I’ve been living in Helsinki for 4.5 years and I never travelled to Stockholm, which is almost next door, until recently. My good friends, Utku & Nisan – a lovely Turkish couple, who moved to Stockholm from Helsinki at the end of last summer so finally this gave me an inspiration for a weekend trip. Now I want to go again.. and again.. and again.. and also to learn Swedish..
When I go to a new city, I like visiting museums, art galleries, historical sites etc. but this time I only wanted to blend in the urban life of Stockholm, eat here and there, get in and out of bakeries, oh lovely Swedish bakeries, and walk around.. Oh my, we did walk around a LOT!
One museum, though, I visited, which is Fotografiska, The Swedish Museum of Photography. There were many exhibitions in the museum that weekend, but one particular Swedish photography artist got my attention in the first exhibition hall and I have to admit that I could not focus on the others much after this initial shock and love: Anders Petersen. Check his photos and you will understand what I mean…
Anyway, here in this post I compiled a list of where to eat what, if you are planning to have a little culinary trip to Stockholm in one of these days..
1. Eat this: Grilled Chicken at Vurma with risotto as side dish
My first eating experience was in this nice cafe / restaurant in Östermalm. After Nisan took me from the central station and together we took Utku from work, we were looking for a nice and cozy dinner place with my tiny travel bag still with me. This place suited perfectly. The menu consists of appetisers, starters, main courses, side dishes and desserts. With the main course, you can get two side dishes for free. The main dishes can be a cheeseburger, a casserole or something grilled. Side dishes vary from salad to risotto and to guacamole (which Utku insisted me to try so that I can get used coriander, but no, unfortunately it is still my arch-nemesis together with dill). They also have a nice list of yummy toasts, which would even fit for dinner with a salad next to it.
I had grilled chicken (Majskyckling, in Swedish) and risotto and salad as side dish. The chicken was well grilled but I have to say that risotto was the best out of all three..
Vurma has different branches all over the city, if you want to check out more about the restaurant, here is the website: http://vurma.se
2. K25: Eat delicious dumplings in Beijing8
K25 is a food hall on Kungsgatan 25 (yes, the name comes from the address) which consists of 9 restaurants, 1 cafe and 1 bakery, open all day long. You can have breakfast, lunch and dinner there. The restaurants are lined up on the two sides, plus 1 in the middle, and then there are long tables in the middle or smaller groups of sitting areas in the sides.
We were in K25 for dinner on Saturday. It was quite packed yes but still we could find a place to sit and enjoy our dinner. I got dumplings from Beijing8. You can choose different kinds of dumplings and each portion includes 3 pieces. In addition to the dumplings, you can choose a side dish and a sauce, and you can also decide if you want to have steamed or fried dumpling.
I had 3 pieces of fried chicken peanut dumplings (yummy but quite spicy) and 3 pieces of vegetarian steamed dumplings, together with steamed broccoli as side dish (which was tasty but a little too salty). With your dumplings or for after the dumplings, you can have some organic tea from a large selection.
If you want to learn more about the concept of K25 and other possible places to eat there, check their website which is slightly uncomfortable to look at (the diagonal lines give me a headache, sorry): http://k25.nu/k25-in-english/
3. Drink this: Tea at Gildas Rum
What I noticed in Stockholm, apart from being able to find a nice place to eat or drink in any corner of the city, is that all those place have a soul.. Such as Gildas Rum for instance. The decoration of the place first strikes you as a bit too packed, but then you start seeing the details and how beautiful different kinds of furniture can look together if small details are added in between.
In Gildas Rum, you can have the biggest cup of tea in the world. I had to use both of my tiny hands to hold it. With the tea, I only had one little chocolate ball with nutella in it and it was so deadly sweet that I almost got a headache from it, but I was happy nonetheless. There were also many different kinds of cakes which looked delicious but hearing nutella, I only wanted to try the little ball..
If you want to see some photos of the place and practice your Swedish (since there isn’t an English version), check out their website: http://www.gildasrum.se/
4. Eat this: Rye bread and fresh cinnamon buns in Gunnarsons Bakery — Oh, bakeries!!
I stayed with Nisan & Utku in Södermalm. Just about 5 minutes from their apartment, on Götgatan, there is an old bakery, Gunnarsons Specialkonditori, which is operating since 1946!
The moment I entered this special bakery, I realised that you can never be sad or depressed inside a bakery… Bread and pastries, these are the essential parts of life.. You might not have a sweet tooth, but then you can find salty pastries, or a nice warm bread. There is something that appeals to everyone in any bakery. And something cosy, something familiar and something new.
If you want to learn more about this lovely bakery, click: http://www.gunnarsons.se
This is actually a very nice and elegant restaurant where you can taste Swedish cuisine in a slightly high price. However, we ended up in the bar side, having one drink and looking at the handsome bartender (ok, it was only who was looking at him, in our little group of 3). And I didn’t drink anything either, it was only Utku who was drinking a glass of beer, but it was nice being squeezed in the corner and enjoying the view.
Check the restaurant’s delicious menu (I will definitely eat there the next time!): http://www.pelikan.se/en
6. Drink here: Akkurat — And also listen to live music on Sundays!
Akkurat is a restaurant / bar with a large selection of beer and whiskey. From what Nisan and Utku told me and from what I saw in the menu, they also have a large selection of dishes with mussels. Kind of reminded me of Chez Léon in that sense, but this is more of a bar version of it, and definitely more Nordic.
I met a few very old friends there in Akkurat, who were by chance visiting Stockholm the very same weekend. It was very crowded as it was a Sunday evening and on Sundays there is live music. So we just stood next to the stage and talked about old days and new. It was an incredible surprise to meet my friends there.. And of course, saying bye was hard..
For more information about their drink selection in particular, check: http://www.akkurat.se
Here is a nice shop / restaurant which is not a groundbreaking, new concept but certainly implemented in a nice way this time.
Urban Deli is partially a restaurant (which I didn’t try) and partially a shop where you can find different kinds of groceries, fresh vegetables and fruits, organic products, coffee and tea selection and even a tiny bakery section with different kinds of freshly baked bread (and oh boy, some of those breads were HUGE!!). It kind of reminded me of Anton & Anton, but I have to say that A & A has something that bothers me: it looks too sterilised, too elite in a way.. Urban Deli is of course well-organised and certainly very clean, but it doesn’t look like you will ruin things if you just touch them.. It looks just more approachable..
Urban Deli is on Nytorget in Södermalm, which is the most hipster of all hipster areas! It feels a bit like you have to be a hipster or sort to be there.. But well, it is beautiful and lively!
More about Urban Deli: http://www.urbandeli.org/hem
8. Eat this: Grilled porchetta with truffle puré, baked onions and chantarelle in Nytorget 6
Ok, this, was an orgasm.
My short weekend trip in Stockholm could not end any better I guess.
I had heard so much about Nytorget 6 that I was looking forward to eating there. And my expectations were met fully.
I am not so much of a pork lover and I almost never order it in restaurants, but with some kind of instinct I decided to eat grilled porchetta this time, and it was the most moist, softest and most delicious red meat I have ever eaten.. With every single bite I had a fest going on in my mouth. I was sad to see it end!
But it is not only the main dish that was deadly delicious. The starter we ordered were the best calamari I ever ate, the appetiser bread selection were delicious and cute, the atmosphere was great, the waitresses were extremely friendly and natural.. Oh my, if I lived in Stockholm I would go to this place all the time!!
Check out their English menu in their beautiful website: http://www.nytorget6.com
So yes, Stockholm.. It has the perfect urban lifestyle, and it is a culinary heaven: if you are living up north, you obviously don’t need to go far south every time you want to enjoy good food, Stockholm serves enough! We need more restaurants, cafes and we definitely need bakeries in Helsinki, just as in Stockholm. Looking forward to an even bigger culinary transformation in Helsinki soon…
Next Nordic stop will be Oslo!