17 August 2017

A lovely guide to Stockholm

After almost seven years living in Stockholm, I've narrowed down the loveliest places to eat, drink, shop and be merry. My favourite time in Sweden is summer when the sun hardly sets and the cities are deserted, but come in December and you'll also find cute little Christmas markets sprinkled throughout town and plenty of cosy cafes lit with candles to sit and sip coffee in.

Where to stay

Miss Clara is a beautiful hotel right in the heart of Stockholm near restaurants, public transport and shops.  Also, the breakfast is delicious! Since we moved to Switzerland I've stayed here about five times and it's always been wonderful.

Rosendals Trädgård

Delicious food: lunch, coffee and sweet treats

In Sweden stopping for fika (to have coffee, maybe with something sweet and a chat) is a national past time, so it's not surprising that Stockholm is filled with cosy cafes dedicated to allowing you to do just that.

Pascals is my favourite cafe in Stockholm. Really lovely food (the salads are fantastic, nice soups and toasted sandwiches), delicious coffee (and an excellent tea selection from In the Mood for Tea across the road) and friendly owners. If you visit one cafe in Stockholm let it be this one.

Vetekatten is a famous cake shop in Stockholm. They also have salads and sandwiches (but why would you?). Try the famous Swedish princess torte, this cafe has the best one in Sweden (it's layers of berries, cream, spongecake and then with the famous green marzipan outside).

Älskade Traditioner is a super cute cafe with a 1950s vibe. They have delicious sweet and savory waffles, and an endless supply of freshly baked delights. Also, their milkshakes are a sight to be seen, piled high with cream and brownies.

Rosendals Trädgård is a beautiful farm on Djurgården (near Skansen museum) with a cafe serving cakes and dishes of the day fresh from their garden. They also have a nice bakery with freshly baked bread and goods from the farm like apple juice from their orchard. In summer you can sit under the apple trees and in winter by the fireplace in their greenhouse.

Drop coffee has really nice coffee but average food. Just near Maria Torget on Södermalm.

Teatern is a food court, but it's not like a normal, boring, soul destroying one - firstly it's all bronze accents with dark paint, then much of the food is by top chefs in Sweden. Ramen, pizza, hotdogs from the chef at Fäviken, cakes from the guy who makes the desserts for the Nobel prize ceremony, etc.

Stikki Nikki makes really nice ice cream and there are a few of these sprinkled around Stockholm.

Fabrique is a bakery chain, but it's really nice. You can try a famous Swedish kannelbullar (cinnamon buns), or better still a kardemummabullar (cardamon buns) here. It's honestly tastier than in many cafes in Stockholm. Their sourdough bread is also amazing, and in winter, try the soft gingerbread. This place is one of the things I miss most about Stockholm.



Delicious food: dinner

Before I start, let me suggest you book ahead, and by ahead I mean two weeks ahead for many places. Some are booked out three or four weeks ahead. But don't be afraid, you can book basically everything in Sweden online (you can even buy a house by text message, but that is a story for another day).

Also, if you are coming in summer then I really, highly, recommend that you check if things are open beforehand because many places close for weeks (the dreaded sommarstängt sign), some even for a month or two (how?) and you don't want to just turn up and try your luck or you may end up wandering the deserted summery streets of Stockholm for hours (everyone is at their summer houses, you did not accidentally wake up in 24 Days Later) never seeing a soul.

Miss Clara restaurant - I have no idea if this restaurant has an official name, but the food is seasonal and delicious, the wine selection is great,  and the service is always very friendly. I've been here about 10 times and never had anything but a fantastic experience, so I have no idea why it's often half empty. Let's change that!

Shanti Gossip is an amazing, TINY Bengali restaurant - the food is so good and the mango lassi is a delight. It's just near Nytorget on Södermalm. I can highly recommend the lamb biryani and the Monsoon rain sabji.

Farang has delicious Southeast Asian food in a beautiful setting (inside that is, outside looks like a bunker).

For high quality Swedish food try Tranan near Odenplan. 

The Flying Elk is a hipstery gastropub (can a gastropub be anything but hipster?) in the old town owned by the chef that runs the Michelin starred restaurant Frantzen (see below).

Nybrogaten 38 in Östermalm has nice bistro type food. Book well in advance.

Hermans is a chilled out vegetarian restaurant perched on the cliffs of Södermalm looking out over Stockholm. It has even been endorsed by non-vegetarian meat loving friends.

Urban deli is a hipster gourmet food market and restaurant. The restaurant is normally very good at the Sveavägen location (for some reason not as good at Nytorget).

Dessert at Frantzen

Michelin recommendations

If you'd like to treat yourself then please go to Frantzen. They are opening again at the end of August 2017 and obviously I haven't been back since they re-opened as sadly I can't time travel (yet!), but this has been the loveliest, most delicious Michelin starred restaurant (I think they had/have two stars) we've even been to. Geoff and I can often be found reminiscing about our time eating there (generally when we have visited somewhere that is unfortunately more 'challenging' than delicious), and I'm sure it'll be just as good when it opens again.

Ekstedt has one star and revolves around the theme of smoke and cooking with fire. We had a lovely experience here and the service, food and atmosphere was wonderful - we also had an interesting tour of the kitchen.

A little lynx at Skansen


The photography museum always has an interesting collection of exhibitions, and normally one quite bad one. Definitely worth a visit, and the cafe on the top floor is delicious with amazing views across Stockholm.

Skansen is an open air museum with buildings from around Sweden, sometimes with people dressed up in character (which was an unexpected discovery upon entering one little house and gave me a bit of a fright). There are also Nordic animals like reindeer and elks.

Vasamuseet is a place where you can see an interesting old ship that sank on it's maiden voyage in 1628 and was preserved in the sea until someone thought it a good idea to lift it from its watery grave.




If you want a cute souvenir, visit Iris Hantverk. It has beautiful things made in Sweden, like woolen blankets, handcrafted brushes and pottery. There is one right next door to Vetekatten. I never walk into that dangerous place without buying something.

Illums Bolighus in the city center is a wonderful mecca for Danish design.

Posh living always has an fantastic selection of Scandinavian home design. Their shop at Mood is particularly nice.

On the hipster island of Södermalm, I love the area around Nytorget for shopping - there are lots of little independent boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants. Not to mention the square itself is beautiful.
Biblioteksgatan in upscale Östermalm is a good place to start to find lots of shops like &Otherstories, Rodebjer, Acne, etc.


Lovely day trips from Stockholm

Uppsala is a very cute student town 45 minutes away by train from Stockholm

In Gamla Uppsala you can visit viking burial mounds.

Vaxholm is a sweet little town with a fortress known as the gateway to the archipelago.
Fjaderholmarna - If you don't want to go to Vaxholm, Fjaderholmarna a little island closer to Stockholm and has some cafes and artisans. The boats for Fjaderholmarna and Vaxholm leave around the same place.
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