Superlative restaurants in Stockholm

The Swedish capital is giving Copenhagen a run for its money in the gastronomy stakes

Creatively prepared game, pork, potatoes and ox heart are on the menu at The Flying Elk
Creatively prepared game, pork, potatoes and ox heart are on the menu at The Flying Elk

The laidback gastropub The Flying Elk is the work of charming, telegenic chef Björn Frantzén. In a dining room suffused with natural light, game, pork and potatoes take on creative permutations, and the roasted ox heart is eminently moreish. Next door is Frantzén’s wine bar, Gaston – a tiny affair with a couple of tall communal tables, a backlit bar with some three dozen vintages sourced worldwide, and small plates sent over from The Flying Elk. Mälatorget 15 (+468-208 583; theflyingelk.se).

Oaxen’s menu is a six- or 10-course tour de force of seasonal seafood
Oaxen’s menu is a six- or 10-course tour de force of seasonal seafood

The two-Michelin-starred meal A cult hit while set on a tiny island in the Stockholm Archipelago, Oaxen has become an international destination since moving in 2013 to Djurgården, where it is a two-restaurants-in-one phenomenon. Don’t be fooled by the industrial-chic look of Oaxen Krog – chef Magnus Ek is all about very fine dining, his menu a six- or 10-course tour de force of seasonal seafood (cockles, oysters, scallops and langoustine all feature in summer). At Oaxen Slip, things are more relaxed, with its triple-height ceilings from which old wooden fishing boats are suspended, elevated “Nordic-bistro” fare (herring three ways, smoked perch, oxen sausage) and an appealing air of smiling alacrity among the staff. Beckholmsvägen 26 (+468-5515 3105; oaxen.com).

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The Sunday brunch South across the strait from Oaxen is the pier-based Restaurant J, where visitors and locals pitch up in RIBs or sailboats to join the happy, rammed Sunday brunch scene, sitting in simple canvas directors’ chairs, under a conservatory. Ellensviks-vägen 1, Nacka Strand (+468-601 3025; hotelj.com).

Grand Hôtel’s Ilse Crawford-designed Matbaren (dining bar) serves à la carte dishes at an open-kitchen counter
Grand Hôtel’s Ilse Crawford-designed Matbaren (dining bar) serves à la carte dishes at an open-kitchen counter

The designer dining room In the grand old Grand Hôtel, the Ilse Crawford-designed Matbaren (dining bar) serves delectable à la carte dishes at an open-kitchen counter. Warm bread arrives in small paper parcels, the cooks laugh and natter, and all is cheery and amenable (except, perhaps, the bill: two starters, a glass of white Burgundy and bottled water set me back about £75 – but then, such sticker shock is par for the course in this ridiculously expensive city). Södra Blasieholmshamnen 8 (+468-679 3500; grandhotel.se).

Floating bar-café Mälarpaviljongen has lovely cityscape views
Floating bar-café Mälarpaviljongen has lovely cityscape views

Lunch with a view Floating bar-café Mälarpaviljongen, right in the centre of town, is ideal on a warm afternoon for easy contemplation of the absurdly pretty cityscape over a bottle of wine and some fruits de mer. (NB: unless you’re on the dating market, best vacate before evening, when the clientele reportedly begins to skew decidedly single). Norr Mälarstrand 64 (+468-650 8701; malarpaviljongen.se).

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