What’s Swedish cuisine like in a nutshell?
Sweden’s original cuisine is very seasonal. In the winter, you’ll see a lot of heavier stews and warming sauces, but in the summer, people virtually live off strawberries and new potatoes! In general, there’s a lot of fish, and many dishes have a rather unique sweet-salty flavour. Swedish anchovies, for example, are immersed in a sweet brine, and they’re an absolute must to make Jansson’s Temptation, a dish with these anchovies, grated potatoes, onions and cream. Delicious – and very Swedish, I’d say.
What’s the current food trend in Stockholm?
A lot of experimental cuisine is up and coming (think Heston Blumental), and you’ll see things like pig’s cheeks on the menus. (Though whether anyone orders it, I don’t know.) Many are doing lighter and more elaborate twists on classic dishes. Things like mezze or tapas seem quite popular too.
What local food is not to be missed?
You really must have Swedish rye crispbread, with a slice of sharp cheese. It’s amazing. And do try cloudberries over vanilla ice cream – it’s to die for.
Equally important, which local food might I want to steer clear of no matter how much locals insist?
Well, there’s the Surströmming. That’s rotten herring, basically. Pass. Please.
What are the food oddities in Sweden?
Yeah, see the answer above! :) We also eat quite a lot of game, and reindeer meat or moose is widely available in supermarkets. (Mostly frozen.) My American non-foodie friend was absolutey shocked at the idea of eating “Rudolph”.
What delicacies should I bring home from my trip?
Cloudberry jam, and lingonberry jam to have with your Swedish meatballs.
Which cuisine features most strongly in your city?
Stockholm is a very international city, and it has all kinds of restaurants – a mix of everything, really!
Favourite gourmet addresses?
BUDGET: Don’t miss a simple hot dog, boiled, available all over town. If that’s a little too on the budget for you, try one of many Indian restaurants. There’s a lovely one called Happy India with great value.
AFFORDABLE: I rather like American food, and for a wonderful steak, I like Saddle & Sabre, a small pub with super food. For a more traditional Swedish choice, try a fish restaurant like Wedholms Fisk. Or for a wonderful café in the summertime, head to Rosendal’s Gardens. Gorgeous! And another great restaurant is Axela.
BREAK THE BANK: Try Lux. It’s a great restaurant, and it has a great view. But it is indeed super expensive.
What’s Stockholm’s attitude to food in general?
I’d say that Swedes are rather interested in food. Restaurants are pretty expensive, so many people only dine out just after getting their paycheck. (When it’s IMPOSSIBLE to get a table without a reservation, by the way!) You can get very good and fresh ingredients in any store, so a lot of people cook at home.
Where to shop for food?
Several places – but don’t miss Cajsa Warg or Finefood, both excellent little stores focusing on small producers and ecologically grown food. Also check out Hötorgshallen, the most exciting of Stockholm’s three food halls. There’s also an open market there, Hötorget, open weekdays until 6 pm. For a more traditional supermarket, there’s Hemköp conveniently located right under Åhléns department store.
Which area is best for food?
Södermalm is the most reliable for smaller, more affordable restaurants with a wide variety of cuisine, but in general, there’s a lot of restaurants all over Stockholm city.
What’s the biggest flop in terms of food, restaurants etc and best avoided?
Tourists always head for Gamla Stan, but that’s so very touristy, in my opinion. There are exceptions – some great restaurants are indeed situated there – but a lot are very, very over-rated. I’d suggest going elsewhere. (By all means, go check out the old buildings, though.)
What are the big names in the restaurant scene?
If you like sushi, you must go to Hattori Sushi Devil. It’s a super little place – the chef is one of the best in Sweden, and the food is wonderfully fresh and quite unique. This is not boring sushi, by any means.
What to be aware of when dining out in Stockholm?
Tipping is common, but it’s NOT necessary. A service charge is already included in the tab, and all waiters are paid a reasonably salary. By all means, tip if you’re happy with the service, but it’s not as mandatory as in many other countries. Smoking is not allowed inside of restaurants, at all. Most places require bookings in advance – you can get lucky and get a table, but if you really want to eat in a particular place, especially the fancier restaurants, do book in advance.
All images and text supplied by and published with kind permission of Anne's Food.