The Best Restaurants of 2013

As the year of 2013 is approaching the end I thought that I should list my favourite restaurants of the year. Like last year I will not present a ranking list. I do not think that it would be meaningful since I have not been to every good restaurant in Sweden. Also, all of the restaurants on my list are quite different, which makes it very difficult to say one is better than the other. In order to qualify as a favourite restaurant it is not enough to simply serve good food. There are numerous restaurants today that serve world-class food. I have eaten a couple of dinners that were very good yet still don’t qualify as a favourite restaurant. To become a favourite restaurant there must be something more. It is difficult to explain what that extra consist of since it varies from restaurant to restaurant. But I do prefer restaurants that focus on high quality ingredients, show a lot of passion, where the head chef is present in the kitchen and restaurants which don’t serve attention seeking or unnecessarily complicated food. Equally important as the food is the front of house staff and the atmosphere in the dining room. All of the restaurants below serve excellent food and have great front of house staff doing everything in order to let you have a fantastic night.

Wood sorrel sorbet, blueberry, raspberry, elder berry and honey Gastrologik

I notice this list is quit Sweden centric. I have eaten very well this year in both Dubai and Paris but none of those restaurants, despite including two three star restaurants, made it to my personal top list.

Pubologi Köksbordet

Havskräfta Pubologi köksbordet

Back in march I had an absolutely amazing dinner at Pubologi’s new chef’s table. I had eaten well at Pubologi before but with the kitchen table chefs Mikael Einarsson and Olof Håsteen took the food to a much higher level. This dinner was actually better than some Michelin two and three star restaurants. In a time when most restaurants focus on Nordic cuisine it is nice to find a restaurant in Stockholm, which is not afraid of adding some Mediterranean flavors. Read my review here.

Daniel Berlin Krog

Raw cold smoked mackerel with red seaweed and beats - Daniel Berlin

When I dined at Daniel Berlin the first time I did not really liked the food. I could see why lovers of New Nordic Cuisine liked the restaurant but I found the food a bit too ”Scandinavian cool” for me. Despite that I was still a little curious about what was happening at Daniel Berlin. And since I spend the summers in the area near Skåne Tranås I thought that I should give it another try. I am very happy I did because my second dinner at Daniel Berlin (the first of two this year) was absolutely mind blowing. Everything was a couple of steps better than the previous year. The quality of the ingredients was exceptional and this year the ”Scandinavian coolness” was replaced with more passion and warmth. In December I attended a very special “Hunt Dinner” where focus was on game. All the animals served that night had been shot by Daniel Berlin himself. Daniel Berlin Krog is now one of the best restaurants in the world. An absolute must go. Read my review here. For pictures from The Hunt Dinner please click on this link to my Flickr-account.

Gastrologik and Speceriet

Jacob Holmström och Anton Bjuhr

As you probably know Gastrologik and Speceriet, are my very favourite restaurants in the world. This year I had two magnificent dinners at Gastrologik. The first dinner was indeed a very special one. On March 14, Gastrologik was awarded their first star and I was happy to have dinner that same night. It is a dinner that I will never forget. To choose the very best dish of the year is of course very difficult. But this year I would cast my vote on one of the desserts that night. A goat milk sorbet with endives and honey vinaigrette was both creative and utterly delicious; absolutely magnificent. Read my reviews here and here.

Sorbet på getmjölk med honungsvinaigrette och endive

I have since long lost count on how many times I have visited Speceriet. It has almost become my second home. I would therefore like send a special greeting to Malin, Hanna and Daniel and the rest of the staff which makes Speceriet such a nice place.

Lilla Ego

Lilla Ego Unclassical tartar of pork with flavour of deep Småland interpreted by Lilla Ego

Several good restaurants opened up in Stockholm during the year. Two of them, Lilla Ego and Gro, quickly became favourites of mine. Lilla Ego is owned by the reigning chef of the year (Årets kock) Daniel Räms and a previous winner of the same contest Tom Sjöstedt. When Sjöstedt and Räms announced their new restaurant they described it as a ”neighbourhood restaurant”. It is indeed a very relaxed restaurant. But the food is so much better than every other ”neighbourhood restaurant” in Stockholm. I will visit Lilla Ego several times next year. For pictures from Lilla Ego please click on this link to my Flickr-account.

Gro

Magnus Willnow och Henrik Norén Gro

Gro sort of popped up from nowhere and became an instant hit serving the best lunches för 100 SEK in Stockholm. I have had numerous lunches there. Almost every one was very, very good. In late fall they also started serving dinners once a week. I really hope that they will expand the dinner service to more nights than just Thursdays. For pictures from Gro please click on this link to my Flickr account.

Volt

Garlic, cod roe and sour cream - Volt

It has been rather quiet about Volt lately. Maybe that’s because in Sweden we just talk about the most recently opened restaurants. Maybe it’s also because the guys running Volt seem to be a little bit too shy to promote their restaurant. They shouldn’t be because Volt is in very good shape right now. In November I had a very good dinner. Volt is definitely a top restaurant in Sweden and a strong candidate for a star in next years edition of Guide Michelin. For pictures from Volt please click on this link to my Flickr-account.

Best Front of House team – Esperanto

Best Front of House Team Esperanto

Unfortunately I did not have a full dinner at Esperanto this year but I attended a test dinner of the Salon d’été and had a couple of dishes in their lounge this fall. Headed by restaurant manager Erika Lindström the front of house team at Esperanto delivers one of the very best service experiences in the world. There are very few two and three Michelin star restaurants that can beat Esperanto when comes to service.

This year has for me been very much about apartment renovations. I have renovated two apartments which has taken a lot of time. Luckily I am now almost finished so hopefully there will be more time to blog about my dinners. My next trip will probably go to Gothenburg and restaurant Hoze. It seems like José Gabriel Cerdá Contreras is serving some exceptional food at his little restaurant.

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