Stockholm, a capital city spread across multiple islands. This is where we finally found some Swedish meatballs, attended the opening of an Ikea and where I fell in love with a modern city hidden inside an ancient one.
Stockholm, where to begin? I famously got off the train and turned to my friend to say that I fell in love with the energy in Stockholm. To me, it has a very modern energy hidden behind ancient buildings and structures. We knew we had one mission though, one mission that we couldn’t fulfil in Gothenburg. Find Swedish Meatballs.
We got to Stockholm in the afternoon, and after checking into our hotel, immediately set out to explore. Guided by our stomachs as usual, my friend suggested a famous café for some fika. What is fika? Fika, according to Google research, is a popular activity in Sweden where people set aside a part of their afternoon to enjoy a cup of coffee or a pastry with a friend. So we immediately set out to find this café.
111 22 Stockholm
Seeing as how we barely ate lunch, I immediately beelined for something other than a cake or pastry. The Caesar salad with farm chicken and tomato pesto was super attractive. To go with that, I also got a piece of what I think is strawberry shortcake and a pot of tea.
I am a self-proclaimed fussy salad eater. I didn’t like salads when I was a child because I didn’t like dressing. Even now, as an adult, there are very specific salads I’ll eat and generally it’s trial and error. So, the fact that I liked this salad is impressive enough on its own. But the combination of flavours was very welcomed, and I really enjoyed the tomato pesto, it gave the salad a kick I didn’t realize it needed.
I unfortunately don’t remember the specifics of the strawberry shortcake enough to comment to thoroughly on it, the salad was so impressive that I lost the impression of the cake haha. I do recommend visiting this café though, the ambience is super cute, and I do remember enjoying the cake a lot.
We decided that when in Stockholm, let’s find ourselves some Swedish Meatballs!
111 31 Stockholm
Our hunt for Swedish Meatballs took us to Stockholms Gastabud. We were already wandering around Gamla Stan just taking in the sites when we decided to see if there was anywhere to eat Swedish Meatballs near us, so off we went.
Now, how to describe Stockholms Gastabud. It’s basically a tiny pub like establishment. There were maybe 10 tables inside and when we got there, we thought we’d have to wait in line. We only waited for maybe five minutes before we were seated in a cozy corner. My friend immediately decided on the meatballs, while I went for salmon.
The salmon was butter fried with dill potatoes alongside an herb and truffle mayonnaise. I honestly had no regrets getting this dish, everything was to my taste, and I was super happy. The salmon was flaky and tender pairing well with the dill potatoes it was sitting on top of. Again, truffles are usually overwhelming, but not in the case of this mayonnaise, which honestly made everything better.
We ventured out towards Skansen (open air museum) and spent the morning taking in the sights there. We got lunch in the museum, at Wild Man deli.
Wild Man Deli
115 21 Stockholm
I ordered the Suovas, which is lightly smoked and fried elk meat with crushed potatoes and cloudberry crème fraiche all wrapped in a pita.
I must admit that it was unwieldy to eat, I definitely had trouble with it. Also, the size is misleading, there was more food, or maybe it was more carbs, than I expected. I found the combination a little odd and, maybe because of the way it was constructed, the flavours couldn’t be distributed evenly, so parts were pretty salty.
It was a fun experience though.
We then separated to go check out other museums, and I made my way to the ABBA museum and immersed myself in the history of this wonderful Swedish pop group for the rest of the afternoon. We met up for dinner, which was quite the endeavour as (apparently) there was a Dua Lipa concert right next to the ABBA museum and the roads were filled with people.
In any case, we made our way to a different district in Stockholm and came across Tapir.
114 52 Stockholm
This is a cute little restaurant on (what we assume) a side street. We were seated on their patio (we pretty much only ate on patios during this trip) and were delighted. I went with the deer with pepper gravy, cauliflower and potato puree and roasted broccoli and green asparagus.
I remember being pretty impressed, I’d eaten deer before, but not quite in this presentation. I’m not usually a huge sauce fan, but you can almost never go wrong with there’s gravy with potatoes. The number of vegetables in this dish made me very happy and they were all done perfectly (for my preference). I was vaguely worried that the deer meat’s flavour would be drowned out by the pepper gravy, but it held its own, making for a well-rounded dish.
Today, was the day. The day we would go find some Swedish meatballs for the both of us. We made our way to Soldermalm and had a morning of wandering and shopping. After my friend physically abandoned me in a bookstore (also not a good idea to let me in one), we finally buckled down and hunted for a restaurant specializing in Swedish meatballs. This is how we stumbled across Meatballs for the People.
Meatballs for the People
116 40 Stockholm
The name says it all. The place is quite cute inside and they offer a large selection of different meatball flavours. Being greedy and wanting to try everything, I ordered We Love Meatballs, which would be a chef’s selection of several different flavours. On that day, I got to try beef, chicken, lamb, and pork. Their meatballs are traditionally made with a beef and pork mix, but (out of the selection I received) I infinitely preferred their beef meatballs. The pork ones were a close second and I ranked chicken last.
These were also the best mashed potatoes I’ve had in a long long time. They were soft, smooth, and creamy, I wished I lived in Stockholm just for these potatoes. Normally I would think top rated restaurants (by tourists) questionable, but I’m giving thumbs up for Meatballs for the People (and am prepared to buy their cookbook).
We headed for the Summer Palace (Drottningholm Palace) this day, and it’s my first time visiting a European palace (does Casa Loma even count?). My friend told me this was probably the best palace I could’ve started with, since it wasn’t as busy as Versailles or Buckingham Palace. Regardless of all that, I loved this palace, it fulfilled all my European palace dreams (haha), the only downside was the formal garden was being maintained, so we couldn’t get a good view of it. I wasn’t fond of their Chinese Pavilion (but that’s treading on cultural appropriation and all that jazz, so we won’t go there).
Afterwards, we went to the opening of Stockholm’s first Ikea (I think), which was a highlight for me (less for my friend haha). Then we went hunting for dinner.
111 21 Stockholm
We decided to check out this Belgium themed restaurants, hunting for moules & frites. We also tried out some different beers, and I remain a non-beer drinker.
As the last meal we had in Stockholm, I remain surprised we went Belgian. But the mussels were pretty good, the ordering was a tiny bit complicated, but that could be attributed to our lack of understanding of the menu/ a long day. Overall, it was a pretty solid meal, I don’t necessarily remember it being exceptionally good or bad, so can’t say if I recommend this place. We pretty much stumbled onto it haha.
Stockholm, what can I say? I loved every second of my time in this beautiful city. I think I’ll always have a soft spot for Sweden, as both Gothenburg and Stockholm have left a pretty friendly and beautiful memory in my heart. I can’t wait to go back (with the NSSSO)!