I spent a few years living in Stockholm playing ice hockey, so when my girlfriend – InStyle’s shopping editor Robyn Kotze - invited me to Stockholm fashion week with her, I jumped at the chance to reintroduce myself to the city I once knew. If you aren’t already aware, it’s one of the most stylish places you could ever hope to visit (I can confirm that the rumours about the tall, blonde, very chic locals are completely true and gave my aesthetic confidence a bit of a knock!), but it’s also jam packed with cool places to eat, drink and shop.
With the help of a few maintained local connections and, more importantly, a fortuitous introduction through a friend to Daniel - a bearded, balding Swede, who described himself as a ‘posh hipster’ - we wined and dined at some of the best places I’ve ever visited. So here is my guide to my favourite haunts in Stockholm.
WHERE TO EAT
Breakfast: The Urban Deli on Exopark in SoFo:
It’s like Wholefoods but with a proper restaurant attached; this where you get your poached eggs, avocados and great coffee. FYI breakfast in Stockholm is wrapped up pretty early (an unflexible 10am) so make sure you’re up and out because there’s no brunch scene! Alternatively, the Story Hotel breakfast was pretty good, serving yummy granola pots which were available for takeaway.
Lunch: Shanti in SoFo:
It’s Bengali street food, or as I refer to it, a DAMN good curry. The lunch menu is cheap as chips by Stockholm standards and the curries are awesome. It seems to always be packed but it’s totally worth the wait for a table.
The Berns Hotel:
There are two restaurants here, both considerably more pricey than the street food in SoFo. The Berns Hotel is widely renowned as one of the swankiest hotels in Stockholm, located in a beautiful park; if you’re in Stockholm on a sunny day there's no place like the restaurant in the park. The food is delicious and French (I highly recommend mussels) and the wine list is really good. The other restaurant serves Asian fusion food in a very traditional, grand banquet room. It also serves a more British collection of afternoon teas if, like my girlfriend, you need your afternoon sugar pick me up.
Ling Long at the Story Hotel:
This is one of Stockholm’s newest restaurants (it had only been open for 1 day when we ate here) and it represents the new cool that’s rising up in Sweden. The menu consists of healthy Asian fusion dishes, and I highly recommend the Flankstek Bibimpab if you’re struggling with the Swedish menu, which is served with juicy strips of beef. This place is not too pricey, its just cool. There’s a great buzz to the adjoining bar if you fancy a cocktail either before or after, so it’s the perfect place to set you up for a night on the tiles.
If you’re looking for fun this is definitely the place to book for dinner. Similar to a New York bar/restaurant, it quickly fades from food to bar as the evening goes on (we heard rumours of the Stockholm fashion crowd dancing on the tables late into the night). We ate late here and the Scandinavian menu choices did not disappoint; the Swedish meatballs were a delight, and the perfect supplement to some very well made drinks. As our NBF Daniel kindly pointed out, this is one of the ‘posh hipster’ venues of Stockholm. Great food and fun people….although it was never going to be cheap.
Pa & Co:
With quaint interiors and white table cloths, the restaurant gives off an understated but highly sophisticated aura. It’s the sort of place that supermodels meet politicians, and everyone minds their own business. The food was exceptional; I had fish and Robyn had a yellow curry, both delicious, but it was the coconut pancakes that really stole the show. I recommend ordering one each to avoid any domestics! FYI if you arrive late, don’t sit at a table outside, as they move you indoors at 10pm.
This place became popular after being featured on Masterchef and the food is really, really good. You can have either a 4 or 6 course menu, with a few bonus courses thrown in. It’s all cooked to perfection over wood fire, and we liked that the staff were incredibly informative and very attentive. Be warned though: this all comes with a very expensive price tag attached!
WHERE TO DRINK
Nosh and Chow:
This place is super cool and always has a good buzz. The drinks are pricey but very good! Downstairs is a restaurant and upstairs opens out in to a great nightclub packed full of good looking and well dressed Swedes. Great for people watching.
This is a nightclub literally on the steps of a very grand building overlooking the water. It gets packed and provides an awesome variety of music; our evening here started with an amazing live jazz band and ended with house music.
WHERE TO SHOP
If, like us, you decide you want to adopt some of the effortless Swedish style (believe me – it’s contagious!) then there are a few hot shops you need to make time for. Firstly, and most importantly, ACNE is cheaper in Stockholm. Head to the outlet store ‘ACNE STUDIO’ on Torsgatan for some mega discounts. There are several Filipa K stores located around the city and its essential you get to at least one for some serious Skandi cool.
If either you or your partner are reluctant to shop and prefer to save time to explore the sites, then APLACE is the perfect place to get the best brands under one roof. Here you'll find Skandi favourites Dagmar, Whyred, Back and Wood Wood to name just a few. Depending on how well the trip is going you may feel like treating yourself or each other to some jewellery, so head to local designer Maria Nilsdotter.
WHAT TO SEE AND DO
The best of Stockholm’s architectural beauty is in its old town with its thin cobbled streets and beautiful boarders. This is where you’ll find the museums but for me, Stockholm’s most defining feature is its geography. The post-glacial landscape has risen from the water creating the largest archipelago in Sweden. It’s beautiful.
Stockholm is also the gateway to the islands, with ferries leaving the city centre regularly. My personal and childhood favourite is Sandham; when the ferry drops you on the island head to the beach on the far side… it's breathtaking! If you are feeling confident and fancy hiring your own boat, take to the waters with GoBoat and hire your floating picnic table to cruise the city!