Södermalm, or Söder to the locals, is home to a burgeoning underground culture. The city’s former working class neighborhood had a makeover, and now boasts quirky retro clothing boutiques, contemporary art galleries and a fantastic range of restaurants. An island in itself, Södermalm is perfect for a wild dip into the local charm, dialect and flavors of life in the Swedish capital.
Nestled within Stockholm’s foremost international venue for music, theatre and debate (the Teatern), you will find the Etablissemanget restaurant. This is equally perfect for a romantic date or a touristy pit stop, because the views across the capital are amazing. But when you’ve had your fill of gazing across Södermalm’s island hub to mainland Stockholm, sate your hunger with some acclaimed Swedish fare with a French twist. Open every day for lunch (or brunch on the weekend), typical main meal offerings include Södrans Plank (grilled beef, burnt onions, cream of roasted potato gratin, green beans, bacon and an emulsion of parsley and shallots). A lighter alternative might be the forest mix mushroom risotto on their seasonally changing menu. Our insider tip is to head there early for a Sunday morning, in time for Etablissemanget’s spectacular ‘Jazz Brunch’ featuring a high quality buffet and the best of local musical talent.
Perfect for a lively evening, this intimate restaurant is shaped around the open kitchen in which traditional Swedish fare is rustled up. With a small, regularly changing menu, a highlight is the matching of wine by the glass with each course. Popular options include duck sausages and a selection of home-baked breads to curb your pre-dinner hunger. Anything recommended by the Michelin Guide is worth trying, and although the prices are higher than comparable choices in the area, the quality of ingredients sets this spot apart. Definitely an insider favorite and not one to miss.
The Södermalm branch is one of three of the increasingly popular Koh Phangan group. With a menu dominated by Pan-Asian dishes, dine here for a taste of Thailand amongst the buzzing nightlife of the district. The restaurant itself is an assault on the senses, with blue and yellow fairy lights, traditional Indian prints, palm foliage, luminous glow in the dark creatures and bamboo screening. Usually full of groups starting a celebratory evening, the food and atmosphere is worth soaking up if you feel low. The experience starts with a complimentary salad bowl with spicy lettuce, tomato and garlic sauce. Portions are generous, with three spring rolls or starter of choice, followed by spiced red curry with your preference of meat or fish base.
Fans of Ikea will value Pelikan‘s easy, flat-pack furniture as much as their meatballs. Pelikan doesn’t merely offer a taste of home from home, but rather elevates the department store stakes with a restaurant that offers an award-winning menu, notably with excellent meatballs. Based in a Jugendstil-inspired building, there has been some form of restaurant in this location for the past 110 years. Highlights include a generously portioned knuckle of pork with Swedish mash and three mustards, or arctic char with green peas, lavaret roe and spring onions, not forgetting Pelikan’s meatballs with cream sauce, gherkins and lingonberries.
This popular spot brands itself as a ‘dumplings and tea restaurant chain for slow fast food with an organic state of mind’. Offering precisely 39 options on their menu, which is standardized across their restaurants in Södermalm, Sweden and two other countries, dining at Beijing8 is as close to a curated dining experience you can get without opting for a haute cuisine tasting menu. In line with their evident love of both lists and numbers, here is a more detailed breakdown of your meal options. There are six kinds of dumplings, four sauces, four teas, ten side-orders, two desserts, three ice teas and a dish called Gong Bao Ji Ding. Whether you go for little bundles stuffed with zucchini and vegetables or chicken and spices, don’t forget to order a side of steamed broccoli with garlic. Divine.
A common name on the lips of locals offering recommendations is Herman’s. Setting itself apart from the melting-pot of meat and fish restaurants, this exclusively vegetarian restaurant has spent years honing their offering. With a relaxed ambience, al fresco dining is a possibility in warmer months, with picnic style tables overlooking the curve of Stockholm’s mainland. Time your visit to Hermans to coincide with the live bossa nova band playing on Saturday evenings between 7-9pm. Accompany the music with the perfect barbecued offerings of marinated tofu, corn, sweet potato, zucchini, eggplant, and bell peppers served with lashings of satay dip, something to tempt even the hardiest of meat eaters.
Oxelblom’s website aptly promises ‘various Swedish landscapes framed by jazz, white tablecloths and candlelight’. Its popularity with the locals suggests it lives up to its firmly Scandi ethos. Aiming to cater for a wide demographic, from those who prefer a relaxed sofa-style experience, to linen and silver service, you might think that the team are spreading themselves too thin. But this combination strangely works. Perhaps it’s because the food is the priority of this establishment with the five-course tasting menu particularly noteworthy. Based around provinces, the Södermanland menu (a historical province on the southeastern coast of Sweden) offers starters of nettles and shallots in white wine with egg, and herring with cheesy potatoes and knäcke (crispbread). This is closely followed by the hearty locally sourced pork dish, and a selection of salmon, all finished with piles of wild berries to cut through the richness of the preceding courses. It’s definitely worth a sample.
A gastronomic powerhouse, Restaurant Frantzen is an impressive venue, offering suitably haute cuisine to match the environment. Taking Mons Kallentoft’s belief that: ‘gastronomy is today’s art and, as such, is intimately related to what we humans are’, the team behind Frantzen want your time with them to affect your every sense. The menu is orchestrated with flair, running through: Prologue, Appetizer (such as coal-flamed reindeer, dried reindeer penis, puree of thyme, roasted onions and moss), Bread, Catch of the Day (including cod cooked for three hours, accompanied by preserved anchovy juices, vendace roe and yellow onions), Hot-pot and Patisserie. If you are looking for an indulgent treat, or want to impress, Restaurant Frantzen would be our top pick.
Drawing inspiration from five Asian nations – Japan, Thailand, Korea, China and India – Minami celebrates the crossover between these integral eastern cuisines. This affinity with its heritage translates into the ambience and dining culture the team wish to create. Favoring a family-style experience, guests are encouraged to order a selection of sharing dishes from the menu. It’s also the perfect place to wolf down a quick meal if you’re short on time or want to make a flying solo visit. Minami makes a quick-noodle soup which is super tasty, as are the chicken, leek and chili dressed gyoza dumplings. Don’t forget to pick up a chocolate truffle and lychee tart to go.
This restaurant was nine years in the making, having now established an enviable reputation for their cooking inspired by Louisiana’s creole and Cajun cuisine. But the team behind Marie Laveau are even more culturally diverse, hailing from the American South, France, Spain and West Africa. They frequently bring this to the menu with fusion dishes such as ‘king fish with pecan and chili butter’. For those who want more taste of the exotic, head to Marie Laveau’s great little bar following your meal. Hugely popular with the after-work crowd, the décor and theme is strictly carnival, with suitably named cocktails shaken up on request.