By Cygnus PechsiriSweden - a country rich in culture and history that spans back to the age of the Vikings. However, the knowledge of Swedish cuisine on an international stage is somewhat limited to fresh salmon and Smörgåsbord. Walking through the city you’ll find countless Stockholm restaurants lining the streets along with sushi bars and Thai fast food stands that have taken up residence here. With so much variety you may be wondering where to start your culinary tour while in Sweden. For a truly authentic experience of all the food in Stockholm, I would recommend you visit these local places for either an on-the-go lunch or a comfortable and relaxing dinner.
Nystekt Strömming (SL Tunnelbanan– Slussen and Gamla Stan)
Many visitors scouring the city for the best restaurants in Stockholm overlook this hidden gem! Situated right outside the Slussen’s subway station exit (across the street from Katarina Hissen and about 15 minutes’ walk from the Royal Palace) is this food truck that has offered freshly fried herring to the local community for many years. I first tried their herring burger upon my arrival to Sweden in 2007, and now over ten years later, here I am standing in front of the stall having deep-fried herring with ryebread and pickles and mindfully enjoying this delicious food in Stockholm. The success of this stall has withstood the test of time and it’s definitely worth a visit. For under $10 USD you can relish the freshly prepared herring as you peer out over the Stockholm archipelago, seagulls flying overhead. An important point to note is that herring are known to be a bit salty, so it might be a stronger flavour than you’re used to. This place does not serve vegetarian dishes.
Tant Bruns Kaffestuga i Sigtuna (SL Bus – Sigtuna Busstation)
Although situated on the outskirts of Stockholm, in the old Viking capital of Sigtuna, this coffee shop is worth a visit if you are exploring Stockholm's restaurant culture. Tant Bruns is easily one of the oldest coffee shops in Sweden - renovations to the structure that houses the coffee shop were conducted around the 1970s, with the origin of the establishment speculated from as early as the 1700s. This is also evident when you arrive at the coffee shop, with its original fireplace and kettle-prepared coffee. The shop also serves traditional Swedish tea, homemade pies, and traditional Swedish Räksmögåsar. To get here, take the pendeltåg either from Central Station or Odenplan towards Märsta. Either take bus 570 or 575 to Sigtuna (get off at the Sigtuna Bus station), and the coffee shop is close to the center of the town- waiting to serve you some of the tastiest food in Stockholm.
Östra Station Järnvägsrestaurangen (SL Tunnelbanan – Tekniska Högskolan)
Östra Station Järnvägsrestaurangen is another local restaurant where you can sample delicious traditional Swedish food in Stockholm. Located on the second floor of the light-rail Östra Station (either take bus 4, 72, or 67 to the Östra Station stop or take the subway to Tekniska Högskolan Station and come out of the exit that leads to Östra Station; the light rail station is immediately to your left when coming out of the subway exit before 7-11). The station itself was built in the 1930s, with of course several renovations overtime, while the restaurant was established in 1935 and has been run by the same family ever since. The restaurant serves different local, freshly prepared Swedish dishes each day, giving you an authentic taste of food in Stockholm. The demand for lunch at this restaurant is very high, so you might want to stop in a bit early. There have been occasions where food on the menu is sold out. The budget for lunch is approximately $15 USD. This place does not serve vegetarian dishes; the chef however took it as a challenge to prepare one for me when I was there.
Hermitage (SL Tunnelbanan – Gamla Stan)
Craving an evening buffet with a comfortable atmosphere? Hermitage is the ideal Stockholm restaurant for this. It will suit your needs well with their buffet of vegetarian food and progressive spin on traditional Swedish food in Stockholm. From lasagna to salads, this place has something for the vegans and vegetarians out there. To get here, take the subway to Gamla stan and take one of the alley ways towards the inner sections of the old town.
Gästabud (SL Tunnelbanan – Gamla Stan)
If you are looking for home style Swedish cooking from one the best restaurants in Stockholm's old town, Gästabud is the place for you. This bistro is close to the Royal Palace and for about $20 USD, you can enjoy traditional Swedish fish dishes or meatballs. Food in Stockholm is known for its rich, diverse textures and flavours and this is perfectly encaptured in the cuisine served at Gästabud. Freshly prepared and cooked to order, this place won’t let you down!
Tjabba Thai restaurant (SL tunnelbanan – Hötorget)
Please don’t blame me for sneaking in a Thai restaurant for a guide of the best restaurants in Stockholm - according to my personal tastes. If western food is not what you are looking for or not to your liking, this Thai restaurant is nothing ordinary. Unlike the many Thai fast food stands in the city, the food at Tjabba Thai is of high quality and freshly prepared, with some dishes even rivalling the quality and taste of those in Thailand! Modern with a hint of Thai décor, Tjabba provides a comfortable dining experience and boasts a unique list of beer and other alcoholic beverages to go together with their spicy menu, all for $20 – $40 USD. For a different take on food in Stockholm, check out this spot!
RBG Bar & Grill (Stockholm Central Station)
Located in the Radisson Waterfront, RGB serves traditional Swedish food in Stockholm along with modern Swedish cuisine. For lunch, you may enjoy a buffet and for dinner, a three course meal, but if the serving size is too much for your liking, you can also order single dishes. The menu changes now and then, but is prepared to excellence no matter the season. To get there, take any public transport to Stockholm’s Central Station; in the station take the escalators to the top exit. Prices at this lovely Stockholm restaurant varies, but be prepared to be spending around $20 – $40 USD- a price worth it if you want to taste some of the best food in Stockholm, and happily for me, veggie options are available.
Tranan (SL Tunnelbanan – Odenplan)
Looking for a bit of a more fine dining experience but stumped on where to eat in Stockholm? Then this little gem is your answer! Restaurant Trenan has been in the business of serving locals with beer and good food since 1929. The restaurant is situated above the Odenplan subway station and provides a comfortable yet formal dinner service. With its highly vintage décor (some of its furniture dates back to the restaurant’s earlier years), and serving classic Swedish dishes, the restaurant is often full in the evenings, so booking is necessary. I highly recommend the fish and lobster dishes. A budget for dinner here is approximately $40 USD but in return you will be treated to delicious traditional Swedish food in Stockholm. Vegetarian dishes are available, and booking online or via telephone is possible and encouraged if you want to bag a table.
The Market at Scandic Continental (Stockholm Central Station)
The Market is situated on the second floor of the Scandic Continental Hotel and offers a high-quality dinner experience, serving a variety of dishes varying from dry aged steak to risotto with wine - a foodie's dream if you are exploring the different types of food in Stockholm. The restaurant (and the hotel housing it) is quite new, with the hotel itself having opened for business in 2016, but in my opinion it is fast becoming one of the best restaurants in Stockholm. The restaurant and hotel is situated right across the street from Stockholm’s Central Station main entrance. Be prepared to spend $50 USD or more.
The OysterBar Stockholm (SL Tunnelbanan – Östermalmstorgs)
The OysterBar is situated in the vibrant district of Östermalm. The upmarket Stockholm restaurants serves a variety of seafood-based dishes. You can pre-book the restaurant to order the five course meal, which includes a seafood platter containing fresh prawns, oysters, crabs, and lobsters for approximately $150 USD. If you are looking for a restaurant that serves the best seafood in town this is where to eat in Stockholm. Note: In Sweden the dining culture does not require tips for service except when the service fee is included, so tips are only given at your discretion.
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