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Savory Sweden: Best Stockholm Restaurants for Cruise Travelers



It's hard not to have a love-hate relationship with Stockholm's dining scene. On one hand, the Swedish capital is so expensive that it makes London look affordable – a main course rarely costs less than USD20 and a tasting menu can easily run you USD300; on the other hand, the city of innovation offers foodies with a variety of new and eye-opening dining concepts that you'd feel worthwhile to shell out a week's salary on two hours of gorging.

As a country with long, dark and cold winter, typical Swedish food is heavy and filling. Meat lovers are in luck as restaurants like Den Gyldene Freden, Grill and Kvarnen will cook you hearty meals with meatballs, reindeer or venison.

Seafood is another national specialty, especially herring. To taste some of the freshest and yummiest Swedish fish and shellfish, head to Sturehof in the upper-class neighborhood Stureplan.

Stockholm is  a playground for inventive chefs to experiment with flavors, colors and smells. Some of the noteworthy names include Restaurant Frantzén, Mathias Dahlgren and SMAK.

Swedish chefs tend to prefer using seasonal and locally sourced ingredients so a lot of restaurants change their menus monthly and even daily.

To many people surprise, Sweden is one of the top coffee drinking countries in the work. Swedes drink 4.5 cups of coffee a day on average during the national favorite pastime “fika”, an occasion for the locals to social while catching up on caffeine.


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Located at Stockholm's poshest area Ă–stermalm, Saluhall, meaning "market hall" in English, is not your everyday food court – the gorgeous red-brick mansion provides a Harrod's or Saks Fifth Avenue experience of market dinning. The color, smell and ambience are truly Swedish. The main purpose of the 125-year-old venue is an upscale food market for locals. Some 17 vendors, mostly family-run, sell a large variety of meats, cheeses, seafood and desserts – perfect destination for summer picnic shopping. There are also quaint little restaurants, cafĂ© and deli for a sit-down Scandinavian meal, "fika" or simply people-watching. Saluhall was rated "the world's 7th best food hall" by magazine Bon AppĂ©tit and is favored by Jamie Oliver. The market hall is under 15 minutes drive from both Värtahamnen and Frihamnen.

Read more about Ă–stermalm Saluhall →


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Södermalm

This former blue-collar tavern is currently one of the hottest late-night pubs in Södermalm. Its beer hall doubles as a restaurant which serves traditional Swedish dishes at a fraction of the price of high-end venues. Price for a set lunch costs from SEK89-127(USD13.8-19.8), and a main on the ? la carte menu will run you about SEK165(USD25.6). Noteworthy items include steak tartare, rye fried herring, pan fried reindeer with mushrooms and oxcheek bourguignonne, among others. The restaurant runs an extremely popular weekend brunch for about SEK210 (USD33) which serves classic Swedish fare Västerbotten Pie. And as an affiliation of a bar, the venue provides a good beer selection including 11 brands on tap and eight by bottle.

Read more about Kvarnen →


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Ă–stermalm


The century-old restaurant is the place to see and be seen at the affluent Stureplan. It is under a 15-minute drive from both Värtahamnen and Frihamnen cruise port. Founded in 1897, the classic brasserie provides a seafood and shellfish feast in true Swedish style. Herring is the star of the restaurant. The Swedish specialty fish can be enjoyed either as a starter, with five different sauces and sided by Swedish cheese, or served fried as a main with brown butter and potato purée. Then comes the Oyster which can be bought individually or as a platter. To sweep you off your feet, dig in some salted salmon with dill-creamed potatoes, lobsters from Canada or gratined prawns from Dublin. The venue also claim to have the widest winelist in Stockholm – more than 600 wines are available for your choice.

Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port because: This century-old restaurant is the top choice for Swedish seafood.

Tracy You's expert tip: After filling yourself with yummy Scandinavian seafood, pop to Obaren, a small club at the back of the restaurant for a drink and live music.

Read more about Sturehof →


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Norrmalm/City


The ever-lasting favorite of Stockholmers' has witnessed the fast growth of the city's dining scene in the past 16 years. It's where people go to taste innovative dishes in a posh and ultra-sophisticated environment. Situated in Swedish Royal Academy of Art, it's about 20 minutes drive from Frihamnen port and 15 minutes drive from Värtahamnen. The water-side Michelin-one-starred restaurant affords a great view toward Gamla Stan and is where many government official go for meals. Dishes reflect world cuisine with a focus on Swedish fresh-caught such as scallop, turbot and lobster. Tasting menu changes monthly and costs something around SEK1,250 (USD193) per head without wine pairing. Its terrace bar F12 Terrassen, which only opens during summer, is hugely popular. This is where trendy and fashionable locals go to social and world-class DJs regularly spin when the Nordic sun doesn't set till midnight.

Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port because: This is one of the earliest Michelin-starred restaurant in Stockholm and its terrace bar (open only in summer) is extremely popular among locals.

Tracy You's expert tip: Friday is the best time to go as F12 always uncorks a few bottle of exclusive wines and sells them by glass that day and the three-course lunch menu is reduced to SEK290 (USD45) from SEK390 (USD60), a true steal in this expensive city for a Michelin meal.

Read more about F12 →


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Norrmalm/City

This stylish restaurant is exactly what you'd expect from a city who's known for its cold and dark winter: delicious meat in a cozy environment. A muster roll of game, ranging from venison to beef, is barbecued with five different techniques: wood oven, rotisserie, smoke, charcoal and table grilling. Even the desserts are grilled. The interior decoration is colorful and playful enough to rival Alice in Wonderland. You can choose to dine in eight different themed rooms, from magnificent Versailles to titillating Moulin Rouge. The restaurant bar carries a large selection of international tipples to go with your cut. This is also one of the very few restaurants in Stockholm that opens on Sunday. The restaurant is situated in Norrmalm and is about a 10-minute drive from Stadsg?rden.

Read more about Grill →


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Norrmalm/City

Literally meaning "taste" in Swedish, this is one of the most inventive restaurants in Stockholm and is situated under a 10-minute drive from Stadsg?rden cruise port. Flavor is the absolute theme here. The venue puts on experiment the different combination of flavours by offering three, five, or seven-course small-bite set meals (from SEK400, or USD62). The small portions allow diners to experience as many tastes as possible. Three dishes here equal to a main while seven courses add up to a normal three-course meal. All dishes are named after their distinctive flavors, for example lemon, curry and truffle, and the cuisine is of fusion Swedish style with dishes such as "Swedish cabbage roll" with duck leg, forest mushroom and lingonberry (as Ginger on the menu), and "hamburger" wagyu with brioche (as Truffle).

Read more about SMAK →


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Södermalm

Roughly 15 minutes on foot from Stadsg?rden cruise port lies Sjögräs, one of Stockholm's most popular restaurant and bar which serves French cuisine with a Swedish spin. The three-level venue is a classy place without giving the feeling of so – the ambience is relaxed and staff are chatty and friendly. You either order from an ? la carte menu or from the blackboard for daily specials. Noteworthy dishes include pulpo and king crab, and roasted sweetbreads. Its dessert rum and chocolate steals the heart of many diners. Prices fall in the moderate level in Stockholm: a starter costs about SEK150 (USD23) and a main is about SEK269 (USD42).

Read more about Sjögräs →


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Norrmalm/City

The two venues at Grand Hotel Stockholm by the Swedish celebrity chef offer you the opportunity to taste Dahlgren's food creation in the environment and budget at your choice: either a full-blown gastronomic dinner at formal restaurant Dining Room (or Matsalen in Swedish) or a casual informal nibble at bistro Food Bar (or Matbaren). Dahlgren makes a big effort to use local and seasonal ingredients so the menus at both restaurants change from day to day. Some of their previous dishes include pumpkin, truffle with parmesan and langoustine with pigs cheek at Michelin-two-starred Dining Room, and braised pork steam buns at Michelin-one-starred Food Bar. Dinner-only Dining Room serves set gastronomic meals (USD293 for eight courses) and the average price for a main at Food Bar is USD34.

Read more about Mathias Dahlgren →


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Airport - Bma

The 150-seat restaurant on Gamla Stan is logged in Guinness World Records as the world's oldest restaurant with the same surroundings. The kitchen has been cooking traditional Swedish cuisine non-stop since 1722 and the environment will transport you 300 years back. The dim-lit barrel-vaulted dining room largely resembles an 18th century Swedish tavern. Along the history, the restaurant has been a regular dining spot of many Swedish culture figures, such as 18th century poet and songwriter Carl Michael Bellman, 19th century artist Anders Zorn and 20th century songwriter Cornelis Vreeswijk. The dishes here are heavy and filling – properly Swedish. Signature items include smoked reindeer, meatballs and herring.

Read more about Den Gyldene Freden →




The 19-seat two-Michelin-starred restaurant epitomizes Scandinavian culinary innovation. Behind an unassuming door in Gamla Stan, which is about 15 minutes walk from Stadsg?rden cruise port, local celebrity chef Björn Frantzén combines the best of Swedish and Japanese cuisine to create a gastronomic experience of its own. Most dishes are bite-size and are prepared with out-of-the-world creativity, for example, lobster is sided with algae and herb emulsion as sashimi and green apples are paired with pea shoots to make juice. A wide variety of common and uncommon vegetables are the star of the meal. One of Frantzén's signature dishes, satio tempestas, comes with 46 ingredients all plucked out from the restaurant's garden. Price is high – a 12-course dinner will run you SEK2,100 (USD323), but where else can you find a dish that combines beetroot, lavender and 100-year-old vinegar.

Recommended for Restaurants near Cruise Port because: Located behind an assuming door in Gamla Stan, this two-Michelin-starred gourmet restaurant presents a game-changing dinning experience, combining fresh Scandinavian seafood and organic vegetable (a lot of them from their own garden) in a theatrical, respectful and very Japanese manner. Dishes are as imaginative and colorful as they can be.

Tracy You's expert tip: Make sure to check out the restaurant's toilet which has a one-way mirror into the kitchen – that is you can see the chefs but they can't see you.

Read more about Restaurant FrantzĂ©n →


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Meet Tracy You Xiaoying

Tracy You Xiaoying is a bilingual journalist based in the United Kingdom. She writes culture, travel and lifestyle articles about China and Britain in English and Chinese.

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