Gothenburg – a 5-star city | Posted: 28 April 2014
Discover culinary surpises in Gothenburg
Explore Sweden's second largest city...
Enjoy a lively cafe culture on the streets of Gothenburg

As you might expect, Gothenburg – as West Sweden’s main port and Sweden’s second-largest city – has a terrific food culture and a superb (and fast-growing) restaurant scene...

Eating out here is a way of life for many, and there are no fewer than five Michelin-starred restaurants – not bad for a place with just 500,000 inhabitants. As I was to find out, dining is refreshingly unstuffy and friendly, and even in the top-end establishments a truly gourmet experience can be both enjoyably laid-back and surprisingly affordable.

Across the city, you can expect creative, yet classic menus with intensely clean flavours: there is little to beat the mineral-laden shellfish from the Bohuslän coastline and the mackerel, cod, turbot, hake and whiting skilfully prepared by some of Sweden’s most accomplished chefs.

Håkan Thörnström, who presides over Thörnströms Kok, one of the elite five, suggests that it is the blend of "raw, marinated food and the slow-cooked", and the constant flow of fresh, seasonal ingredients that makes Swedish cuisine so special. Take a look at this short video below to find out more about Gothenburg’s remarkable foodie scene…

And if you doubt the locals’ love of food, head for Saluhallen, the tempting covered food hall dating from the 19th century on Kungstorget. Or seek out the fabulous Feskekörka (literally ‘Fish Church’) bordering the canal on Rosenlundsgatan.

Further Information & Related Holidays

Swedish gastronomy

So, the secret’s out: Sweden is a great choice for foodies. Find out more about the country’s strong gastronomic traditions on the Swedish Tourist Board website. >

Sweden’s West Coast

Discover picturesque islands and savour fabulous seafood while exploring Sweden’s idyllic west coast, perhaps also staying on Marstrand Island or in Gothenburg or Stockholm.

More about our walking holidays
in Sweden >

Built in 1874 and inspired by the Norwegian wooden stave churches and Gothic stone churches of the time, this remarkable pillar-less space is a shrine to fish and seafood (locals are said to ‘worship cod not God’) and the stalls which line both sides of the building are a riot of colour. Book ahead, and you can even eat upstairs at the tiny-but-stylish Restaurant Gabriel – the fish soup here is delicious and the owner’s claim to fame is his 2010 title of World Oyster Opening Champion – a competition held every April up the west coast.

For something a little lighter, and perhaps to punctuate the short walking route we offer around this appealing city’s main sights, then you should really indulge in the delightful tradition of fika.

This is the four-letter word behind a thriving coffee culture, but has become more of a way of life for Swedes than just a break for a drink. As well as enjoying a fine cuppa (often the coffee here is very good indeed), it provides locals with a welcome interruption from the rigours of the working day – or from some serious shopping, perhaps! – and is a chance to catch up with friends, relax with the paper, or to get one’s nose into the latest Scandinavian noir thriller.

You’d also be well advised to sample something sweet: a piece of cake, maybe, or even one of the giant cinnamon buns served at Café Husaren, a time-honoured hangout amid the Haga district’s cobbled streets. Our personal favourite, though, is the branch of the small chain Da Matteo, situated off Vallgatan in the heart of the city. It’s easy to while away an hour or two in the tranquil courtyard here, and the fresh-bean aromas alone are enough to give you a thirst.

So, after reading this, I hope you can put IKEA meatballs out of your mind, safe in the knowledge that food and drink in Sweden isn’t what it used to be – in fact it’s much, much better! So why not visit the land that brought us the smörgasbord and surströmming, and savour the divine contents of Sweden’s larder?

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