If you live in Barcelona or London you probably don’t associate Stockholm with inexpensive restaurants. But if you look beyond the Michelin starred fine dining restaurants you will find a couple of restaurants that serve ambitious food without a price tag to match. It actually seems like the French bistronomy trend is slowly catching on in Stockholm. This post will focus on four of the most recently opened restaurants; Lilla Ego, Nook, Shibumi and Sushi Sho. I wouldn’t say that they (alone) are worth the trip to Sweden but if you’re going to Stockholm and don’t just want to have fine dining-food these restaurants are the definitely worth a visit. If you live in Stockholm all are highly recommended.
Lilla Ego opened late last year and very quickly became the hardest reservation in Stockholm. The restaurant is run by chef patrons Daniel Räms and Tom Sjöstedt. Both have won the prestigious competition Årets kock (Chef of the Year), basically the Swedish cooking championship. In stark contrast to the New Nordic fashion of less is more there is a maximum overload of flavors. Every single bite is packed of flavors. Nowhere in Stockholm do you eat more delicious food than at Lilla Ego. You could call it comfort food but there is more complexity in the dishes than you normally would associate with comfort food. I have had four dinners at Lilla Ego and every single dish has ben perfectly balanced and cooked to perfection. In my opinion Lilla Ego performs on one Michelin star-level. There is no tasting menu just a regular à la carte menu.
Nook is run by chef Claes Grännsjö and restaurant manager Alexander Bäckman. Before opening Nook Claes Grännsjö was head chef at the now closed one Michelin star restaurant Kock & Vin in Gothenburg. He also did a very short stint at Björn Frantzén’s pub The Flying Elk in Stockholm. Alexander Bäckman have also worked at Kock & Vin. In addition to an à la carte menu and two different three course menus for 300 and 400 SEK respectively there is a list of snacks and you can have a whole roasted suckling pig if you are a party of four to six persons. The majority of the dishes at Nook have an Korean or Asian touch. A recommendation is to start the dinner with some snacks. I had an excellent ssäm with Korean blood sausage, oyster and kimchi which was followed by an equally delicious steamed bun with pork, pickled cucumber and Hoisin sauce. My main course was a super tasty dish of lamb served in two ways with cabbage cream, cabbage and hazelnuts. This is very close to one Michelin star level cooking and it’s exceptional value for money.
This year’s most anticipated new restaurant is one Michelin starred chef Sayan Isaksson’s Shibumi. In the same building as Esperanto (one Michelin star) and Råkultur there is now also an Izakaya (Japanese pub) where focus is on warm Japanese food (at Råkultur you can have very good sushi). Sayan Isaksson’s plan was to open a pub with a bit of a ”rough” feel but being a master of creating beautiful food it seems like he could not refrain from adding a touch of Esperanto magic to the food at Shibumi. At no pub will you get as elegantly presented food as at Shibumi. The food is of course very delicious. I have just been to Shibumi once (it opened in the end of April) but I will definitely return several times. The highlight was an amazing beef tartar with chili, cucumber and vendace roe. Food is served in mid-sized portions.
In Stockholm there are sushi restaurants in basically every block. Unfortunately most of them are crap. For a couple of years the best sushi in Stockholm has been served at the above mentioned Råkultur. But since about two months there is a serious contender to the title of having the best sushi in town. I am not sure if they have reached their goal yet but they are getting better and better. Sushi Sho is a rather small restaurant with about eight seats at a counter just in front of chef Carl Ishizaki and four seats at a separate table. I recommend that you choose the omakase menu where every nigiri and other types of dishes are served one after the other. I am no expert on sushi but at least by Swedish standards this is very good. In my opinion there was a little bit to much soy sauce on the raw nigiris. I should mention that I am not a huge fan of soy sauce which easily becomes to dominant. Carl Ishizaki carefully grills some of the fish using a kitchen torch. With the slightly browned fish there was a much better balance between salt, fat and the slight caramelization. All of the torch grilled nigiris were excellent. I will definitely return several times to Sushi Sho. This is definitely a restaurant to watch.