Eating out in Stockholm can be expensive, even at lunch. But there are bargains to be had and we don’t mean the local burger kiosk or a cafeteria lunch. YLC’s Judi Lembke knows where to go!
If you know where to go in the city there is no reason you can’t eat in style. Finding great lunches hovering around the 100-125 SEK mark isn’t as hard as you think but if you need some help, well, I’m here to offer it. Some of these eateries are well known, while others are well-kept secrets. These are my top ten:
Located just up Drottninggatan from Central Station, this below-street food hall offers great food at amazing prices. Take your pick from 40 SEK Turkish veggie burgers to a 69 SEK ‘lunch låda’, where you can choose from around 50 delicacies, including meat, vegetarian, vegan and loads of sides. A great little secret is Kajsasfisk, where you’ll get the best fish soup in town. Seating is somewhat limited in the hall but if the weather is nice just walk outside and join the rest of Stockholm on the steps of Konserthuset.
Kafé Lily, on the top floor of the NK department store, offers 95 SEK lunches in a lively setting with great food. The obligatory dagens lunch is of course on offer, which will usually be a choice of fish with potatoes and some sort of meat. If you happen to go on a day when they have meatballs on the menu, grab a plate: these are some of the best meatballs in town. They also have a daily soup and the 95 SEK lunches include a soft drink or juice, a salad bar offering a variety of veg and excellent bread, along with and end of meal coffee. Be aware that the café does a roaring trade and it’s cafeteria style, so get there early and grab a table.
Overall it’s a bit pricey but this little offshoot of the very posh Gondolen does have a few bargains, most particularly the Toastskagen, which is delicious and so perfectly Swedish. A small portion will run you 95 SEK. The Duck Liver Terrine with Oxtail rillette also comes in at 95 SEK and is delicious. These aren’t the heartiest of meals so if you’re really hungry and feeling a bit flush go to sister Gondolen and have the daily lunch for 125 SEK – well worth the extra cost simply for the view and ambience.
Grill is very popular with the lunch crowd and there’s a good reason why: the food is fantastic and there’s plenty of it. You walk in, grab a tray and join the queue, inching your way towards the smells wafting from the end of the long bar, where a line of cooks are busily whipping up anything from ribs to chilli broccoli to roast potatoes. You never really know what they have on offer on any given day but you will rarely be disappointed. The bonus? An excellent salad bar that is loaded with veg, fruit and a variety of great breads, coffee and small biscuit for dessert. Daily lunch at Grill costs 110 SEK (95 if you’re taking it with you)
This is one of my favourite little secret places in Stockholm. It’s in the basement of the big yellow library at Humlegården and serves a great lunch for under 100 SEK – coffee, salad, and bread included. While you can get the standard prawn sandwich from the counter they also do hot lunches. There’s usually an excellent fish dish on offer, as well as something that often involves pork. The salads are also good, including a very tasty Ceasar, which you’ll be lucky to have the chance to try.
Stockholm is littered with sushi joints – some better than others. Akki Sushi, near Medborgarplatsen on Södermalm has some of the best sushi in town and the prices are great, running from 89 to 119 SEK. It’s not the snazziest place in town but the food is good, the service is fast and if you’re a sushi lover this is the place for you.
The daily lunch will set you back 125 SEK, which is a little pricey for Stockholm but considering the great food here it’s worth the little bit extra. Nosh and Chow pulls inspiration from, as they say, The Four Corners of the World – and this is reflected even on the lunch menu. Dishes range from lasagne with comfit of corned duck with mushroom crème; sweetbread bullion and herb crudités to beef stew with caramelised onions, pickled beetroot and herb & garlic butter. Are you taste buds watering as much as mine? It’s fancy nosh and while it is popular the 150 seats available mean you should be able to get a table.
Located on Lidingö the café/restaurant at Millesgården is worth the trek, particularly when the weather is nice. The cost of the daily lunch will be anything from 100 SEK for soup to 120 for meat and 165 for the daily fish dish. There are also menu staples, such as the excellent Toast Skagen, served on delicious grilled sourdough bread, or the wide variety of salads, which are more a meal for two than one. There’s a small indoor seating area and an expansive outdoor terrace that overlooks one of the sculpture gardens with views of the water. Coffee, bread and salad are included and a good thing too, as this is the sort of place where you want to linger.
Like sushi, Thai food has exploded onto the Stockholm foodie scene in recent years. There are a lot of Thai kiosks dotted about, along with some solid restaurants and Narknoi, just across from Vasaparken, is one of my favourites. The restaurant is small but well designed and the daily lunch, most of which cost under 100 SEK (served with milk or lättöl) offers a choice of everything from egg noodles with chicken and veg to pork curry. There is a set lunch as well as a small lunch menu with other offerings and the service is great. After lunch at Narknoi a quick stroll around Vasaparken should set you up for a great afternoon.
Ok, I’m not going to lie to you: Lydnar is pricey, even for lunch, with dishes ranging from 125 SEK for pate to nearly 400 for entrecote. BUT the food is excellent, the service outstanding and if you’re lucky enough to get a table on the upstairs terrace you’re in for a real treat. Located just next to the Grand Hotel, Lydmar is a bit of a hidden gem. The full menu is available at lunch but you can also choose from daily specials, which will feature anything from salads to fish to a delightful soup featuring a medley of ingredients you would never have dreamed up on your own. Did I mention the service? Attentive doesn’t begin to describe it: the staff are friendly, on their toes and you will feel well taken care of after a visit to Lydmar.