I’m back from a still very wintery Sweden to find London in full Spring. It’s a relief to finally be able to put away my mittens, but the weather didn’t dampen Stockholm’s beauty or distract from the wide range of things to see and do.
I often get asked by globe-trotting friends for tips on where to eat in Stockholm. Now, I am by no means an expert not least because it seems that every time I go back the city has changed, with an array of new restaurants and cafés to kept me on my toes. But here’s a list of a few of my all time favourites for a bite, a drink or a ‘fika’ (a glorious word describing the act of sitting down, having a cup of coffee and something sweet).
|Stockholm glimpsed from Djurgården|
Rosendals Trädgård, Djurgården
If you fancy a walk and some fresh air, the obvious choice is to head out to Djurgården. Although this part of town houses many of the city’s museums, galleries and an amusement park, venture a bit further off the beaten track and you’ll have a haven of peace and quiet right in the middle of the city.
The best place to go for a coffee, a slice of cake or some lunch is by far Rosendals Trädgård. This cluster of buildings right by Rosendals Slott (a palace in minuscule) is actually a garden centre, shop, bakery and café. They serve hearty lunches and a collection of gorgeous cakes. They also published a wonderful cookbook in the 90’s which, remarkably, hasn’t dated a bit and remains one of the greats in Swedish cookbook publishing (and the Swedes buy more cookbooks than any other nation, so that’s quite something).
Rosendals Terrassen 12
115 21 Stockholm
|Easter decor at Rosendals|
|Catching some winter sun|
|Hallon grottor (Raspberry jam biscuits)|
|The café at Rosendals|
|Gorgeous glass objects for sale in the shop- and a sign reminding you to clear away your dishes|
|Icicles on the walk back into town|
This brand new fast-food restaurant opened in the new swish MOOD galleria last month. Although Vigårda has the distinct whiff of a would-be franchise, I was nonetheless impressed by the concept. You can only choose between slow-cooked pork, beef, chicken or cheese and veg, a selection of sides and dressings (curry and apple, mustard and ginger or lingonberry and black pepper to name a few). Bread and crunchy salad are included, the service is quick but friendly, the restaurant design is gorgeous and the food is really rather tasty- if a bit messily presented.
111 43 Stockholm
Café String in SoFo
The rather ridiculously named SoFo (South of Folkungagatan) in Södermalm (or simply ‘Söder’- ‘South’ to the locals) is apparently home to enough second hand clothing shops and hipster cafés to merit a New York-style moniker. In reality, you will need a map of the area and to do some preliminary research to find any signs of contemporary subculture, especially because all the streets look pretty much the same.
Café String is a bit of a hub in SoFo and although the coffee may not the best in the area, it is a great place to people watch. So sit back with your Macbook or latest issue of Monocle and take in the passing world. I recommend any of their fruit pies, served with lashings of vaniljsås- a kind of lighter take on custard. I had a friend who lived around the corner for a while and so have many happy memories of wasted afternoons here.
116 40 Stockholm
|Blueberry pie drowning in custard and a latte.|
|Macbooks and geeky glasses at the ready|
This café is slightly tucked away on a side street as you head out of the Östermalm’s main drag along Birger jarlsgatan. Saturnus is a bit of an institution, serving as it does the largest cinnamon buns in town. One will be more than enough for two of you at this Swedish take on a French brasserie. Go when you are really hungry. It also does an unmissable weekend brunch.
114 30 Stockholm
Café Rival is a lively spot for a fika. Part of the Rival complex which comprises a hotel, theatre, bar, restaurant and bakery, it is owned by none other than Benny Andersson himself. Located on Mariatorget (Maria Square) in Söder, it is a perfect pit stop between perusing the little boutiques (don’t miss the Stockholm Tea Centre- pick up a bag of their Earl Grey Special, in fact, that may well be the best tip in this post) lined along ‘pucken’ (bump) on Hornsgatan before heading on to the buzzing Götagatan for a fashion fix. Go for a coffee, treat or light lunch.
118 91 Stockholm
|The walls are lined with photos of famous ‘Söder’ residents|
|Roberts Coffee next to the main entrance does a mean cardamon bun|
|Fresh fruit and veg|
|Fresh fish and seafood at Lisa Elmqvist, which also has a restaurant in the market|
|Lunch special at Tysta Marie: fried herring, mash and lingonberries.|
Other places worth a mention:
Riddarbageriet, Mossebake theatre and bar (wonderful in the summer), Trädgården, Debaser for drinks and gigs, Cajsa Varg, Ejes Choklad, Granit and PUB for cooking and dining ware, the cafés at Fotografiska and Moderna Museet, Restaurang Grill, Smak på Restaurangen… and many, many more!
Jumped on the bus straight after work to go see Left With Pictures play Cargo. My meal on wheels was sushi from the wondrous temple of fishy curiosities that is the Japan Centre on lower Regent Street. Dinner for £3.30- not bad. Although I did get some funny looks from tourists.