Trying traditional Swedish dishes, having fika (afternoon tea, but with coffee and cinnamon buns) and splurging on minimalist New Nordic cuisine are high on many a tourist’s list of things to do in Stockholm. But there’s a lot more to the Swedish capital’s food scene than just the tick-box guidebook recs. Restaurants in Stockholm are diversifying and looking outwards more than ever before, so expect world-class Indian, Middle Eastern and American menus, but adapted to Swedish tastes. And what does that mean? Dill, pickled red onion and more lush flavours of mayo than you could ever imagine. You’ll go away not quite addicted – but almost.
In a city where it’s normal for a sandwich to set you back 80 to 100 SEK (£7-£8.50), fine dining in Stockholm comes at a hefty price. Thankfully, Stockholm also has a booming street food scene (with one caveat – most of the year the vendors have to stay indoors due to the cold). Many first-rate Stockholm bars and restaurants also have budget-friendly lunchtime buffets which get busy around 12pm, typically Swedish lunch hour. So whatever your budget, our pick of the very best restaurants in Stockholm can deliver. Smalig måltid!
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Best restaurants in Stockholm
The tasting menu here comprises a selection of decadent, globally-inspired small plates. It all begins with a scoop of caviar dolloped straight on to your hand, alongside a shot of vodka. The interior couldn’t be more opposed to fine dining; the walls are crumbling, there’s a smoke machine filling the room with a nostalgic mist and Lego to play with in between courses.
In a striking waterfront location on the shores of Stockholm’s greenest city island, Djurgården, Oaxen is a nautical-themed Nordic bistro set inside a stunningly restored bright yellow shipyard. The light-flooded venue is split into two parts: Oaxen Krog is a fine dining restaurant that’s picked up two Michelin stars, while Oaxen Slip is a slightly more casual brasserie with a penchant for sharing plates and a reputation for one of the best Sunday roasts in the city.
The pizzas are the stars of this savoury menu, piled high with fresh ingredients that change with the seasons, but there’s a wide range of pasta, meat and fish dishes too. There are extensive breakfast and lunch menus, as well as a separate gelateria and a top-notch bakery-cum-coffee shop by the entrance – not to mention the graffiti-scrawled cocktail bar, Växthusen, at the back. There are set menus to share in the evening, which make the high-end experience more affordable.
Exposed red brickwork, low-hanging metal lampshades and daily specials scrawled on paper posters set the tone for this understated neighbourhood restaurant in the Vasastan district. There’s a short seasonal menu with a strong focus on Nordic root vegetables, fish and seafood, like lobster with celery and ginger, slow-cooked pork accompanied by cauliflower, or chanterelle mushrooms with elder and buttered turbot.
Rosendals Trädgård rustles up daily lunch deals from fresh veg, herbs and flowers plucked directly from its enormous biodynamic allotments. The bread, pies and pastries are baked in a wood-burning oven next door. Guests here get the chance to dine in a light-filled greenhouse or out on the spacious outdoor terrace, surrounded by trees, creepers and flower beds.
In just a couple of years, Indian Street Food has morphed from a buzzing street food truck into three popular restaurants in central Stockholm. Both of their Vasastan branches are open until late – and there you’ll find the exquisite likes of mild and creamy curries, samosa wraps with mango dips and naan bread with Västerbotten cheese from northern Sweden. There’s also a cocktail and craft beer menu that stays local and affordable, while the décor and atmosphere feel much fancier than the prices.
The most famous food in the Nordics is brought up-to-date at this edgy yet homey restaurant which has built its entire menu around the humble meatball. If this is your first Swedish meatballs experience (Ikea doesn’t count), go for the classic beef balls served with buttery mash, lingonberry jam and a creamy broth. More adventurous variations include rooster, reindeer and salmon. There are vegan and vegetarian options too.
The first Asian restaurant in Sweden to get a Michelin star, this intimate sushi bar’s head chef, Carl Ishizaki, spent two decades perfecting his inventive takes on some of Japan’s most classic recipes before investing in his own tiny 20-seat venue. Here customers experience 15 of his signature dishes in one sitting via a seasonal tasting menu, scribbled on a giant chalkboard, in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.
There are just five main courses to choose from at Häktet, a trendy, ultra-modern restaurant inside a former 18th-century jail for petty criminals who couldn’t afford to pay their bail. Think classic European flavours with a contemporary twist, with a menu that typically changes several times a year to make the most of seasonal ingredients.
Fast becoming a staple on Södermalm’s street food scene, Falloumi has made the Skanstull area a hotspot for Arabic and Mediterranean cuisine. Falafel and halloumi, as the name suggests, are the stars here, made brighter by their tahini yoghurt and chilli sauces, and served in a wrap, pitta or bowl. The vibrant interior adds extra spice, with laundry lines strewn across the ceiling that help convince you you’re dining somewhere altogether much warmer.
An open fire is the focus at Michelin-starred Ekstedt, master purveyor of New Nordic cuisine, where everything is cooked without gas, electricity or microwaves. Ekstedt’s a haven for Scandi design fans too, with compact wooden tables, a rustic stone bar and exposed tungsten lights dangling from a mesh ceiling.
One of Sweden’s most celebrated restaurants, Frantzen’s recent offerings have included Swedish pork marinated for a week in soy and mirin, smoked for 24 hours and hung to dry for 100 days, and a Rubik’s cube-inspired dessert with rows of colour-popping garlic and lemon peel, arctic bramble, brown cheese and liquorice. An equally opulent interior, calm music (from the moment you step in the elevator) and impeccable service seal the deal. Unsurprisingly, all this comes at a price.