August 30, 2012

Art Exhibitions This Fall & Winter- 2012/13

National Museum
I recently posted about my visit to the photography museum to see the new Christer Strömholm exhibition. This is only one of the many art exhibitions showing this fall in museums and galleries around Stockholm. Here is a list of some of the highlights of the coming autumn season to help you plan your visit:

  • Fotografiska (photography)- besides the Christer Strömholm exhibition (until Nov 25th), they will also be showing "In the Flux" by Marie Friberg... an investigation of male gender identity (Sep 14th to Nov 25th). The big exhibition for the winter season is David LaChapelle, which will take up the whole museum until March 3rd. Click here to read about my visit!
  • Moderna (modern art)- just a few weeks left for the Yoko Ono exhibition (ends Sep 16th). Their big autumn exhibition is "Picasso/Duchamp- He Was Wrong" starting on Aug 25th and running until Mar 3rd, 2013. Then there are two new exhibitions starting in Jan & Feb!
  • National (classic art)- "Slow Art" continues until Feb, 2013. It will be joined by the exhibition "Pride and Prejudice" featuring work by female artists from France and Sweden in the 18th & 19th centuries (Sep 27th to Jan 20th). The museum is slated to close on February 3rd for major renovations, opening again in 2017!
  • Nordiska (nordic culture & traditions)- "Jewelry", a look at jewelry... from everyday use to royal gala (starts Sep 14th).
  • Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities- "Secret Love" 150 works of art by 27 contemporary Chinese artists on the subject of taboo love in modern Chinese society (Sept 21st to March 31st, 2013).
  • Millesgården (art & sculpture)- "Astri & Evert Taube- On Their Love of Art" (Sep 22nd to Jan 13rd). "Painters in Normandy" starts on Feb 2nd and features great Impressionists such as Renoir and Monet (runs until May 26th).
  • Nobel (nobel prizes)- an exhibition about Herta Müller, the 2009 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, runs from Sep 28th to Jan 27th. 
  • Price Eugen's Waldemarsudde (art museum)- Two upcoming exhibitions... Lars Jonsson (Oct 10th to Jan 20th) and Helene Schjerfbeck (Nov 10th to Feb 24th).
  • Thielska Galleriet (art museum/gallery)- Peter Frie (until Oct 28th). Upcoming exhibition to be announced.
  • Liljevalchs (art museum/gallery)- August Strindberg "A Devilish Exhibition" (Oct 5th to Jan 8th).
  • Sven-Harry's (art museum/gallery)- Stig T Karlsson and Lisa Karlsson (Sept 22nd to Nov 11th).
  • Bonnier's (art museum/gallery)- More Than Sound (Sep 5th to Dec 2nd)
Bonnier's
There are, of course, many other smaller galleries around the city as well as smaller exhibitions at the museums listed above. If you are staying at the Rival Hotel and are having trouble finding something particular... stop by and talk to me!
Sven-Harry's


August 28, 2012

Unique Dining: The Cube by Electrolux

This isn't really a restaurant review, like the others I have written. The price for dinner (2,600 SEK per person) is a little steep for me. So, instead of visiting this restaurant and then writing a glowing review here, I stood outside, sad-faced in the rain and took pictures of The Cube by Electrolux.
The Cube perched atop the Royal Opera House...
Bitter jokes aside, if you are a foodie and enjoy a unique, gourmet dining experience... this is the place for you! The Cube is a temporary "pop-up" restaurant, currently residing in both London and Stockholm. It has previously been hosted by Milan and Brussels. In Stockholm, it is located on top of the Royal Opera House with breathtaking views of the city- helped by the restaurant's glass walls. The views may be nice, but the main selling point is the food with the menus designed and prepared each week by some of Sweden's best chefs (Mathias Dahlren, Johan Jureskog and Magnus Ek among others). Together these chefs have an impressive collection of awards, including Michelin stars and Bocuse d'Or medals. I may have joked earlier about the price but, to be fair, it does include all drinks and this is about the same price you would pay for dinner and drinks at any of the Michelin star restaurants in Stockholm. Plus, it is a once in a lifetime culinary experience. If the price is still a little too steep, then you do have the option of eating lunch at the Cube (1,450 SEK including all drinks).
...looking over the water to the Royal Palace.
While I haven't been there myself, I can report that I have sent a few Rival Hotel guests there this summer and they have been very, very satisfied! The Cube by Electrolux is open daily for lunch and dinner until October 21st, 2012. There are only about 18 seats in the restaurant... so booking in advance is necessary! Visit their website for booking information as well as pictures from inside the Cube.

August 25, 2012

Christer Strömholm at Fotografiska

I had lunch today with a friend at Fotografiska, the photography museum (a great place for lunch, by the way!). If you are regular reader here, then you know that this is one of my favourite museums and that I'm a sucker for black & white photography, especially from the 50's and 60's. So you can understand my excitement that they have just unveiled their main exhibition for the coming season, a photographer who specializes in just this medium: Christer Strömholm.
Christer passed away 10 years ago and this exhibition, "CHR", is a retrospective of his work. 150 black and white photographs from his travels in the 50's and 60's... Paris, Spain and Japan among other places. I especially enjoyed his loving portraits of his friends from Paris. These friends were the transsexuals that lived and worked in the Pigalle neighbourhood (around Place Blanche) that Christer came to know when he lived there during this time period. The pictures are beautiful (especially how the museum has lit them) and somewhat sad when you think of how hard their lives must have been. The exhibition runs until November 25th. There are only a couple of more weeks left of the August Strindberg exhibition. Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the playwright's death, this exhibition ends on September 9th. There are some great photographs of Stockholm in the late 1800's included in the exhibition!

From September 10th the museum will be extending their opening hours: 9am to 9pm Sunday to Wednesday and 9am to 11pm Thursday to Saturday. I love the idea of visiting a museum in the evening! Fotografiska is located on the waterfront of the island of Södermalm, just a 20 minute walk from the Rival Hotel.

August 23, 2012

Strömparterren Park

Down the stairs from Norrbro
After two years and almost 28 million SEK of renovations, Strömparterren has reopened! This is one of Stockholm's oldest parks (1832) and probably best situated... located on the island of Helgeandsholmen, nestled in the Strömmen (rapids connecting Lake Mälaren with the Baltic) and surrounded on three sides by the Royal Palace, the Parliament Building and the Royal Opera House. "Strömparterren" is a mix of Swedish and French words, basically meaning downstairs at Strömmen. The name does make sense as you have to go down stairs from the bridge Norrbro to get to the park, which is just a little above water level. This is a great place to sit, listen to the rushing water and admire the beautiful buildings surrounding you on all sides.
The Sun Singer by Carl Milles (minus the sun)
In the past the park has been famous for waterfront cafés, fishermen and live music. It is still a popular place for fishing and it is possible to see a fisherman reel in a salmon there. Trout, eel, perch and pike are other common fish caught here. These days the park is mostly known for the statue The Sun Singer (Solsångaren) by famed Swedish sculptor Carl Milles, as well as being the entrance to the Medieval Museum (Medeltidsmuseet). If the statue catches your fancy and you want see more... visit Millesgården, just on the outskirts of the city. There are plans to bring back live music by summer 2013 which, along with the museum's outdoor café, should be a nice addition to the city landscape.
The park with Palace to the left & the Parliament to the right
To get there from the Rival Hotel, it is a nice 20-25 minute walk through the Old Town or you can take either bus 43 or 55.

August 21, 2012

Last Days for Horse and Carriage (Buggy) Tours

Boarding the carriage at Mynttorget
It's sad to say, but the summer season is slowly coming to an end here in Stockholm (we have a shorter season up here in the north!). While many sightseeing tours do continue through September, some of the boat excursions and day trips do end now in August. One activity that is coming to an end is the daily horse and carriage sightseeing tours of of the Old Town (Gamla Stan). During the summer months, they depart daily between 11am and 3:30pm from the square Myntorget in the Old Town. It is a 45 minute guided tour of the Old Town in Swedish and English. This is a nice way to get away from the crowded busses and boats and see the city from a different vantage point (and at a leisurely pace). The last day for the daily tours is August 24th! If you are staying at the Rival Hotel, contact me directly and I can book an open ticket for you. If you are planning a trip to Stockholm after September and this post has you in a panic... don't fear, certain sightseeing tours run year round! The Panorama bus tour and the Archipelago boat tour for example.

August 18, 2012

Midnattsloppet (The Midnight Run) 2012

Photo by Yanan Li, Stockholm's Visitors Board

Tonight (Saturday, August 18th) is the date for the Midnattsloppet or Midnight Race. This 10 kilometer race has been held annually since 1982 and has gotten more popular with each year with thousands of runners and even more spectators. The race is run around the island of Södermalm with the home stretch down the street Hornsgatan, half a block from the Rival Hotel. What makes this race unique is the carnival atmosphere along the route (there is even a costume competition) as well as the late start time... it's a staggered start with the first group starting at 9:30pm and the last group at 10:45pm.
If you are not participating in the race, then you can always choose a spot along the course, enjoy the atmosphere, and cheer on the racers!

August 17, 2012

Other Restaurant Information for Stockholm

I just posted a collection of my restaurant reviews. But I have also written many posts regarding dining out other than personal reviews. For example, listing the best places to get a steak in Stockholm, Michelin star restaurants and tips about different classic Swedish dishes as well as tips for booking a restaurant in Stockholm. Here they are:


Restaurant Awards/Guides:

Eating and drinking on the water at Loopen
Collections (restaurants grouped by theme):
Swedish Cuisine (much more than meatballs):
Delicious löjrom

August 16, 2012

Restaurant Recommendations in Stockholm

The Rival's Bistro
I was looking through some of my past restaurant reports/reviews and I noticed how many I have written over the past five years. Add these to all of the times I have revisited restaurants already reviewed as well as the restaurants I have decided not to write about... that is a lot of eating out! No wonder I haven't made my first million yet. I decided to collect my reviews (as well as other posts that relate to dining out in Stockholm) in one post to make them easier to find for both readers as well as myself. They are organized after location. Click on the restaurant's name to visit my review. As I visit more restaurants, I will add them to this post. Keep in mind that some of these reviews are a few years old! Also read: tips for booking a restaurant in Stockholm.

Gamla Stan (Old Town):

  • Fem Små Hus- upscale, Swedish cuisine in historic atmosphere.
  • Den Gyldene Freden- One of the world's oldest restaurants. Classic Swedish cuisine.
  • Aifur- Viking themed restaurant. Fun with good food.
  • Le Rogue- high-end French restaurant with more casual bar area (Le Bar).
  • Tradition- traditional Swedish cuisine. Their third location!
  • Kryp In- A personal favorite! Modern, Swedish cuisine in cozy atmosphere.
  • Svinet- the restaurant Djuret's outdoor summer barbecue restaurant.
  • Pharmarium- conceptual cocktail bar where cocktails are paired with medium sized dishes.
  • Mr French- grill and seafood restaurant located right on the harbour waterfront.
  • Cultur- Mediterranean tapas restaurant with bar and outdoor seating.
  • Pastis- small, charming and genuine French bistro.
  • Ebenist- restaurant on Stortorget square, next to the cocktail bar Pharmarium (same owner).
Södermalm (where the Rival Hotel is located):
  • Bistro Rival- of course, I need to report on the hotel's own fantastic restaurant!
  • Bistro Süd- Neighbourhood French/Swedish bistro... popular with the locals.
  • Paradiso- recently opened neighbourhood restaurant with ambition.
  • Delikatessen- French Bistro in former fire station with fun bar.
  • Barobao- Chinese/Swedish "fast food" eatery.
  • Marie Laveau- Cajun restaurant that turns into a great bar and nightspot later in the evening.
  • Gondolen- upscale and popular restaurant with view over Stockholm.
  • Nook- new Nordic cuisine with Asian flavors... a gastronomic experience.
  • Ramblas Mariatorget- Spanish tapas restaurant, popular with the locals.
  • Gamla Amsterdam- cheese shop with smaller dishes and great wines.
  • Fotografiska- award winning restaurant at the photography museum.
  • Il Tempo- Italian restaurant with NYC-Little Italy atmosphere.
  • Usine / Bistro 38- Söder restaurant with French/Swedish classic dishes.
  • Urban Deli- restaurant, bar, deli, bakery & grocery store... all in one! SoFo.
  • Nytorget 6- hip, laid back SoFo restaurant with rotisserie.
  • Nostrano- Cozy, popular Italian restaurant with great atmosphere.
  • Ho's- Best Chinese restaurant in Stockholm... casual and authentic. Just won award for best Chinese restaurant in Europe!
  • Söders Hjärta- casual, neighbourhood restaurant.
  • Linje 10- hipster paradise, serving southern European cuisine.
  • Koh Phangan- popular Thai restaurant in SoFo neighborhood.
  • Pitcher's- "soft" sports bar and restaurat on Mariatorget.
  • Pelikan- rustic Swedish cuisine in beer hall atmosphere. SoFo.
  • Tehran Grill- Casual neighbourhood restaurant serving Iranian cuisine.
  • Tabbouli- Lebanese restaurant, around corner from the hotel.
  • Indian Garden- award winning Indian restaurant with 6 locations.
  • Mariatorget- collection of eateries around Mariatorget and the Rival Hotel.
  • Tolv Stockholm- (just south of Södermalm) a collection of restaurants and bars under the newly built Tele2 Arena.
Tasting menu at Jonas
Kungsholmen:
  • Trattorian- high-end Italian restaurant on the waterfront. Especially great in the summer!
  • AG- Fabulous and upscale steakhouse in interesting locale. Tapas and wine bar as well.
  • Piren- summery restaurant on newly opened waterfront promenade.
  • Mälarpaviljongen- gay owned and operated with mixed crowd. Floating bar & café.
  • Atelier 23- private dining and pop-up restaurant with a view.
Downtown/Östermalm/Vasastan:
  • Operakällaren- famous restaurant... upscale dining in historic atmosphere. Michelin one star.
  • Esperanto- Michelin star restaurant. Gourmet dining. Popular sushi restaurant on bottom floor (Råkultur).
  • Esperanto, Råkultur and Shibumi- three restaurants, one building (gourmet, sushi and Japanese food bar). 
  • Mathias Dahlgren Matsalen (The Dining Room). Michelin 2 star restaurant. A gastronomic experience!
  • Mathias Dahlgren (Food Bar)- Michelin 1 star restaurant. Dahlgren's version of a modern, gourmet bistro.
  • Mathias Dahlgren (The Dining Table)- communal ding table within the Michelin 2 star restaurant where the chef creates the menu at the table.
  • Volt- cosy restaurant with wonderful food. One Michelin star.
  • Farang- Great Southeast Asian fusion cuisine in a sleek, modern locale.
  • Público- Mexican/Peruvian restaurant run by star chefs Melker Andersson and Danyel Couet.
  • Riche and Teatergrillen- Swedish classics and French favorites in these trendy and long lasting sister restaurants.
  • Brasseriet- intimate restaurant with old world glamour. In the Royal Opera House.
  • Pontus!- fine dining restaurant in Stureplan neighborhood (more casual Pocket located there as well). (EDIT: closed temporarily, re-opening in May '15 as Burger & Lobster)
  • Burger & Lobster- as the name suggests... burger and lobster!
  • Boqueria- trendy, Spanish restaurant. Great tapas!
  • Nosh & Chow- cuisine from the 4 corners of the .world.
  • Zink Grill- hip restaurant on the even hipper street Biblioteksgatan.
  • B.A.R.- conceptual restaurant based on a food market (you choose your own cut of meat/fish at the counter along with side dishes).
  • Gro- ambitious hole-in-the-wall restaurant with focus on fruit & vegetables.
  • Luzette- Continental brasserie in Central Train Station.
  • P.A. & Co- Swedish/French bistro, famous with the locals!
  • East- mainstay Asian fusion restaurant with a popular, trendy bar.
  • Taverna Brillo- Italian restaurant with marketplace on Stureplan.
  • Grill- grilled food is the theme at this popular restaurant with ecclectic design.
  • Köttbaren- "the meat bar", butcher shop with drop-in restaurant.
  • Griffin's Steakhouse- stylish dining in the new waterfront area. The name gives you a good idea of what's on the menu.
  • Brasserie Bobonne- upscale, yet intimate, French restaurant.
  • E.A.T.- Asian/European fusion restaurant in Mood Stockholm.
  • Koh Phangan- second location of popular Thai restaurant.
  • Sturehof- a classic! Swedish cuisine... great place for seafood and people watching.
  • Mother- restaurant and market with lactose and refined sugar free menu.
  • Stockholm's Matmarknad- food market with food/drink adjacent to Sturehof restaurant.
  • Saluhall food market (Lisa Elmqvist)- not to be missed! Historic indoor food market with great options for lunch.
  • Svartengrens- great steakhouse in Vasastan neighbourhood.
  • Hard Rock Café- up and running at this location since 1985.
Historic opulence at Operakällaren
Djurgården and Archipelago:
  • Spritmuseum- fantastic restaurant in the museum with great vegetarian options.
  • Villa Godthem- stylish and beautiful... a great option for dining (lunch or dinner) when visiting Djurgården.
  • Rosendals Wärdshus- café, lunch and dinner during the summer. Beautiful outdoor setting.
  • Fjäderholmarnas Krog- archipelago restaurant #1! Just a 25 minute boat ride from the city.
  • Oaxen Slip- Nordic bistro on the water... the casual "back pocket" to the Michelin two star Oaxen Krog.
Of course, there are many other restaurants in Stockholm worth a visit! I just haven't visited them in the past two years. We'll see what interesting restaurants I visit in the future. Don't hesitate to contact me directly if you are staying at the hotel and need further recommendations.

August 10, 2012

Culture, Youth and Summer Cinema Festivals 2012

Gustav Adolf Torg stage, photo by Thomas Karlsson
Stockholm is just recovering from the Pride festival and already next week we have three festivals simultaneously! The largest of the three is The Culture Festival (Kulturfestivalen). This is one of my absolute favorite festivals in Stockholm... there is lots to see & do, good people-watching opportunities and (most importantly) it is 99% free-of-charge! The festival runs from the 14th to 19th of August and its location is concentrated in the downtown area. Most events are to be found in three squares: Gustav Adolfs Torg (in front of the Royal Opera), Brunkebergstorg and Sergels Torg. All three squares are very close to each other and easy to walk between. There are lots of fun events to choose from... Brazilian Samba Party, circus artists, African dance show, opera gala, concerts and other live performances. One highlight should be the concert on Thursday evening with Ola Salo and the Radio Symphony at Gustav Adolfs Torg. Click here for a full program of events. If you are traveling with children then make sure to visit Brunkebergstorg during the day for their Maxat för Mini... lots of activities for children!
Ola Salo, photo by Emma Svensson
There are two other smaller festivals going on at the same time in Stockholm. Next door to the Culture Festival you have Ung08, a youth festival, taking place in Kungsträdgården. It is basically a free music festival geared for youths age 15 to 19. The second festival (and another personal favorite) is the outdoor Summer Cinema Festival (Sommarbio). Every evening at 8:30pm, between the 15th and 19th of August, they will be showing a classic movie in the great outdoors at the park Rålambshovsparken. The theme this year is monster movies and they have some great ones lined up... from Jaws to Fellowship of the Ring. Click here for the schedule, but be aware that Pan's Labyrinth is in Spanish with Swedish subtitles and Let the Right One In is in Swedish with no subtitles. Otherwise the others are in English with Swedish subtitles. Bring a picnic basket, bottle of wine and a blanket and enjoy some great cinema (free admission).
If you are staying at the Rival Hotel, stop by and talk to me to get more information about these festivals!

August 7, 2012

Fine Dining at Restaurant Jonas

(Edit: sadly they are closing for business on June 28th, 2014 and are in the process of looking for a new locale) Several culinary master-chefs have attained near rock-star status these days. Following this trend, there are several restaurants in Stockholm named simply after the chef. The latest in this category is Chef Jonas Lundgren who has recently opened a restaurant called Restaurant Jonas. Lundgren won the silver medal in 2009 at the prestigious Bocuse d'Or competition and the restaurant itself, though newly opened, has already received awards... the White Guide named Jonas "2012's shooting star" as well as receiving the International Masterclass grade. The New York Times has even been by to do a review.

I recently visited Restaurant Jonas with a colleague and tried their 9 course tasting menu with wine pairing. It was incredible! Besides the fabulous and unusual tastes, the dishes themselves were beautifuly presented... a delight for all of the senses. The service was outstanding and the wine pairings were spot on. The design of the restaurant is pleasing as well... minimalistic nordic design and sensibility contrasted by a hanging wall garden (with spices and herbs). An explosion of green in an otherwise subdued color palette.
The menu isn't set and depends upon what fresh produce they have procured that day. They do, however, use key words in the menu to guide the kitchen, like "creativity", "sin" or "memory". In the dining room you have a choice of a six or nine course tasting menu, or you can put your faith with the chefs and let them decide your meal ("all in" this is called). If you desire something a bit less extravagant (but no less delicious), then you have the choice of dining in their Food & Wine Bar in the adjacent dining room. Here you can choose from their a la carte menu... or enjoy one of the many great wines they have by the glass. A nice addition is their Show Kitchen in between the two dinig rooms, where you can watch chefs preparing certain dishes. And for those who really want to see the action then you can book the Chef's Table in the kitchen itself. Dinner and a show!
The restaurant is located on the island of Kungsholmen. It is about a 10 minute taxi ride from the Rival Hotel, otherwise the closest subway station is Rådhuset (blue line). The first picture in this post was provided by Restaurant Jonas, the rest were taken by me...
Click here for some additional information about special culinary events at the restaurant.

August 2, 2012

Revisiting Restaurant Fjäderholmarnas Krog

The boat at Nybroviken
I have written about the restaurant Fjäderholmarnas Krog two years ago, but I revisited it last week and thought I would update the information here. In fact, I usually visit this restaurant at least once every summer... especially if I have friends/family visiting me. The restaurant is located on the Fjäderholmarna islands ("the feather islands"), which mark the beginning of the Stockholm archipelago.
Boat dock at Fjäderholmarna

Views of the archipelago

This is a great place to go for lunch or dinner and get a feeeling for the archipelago without having to make a full day trip. The main island itself is worth a visit... popular with Stockholm sunbathers, you also have shops, cafés and picturesque cabins to keep you occupied before or after your meal.
Pike!

View from their terrace

They have regular boats taking guests out to the islands from both Nybroviken and from Slussen (a 10 minute walk from the Rival Hotel). The boat trip takes 25 minutes. Click here for a timetable for the boat between Slussen and Fjäderholmarna. It is in Swedish, but basically... the boat out leaves at the top of every hour and the boat back leaves at the bottom of every hour.
Indoor seating as well...


August 1, 2012

Stockholm Gay Pride Festival- 2012

Today, August 1st, is the official kick-off for Stockholm Pride Festival... arguably the largest festival on the calendar in Stockholm. Besides being a time for the LGBT community to party & demonstrate, it is also an opportunity for Stockholmers in general to celebrate the tolerance in Swedish society and the fact that the city has been named the gay friendliest city on the planet... not once, but twice this past year!
Photo by Yanan Li, Stockholm Visitors Board
The festival runs until Sunday, August 4th, and there are a ton of events each day... movies, seminars, workshops, concerts, performances, parties and (of course) the parade. I can't possibly list all of the happenings here, but you can check the Pride website to see the calendar of events. It is good to know that most events are to be found either in the Pride House or the Pride Park (Tantolunden). There is an entrance fee to the park and you can either buy a day pass or a week pass. Tickets can be purchased at the door, online, at the tourist information office or at a ticnet outlet. There are also a number of nightly parties at different venues throughout the city each evening... more information can be found in the calendar. QX.se also has a list of the parties on their website, though in Swedish (try using google translate).
Photo by Yanan Li, Stockholm Visitors Board
The Pride Parade happens on Saturday, starting at 1pm in Humlegården and ending at approximately 4pm in Pride Park. This is a popular event with over 500,000 spectators lining the streets in past years. The parade route runs up the street Hornsgatan right past the Rival Hotel and Pride Park is just a 15 minute walk from the hotel... so you will be perfectly situated to enjoy the festivities. Happy Pride!