Stockholm’s Best Shops and Restaurants
Published: April 2009
By David A. Keeps
Brilliant design is everywhere you look in the Swedish capital. Local furniture and accessories creator Daniel Ostman gives T+L his list of must-see shops and restaurants.
It wasn’t quite Project Runway for Swedish designer Daniel Ostman. A cabinetmaker by training, he made his name serendipitously a few years ago with a handful of Christmas gifts he sewed himself; now his signature striped scarves, hats, and robes are sold at boutiques all over Europe and through the lifestyle product collective Design House Stockholm—and he’s one of the country’s most in-demand accessories designers. Here, his guide to the city’s most aesthetically minded destinations.
Ostman goes to Jacksons (53 Sibyllegatan; 46-8/665-3350; www.jacksons.se), in the posh part of town known as Östermalm (where you’ll find Gucci and Burberry), to look for exquisite crystal, glass, and ceramics by Orrefors, Kosta Boda, and Gustavsberg. "They carry all the things you find in coffee-table books on design. They don’t have anything that is not absolutely the best."
On Strandvägen, one of Stockholm’s most prestigious addresses, Svenskt Tenn (5 Strandvägen; 46-8/670-1600; www.svenskttenn.se) and Carl Malmsten (5B Strandvägen; 46-8/233-380; www.malmsten.se) are furniture-design showrooms that have been in business since the 1930’s. Svenskt Tenn is famous for textiles with floral, avian, and animal prints; Malmsten manufactures and sells solid wood furniture that typifies the timeless silhouettes and craftsmanship of traditional Scandinavian furniture.
"Of course, everyone shops at Ikea and H&M," Ostman declares, citing the Swedish furniture and clothing giants as paragons of "down-to-earth, democratic design." Hit the supersize H&M in Östermalm (22 Hamngatan; 46-8/5246-3530), then grab one of the free shuttle buses that run past it and go directly to the 1960’s Guggenheim Museum-like, 592,000-square-foot Ikea at King’s Bend (1 Ekgårdsvägen, Skärholmen; 46-4/768-1000)—slightly outside the city, but worth the ride to nab the most comprehensive assortment of Swedish kitchen accessories and textiles available anywhere.
Bruno Götgatsbacken (36 Götgatan; www.brunogotgatsbacken.se) is a 17th-century industrial building and its loading docks, reinvented as a sleek, Modernist mall with a café and shops for top local fashion labels: Whyred, Filippa K, Tiger, and J. Lindeberg.
Beauty And Bags
Just a few steps down the street, in a 1920’s Art Deco building, C/O Stockholm (30 Götgatan; 46-8/5052-5900; www.costockholm.se) offers a wide range of international makeup, body care, and designer accessories; get your Annick Goutal or Darphin fix, then browse the Botkier and Vanessa Bruno bag selection. The shop also houses an Italian espresso bar, Ostman’s choice for the best coffee in town.
Denim And more
Like Benetton in the 80’s, Acne (57A Nybrogatan; 46-8/5557-9900; www.acne.se) melds fashion, design, and media: they print their own magazine and even stage exhibitions in their store—located, not by accident, in the old bank where Swedish thieves locked hostages in a vault and made the "Stockholm Syndrome" a part of the pop-psychology lexicon.
For The Sweet Tooth
Riddarbageriet (15 Riddargatan; 46-8/660-3375) is a small bakery with room for only six or eight people, but worth the wait for perfect Swedish breakfast carbs: dense cardamom-and-cinnamon breads and pastries made with fresh lingonberries.
In Swedish, husmanskost means "food for the everyday people," and invariably features a herring special. Ostman takes visitors to KB (7 Smålandsgatan; 46-8/679-6032; www.konstnarsbaren.se), an authentic Scandinavian restaurant established in 1931 that serves standards like reindeer, elk, salmon, and beef Wallenbergare (a Swedish variation of shepherd’s pie).
A short walk away, Riche (4 Birger Jarlsgatan; 46-8/5450-3560; www.riche.se)—in an 1890’s mansion recently redesigned by architect Jonas Bohlin—is Stockholm’s HQ for the young and fashionable. In a labyrinth of rooms, a menu of international all-star classics (steak tartare, frisée aux lardons, schnitzel) lures droves every night, as does the lounge, Lilla Baren, which offers cutting-edge DJ’s and the occasional live show.
Vodka With A View
Call it a day (or a night) with a drink and a staggering panoramic skyline view of Stockholm from the Södermalm neighborhood at the tramcar-in-the-sky Gondolen (6 Stadsgården; 46-8/641-7090; www.eriks.se). Erik Lallerstedt, a puckish chef with two other hot spots, Bakficka and Viinbar, serves excellent continental dishes with a Swedish spin, but the big draws are local lagers Falcon and Pripps, aquavit, old-school Absolut ("We don’t drink lemon vodka," Ostman sniffs) and Swedish snaps (bitter and herbal schnapps).