Stockholm, the city on water, has an unmistakable air of lagom, a singularly Swedish term for “in balance”. It’s a city that exudes a healthy lifestyle, liberal thinking, appreciation of design aesthetics and a love of good food, eaten seasonally because Stockholmers care for the planet and themselves. Though, they love to indulge too, especially when coffee and baked goods are concerned.
Besides a thriving brunch scene and exceptionally good cafes for fika, the Swedish institution of enjoying coffee with cinnamon buns or cake over great conversation, there are a good number of gastronomic restaurants including Matthias Dahlgren’s Matsalen and Matbaren in The Grand and Niklas Ekstedt’s eponymous Ekstedt.
Bjorn Frantzén was initially a professional footballer, playing for AIK 1992-1996 before starting out as a chef. He gained experience at restaurants including Pied a Terre and L’Arpege. Frantzén opened Frantzén/Lindeberg in 2008 with pastry chef Daniel Lindeberg in Gamla stan, Old Town. The chefs parted ways in 2013 and Frantzén continued to run the Old Town restaurant. Bjorn opened his most ambitious and personal restaurant Frantzén in November 2017: it is Sweden's only three-Michelin-star restaurant. He also owns a gastro-pub The Flying Elk and four establishments within the department store NK (Nordiska Kompaniet) in the heart of downtown Stockholm. He also runs Frantzén’s Kitchen in Hong Kong and, on 21 November, he is going to open a new fine dining restaurant, Zén, in Singapore.
Fine Dining Lovers wanted to know Frantzén's top picks for dining in the city. So, where to eat in Stockholm? Below he shares some of his favourite spots so you can eat like a local in the Swedish capital.
In Mariatorget, the heart of Sodermalm, this is one of the best artisan bakeries not only in Stockholm but in the whole of Sweden, no wonder there’s quite a queue most Saturday’s when they open at 8am. It’s a great fika stop for black coffee and a classic cinnamon bun especially sitting in the window seats people-watching. The bread is incredible too especially their rye sourdough baguette. Even the framed artwork made from the scorch marks left on baking parchment is beautiful. I also like that they recycle leftover loaves to use for breakfast avocado toasts.
Swedenborgsgatan 4B, 118 48 Stockholm
This is my classic pit stop for a beer and late night snack after service. It’s the Stockholm equivalent of a Parisian brasserie and is over a century old. It’s buzzy all day and all evening. Their seafood is excellent, if it’s late and I’m after a little bit, I order something like Grilled razor clams from Frøya with vinaigrette, apple, cucumber and dill or the crab croquettes.
Stureplan 2, 114 35 Stockholm
To me this is one of the best places to eat steak in Stockholm. They have their own dry-ageing fridges that can be inspected as you take your seats. AG is the chemical symbol for silver and the name stems from the fact that this industrial-chic restaurant on Kungsholmen is set in an old silver factory. Despite its somewhat off-beat location, AG is a fun place to hang out.
Kronobergsgatan 37, 112 33 Stockholm
I usually go here for lunch, it’s a great place run by my friend Matthias Dahlgren at Grand Hotel and serves medium size dishes. I really like the brown paper bag that arrives with hot flatbreads and excellent salted butter. The signature steam bun is great as are Jerusalem artichokes with salted lemon and browned butter: crispy, soft, salty, sweet and full of umami – perfectly balanced. Their seasonal desserts like vanilla and spelt ice cream with rhubarb and lemon verbena are good too.
MatbarenSödra Blasieholmshamnen 6, 111 48 Stockholm
Close to my home in Ostermalm, this is my go to place with my family, it is great for breakfast, brunch or lunch. Just like at Frantzén, they want to create an atmosphere like you’re in a living room and we feel really relaxed here. The food is always interesting too. My children like the spelt waffles. I like dishes with an Asian slant like grilled iberico pork som tam with peanut sauce or Asian steak tartar with yuzu, egg yolk, bean sprouts and crispy noodles. They do a dish of the day too, which is a cosy idea.
Karlavägen 76, 114 59 Stockholm