The Scandinavian region up north has always seem a little separated from the rest of Europe. The temperature drops to an unfamiliar low, snow is a common sight, and this is also where the mysterious Northern Lights can be seen. Having not been to this part of the world before, I have always identified Stockholm with icy blue frozen lakes, and snow topped palaces and castles characteristic of illustrations in fairy tale books. The Stockholm of today is a city that marries the charms of the old city and the modernity of its flourishing design scene.
Design seems to be an innate thing in the Swedish capital. Every café looks designed with that recognisable Scandinavian aesthetic of allowing light to flow into its interiors, planting indoors to add a touch of airiness, and perfectly matching wood overlays with every piece of cream coloured furniture.
The café culture is strong in Stockholm, much due to the practice of having fika. Pastries are readily available anywhere. Even the 7-Eleven stores are well stocked with readymade sweets such as caramel pastries and brownies. This fondness for all things sweet is evident in Swedish cuisine, where you can find savoury foods complimenting fruity sauces or sides.
Look forward to: Seasonal greens and pastries
Where: Nybrogatan 38, 114 40 Stockholm, Sweden
What: Meatballs and mac & cheese
For: A trendy bistro
The Swedish working crowd finds refuge in this trendy bistro perched along Nybrogatan street in Östermalm. Nybrogatan 38 is filled to its capacity at almost any time of the day. In the afternoons, you will find locals grabbing a quick lunch during work breaks. In the evenings, dinners will last through the night with drinks. Don’t just pop by hoping to get a seat. Make a reservation if you don’t want to get disappointed.
The food is an eclectic mix of local Swedish fare and other European food. If you’re expecting a typical meal of Swedish meatballs, you will get that with a smooth puree of mashed potatoes and a side of lingonberry jam. If you’re looking for something Italian, there is always the osso bucco with saffron risotto.
Where: Artillerigatan 14, 114 51 Stockholm, Sweden
What: Rotisserie grilled chicken
For: Date nights
Speceriet is the sister restaurant to the Michelin starred Gastrologik, located just adjacent to each other. Although priced lower than Gastrologik, Speceriet does not scrimp on quality ingredients, and the elaborate menu is fit for any gourmet. The intimate setting also makes it a popular date spot for couples.
The grilled char is a perfect dish of fish baked in a light buttery sauce with an assortment of juicy vegetables. But the real star of the evening is the bread and butter served upon ordering. The fresh bread and the natural taste of the butter makes this simple starter a standout on its own.
Where: Fiskaregatan 1, 185 32 Vaxholm, Sweden
What: Baked goods
For: A bright and sunny meal
Magasinet is located in Vaxholm, the capital of the Stockholm Archipelago – one of the closest region from the city where you can immerse yourself in nature. This quirky café is a combination of a bistro, yoga studio and a shop selling handicrafts and kitchenware. The stacks of pastries and crumbly homemade pies sitting on the countertop are enough to tempt you. The side salads of mixed berries and greens reflect the flavours of the Swedish countryside.