March 15, 2014

Restaurant Mathias Dahlgren (Matbaren)

Having the usual perfect timing... I visited the restaurant Mathias Dahlgren last week with a friend, just ahead of the announcement of 2014's Michelin Guide. Mathias Dahlgren, the man himself, is one of Sweden's most successful chefs. In fact, he is the only Swede to win a gold medal at the prestigious Bocuse d'Or competition (Sweden does have several silver medalists as well).
Detail from the foyer...
The restaurant is actually two in one... as you enter, to the right you have the Dining Room (Matsalen) and to the left you have the Food Bar (Matbaren). There will also be a Food Table (Matbordet), which will be bookable soon... more on that later. The Dining Room has been awarded 2 stars in the Michelin Guide for several years in a row and is considered one of Sweden's best restaurants. Here they offer two tasting menus (5 or 8 courses), available with wine & beverage pairings.
My friend and I, however, opted to dine at the Food Bar. This is Mathias Dahlgren's version of a gourmet bistro and has been awarded 1 star in the Michelin Guide for several years in a row. More casual than the Dining Room, guests order dishes from an a la carte menu (in other words, no set tasting menus). The dishes are all "medium" sized, no starters or entrées, and you are welcome to order just one or more depending on how hungry you are. For example, we each took a medium dish (heart of venison and spare-rib dumplings) followed by a shared cheese dish and then a dessert each. Incredibly delicious and perfect!
Dinner at food bar with show!
The service was impeccable, the wine recommendation perfect and the surroundings beautiful... I really recommend this restaurant if you want to try modern, gourmet, Michelin star, Nordic cuisine without breaking your wallet. At the Food Bar you can either eat at a table or at the actual food bar. Now, sitting at a bar (where you sit next to each other and not across from one another) might not appeal to some... but I have to say that I wish we had chosen that option. It looked quite fun and the bar is u-shaped so your view comprises of the restaurant and the open kitchen. Our waitress commented that sitting at the bar allows you to see what other diners order and can help you decide on what you want to try yourself... and you have to remember that it is a "food bar" not a regular bar (no bartenders or such).
Press image: my amateur pics didn't do the food justice.
Mathias Dahlgren is located on Blasieholmen in downtown area just across the water from the Royal Palace. To get there from the Rival Hotel, it is just a 5-7 minute taxi ride. Closest subway station is Kungsträdgården (blue line). Reserving tables in advance is highly recommended, especially for the Dining Room. You have more of a chance to last minute tables in the Food Bar. They actually do keep a few seats at the bar free for drop in guests. If you are going to be staying at the Rival... contact me in advance for help in reserving a table. Click here for other restaurant reviews/recommendations.
Press image of Matbaren.

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