December 28, 2012

New Year's Eve in Stockholm 2012

(EDIT: This is from 2012, new info about New Years in Stockholm can be found by clicking here!) Christmas is finally over... and New Years is just around the corner! If you are visiting the city this coming weekend, then I hope you have already finalized your New Year's Eve plans because it's getting down to the wire. Here are some things you should be aware of when making your plans:
  • Restaurants- Many restaurants are closed on the 31st. The ones that are open generally serve a traditional multiple course menu called nyårssupé and nothing else. It can be anywhere between 3 and 9 courses and cost anywhere between 500 and 1200 SEK, depending on the restaurant. This means that going out for a simple dinner or quick bite will probably be problematic unless you are looking at pubs or fast food establishments. These dinners are quite popular and the restaurants tend to fill up, so don't leave it to the last minute! Most of these restaurants have two seatings during the evening... an early (5-8:30pm) and a late (8:30pm-12am). There are a select few that serve both the nyårssupé alongside a regular menu. If you are staying at the Rival Hotel, contact me as soon as possible to make arrangements!
  • Nightclubs- Here it is important to plan ahead as well. Tickets to the parties at the nightclubs can be pre-purchased in advance. If you don't pre-purchase a ticket, you can end up standing in long lines in subzero temperatures! Here are some of the larger nightclub parties this year: Stureplansgruppen (an umbrella group that runs several nightclubs), Café Opera, Södra Teatern and Berns. These are the more posh nightclub venues... there are, of course, many smaller parties going on at different venues.
  • Taxis- These are notoriously hard to catch on New Year's Eve... especially after 11pm. This is because of the huge demand. Most taxi companies don't accept prebookings because they don't want their cars tied up waiting for people who don't show up. You don't have to worry about being stranded though... the subways will be running all night long. If nighttime subways aren't your thing, just make sure that you are within walking distance of your hotel. Stockholm isn't that big so this isn't that hard to accomplish.
  • Fireworks- Locals will be setting off their own fireworks throughout the city, especially in the parks & squares and at midnight. The official fireworks will be shot off above the harbor (eastern side of Gamla Stan). The best places to see the fireworks are along the waterfront, by the City Hall, on Fjällgatan or Monteliusvägen. Some places will be quite crowded, especially the Slussen area which will be cordoned off from car traffic, but you will still be able to see the fireworks!
  • Skansen- Once again, this is the center of Swedish holiday tradition. This is the spectacle that is televised and shown around all of Sweden... kind of like the Swedish version of the ball dropping at Times Square. There will be music and speeches and the official countdown. Skansen is also a great place to see the official fireworks! To be honest, I'm not sure how much someone who doesn't speak Swedish will get out of the event as most of the program is in Swedish... but it is an option. The program starts at 11:10pm and ends at 00:10am.
The Rival Hotel- our restaurant is always fully booked on this evening... book in time! Our bars are open until 2am and there is no entrance fee (rare on this evening). There will be a DJ playing and the square in front of the hotel is a popular place for the locals to light their fireworks.

December 26, 2012

David LaChapelle Exhibit at Fotografiska

Christmas is over and it is time to look forward to New Years and fun things to do in 2013!
Courtney Love with religious symbolism!
 On Christmas Day, a friend and I went to Fotografiska (the photography museum) to see their new much-talked-about exhibition featuring the work of David LaChapelle. I am a big LaChapelle fan and have really been waiting for this exhibition. I actually sent an e-mail to the museum a couple of years ago, begging them to have an exhibit of his work. So you can imagine my happiness that this exhibition is the largest David LaChapelle exhibit ever held... in fact, it occupies the entire museum!
Transgendered artist Amanda Lepore as Warhol's Monroe and Taylor
 The exhibition does not disappoint. Called "Burning Beauty", it consists of over 250 pieces of art including music video and film. The exhibit also contains work from different periods, spanning his 30+ year career.
Etheral new work by LaChapelle
 What I really enjoy about LaChapelle's work is his sense of humour. Whether it is in the composition of the photograph or in the title, his humour can be both subtle and in your face. His work also frequently has social commentary... from our crass consumerism to our obsession with celebrities & beauty to our destruction of the enviroment. For example, Courtney Love holding a Kurt Cobain look alike... posed to resemble Michelangelo's Pietá (the Virgin Mary holding a dead Jesus). So when you are admiring the beauty of his work, take some extra time to figure out what he is trying to say. I also love the fact that his pictures all look like they have been manipulated in a computer, but they haven't... just painstakingly composed. There is a video presentation as part of the exhibit where you can see behind the scenes of the photo shoot for LaChapelle's "Deluge".
"The Rape of Africa"
It is a large exhibition and, if you need to take a break, the museum has a great café/bistro on the top floor with spectacular views of the harbour. Be aware that besides beauty, celebrities, social commentary and humour... LaChapelle's work also sometimes contains nudity and sexual content. Fotografiska is located on the northern waterfront of Södermalm, just a 15-20 minute walk from the Rival Hotel. Thank you for this exhibition Fotografiska... now, if you can have an exhibit of Helmut Newton's work on this scale, I will be very happy!

December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

From myself and the rest of the Rival Hotel staff... we would like to wish everyone a wonderful, safe and magical Christmas! It's been a great holiday season here in Stockholm with markets, Lucia, decorations, julbord and lots of snow. A winter wonderland!

December 22, 2012

Church Services During the Holidays 2012/13

(EDIT: blog from 2012, for current dates and times... click here!) There are many churches offering services in several languages during the holiday season. The main denominations are Church of Sweden (Lutheran) and Catholicism. Here are the mass times that can be of interest:

Storkyrkan (Lutheran)- located in Gamla Stan.
-December 24th: Christmas music & prayer at 4:30pm. Midnight mass at 11:00pm. Both in Swedish.
-December 25th: High mass at 11am in Swedish.
-January 1st: High mass at 11am in Swedish.

St Jacob's Church (Lutheran)- located next to Kungsträdgården.
-December 24th: Christmas pageant and music at 11am.
-December 25th: Worship in English at 6pm (also every Sunday at 6pm).

Katolska Domkyrkan (Catholic)- located on Södermalm. Main Catholic Church in Sweden.
-December 24th: Christmas service in Italian at 9pm, Croatian at 10pm and midnight mass (Latin?).
-December 25th: Italian at 8:45am, High Mass at 11am (Latin?), Spanish at 2pm, Polish at 5pm and Swedish at 6:30pm.
-December 31st: Thanksgiving mass with "Te Deum" at 5pm.
-January 1st: High Mass at 11am (Latin?), Croatian at 12:30pm, Spanish at 2pm and Swedish at 6:30pm.

St Eugenia (Catholic)- located next to Kungsträdgården. Mass in English every Sunday at 6pm.
-December 24th: Christmas prayer at 7:30pm, midnight mass in Swedish at 10pm and in English at 11:59pm.
-December 25th: High mass at 11am (Latin?), mass in English at 6pm.
-January 1st: High mass at 11am (Latin?), mass in English at 6pm.

These churches do have more services than I have listed and there are, of course, many more churches in Stockholm! If you are staying at the Rival Hotel and interested in other churches or dates, contact me directly. Looking for temple services (Judaism)? Click here for information in English for the Jewish Congregation in Stockholm, or click here for an earlier blog entry about the Great Synagogue, Jewish Museum and more.

December 19, 2012

Shopping During the Holidays 2012/13

NK, photo by Jeppe Wikström, Stockholms Visitors Board
(EDIT: click here for information for 2013-14!) I just posted a list for which days major museums close during the holidays. Another popular activity during this period is shopping! Stores, of course, do close on certain days during the holidays. A good rule of thumb for Christmas is that stores tend to be open on the 24th, closing early, and closed on the 25th. Basically the same applies for New Years... closing early on the 31st and closed on the 1st. They all generally have extended opening hours in the mad rush up until Christmas. Smaller shops can be closed on the 24th and 31st as well. Here are the opening hours for the major shopping centers and department stores in Stockholm:

  • NK Department Store: 10am to 2pm on Dec 24th, closed on Dec 25th, 10am to 5pm on Dec 31st and closed on Jan 1st.
  • Åhlens Department Store: 10am to 2pm on Dec 24th, closed on Dec 25th, 10am to 6pm on Dec 31st and closed on Jan 1st.
  • Mood Shopping Center: 10am to 2pm on Dec 24th, closed on Dec 25th, 10am to 5pm on Dec 31st and closed on Jan 1st. 
  • Gallerian Shopping Center: 10am to 2pm on Dec 24th, closed on Dec 25th, 11am to 5pm on Dec 31st and closed on Jan 1st. 
  • Sturegallerian Shopping Center: 10am to 2pm on Dec 24th, closed on Dec 25th, 10am to 2pm on Dec 31st and closed on Jan 1st.
Liquor stores, called Systembolaget, are all closed on the 23rd through 26th of December. They are also closed on the 30th and close at 2pm on the 31st of December. So you better plan your beer, wine, champagne & liquor purchases accordingly!
Photo by Henrik Trygg, Stockholms Visitors Board
The week between Christmas and New Years (called mellandagarna, literally "the middle days") is the biggest shopping week of the year in Sweden with some incredible sales. Just keep your eyes open for signs saying REA ("sale") or MELLANDAGSREA ("middle day sale"). If you are staying at the Rival Hotel and need information on the opening hours for specific smaller shops, drop me a line or stop by and talk to me. If you are wondering about restaurant opening hours... those are way too varied to write a list here on my blog, but you can check an earlier blog entry about restaurants to get a general idea of what to expect!

December 15, 2012

Museums During the Holidays 2012/13

(EDIT: Click here for the list of museums for 2014-2015!) If you are coming to Stockholm during the holidays and want to get a little cultural, you don't have to worry... there is always at least one museum open each day! While there are about 80 museums in Stockholm, I thought I would list which days the larger museums are open/closed to help you plan your trip.

  • Skansen- open every day!
  • Vasa Museum- closed the 23rd, 24th, 25th of December as well as the 1st of January.
  • Fotografiska (photography)- closed on December 24th.
  • Moderna (modern art)- closed December 24th, 25th & 31st and January 1st.
  • National (classic art)- closed December 24th, 25th and 31st.
  • Nordiska (nordic culture)- closed December 24th, 25th and 31st.
  • Historiska (history)- closed December 24th, 25th and 31st.
  • Nobel- closed December 24th, 25th & 31st and January 1st.
  • Medeltidsmuseum (medieval history)- closed December 24th, 25th & 31st and January 1st.
  • Naturhistoriska (natural history)- closed December 23rd and 24th.
  • Kungliga Slottet (royal palace incl. museums)- closed December 24th, 25th & 31st and January 1st.
Be aware that some of the museums have shorter opening hours on certain days. Double check with their websites (linked above) for opening hours. The changing of the guards at the Royal Palace takes place every day at 12:15pm except on Sundays as well as December 25th & 26th and Janurary 1st when it takes place at 1:15pm. Strömma's sightseeing basic bus and boat tours run pretty much as normal, double check their calendar on the website for specific tour information. If you are staying at the Rival Hotel, stop by and talk to me for more detailed opening hours as well as information regarding smaller museums.

December 14, 2012

Ski Slope in Stockholm is Open!

SkiStar Hammarbybacken
A very cold and snowy December means that the Hammarby Backen ski slope is open for business much earlier than in previous years! It officially opened on December 13th. Does Hammarby offer as high quality skiing as the Alps or even the mountains of northern Sweden (Åre & Sällen)? No, it's a small slope, but that really isn't the point. The selling point for Hammarby is that it is right in the middle of the southern suburbs with views of Stockholm from the top. There aren't many "urban" ski slopes in the world, so it is quite a unique experience.
While it is a smaller, contained ski resort... it is still equipped for a complete ski experience: 2 lifts, 4 slopes, a children's area, a snowboard park, a ski school, ski equipment rental and (most importantly) After Ski at their restaurant and bar. Click here for a map. So far, they are open evenings during the weekdays and daytime on the weekends (closed on Christmas Eve). But it is early days for the season and the opening hours are sure to expand. It is very easy to get to the slope from the Rival Hotel... subway from Slussen to Gullmarsplan (green line southbound) and then transfer to Tvärbanan (street car) in the direction of Sickla. Exit at Sickla Kaj and from there it is just a 10 minute walk. See you on the slopes!
More ski slopes in the Stockholm area!

December 12, 2012

Restaurant Kryp In

Kryp In is a great restaurant, located in Gamla Stan, serving modern Swedish cuisine. I really can't recommend this restaurant enough... it is one of my favorite restaurants to visit and to send hotel guests to. The location is great. Right in the middle of the historic Old Town, it is still on a side street which means that it isn't "touristy" and relatively quiet compared with restaurants located on the busier streets. The name kryp in means to "crawl in" and my guess is that this comes from the fact that it is an old building, dating back from the Middle Ages, and that the doorways are low... people were, after all, shorter back in the day! Once inside, the best way to describe the restaurant is cozy. There are three smaller dining rooms, giving the restaurant a real intimate feeling. Kryp In is a restaurant better suited to romantic couples than larger groups!
The food is fantastic... modern Swedish cuisine mixed with some classic local dishes. By modern Swedish cuisine, I mean that they use Swedish produce in international dishes. For example, Reindeer roast beef with Jerusalem artichoke créme, gooseberries and onion compote,Västerbotten cheese flavoured potato purée, sundried lingon berries and red wine sauce. A personal favorite! Don't miss the warm cloudberries from Lapland (called hjortron) on vanilla ice cream with whipped cream... a local treat. To top it all off, the service at Kryp In is warm and personable.
For several years I have had the restaurant as one of my hidden gems. I always sent our hotel guests, knowing that they would be very happy. The restaurant has gained in popularity over the past few years thanks to word of mouth and myself and other hotel concierge. They now top the lists of restaurants in Stockholm on Trip Advisor! Good news for the restaurant, but bad news for me as it is harder to get a table there at the last minute. I'm sure this blog entry won't help matters! If you are staying at the Rival Hotel, contact me and I will help you with making a table reservation. Thank you to my colleague Micke L who visited the restaurant last week and provided me with the pictures.

December 8, 2012

Snowy Stockholm

Off for the weekend! But I thought that I would leave you with some pictures I took this week of a snow covered Stockholm. The city is especially beautiful all covered in white. The weather is supposed to remain below zero for at least the upcoming week (with more snow expected), so the snow isn't going anywhere soon! If you get too cold walking around the city, do like a Swede and stop by a café, bar or Christmas market and try a glass of glögg. This is hot, spiced/mulled wine served with almonds and raisins and comes in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic varieties... or, if you are really cold, a strong variety spiked with cognac or other strong spirit.
Gamla Stan waterfront with official Christmas tree
On Skeppsholmen island...
Kastellholmen in Stockholm harbor
Gamla Stan seen from the water

December 7, 2012

Ginger Bread House Competition at Architecture Museum

While visiting Moderna Museet yesterday (see blog entry below), I stopped by the Architecture Museum (Arkitekturmuseet) to see their exhibition on ginger bread houses. You see, both museums have the same entrance and you can either pay a 60 SEK entrance fee for the architecture museum, or you can pay 160 SEK for a combination ticket for both museums (reduced price for senior citizens and free for children under 19 years of age).
This exhibition is actually a display of contest entries for the annual ginger bread house competition. There are four categories of competitors... architects, professional bakers, amateur bakers and children up to 12. There are over a hundred entries this year and I couldn't decide whether I liked the professional and creative houses or the whimsical houses created by children. The theme this year is "I can join! Bake your smart idea for a better life" (direct translation from Swedish). Quite a vague theme... but it was fun to walk through the exhibit and see the different houses and breathe in the peppery ginger scent (but don't eat the works of art!). Visitors can vote for their favorite designs at the museum. Prizes will be awarded at 3pm on December 16th for designs in the different categories; winners are decided by both a jury and the public. If you are coming later in the month, don't worry, the exhibition will run until January 6th!
The museum is located on the island of Skeppsholmen and is easy get there from the Rival Hotel. There are regular ferries between Slussen (10 minute walk from hotel) to the islands of Skeppsholmen and Djurgården. The trip takes only 10 minutes, but make sure you tell the ticket agent that you wish to disembark at Skeppsholmen... sometimes they don't stop at that island if there aren't any passengers to drop off or pick up.

December 6, 2012

Upcoming Exhibitions at Moderna (modern art museum)

I was invited this morning to a press breakfast at Stockholm's modern art museum, Moderna, where they introduced the coming exhibitions for the first half of 2013. Besides the art and information, it was nice to visit the island of Skeppsholmen (where the museum is located) after yesterday's snowstorm... it was a winter wonderland! We also got a chance to visit their permanent collection which was recently rehung (rehanged?) with some interesting new pieces.
Le Corbusier
I was dreaming (first version), 1953
© Le Corbusier/ BUS 2012
The first major exhibition of 2013 is Le Corbusier (opening on January 19th). He was a prolific artist working in the fields of architecture, design, painting, photography, urban design and more. This exhibition, "Secret Laboratory", looks at the breadth of his work in different fields and also looks at how his work in the field of urban design has impacted Stockholm... even though none of his architecture is actually found in the city.
Hilma af Klint
Svanen, nr 17. Ur: Serie SUW, Grupp 9 1914-1915© Courtesy Stiftelsen Hilma af Klints Verk. Foto: Albin Dahlström/Moderna Museet
The second big exhibition is Hilma af Klint, a Swedish pioneer in abstract art. This exhibition is the culmination of Moderna's push over the past couple of years to highlight female artists. According to the currator, af Klint is to Swedish modern art what Edvard Munch is to Norwegian modern art... both coming from the same generation of artists. Hilma studied art in Stockholm in the 1880's, something rare for women at that time. She created more than 1,000 works of art, but requested that none were to be shown to the public until 20 years after her death. Opens February 16th and runs until the end of May.
Finally... the big summer exhibition in 2013 is "Pop Art Design". The exhibition is in cooperation with Vitra Design Museum and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark. More about this as we get closer to summer, but, if you are a fan of pop art like I am, it is something to look forward to!
Winter wonderland outside of museum!
It is quite easy to get to Moderna from the Rival Hotel. There are regular ferries between Slussen (10 minute walk from hotel) to the islands of Skeppsholmen and Djurgården. The trip takes only 10 minutes, but make sure you tell the ticket agent that you wish to disembark at Skeppsholmen... sometimes they don't stop at that island if there aren't any passengers to drop off or pick up.
Ferry picking me up at Skeppsholmen

December 5, 2012

Winter Warning!

In front of the Rival Hotel 
Well, our winter weather is continuing! We have had a major snow storm today with 3 decimeters of snow which has caused the city to come to a standstill. Many flights and trains have been cancelled or severely delayed due to the snow and strong winds. So, if you are traveling to Stockholm in the next couple of days, keep your eyes on the weather report and pack for cold weather. It is also a good idea to be careful while walking around Stockholm in the next few days due to snow falling from buildings! Just for fun you can check the webcam showing the Royal Palace in Gamla Stan to see what the weather is like...
Keeping the street in front of the hotel clear for our guests!

December 4, 2012

Christmas Market in Gamla Stan

I have already written an overview of Christmas in Stockholm, where I mentioned the Christmas market in Gamla Stan (the Old Town). But as I visited the market on Sunday, I thought I would post some pictures to get you inspired! It is a great market to visit and very accessible... open every day, 11am to 6pm, until December 23rd.

The perfect place to pick up some hand made Christmas decorations, local arts & crafts, yummy holiday delicacies (jams, sausages, candies, etc;) or just buy some glögg (hot spiced wine) and walk around soaking up the atmosphere. Only a 15 minute walk from the Rival Hotel... but make sure you bundle up!

November 29, 2012

Italian Restaurant: Nostrano

Yesterday evening I had dinner with a colleague at Nostrano, a cosy Italian restaurant just a couple of blocks from the Rival Hotel (click here for location). I've been meaning to try this restaurant for awhile now and was happy to finally have the opportunity! And it didn't disappoint... it is definitely one of the better Italian restaurants in Stockholm, without breaking your wallet. We started the dinner with a classic Carpaccio with arugula pesto and deep fried Pecorino cheese with orange sallad, honey and pine nuts. For our main course we chose Tortelloni (filled with ground veal, ricotta & gorganzola cheeses and black truffle) and Pasta Gratinati (with prosciutto, provolone, ricotta, leafy spinach and tomato sauce). All delicious!
Pasta Gratinati
One warning... it is a small restaurant and very popular, so you really need to book in advance. If you are staying at the hotel, you can contact me and I will help you with a reservation. Otherwise give them a call at +46(0)8 644 1035. Buon appetito! Not the best pictures, but it was quite crowded and I didn't want to take pictures of the other diners without their permission.

November 24, 2012

Restaurant Awards 2012

Every year the restaurant industry in Sweden pats itself on the back and hands out awards in several categories in a ceremony called Restauranggalan. I always think that these awards can be interesting for visitors to know about and I have reported in the past about the Michelin Guide and White Guide. What makes these awards of special value is that they are organized by the industry magazine Restauranger & Storkök and chosen by a jury made up of people in the restaurant industry.
There are several awards that might not be as interesting for an international visitor such as Sommelier of the Year, Waiter of the Year, Health Concept of the Year, etc; But here are some of the awards I think you might find of use when looking for a restaurant in Stockholm (if you wish to know the other winners, click here):

November 22, 2012

Christmas in Stockholm 2012

(EDIT: from 2012. For information about Christmas markets in 2013... click here) Some of my most popular blog entries have been those I've written about Christmas in Stockholm, so I guess it is time to write about what is happening this year in Stockholm! If you are staying at the Rival Hotel and need more detailed information, stop by and talk to me or drop me a line.
Main X-mas tree at Skeppsbron
The holiday season kicks off this Saturday, November 24th. This is the day the official Stockholm Christmas lights are lit and decorations revealed. 30 streets and squares in downtown Stockholm are decorated with thousands of LED lights. Last year was the first time the city made a real concerted effort to go "all out" for the holidays. There were some great decorations last year... should be fun to see what they come up with this year. Click here for map of the lights. While you are in the downtown area, stop by the NK Department Store to get a little more holiday cheer. Not only does this store have the best and most famous Christmas window decorations in Sweden, it is also the place to see Santa! He will be at NK every Friday-Sunday until December 13th when he also adds weekdays to his schedule (last day December 23rd).
Christmas market at Stortorget
This Saturday is also when the first Christmas markets open for business! In main square (Stortorget) in Gamla Stan you will find the Old Town Christmas Market, open daily from 11am to 6pm until December 23rd. In Skansen park and open-air museum, located on Djurgården, another Christmas Market opens. This one is very traditional and open between 10am and 4pm every Saturday & Sunday until the 16th of December. Skansen is also a great place to experience other Swedish Christmas traditions! Another large Christmas market opens on November 30th in Kungsträdgården park and will be open daily from 11am to 6pm until December 22nd. Kungsträdgården is right next to the above mentioned NK and is also where you will find the outdoor skating rink. Christmas markets in Stockholm are great places to pick up traditional Swedish holiday decorations, foods and handicrafts as well as to try glögg (Swedish hot spiced wine).
Ice skating at Kungsträdgården
Other Swedish Christmas traditions you should be aware of... many restaurants serve a traditional Christmas smörgåsbord called julbord, where a cornucopia of Swedish holiday goodies are laid out buffet style, and nothing else. This is a real treat and should be tried, but once is probably enough and you might want to find out which restaurants don't serve julbord to get a little variety. One great option is Strömma's Julbord boat cruises through the archipelago. A nice way to combine julbord and sightseeing! Then there is the whole Lucia celebration on December 13th (as well as Nobel Prize ceremonies). I will write more bout this later, but in the meantime you can read what I wrote last year to get an idea.
Julbord on Strömma boat cruise
Finally, two things just for fun, you have the popular gingerbread house competition at the Architecture Museum, right next to the Modern Art Museum located on Skeppsholmen (on display between Nov 28th and Jan 6th). And... got a craving for candy canes (polkagris in Swedish)? Stop by the Polkapojkarna in the Old Town, where they make the treats in front of your eyes, and get your fill! Merry Christmas!

November 21, 2012

Middle-Eastern Cuisine, Around the Corner from the Rival

Opening party at Tehran Grill
Stockholm is a melting pot of many nationalities and this is often reflected in the different cuisines available at local restaurants. In the Rival Hotel's neighbourhood (Mariatorget) we have Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Greek, Chilean, French as well as Swedish restaurants. In the past couple of weeks, my colleagues and I have had the opportunity to try two local restaurants, both specializing in Middle-Eastern cuisine. Last week I was invited to the grand opening of a new restaurant... Tehran Grill. It's always nice with a new restaurant in the area and it is especially fun with a little ethnic/culinary diversity! The owner, Nino Armoni, says that for years he has been homesick for cuisine from his homeland, especially a restaurant specializing in grilled dishes. He has brought an experienced chef from Iran to the restaurant to keep it authentic. The opening was popular and we got to try small variations of their different dishes. Very tasty! Located on Timmermansgatan 5.
Mezze dishes at Tabbouli
The other neighbourhood restaurant serving Middle-Eastern food (this time Lebanese cuisine) is Tabbouli. This restaurant has been quite successful, opening sister restaurants on Kungsholmen and in the downtown area. I have been to the Kungsholmen restaurant a couple of times and I do love Lebanese cuisine. So when my colleague Anders told me that he was going to dine there, I asked him to make a report and take some pictures. If you haven't tried Lebanese cuisine before, then you should definitely try the mezze which is the Lebanese version of tapas or antipasti.... a variety of small hot & cold dishes that, combined, make a great meal. Located on Tavastgatan 22.
Lighting detail at Tabbouli

November 16, 2012

Shopping and more at Sturegallerian

Entrance on Stureplan square
Sturegallerian is really more of an upscale lifestyle center than a shopping center. It occupies one of the best addresses in the city... located right on Stureplan square in the posh Östermalm district. There are plenty of smaller boutiques and even a few larger stores like Zara, but here you will also find one of Stockholm's best spas: Sturebadet. The spa is quite large and offers, besides treatments and massages, a pool, first rate gym, steam and sauna, relax area as well as a restaurant... all in beautiful surroundings. A great way to pamper yourself for the day! And speaking of restaurants, there are a few nice options located inside Sturegallerian. Sturehof is a personal favorite! There is also a newish French restaurant called Grand Escalier Brasserie and a good place to stop for a drink or bite to eat and do some great people watching is Tures. And, if you really feel like kicking up your heels, the nightclubs Sturecompagniet, V, Suite and Hell's Kitchen are all to be found here later in the evening. The Stureplan district is, after all, the center of nightlife in Stockholm!
Hell's Kitchen 
To be honest, I am seldom here to shop. More often than not I am here visiting Sturebadet, one of the restaurants or just passing through. Sturegallerian connects the Stureplan square with the shopping street Grev Turegatan (where the back entrance of the shopping center is located), and it is a wonderful place to walk through and browse, soaking up the atmosphere. Sturegallerian is easy to reach from the Rival Hotel... just four stations away on the red line (Östermalmstorg station).
Interior atrium
If you are wondering about all of the names starting with "Sture-", it is the name of a family that was very influential in Swedish history.

November 14, 2012

Restaurants Riche, Teatergrillen and Lillabaren

Writing about three restaurants in one post? Have I become lazy? Not really... all three restaurants/bars are actually located in the same building and have the same owner. I was invited last week for a meet-and-greet with the management, so I thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to write about these cultural & culinary landmarks.
Riche is the grand dame of Stockholm restaurants and has been around in one form or another since 1896; for many years it was run by famed Swedish restaurateur Tore Wretman. Just about every Stockholmer has been there at some point in their lives... whether for a celebration, dinner or just drinks. The name and interior design of the restaurant comes from its Parisian namesake Café Riche. The menu today reflects the restaurants history with classic Swedish dishes mixed with French influences and favorites. The bar is very popular with people of all walks of life, from after work drinks to late night partying. Riche is located on the street Birger Jarlsgatan in the upscale Stureplan district. I especially like their generous opening hours... Riche is one of the very few restaurants open for a la carte breakfast (weekdays from 7:30am).
Teatergrillen ("The Theater Grill") is located in the same building, though the entrance is in the back on Nybrogatan. Where Riche is loud and boisterous, Teatergrillen is quiet and sedate. The name comes from the restaurant's proximity to the Royal Dramatic Theatre ("Dramaten") and it has long been a favorite of the theatre artists. The menu contains the same influences as Riche... the difference is that perhaps you go to Riche to be seen and Teatergrillen for some privacy. Lillabaren ("the little bar") is as the name suggests and is located adjacent to Riche on Birger Jarlsgatan. This can be a loud and rowdy with a younger clientele. They have live performances on their stage about 5 times a week. They do have a great veranda where you can eat simpler dishes from their bar menu.
While all three have their own seperate entrances, they are all connected inside and guests often find themselves going from one locale to the other as the evening progresses. Chief sommelier (Källarmästare) Anders Timmel has a great way of describing their concept... many of their clientele start in Lillabaren as youngsters before moving on to Riche as up-and-comers before finally graduating to Teatergrillen as discerning adults. It is easy to reach from the Rival Hotel, either by a 7-8 minute taxi ride, or 4 subway stops to Östermalmstorg (red line). All pictures provided by Riche (much better than mine turned out!).