These are the 600 best restaurants in Sweden (or so we’re told)

An upscale eatery in ski-town Åre, a gourmet pub in the heart of Skåne, and several restaurants in downtown Stockholm are among Sweden's best restaurants, according to the prestigious White Guide rankings.

These are the 600 best restaurants in Sweden (or so we're told)
Magnus Nilsson, in front of his restaurant Fäviken Magasinet. Photo: Robert Henriksson/TT

Ever since 2004, the Swedish White Guide, the country's answer to the Michelin Guide, has released its list of top restaurants, and this year it recommended 600 restaurants across the country.

Each restaurant was rewarded points for criteria such as food, drink, service and ambiance, with 40 of those points reserved for the quality of the food. The top-ranked restaurant was Fäviken Magasinet in Åre, claiming 97 out of a maximum 100 points.

Björn Frantzén in his restaurant in Stockholm. Photo: Lars Pehrson/SvD/TT

This was the second time Fäviken Magasinet has been named the top-rated restaurant.

It also won the Best Gastronomy category, for moving “the boundaries of their own distinctive Nordic gastronomy in combination with an all the more interesting drink selection and an ambience that almost perfectly connects the experience”. 

READ ALSO: Swedish chef ranked second best in Europe

But it was not the only restaurant that made a second appearance in the list. Eight taverns and five restaurants, including Frantzén, were included in last year's guide. This year 89 new taverns and 87 restaurants were included in the guidebook.

Mikael Mölstald, one of the founders of White Guide, attributed the success of newcomers to the dynamic restaurant environment in Sweden.

“Today, the Swedish restaurant trade has fantastic self-confidence, which many successful taverns around the country show, much because the stars of our top list inspire young but just as important chefs and dining professionals to establish their own,” he said in a statement.

White Guide's Global Master Class 2019
1. Fäviken Magasinet, Järpen 39/97 (out of 40/100)
2. Daniel Berlin Krog, Skåne Tranås 39/94
3. Frantzén, Stockholm 38/98
4. Gastrologik, Stockholm 38/93
    Oaxen Krog, Stockholm 38/93
6. Restaurang Vollmers, Malmö 38/90
7. PM & Vänner, Växjö 37/87
8. Upper House Dining, Gothia Towers, Göteborg 36/87
9. Krakas Krog, Katthammarsvik 36/86
10. Adam/Albin, Stockholm 36/85

The other categories:

Best restaurant – restaurant culture: Frantzén, Stockholm
Best restaurant – gastronomy: Fäviken Magasinet,
Shooting star: Etoile, Stockholm
Pioneer: Garveriet, Floda
Service experience: Frantzén, Stockholm
Drink experience: Daniel Berlin Krog, Skåne Tranås
Worth a trip: Skoogs Krog & Logi, Funäsdalen
Hidden Gem: Taxinge Krog, Nykvarn
Heart Pub (a pub where you feel at home): Hemmagastronomi, Luleå
Rising Star: Frida Nilsson, MJ's, Malmö
Tribute to a meaningful gastronomical act: PG Nilsson, Svenska Brasserier, Stockholm

Here's a link to all the restaurants in the guide.

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The three tasty treats that make spring in Sweden a forager’s dream

Although parts of Sweden are still under snow at this time of year, spring is in full swing here in Skåne in the south of Sweden. Here are The Local's top tips for what you can forage in the great outdoors this season.

The three tasty treats that make spring in Sweden a forager's dream

You might already have your go-to svampställe where you forage mushrooms in autumn, but mushrooms aren’t the only thing you can forage in Sweden. The season for fruits and berries hasn’t quite started yet, but there is a wide range of produce on offer if you know where to look.

Obviously, all of these plants grow in the wild, meaning it’s a good idea to wash them thoroughly before you use them. You should also be respectful of nature and of other would-be foragers when you’re out foraging, and make sure not to take more than your fair share to ensure there’s enough for everyone.

As with all foraged foods, only pick and eat what you know. The plants in this guide do not look similar to any poisonous plants, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry – or ask someone who knows for help.

Additionally, avoid foraging plants close to the roadside or in other areas which could be more polluted. If you haven’t tried any of these plants before, start in small doses to make sure you don’t react negatively to them.

Wild garlic plants in a park in Alnarpsparken, Skåne. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Wild garlic

These pungent green leaves are just starting to pop up in shady wooded areas, and may even hang around as late as June in some areas. Wild garlic or ramsons, known as ramslök in Swedish, smell strongly of garlic and have wide, flat, pointed leaves which grow low to the ground.

The whole plant is edible: leaves, flowers and the bulbs underground – although try not to harvest too many bulbs or the plants won’t grow back next year.

The leaves have a very strong garlic taste which gets weaker once cooked. Common recipes for wild garlic include pesto and herb butter or herbed oil, but it can generally be used instead of traditional garlic in most recipes. If you’re cooking wild garlic, add it to the dish at the last possible moment so it still retains some flavour.

You can also preserve the flower buds and seed capsules as wild garlic capers, known as ramslökskapris in Swedish, which will then keep for up to a year.

Stinging nettles. Wear gloves when harvesting these to protect yourself from their needles. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Stinging nettles

Brännässlor or stinging nettles need to be cooked before eating to remove their sting, although blanching them for a couple of seconds in boiling water should do the trick. For the same reason, make sure you wear good gardening gloves when you pick them so you don’t get stung.

Nettles often grow in the same conditions as wild garlic – shady woodlands, and are often regarded as weeds.

The younger leaves are best – they can get stringy and tough as they get older.

A very traditional use for brännässlor in Sweden is nässelsoppa, a bright green soup made from blanched nettles, often topped with a boiled or poached egg.

Some Swedes may also remember eating stuvade nässlor with salmon around Easter, where the nettles are cooked with cream, butter and milk. If you can’t get hold of nettles, they can be replaced with spinach for a similar result.

You can also dry nettles and use them to make tea, or use blanched nettles to make nettle pesto.

Kirskål or ground elder, another popular foraged green for this time of year.
Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Ground elder

Ground elder is known as kirskål in Swedish, and can be used much in the same way as spinach. It also grows in shady areas, and is an invasive species, meaning that you shouldn’t be too worried about foraging too much of it (you might even find some in your garden!).

It is quite common in parks and old gardens, but can also be found in wooded areas. The stems and older leaves can be bitter, so try to focus on foraging the tender, younger leaves.

Ground elder has been cultivated in Sweden since at least 500BC, and has been historically used as a medicinal herb and as a vegetable. This is one of the reasons it can be found in old gardens near Swedish castles or country homes, as it was grown for use in cooking.

Kirskål is available from March to September, although it is best eaten earlier in the season.

As mentioned, ground elder can replace spinach in many recipes – you could also use it for pesto, in a quiche or salad, or to make ground elder soup.