menu items such as tarts made with chocolate mousse, yuzu and more.