Gothenburg might be known as Sweden’s second city, but it’s the capital for cuisine. To whet your appetite, we’re serving up a list of the city’s best home-grown specialties and culinary experiences for you to look out for.
Gothenburg’s cobbled streets buzz with a vibrant café culture and the sounds of street vendors touting pickled herring and sausages. Further east, the harbours overflow with seafood restaurants, where locals dine on freshly caught fish while watching the sun set over the archipelagos. Cuisine here is closely tied to the city’s sea-faring history – so there are few better ways to get to know Gothenburg than through the stomach.
Try today’s catch
The gothic-style archways of the Feskekôrka look more like a 19th century church than the entrance to the city’s biggest fish market. It’s the perfect place to taste pickled herring; once the mainstay of Swedish diets, sustaining families through long, harsh winters, this staple has become a delicate regional speciality steeped in complementary sauces and spices. Restaurant Gabriel, housed within the Feskekôrka, gets first refusal on all incoming catches. Unsurprisingly, it’s a hotspot for herring fanatics and one of the city’s best-loved seafood joints. Chef-owner Johan Malm is also a champion oyster shucker, so expect the juiciest oysters in town.
Fine dining after dark
Bjorn Persson’s Michelin-starred Koka is proudly Swedish. While it’s tempting to try the pan-fried catch of the day, the wild duck is a real stand-out dish, sprinkled with grated walnuts and parsley. Persson’s other eatery, Restaurant Familjen, is one of Gothenburg’s trendiest dining spots. Serving up tapas-sized plates of regional favourites, it’s perfect for those who want to try a bit of everything. Be sure to save room for the fluffy Mazarin cake soaked in warm rosehip consommé.
Warm up with hearty home-style cuisine
Swedish cuisine is famous for tasty meatballs, so don’t leave Gothenburg without sampling some of the best. Head to Kungstorget, a leisurely walk from our Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel, Gothenburg, where they’re served with creamy mashed potatoes and tart lingonberries. If you’re craving something a little more rustic, Stearin – a quirky black-walled bar and restaurant lit by clusters of bare bulbs – dishes up hearty pork dishes like smoked pork ribs. Those on the go should stop at a ‘korv kiosk’ (hot dog stand) and order the whole and half special (two sausages in one bun topped with a generous helping of mashed potato). This hearty dish was invented in Gothenburg during the 1930s.
Don’t forget to fika
Fika is a Swedish term for a coffee break enjoyed with a sweet pastry, and no afternoon in Gothenburg would be complete without it. Stop by Cafe Husaren in the heart of the Haga district for a freshly ground cup of coffee and a cinnamon bun – they claim to have the largest (and most flavourful) in the world. You’ll recognise the shop window immediately by the pile of enormous swirls. Anyone with an insatiable sweet tooth should head to Cafe Kanold for thick hot chocolate sprinkled with chilli flakes. This rich winter warmer pairs perfectly with a Gothenburg truffle, topped with flakes of sea salt – a tasty nod to the city’s ocean-faring heritage.