Discovering Stockholm’s Foodie Credentials

Stockholm is not the first city that comes to mind when talking about foodies cities. A quick straw poll via social media confirmed that this epithet is attached to many cities around the world – asked for the first few cities that popped into their heads my friends gave me London, Paris, New York, LA, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Bangkok, Barcelona, Bologna, Bristol, San Sebastian, Lyon… and many more. But not Stockholm.

And yet the Stockholm we discovered during our recent five day visit is a an absolute gem for food lovers, albeit food lovers with deep pockets!

Eating out in Stockholm is expensive!

But the quality was so high that we didn’t begrudge the prices. I’d say that it’s worth saving up for a little longer so you can budget to visit some of the many fantastic restaurants and cafes Stockholm has to offer.

I spent many hours researching the trip, especially in reference to hotels and restaurants. For Stockholm sightseeing, advice was easy to find online.

Unusually, I found the city’s own tourist website Visit Stockholm far far more useful than such government-made sites usually are. Firstly, the recommendations seemed to genuinely tally with independent reviews I found on blogs and suggestions from friends who’d been there. And secondly, the huge array of information was organised in ways that made it easy to find what I was looking for; restaurants in Gamla Stan (the Old Town) and in Södermalm; the city’s best food trucks, where to shop for vintage goods; the best cafes for fika (coffee and a sweet treat) or true coffee enthusiasts; places to find excellent ice cream; a list of all the weekend markets – flea markets, farmers markets, street food markets, a night market for art, jewellery and clothes and more; cafes located in gardens or parks, food halls including Östermalm Food Hall and Hötorgshallen (more of which, below). Of course, the website also covers all the usual tourist attractions, as well as a wide range of activities such as hop on hop off boats and buses, places to go cycling or swimming, where to get spa treatments, how to sign up for roof top hiking or a ghost walk, great things to do with kids, even a bunch of ideas for those with special interests such as vinyl, science-fiction, comics, pets… As you can see, I found a tonne of information here, which I then cross checked against recommendations from other sites, which simply backed up all the Visit Stockholm suggestions!

Even over a long weekend, I knew we’d never have time to visit all the food spots I was busily pinning onto my Stockholm map so we booked to do a walking tour with Food Tours Stockholm and spent a happy few hours on our first full day in the city eating and drinking our way around the city’s Vasastan and Norrmalm districts.

Unlike many such tours I’ve attended, Food Tours Stockholm are not at all reticent about identifying the places you’ll visit – they are listed on their website, and in a handy booklet given to all participants. Of course, that means that you could do a similar tour on your own and visit all the same places without paying for a guided tour, but by the time you’ve paid to taste all the things we tasted, you will probably find that it isn’t very much cheaper! And of course, we also benefited from the expertise of our tour guide Gunilla Blixt, not to mention the attention and time we were given by many of the staff at our various stops. We were even permitted a quick visit to the roof garden above Urban Deli’s Sveavägen branch – usually only open during the day to employees who work in the building – and to Fromageriet’s maturation and storage unit.

Stockholm FoodTour Collage 1

Our meeting point and first stop is Urban Deli’s Sveavägen branch – the space includes a large deli, a coffee shop and a restaurant. As a manager tells us a little about the company, what their aims and ideas were in launching the original store in Södermalm and a little about this branch, we are given generous samples of their Korean steak tartare – a fabulous dish of minced raw beef, Korean mustard, red onion, coriander, spring onions, sesame seeds and chilli mayonnaise.

Stockholm FoodTour Collage 2

From here we head to Hötorgshallen, an indoor and outdoor food market with a history dating back to the 13th century, though it didn’t take on its current name until 1644. We skipped the outdoor stalls and headed straight down into the basement food hall where we visited a number of specialist shops.

The first was the Hellbergs, a game and poultry specialist. Each of is gets a plate with a taster of smoked bear meat, a reindeer cream cheese paté and a slice of cold-smoked wild boar sausage.

Stockholm FoodTour Collage 3

Our next stop is just around the corner at Fromageriet, a cheese shop that sells a range of Swedish and international cheese.

Here our tasting includes Västerbottensost the most famous of Swedish cheeses, Getmese – a beautifully fudgy soft brown made by cooking the whey of goat’s cheese until it reduces to a thick sticky gloop, and Bredsjö blå– a wonderfully sharp and pungent sheep’s milk blue. We are also treated to an aged apple juice, something we realise is quite a trend around Stockholm – many of the restaurants we visit having vintage labelled apple juices on their drinks lists.

Stockholm FoodTour Collage 4

Finska Butiken (The Finnish Boutique) does a busy trade in a range of Finnish food and drink items but amongst their most popular items are the Karelska piroger (Karelian pastries) best enjoyed piping hot and topped with egg butter. The filling inside the pastry is rice, and the egg butter is exactly what it sounds like – chopped up boiled egg mixed in a very generous amount of melted butter.

Stockholm FoodTour Collage 5

By this point, I’m starting to worry that I won’t be able to stay the pace – I’m already feeling full and we have hours still to go!

Our next stop is Hav, one of a number of fish specialists in the market. Here, we try herring pickled in two different ways and marinated salmon with a sweet mustard sauce, learning more about Swedish pickling styles from a staff member. With our fish we enjoy not one but two drinks – first a glass of Danish beer and then a shot of Norwegian Linie aquavit, a traditional spirit flavoured with herbs and spices.

We also learn about Helan Går, a traditional song to sing when drinking aquavit or vodka and lest we think we’ll get out of it by not speaking Swedish, Gunilla gives us little cards with the ditty spelled out phonetically!

A Guided Food Tour in Stockholm on Kavey Eats (notext)-152511

By this time, I’m not the only with feet aching from standing about so everyone seems as happy as I am that the next stop is a seated one. Our group of eleven gratefully take seats at two tables in Kajsas Fisk, a popular family-run fish restaurant.

We are soon served bowls of their amazing fish soup alongside a fried fresh herring  on hard bread, with homemade tartare sauce. It’s an outstandingly good soup, full of flavour and freshness.

Stockholm FoodTour Collage 6

Before the next location on our tour, we head down into the underground at Hötorget station and hop onto a train for a couple of stops to Odenplan station.

From here it’s a short walk to Tennstopet, one of Sweden’s oldest restaurants and pubs. They serve a range of classic dishes – we are treated to their traditional Swedish meatballs with creamy mash potato, lingonberries and pickled cucumber. This is another sit down stop, and we learn a little about the history of the restaurant and its name as we eat.

Stockholm FoodTour Collage 8

Österqvist is one of the oldest delicatessens in Sweden, established in 1888. The current location on Odengatan is relatively new, but the long tradition of importing high quality food and drink items from overseas continues as it has for many generations. The current owner bought the business some years ago, and told us about his focus to find the best products at the best prices by forging relationships directly with producers. We taste some fantastic serrano ham, olives and a hard cheese drizzled with truffle honey before moving on to the next stop.

Stockholm FoodTour Collage 9

Bakery and Spice has a tiny store where consumers can buy their products – most go directly to restaurants, cafes and other retailers. We try a sesame-studded crisp bread and some soft cardamom bun.

Stockholm FoodTour Collage 10

Chokladfabriken (the Chocolate Factory) is a small business with a handful of outlets across Stockholm.

We first enjoy a delicious cup of hot chocolate before tasting one of their signature chocolates.

Stockholm FoodTour Collage 11

Our last stop is another very welcome sit down in the former dungeons of Rörstrands Slott, now a bustling cafe. Our little room has low, arched brick ceilings and the tables are set out for fika – tea or coffee and three little sweet treats each, a little chocolate ball, a chewy hazelnut ball and a sticky cake.

Here is also where we say goodbye to our guide and to each other, and start worrying about how on earth we’re going to do justice to the dinner reservation we’re holding for an hour’s time!

 

The Food Tours Stockholm’s Nordic Experience tour is priced at 795 SEK per person (approximately £71 at today’s exchange rate) and includes at least ten tastings, plus the fare for the quick journey on the metro that is part of the itinerary. It’s a hugely enjoyable way to introduce yourself to Stockholm’s vibrant and delicious food, and the tastings included in this tour are far more numerous and generous than on any other food tour I’ve ever taken.

Kavey Eats attended the tours courtesy of Food Tours Stockholm.

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67 Comments to "Discovering Stockholm’s Foodie Credentials"

  1. kaveyeats

    I was so blown away by how good the food was, it’s expensive but worth saving for, that’s how we felt anyway. Also it’s a truly beautiful city as well.

    Reply
  2. Ceri Jones

    I definitely should have done this on my visit. There was so much to plan and see we couldn’t possibly have done it all in 3 days. Happy to see some of the places I visited you did too!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    We had 4 nights and likewise, didn’t even nearly do all that we wanted to do… but this tour was a great way of packing a lot of foodie places into one afternoon. Some of the places had already been on my shortlist but doubt I’d have got to them all, and the rest were not on my radar, so it was all round excellent.

    Reply
  3. Dannii

    I wouldn’t have usually thought of stockholm as a foodie destination, but it looks awesome and like they are really thinking outside of the box. Another reason for me to want to go.

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    kaveyeats

    I hadn’t really thought of that way either, then when I started to research, I started to get excited but it wasn’t until we got there that we truly realised how great it is for food lovers!

    Reply
  4. Kavey

    I really loved the city and this food tour is one of the best I’ve been on, very good value, very good selection of places, really loved it.

    Reply
  5. Tara

    Oh wow! Such an incredible tour. I love all of your photos. I hope I get the chance to visit someday. It sounds like you plan vacations much in the same way that I do.

    Reply
  6. Kavey

    I totally recommend visiting, it’s such a gorgeous city, really beautiful, very friendly, very easy to get around and some fantastic food!

    Reply
  7. Evelyne CulturEatz

    I am salivating big time. I used to work for a Swedish company so I know you can eat very well theye with a wad pof cash in hand. But I think this is the best photo tour I have seen 😀

    Reply
    Kavey

    Thank you, very kind. Of course there are cheaper options for food, but if you’re really focused on food as I am, then it’s best to go armed with that wad of cash as you say!

    Reply
  8. Kavey

    It’s one of the best ones I’ve attended and a great way to get into the food scene in Stockholm before exploring the city on your own.

    Reply
  9. Gingey Bites

    So Stockholm is now FIRMLY on my list of places I want to go to! Unfortunately, my list is so long, it’ll be a while before I can save up enough. Everything looks so great and I’m a massive fan of food tours too. 🙂 Loved this post Kavey!

    Reply
    Kavey

    We loved it so much, I feel a little regretful that we didn’t visit sooner, but I’m sure we’ll be back again as there are lot more places I’d like to eat, plus I want to explore more of the islands within an hour or two of the centre.

    Reply
  10. Danik

    I been to Stockholm many times and is one of my favourite cities in Europe but everytime I go, the food gets better and better and I believe it is fast becoming the foodie capital of Euroland.

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    Kavey

    Danik, I had heard some great things about the food from a couple of friends, one of whom grew up in the city, but I don’t think I appreciated quite how much great food there is until we visited. Wonderful!

    Reply
  11. Fiona Maclean

    Food tours are such a good way to explore the cuisine of a City. I’ve heard that all of Scandinavia is expensive so it doesn’t surprise me that Stockholm is up there…but it does look well worth it

    Reply
    Kavey

    Yes, absolutely. For sure there are ways to visit on a budget, especially if you are not as food-focused as we are, and I’ve seen some great blog posts sharing tips on that front – from finding budget accommodation to eating and drinking on a budget. For us, it was a celebration weekend and a big focus was the food, so we did go prepared to splurge!

    Reply
  12. Claudia

    we were in Stockholm in February and we were also blown away by the food there! And yes, you need deep pockets but as you said, at least you get good quality. And great recommendations in Gamla Stan!

    Reply
    Kavey

    I really spent a fair bit of time saving recommendaitons culled from all over the web (and people I know who had been recently) onto a map, so we didn’t have a duff meal in our entire 5 days!

    Reply
  13. Kim-Ling Richardson

    I really enjoy doing food tours, not only as a way to sample some delicious local food, but also get some history and interesting stories about the place. I really like that Food Tours Stockholm give you a booklet to refer to! That’s a great touch, as often we’ve wanted to return to a place or refer others to it but can’t remember the names! Looks like you covered a lot of ground and food too. I think my favourite would be the hot chocolate and delights from Chokladfabriken.

    Reply
    Kavey

    Yes, I totally agree! A lot of food tours keep their list of stops secret, I don’t know if they are scared a competitor would steal them or that they lose potential customers who do the circuit on their own, but my feeling is that if a competitor wants to see what you do, they can just book onto the tour as an investment, and a customer who wants to save the money and do it themselves is perhaps not a person who would have booked their tour anyway. So the approach here where they publish the stops on their website and in a booklet handed out at the start of the tour, is really refreshing. There is also the point that it would be hard to experience many of the tastings on one’s own as the company have organised tasting size samples and introductions at many of the places.

    Reply
  14. Lois Alter Mark

    We love going on food tours, and this one sounds amazing. We’re actually going to be in Stockholm this summer so I’m going to check it out – and wear my stretchy pants!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    I thoroughly recommend it. They have a couple of other tour options, but this one appealed to us the most and was a really great tour. Yes to stretchy pants! 😉

    Reply
  15. Kacie

    I never knew there was so much to do in Stockholm, and the food looks irresistible. I’ve enjoyed watching your Instagram feed lately too 🙂

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Thanks Kacie, Stockholm was really instagrammable, if that’s a word?! It’s a lovely city, hope you can visit.

    Reply
  16. Nancy

    As a food lover, you had me at Stockholm’s foodie credentials 🙂 The photos of all these delicious food dishes left me super hungry by the end of your post!

    p.s. that colourful stairway/elevator looks pretty cool 🙂

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    The food of Stockholm really was a revelation! And yes, very funky elevators – a lot of the metro stations in the city are amazing, each one decorated differently and many of them by different artists, like a transport driven modern art museum!

    Reply
  17. April

    I also had no idea Stockholm’s got great food! The photos surely made me want to visit and try! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Was a surprise for me too, though the people of Stockholm are obviously in the know, they are onto such a good thing!!

    Reply
  18. Michelle @ Greedy Gourmet

    I think in general a big city, especially a capital, is a safe bet when it comes to food. In the Western world anyway, not the likes of Yerevan or Elista though. The reason being that most cities are metropolitan and the different cultures with their expectations pushing the quality higher. Just my two cents. Looks like you had a lovely time in Stockholm!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    That’s true to an extent but Stockholm is more than just a safe bet to find nice food, it’s really more innovative and exciting on the food front than many places I’ve visited.

    Reply
  19. Clare

    I have never done a paid food tour before but this looks great. So much food and great you get to try lots of local dishes. I haven’t made it to Stockholm yet but will have to look it up when I do.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    I enjoy tours like this, especially when I won’t have time to explore every neighbourhood on my own, this gives me a great way to visit a lot of foodie highlights in one go!

    Reply
  20. Elisa

    Your deep investigation about Swedish cuisine in Stockolm lead to excellent results, everything looks very yummy! Unfortunately I have only eaten Swedish at Ikea’s so it does not count 🙂

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Well, it’s not the pinnacle but I enjoy their meatballs and Swedish cakes myself too!

    Reply
  21. Ryazan Tristram

    Awesome Swedish food tour! Looks like you really get to know (eat) wonderful Scandinavian dishes that Stockholm has to offer. I will be visiting my friend soon in Stockholm so this is definitely one the things I would love to do.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    I do recommend it. At the very least, make time to pop into some of the places I’ve listed, if you decide not to take the tour!

    Reply
  22. Sandy N Vyjay

    Stockholm comes across as a real foodies paradise. The range of cuisine on offer is really vast and varied. Of course, the spread is limited for vegetarians like us, but we would relish the pastries and feast on them.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Actually, in many places we went, there were some really good veggie options and there were a number of restaurants offering full veggie menu too — for example, there’s one place called Hermans that is lauded for it’s all veggie menu.

    Reply
  23. Mink Borwornsenee

    All these food look amazing! Honestly I wouldn’t mind if it would be a bit more expensive as long as I get good quality food! Will try some of these once I’m in Stockholm!

    Reply
  24. melody pittman

    What a cool food tour! They are one of my favorite things to do. I would be all over that steak tartare but not sure I would go for the bear. LOL I will definitely do this tour if ever back in Stockholm. Nice post.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    You wouldn’t know it was bear unless told, so worth giving it a try, but yeah that tartare was so good, we actually ordered the full size of the dish at the sister branch where we went for dinner a couple of days later!

    Reply
  25. kaveyeats

    Yeah, we really got to try a lot of wonderful things! Lots of fun!

    Reply
  26. Cheryl Howard

    Ohh this post makes me hungry! I have not yet been brave enough to try pickled herring myself. Lovely photos too – really love the colourful escalator one. 🙂

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    It’s a lovely pickled fish, if you like pickled veg (like cucumbers/ gherkins) you may enjoy it!

    Reply
  27. Stephanie Fox

    I’ve never done a food tour but it seems a great way to find the best places, food makes up so much of a new place. Would love to try all the vintage apple juices

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    I really liked those apple juices, we had them a few places after the tour, and they were delicious!

    Reply
  28. Hannah

    Damn! Can’t believe I missed this! I will have to go back, Stockholm is one of my favourite cities!
    Looks amazing and I think it’s worth doing a tour for the whole experience and even just to chat with locals who love food!

    Reply
  29. Kayla Manoe

    This looks amazing! I love taste testing and places that have a strong food scene! It looks likes you learnt so much as well!

    Reply

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