July 29, 2016

Revisiting the Restaurant Sturehof

Sturehof as seen from Stureplan square.
I have never written a second review for a restaurant, however I was at Sturehof, a favorite restaurant, yesterday evening and realized that the blog article I wrote for Sturehof is 6 years old... back from when I first started writing this blog. Definitely time for a revisit!
Waitstaff in action. Photo by Håkan Elofsson.
Sturehof is one of those classic Stockholm restaurants. In fact, the restaurant can trace its history back to 1897 and has become one of those restaurants just about every Stockholmer has visited at least once or twice. I believe most cities have a restaurant like this. Its location right on the trendy square Stureplan helps with the restaurant's popularity. I don't think a year of my adult life in Stockholm has passed without visiting Sturehof once... whether for dinner, lunch or just drinks.
Our appetizers: oysters and löjrom.
The cuisine is mostly Swedish or Scandinavian and concentrates mainly on seafood, though they do have meat and vegetarian dishes. Sturehof was actually awarded Stockholm's best seafood restaurant in this year's prestigious White Guide. My friend and I stuck to seafood during our dinner. For appetizers we shared a few oysters as well as my go-to dish: Kalix löjrom toast (bleak roe).
Butter fried perch with stewed chantarelles.
For our main courses, my friend opted for the butter fried perch with stewed chantarelles and I took the classic assorted herring plate (capers & horseradish herring, matjes herring and the restaurant's own pickled herring). Yum, yum, yum! We sat on their outdoor terrace which is a great place for people watching during the summer months. You can't book the outdoor tables, just indoor, but you can do what we did... go a little earlier, have a drink in the bar and put your name on the list. Sturehof recently opened an indoor food market with casual restaurant next door called Stockholm's Matmarknad which is also worth a visit.
Assorted herring plate.
Their bar(s) are very popular... especially on the weekend when Stockholmers often meet up at Sturehof for drinks before heading to one of the nearby Stureplan nightclubs. You can book your table online at their website or, if you are staying at the Rival Hotel, contact me directly for help. Click here to see my other restaurant reviews.
Interior, photo by Håkan Elofsson

July 27, 2016

Some Inspiration for an Archipelago Trip!

Late evening sun (about 8pm)
Last week I visited one of my friends at his summer house on the island of Tynningö in the Stockholm archipelago. I have written many blog posts already (here, here, here and here) so I thought I would instead just post some pictures to get you inspired to take your own boat trip when visiting Stockholm and enjoy the beautiful nature.

One of the best parts of taking a boat trip into the archipelago is returning to Stockholm harbour by boat.
Hot air balloons are a common sight above the city on summer evenings.
Coming in to port...
The royal palace from the water.

July 25, 2016

Stockholm Gay Pride- 2016

The Rival Teddy Björn... 
It's that time of the year again! We have several big festivals in the beginning of August like the Music & Arts Festival and Culture Festival, but first we have the biggest of all Scandinavian festivals: Stockholm Gay Pride! Pride Week is all of this week (July 25th to July 31st), but with many of the main events happening later the week (Wed-Sat). Not only is this 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... several times in recent years!
Photo by Yanan Li, Stockholm Visitors Board
The main festival runs through Saturday, July 30th, 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 (currently only in Swedish, but check back for more English). It is good to know that most events are to be found either in the Pride House or the Pride Park (Östermalms IP). 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 here.
Photo by Yanan Li, Stockholm Visitors Board
The Pride Parade happens on Saturday, starting at 1pm. Traditionally, the parade has gone down Hornsgatan right next to the Rival Hotel. Sadly, this year it will not due to construction and road work at nearby Slussen. So instead it will start on Kungsholmen at 1pm, wind its way through the city before ending at approximately 3pm in Pride Park. This is a very popular event with over 50,000 participants and 500,000+ spectators lining the streets in past years. So if you want to watch the parade, make sure you head down early to get a good spot. If you are staying at the Rival Hotel and need help finding out what is going on each day... contact me directly. Happy Pride!
The Rival and the Rainbow!

July 19, 2016

Handy Information for Summer 2016!

Old Town. Photo by Jeppe Wikström/mediabank.visitstockholm.com
It has been a busy few weeks here at the Rival Hotel and I haven't really had much time to explore. I have family visiting in the beginning of August and I will be sure to be out exploring then (and subsequently reporting here), but in the meantime I thought I would repost a summer guide from last year with updated information which could be helpful in planning your upcoming visit.

Getting Around the City
Sightseeing (multiple blog articles, but here are links to the individual company websites)
This is really just some highlights and top tips. If you are booked at the Rival Hotel... contact me directly if you need assistance or more information.

July 13, 2016

Upcoming Summer 2016 Festivals & Events

Open air concert on Djurgården. Photo by Jeppe Wikström/mediabank.visitstockholm.com
July is generally a quiet time in Stockholm when it comes to festivals and events as most Stockholmers have their summer vacation at this time and leave the city. However this just means there are that many more in August! Here are some upcoming festivals and events not to be missed if you are coming to Stockholm in the coming weeks.
Stockholm Pride. Photo by Yanan Li/mediabank.visitstockholm.com

  • July 25th to 31st- Stockholm Gay Pride. The biggest gay pride in the Nordic countries. A week long festival that is very popular across the spectrum... especially the Saturday parade. Recent parades have seen almost 50,000 participants and around half a million people lining the streets.
  • July 26th- Beyoncé concert at Friends Arena.
  • July 29th to 31st- Stockholm Music & Arts festival on Skeppsholmen with artists like Lauryn Hill, Joan Baez and Kraftwerk.
  • July 30th- BAO (Benny Andersson Orchestra) concert at Skansen.
  • August 5th & 6th- Weekend Festival at Östermalms IP. Dance music and DJ's.
  • August 13th- Midnattsloppet ("The Midnight Race"). A very fun and festive late evening 10K race around the island of Södermalm. Samba bands, masquerade contests, DJ's and more...
  • August 14th- free oudoor concert at Gärdet with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
  • August 16th to 20th- We Are Sthlm youth festival (13 to 19 years of age). Free festival with concerts and more in Kungsträdgården. Part of the Culture Festival (see below).
  • August 16th to 21st- Kulturfestivalen ("The Culture Festival"). Week long festival in the downtown area concering all types of culture... and free! The theme this year is France.  
  • August 17th to 21st- Outdoor cinema, put on by the Stockholm Film Festival, in Rålambshovsparken. The theme this year is the 1970's. Free admission, bring a picnic. 
  • August 24th to 27th- Formex. International Nordic design fair. If you like Nordic and Scandinavian design... this is the place to go! Takes place at the Stockholm International Fair in Älvsjö.
  • August 26th & 27th- Popaganda. Popular pop music festival. Takes place at Eriksdalsbadet.
  • August 28th to September 4th- Baltic Sea Festival. Classic music festival at Berwaldhallen
  • September 3rd- Tjejmilen. Women's 10K run. Popular race along a scenic route on Djurgården.
As you can see... a wide variety with something for everyone. If you are staying at the Rival Hotel, contact me directly for more information. Click here for a full 2016 calendar of festivals and events.
Outdoor Summer Cinema in Rålambshovsparken. Photo by Lars Gullnäs

July 5, 2016

Temporary Home for the Östermalm's Saluhall!

The facade of the temporary saluhall, while...
One of my favorite places to visit and to send hotel guests to (especially for lunch) is the Östermalm's Saluhall. A "saluhall" is an indoor food market and this particular food market, built in 1888, has quite a bit of history. Click here for an earlier blog article about indoor markets in Stockholm. Unfortunately, this type of historic building needs to be lovingly taken care of and renovated from time to time. And that time is now... the historic food market will be closed for renovations until 2019.
...the original is being renovated across the street.
But don't worry, they have a contingency plan in the form of a temporary indoor food market which they have opened in the square across the street from the original food market. I checked it out yesterday and it looks nice and seems to have most of the original shops and restaurants inside, including my favorite one for Swedish seafood: Lisa Elmqvist.
The market closes at 7pm on weekdays and 6pm on Saturdays (completely closed on Sundays) so it is more a place for lunch than dinner. But don't limit yourself to just dining in... most of the vendors have great take-away options if you want to have a picnic in one of the nearby parks. Otherwise it is a nice market just to stroll around, soak in the atmosphere and maybe buy some Swedish delicacies to take home with you.
Östermalms Saluhall (the original under renovation and the temporary market) is located on the square Östermalmstorg. It is very easy to get there from the Rival Hotel... just four stops on the subway (red line) to the station Östermalmstorg.