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Greetings from…Stockholm!

Today we’ll start a new feature covering some of the world’s great food cities called, “Greetings from…!” The concept follows one of my favorite pastimes, the lost art of postcards written by hand in actual handwriting with real pens and sent my non electronic, old fashioned mail. No, we’re not in Stockholm at the moment, that was over a month ago, but with so many lessons learned and memories from recent meals in our extensive travels, it would be impossible to fully cover every restaurant with the attention to detail that a full review gives.

Without further ado, greetings from Stockholm, Sweden!

A European capital city that may not quite be on the same prestigious level as its counterparts in Paris, Rome, and Amsterdam, Stockholm is far, far more than the stereotypes of beautiful blondes who never smile and that every meal is a smorgasbord. In fact, only two restaurants I’m aware of, with the Grand Hotel’s Veranda Restaurant being the most prominent of the pair, even serve full on, blow out, sixty plus piece smorgasbords in the city. A smorgasbord is essentially a glorified buffet, three meals in one. If you’re so inclined for a buffet, then there is no shortage of them for breakfast at any hotel.

It would be a shame anyways in this beautiful city to sacrifice the chance to sample its eclectic and exciting restaurant scene by just pigging out at the smorgasbord buffet.

As a capital, Stockholm may not have a museum the level of the Louvre or the Prado nor a standout monument like the Colosseum, and it does not have the sheer quantity of high caliber restaurants and markets that those cities possess. Stockholm does have eight Michelin stars spread over six restaurants (two with two stars, four with one star), a bonafide national celebrity chef (Mathias Dahlgren), the most expensive restaurant in Scandinavia (Frantzén-Lindeberg, yes far pricier than a meal at Noma or any equivalent even in Oslo), and Sweden even has its own food guide that is far superior and reliable to the Michelin guide. The White Guide easily trumps that Michelin Red Guide and is essential for any visit to the country.

Bread “plate” at Rolf’s Kok

Speaking of essential, of the many necessary activities in Stockholm (going on a boat ride, walking around the Parliament and Palace, seeing the Opera House, visiting the open air amusement park, Skansen), there is no more necessary thing to do than to try real, quality herring and real, quality Swedish meatballs. The two are the symbols of eating in Sweden and are given unfair reputations because most people imagine canned herring and Ikea’s cuisine as the real deal. The meatballs at Tranan and the herring plate at Lisa Elmqvist will change any opinion of these two dishes that are actually stalwarts. (more…)