Vegetarian Fine Dining at Rutabaga

Grand entrance...
I am not sure how it is in other cities, but these days vegetarians are pretty spoiled for choice when it comes to restaurants in Stockholm (especially compared to 10 years ago)... with everything from vegan cafés up to fine dining restaurants. This is mainly due to a few-years-old vegetarian trend in Swedish gastronomy; a trend which meshes well with modern Nordic cuisine where the focus is on local, seasonal, often organic produce. Especially fruits and vegetables. Some of these restaurants are purely vegetarian, while others have the option of adding a protein (meat/fish) as a side dish. I recently had the opportunity to try the crown jewel of Swedish vegetarian fine dining: Mathias Dahlgren's Rutabaga.
Star chef Mathias Dahlgren has had a very successful career filled with Bocuse d'Or and Swedish chef of the year gold medals, Michelin stars and other awards. In 2007, he opened Matsalen, which was quickly awarded 1 and then 2 Michelin stars and named one of the top 50 restaurants in the world. So it came as quite a shock to many when he announced last summer that he was closing Matsalen and reopening in the beginning of 2017 with a new concept... a fine dining vegetarian restaurant. It is important to note that Dahlgren's Michelin 1 star restaurant Matbaren ("the Food Bar") is still open, and located right next door to Rutabaga.
Delicious carrot dish (never thought I would say those words)
First of all, the name. As many know, Rutabaga is a root vegetable. However, I learned recently that this vegetable is called "Swede" or "Swedish turnip" in the UK and other countries which makes me wonder if the name is a clever nod to this fact. Who knows? The interior resembles Matsalen with clean lines, muted earth tones and Scandinavian minimalism. However, there are more long tables while tablecloths and other trappings are gone, all which give the restaurant a more laid back feel than before.
Some great beverages as well, like this homemade ginger ale
When it comes to the meal, you have the choice of the whole table going all-in with the 6 course "Taste of Rutabaga" menu or diners choosing a la carte dishes. The dishes are meant to be shared family style and each dish suitable for 2 persons. I like this set-up... choose a few dishes and then add a couple more if you are still hungry. There are around 13 dishes on the a la carte menu so you have quite a variety to choose from. The plates are beautifully presented and creatively done. Quite colorful dishes too, which is a nice contrast to the muted colors of the restaurant. For Vegans: I did ask and many of the dishes are already vegan and it is not a problem to tweak others to make them also vegan. They do ask that you notify them in advance regarding any other dietary restrictions or allergies.
General Tso's deep fried cauliflower with tofu
Full disclosure... I am a carnivore. I love a nice bloody steak! That being said, I found the dinner to be interesting, great tasting and I left satisfied (even without any meat). Plus, it's a bit of an adventure as a carnivore to try a completely vegetarian meal for a change. Rutabaga is located on the waterfront of the downtown area. The easiest way to get there from the Rival Hotel is either by taxi (5-6 minutes) or a 15 minute bus ride. Otherwise, it would take you about 30 minutes to walk (through the old town) and the closest subway station is Kungsträdgården (blue line).
Tartar of beets...
It is a popular restaurant so booking in advance is recommended though they do have drop-in places available. You can either book on their website or, if you are staying at the Rival Hotel, contact me directly for help. Click here for more vegetarian options in the city and click here for more restaurant reviews/recommendations.
Beautiful Scandinavian minimalism
Dessert: their version of carrot cake with cardamom ice cream
Photo by Magnus Mårding.
I generally don't like to take pictures of other guests,
so this time I have to rely on an official photo. 


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