Stockholm’s Smörgåsbord

Offering much more than Abba and Ikea, the capital of Sweden is a Baltic beauty.

Stockholm has entered the race to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. However, waiting until then to enjoy the delights of this capital city overlooking the Baltic Sea would be regrettable. In a splendid city made up of 14 islands, to stand on the coastline of one and look out to others feels almost like being on deck on a giant cruise liner.

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Totally Sold on Stockholm

stockholmOne of the most memorable views since 1874 is appreciated from the veranda of the Grand Hôtel overlooking Royal Palace, handy to the Opera, the well-known department store NK, and Spergel’s Square. Great water and Gamla Stan (Old Town) views are further enhanced when accompanied by Smörgåsbord and a Bloody Mary. In summer, make a beeline to the outdoor terrace, serving until 10 p.m. (Yes, of course, the daylight hours stretch until then!) Cold outside? Stay in. Chef Mathias Dahlgren runs Matsalen and Matbaren, complete with three Michelin stars among the two outlets, right on property.

There’s a lot to love about Swedish food besides meatballs. There’s Gravadlax, Skagen, Raggmunk and herring fixed every which way. And, there’s a lot more to Sweden than Abba and Ikea. The Swedish Tourist Board has introduced a clever marketing angle, “Live Like a Swede”, to introduce more visitors to Swedish culture. Seeing as everybody speaks English, what a cool idea.

And, if you’re a foodie, perhaps the language you speak best is “”Michelin.”” They’ve conferred two additional one-star awards onto two Stockholm restaurants in 2013, bring that total from eight to ten. Ekstedt and Gastrologik are the newest entries. One to watch, according to the Stockholm Tourist Board, is Restaurant Jonas. Chef Bjorn Frantzén is being claled “Stockholm’s hottest talent” by the S. Pellegrino top restaurants of the world list, coming in at number 12, featuring a menu 95% sourced in Sweden.

Not one to be left behind by rival Danish design, Stockholm has called a spade a spade with a funky hotel named Hotel Rival. Crafted from a former cinema, the art déco space clearly pleases, earning itself the top spot on Tripadvisor in its tenth year. Owned by former ABBA musician Benny Andersson, Hotel Rival is on the island of Södermalm with a metro station two minutes away. PlayStations in every room, balconies, a cocktail bar with DJ, buffet breakfast that doesn’t get cleared away too early in the morning, Egyptian cotton sheets and a pillow menu are some of the small things that are resounding in a big way.

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