May 31, 2012

Restaurants Which Close a Few Weeks During the Summer- 2012

(ATTENTION- this is the dates for 2012, for current info... click here!) Here it comes... the anticipated list of which dates certain restaurants close during the summer. A majority of the high-end restaurants (Michelin star, etc;) close for a few weeks in the latter part of the summer. I'm not really sure why they do this, just when the city is full of hungry tourists... one theory is that they want to keep a high quality of service and not have to rely on a summer waitstaff for a longer period (we Swedes do get 5+ weeks of paid vacation!). Or it could be that it is just not feasible to be open those weeks with Swedes all on vacation and no businessmen in the city. At any rate, here is the list and I will add to it as I find more restaurants:

  • Lux Stockholm- closes on July 15th, reopens on August 15th.
  • F12- closes on July 8th, reopens on August 9th.
  • Mathias Dahlgren- closes on July 13th, reopens on August 7th.
  • Djuret- closes on June 22nd, reopens on August 27th. During this period their outdoor restaurant Svinet will be open.
  • Restaurant AG- closes July 1st, reopens on August 6th.
  • Frantzén/Lindeberg- closes on July 15th, reopens on Augsut 17th.
  • Brasserie Le Rouge- closes on June 21st, reopens on August 15th. Their bar (Le Bar), which has a great bar menu, will be open all summer.
  • Miss Voon- closes on July 1st, reopens on August 8th.
  • Smak på Restaurangen- closes on July 1st, reopens on August 9th.
  • Grill and Köttbaren- closes on July 8th, reopens on July 31st.
  • Esperanto- their main dining room closes on June 22nd for the summer. But their lounge with a la carte menu will be open during the summer months.
  • Sjögräs- closes on July 15th, reopens on August 6th. Their popular bar will be open during part of this time.
  • Operakällaren- closes on July 7th, reopens on August 7th. Their Bakfickan will be open all summer.
  • Pontus!- the main dining room closes on July 2nd, reopens on August 13th. Their bar/lounge and seafood bar are open all summer as well as their restaunt on the water Pontus by the Sea. '
  • Gastrologik- closes on July 22nd and reopens on August 14th.
Does this list depress you? Not to worry, there are plenty of great restaurants in Stockholm open during these weeks... some of them, especially with outdoor seating or views, really come to life during the summer. The Rival Hotel's Bistro is, of course, open every evening all summer long. Even during the Midsummer holidays (June 22nd to 24th).

May 29, 2012

A Taste of Stockholm, The Marathon & More!

Photo: Peter Backman, Smaka på Stockholm
I'm back... recharged and ready for a great summer! And we start the summer with a bang this weekend. First out is one of my favorite festivals: A Taste of Stockholm (Smaka På Stockholm). This is an annual restaurant festival held in the Kungsträdgården park in central Stockholm starting on June 1st and going on until June 6th. 20 restaurants will have tents and they represent a whole myriad of cuisines including Swedish, Southeast Asian, Indian, South American and Ethiopian. Something for everyone! Besides food, there will be beer and wine tents as well as great live music performances and cooking competitions. I really like this festival (this will be the 20th year in a row the festival is held) as it has a real nice atmosphere, centrally located and is popular with Stockholmers.
Photo: Peter Backman, Smaka på Stockholm
Speaking of annual events, this Saturday (June 2nd) is the 34th annual Stockholm Marathon. It is quite a popular event with over 21,000 participants... from Olympic athletes to amateur runners. As a tourist, it is good to know that you shouldn't catch a taxi, ride a bus or drive in the inner city on this day as many streets will be closed... stick to walking or the subway! Otherwise it is a bit of a festival atmosphere in the city and it is always fun to cheer on the runners. Click here for a map of the course.
Photo: Richard Forsberg
And finally... I have mentioned several times that this year is the 100th anniversary of the 1912 Stockholm Olympics with many sporting events held in celebration. From June 2nd to the 8th there will be a sailing regatta held in Riddarfjärden right in front of the City Hall (Stadshuset). Should be fun! At least it will be pretty with the lake filled with sailing boats.

May 12, 2012

Even a Concierge Needs a Vacation!

It's that time! I need to recharge my batteries before the summer season starts... so it's off to the Mediterranean for two weeks of R&R. During my absence, my colleagues will be monitoring my e-mails so Rival Hotel guests can still e-mail questions and requests for help. Otherwise you can contact my knowledgeable colleagues directly at If you need any extra recommendations or help ahead of your summer trip to Stockholm, scroll down to my last blog entry. There I have gathered some practical tips and links that might help.
See you back here in the last week of May!

May 11, 2012

Help in Planning Your Summer Vacation in Stockholm

We're gearing up for a fantastic summer here at the Rival Hotel! There are, as always, so many great things to see, do and experience here in Stockholm during the summer months. I've decided to put together a list of some of my more popular blog posts from the past, regarding summer activities... things can help you plan your trip to Stockholm.

In the beginning of June, I'll be writing a list of restaurants that will close for a few weeks during the summer. In the meantime you can check my list from last year to get a general idea if your favorite restaurant will be open while you are here. You can also click here for my recent restaurant reviews/recommendations. On the right side of this page you will find the archive of my past posts... check my posts from the past two summers to read my experiences doing different day trips in the archipelago, other summer adventures and useful tips.
Strömma is the best sightseeing company in Stockholm. Have a look at their website to find the tour that best fits with what you want to see & do.

May 9, 2012

Spring Farmers' Market

It's that time again... the popular Spring Farmers' Market! For the next four Saturdays (10am to 3pm- May 12th, 19th, 26th and June 2nd), local farmers will be selling their produce directly to the public. Besides fruit & vegetables, visitors can find plants, flowers, bread, cheese, sausages, fish and other local products. Vendors have two criteria to meet in order to sell their wares: they have to have grown or made the product themselves and done this no further away than 250 kilometers from the market. This has become a welcome and popular spring event in the Södermalm district over the past few years. Each year it becomes a little bigger... last year there were about 20 vendors and thousands of visitors. The market is located on the street Katarina Bangata (in the SoFo neighbourhood), just a 15 minute walk from the Rival Hotel.
More interested in flea markets than farmers' markets? Click here!

May 5, 2012

The Royal Coin Cabinet
Kungliga Myntkabinettet, or the Royal Coin Cabinet, is the national museum of economy with a special interest in the history of money & finance. The museum is located right next to the Royal Palace in the historic Old Town (Gamla Stan). There are several great exhibitions in the museum including the history of Swedish coins, money of the world, and historic medals (including the Nobel medal).
There is a new exhibition there that is of special interest. Sweden is getting new money! And no, I don't mean the Euro. Sweden is exchanging her old banknotes for a whole new series. In 2011 the Bank of Sweden had a contest to decide the design of the new money and in April 2012 it was announced that Gunnar Österlund won with his design "Cultural Journey". They should be out in circulation by 2015. I think the new banknotes are quite pretty (see picture above) and you will probably recognize many of the faces... Astrid Lindgren, Greta Garbo, Ingmar Bergman, etc; Click here for the whole list. In the new exhibition at the Royal Coin Cabinet, you can see the new banknotes up close as well as the other competing designs.

May 3, 2012

Two of the World's Top 50 Restaurants in Stockholm!

We've already had the White Guide and Michelin Guide lists of the best restaurants in Stockholm this year, now comes Restaurant Magazine's annual list of the Top 50 Restaurants in the World as voted by 600 chefs, critics and gourmands. Good news for Sweden this year as we have three restaurants on the list... two of which are in Stockholm! It is probably not strange that it is Stockholm's two 2 star Michelin restaurants that made the list. Frantzén/Lindeberg came in at #20 while Mathias Dalgren took #41. The third Swedish restaurant to make the list is Fäviken (#34), located in Jämtland in northern Sweden. Congratulations to all three!
If you are coming to Stockholm in the coming months and wish to dine at one of these two establishments in the city, then there are a couple of things you need to be aware of. First of all, you should definitely book a table well in advance! You might get lucky with a last minute cancellation if you wait until you arrive in Stockholm... but don't count on it! Secondly, they (along with the other Michelin star restaurants) close for 3 to 4 weeks in July/August. For example, Mathias Dahgren will be closed from July 13th to August 7th this summer. In the beginning of June I will be compiling a list of which restaurants will be closed during the summer and for which weeks. For reference, here is the list from last year. If you will be staying at the Rival Hotel, contact me in advance for help with table reservations.
And while I am busy handing out congratulations... one is definitely in order for the restaurant Noma (in nearby Copenhagen) which has nabbed the #1 spot for the third year in a row!