The Berns is a complex made up of a hotel, a nightclub, several bars and two restaurants, both of which are worth a visit. The charming Bistro Berns, in the park in front of the hotel, serves all the expected French dishes. But Berns Asian—which was the city’s first Chinese restaurant when it opened in 1944—offers the more exciting food experience, as well as the best weekend brunch in the city, featuring excellent dim sum from fall through spring.
We loved: All the Swedish desserts on the long, white-marble dessert table at Berns Asian.
The restaurant is pricey, plain and small (19 seats), but chefs Björn Frantzén and Daniel Lindeberg have energized the whole city with their inventive, eco-conscious Scandinavian cooking, using ingredients like duck tongue and root vegetables.
We loved: Beef poached for three days in pumpkin-seed oil and duck fat; lady apples vacuum-poached in apple cider and vanilla.
The best time to visit this restaurant and fishmonger established in 1926 in Stockholm’s best indoor food market, Östermalms Saluhall, is lunchtime on Saturdays, when the place is in full swing. Expect bustling blue-checkered-cloth-topped tables and flawless fish. There are two other outposts in the city, but neither beats the original.
We loved: Deep-fried plaice with curry remoulade and fries.
Lux is rightly lauded as one of Stockholm’s finest restaurants, but less well-known is its tiny bakery and dessert spot a few doors away. Made on the premises are excellent Swedish and French breads, traditional and modern cakes and chocolates, plus jars of marmalade and jelly in inspired flavors like fig and Sauternes.
We loved: Vanilla-cream-filled buns dusted with sugar.
Last year, Mathias Dahlgren took over the restaurant in this famed hotel, instituting precious, ingredient-driven dishes like a delicate seafood soup. The restaurant has two rooms: the more formal Matsalen and the more casual Matbaren.
We loved: Sheep’s-milk yogurt with hazelnuts, peach sorbet, honey and olive oil.
Located in the Old Town, Restaurant Leijontornet displays the remains of a 14th-century wall discovered at the location during construction, but there’s nothing old-fashioned about it. The twentysomething chef, Gustav Otterberg, earned his first Michelin star here with a New Nordic menu that incorporates the best Scandinavian ingredients—including lots of organic berries, mushrooms and herbs.
We loved: Smoked and seared mackerel with black pudding, pickled pears and lingonberries.
Unlike many Stockholm restaurants, Rolfs, open since 1989, is busy every night of the week. It lures neighborhood residents with its simple, stellar Swedish food and excellent wine list.
We loved: Red-wine-braised ox cheek with Gotland truffle and potato puree.
Considering that Sweden has one of the world’s highest per capita coffee-consumption rates, Stockholm has surprisingly few great cafés. Saturnus is by far the city’s best, with great coffee, hot chocolate and citron pressé (lemonade), along with first-rate French cakes and a pleasant crowd of regulars.
We loved: Cheesecake.
“The Herring Wagon,” parked on a plaza near the Old Town for almost two decades, offers simple paper plates of great strömming (fried herring).
We loved: Fried herring with pickled cucumber, mashed potato and lingonberries.
The classiest and best fish restaurant in town sits on the harbor next to the city’s most renowned auction house. The exceptional seafood dishes include grilled sole with a shallot hollandaise, and the dining room is quintessentially Scandinavian with wooden tables and floors and gray and white walls.
We loved: Turbot with horseradish and brown butter.