February 24, 2016

Stockholm Restaurants in the Michelin Guide 2016

Press image from Michelin.
(Edit: this is an article about the 2016 guide, for 2017 click here) Yup, it is that time of the year again. The Michelin Nordic Guide has announced which restaurants have received stars in their 2016 guide. The biggest news for Swedish restaurants is actually for a restaurant outside of Stockholm. Fäviken Magasinet up in Jämtland received two stars... the first restaurant outside of Stockholm to do so. Here in Stockholm there weren't any changes with the exception of a new one-star restaurant: Sushi Sho. Congratulations to all of the restaurants for keeping your stars or gaining a star. Here is the full list of Stockholm restaurants:

2 stars ("excellent cooking, worth a detour")

King crab on ice, from a recent visit to Mathias Dahlgren Matsalen.
1 star ("a very good restaurant in its category")
From a recent visit to Volt.
Click here for the full list of Swedish restaurants. Besides the star system, the Michelin Guide has another category called Bib Gourmand which is awarded to restaurants with "exceptional good food at moderate prices". In other words they won't empty your wallet. Here are the Bib Gourmand restaurants in Stockholm:
Dessert during a recent visit to Nook.
Keep in mind that if you wish to dine at these restaurants you need to book well in advance. If you are going to be staying at the Rival Hotel, contact me directly for any assistance with making a reservation or if you need further recommendations. Click here to see past Michelin Guides as well as other restaurant awards and guides.

February 23, 2016

Restaurant Usine

I was out with some colleagues last week and we chose Usine; a relatively new restaurant within walking distance from the Rival Hotel. Usine actually contains a main restaurant (Bistro 38), a smaller restaurant or "bakfickan" as we say in Swedish (Poche 36), a café as well as conference facilities. Though, to be honest, I think most people just refer to the restaurant as Usine.
Usine is located in the heart of Södermalm and is, as I mentioned, only a 10-15 minute walk from the hotel. The design of the restaurant is very nice with big open spaces and industrial touches giving it the feel of an old factory. In fact, "usine" means factory in French. The restaurant also sports huge glass windows which, along with the high ceilings, gives the restaurant an airy atmosphere.
Big picture windows seen from the street.
The menu is a mix of mainly French bistro classics with some Swedish favorites. The items on the menu are, for the most part, standard dishes found on the menus of many restaurants. Risotto, moules frites, escargot, steak minute, confit of duck, etc.. Maybe not that exciting and creative, but everything we ordered was well made and tasted good.
We stuck mainly to shellfish, like oysters and...
...moules frites.
Usine is large with room for 150 diners, but we were there on a Friday evening and it was quite full with locals. A large bar in the middle also got very popular later in the evening. We were never in the smaller area (Poche 36), but according to their website they serve Spanish tapas there. Usine was definitely a fun place to go with a group of friends.
The bar earlier in the evening.
Click here for more restaurant reviews. If you are staying at the Rival Hotel, contact me directly if you need any help with table reservations.

February 17, 2016

Restaurant and Events at Atelier 23

View east towards downtown Stockholm.
Last week I was invited to a viewing of Pontus Frithiof's new restaurant concept: Atelier 23. Pontus is a restauranteur with several restaurants in Stockholm. Two of them I have reviewed recently... Burger and Lobster as well as Pocket City. Atelier 23 is something completely different.
The Kitchen.
To start off, the location offers probably the best views of Stockholm available. Atelier 23 is located on the 23rd floor (hence the name) of the Dagens Nyheter Tower (DN Skrapan), one of the tallest buildings in Stockholm. Located in the Kungsholmen district, this building was the original home of two of Sweden's newspapers: Dagens Nyheter and Expressen. Their names can be still be seen on the top of the building even if the newspapers have moved to adjacent buildings. Atelier 23's location means it has fantastic, panoramic views of Stockholm. Click here for a time-lapse video taken from the restaurant to see the view.
Daytime view east (photo by Pia).
Secondly, it is not a restaurant in the strictest sense. Atelier 23 is made up of five rooms (with names like The Kitchen, The Studio and The Library) that seat from 6 to 80 persons and can be booked for private dinners, events and conferences. Perfect if you are a group visiting Stockholm and are looking for a special dinner, private dining or a banquet room that is quite different from your run of the mill banquet rooms in the city.
The Dining Room with long table configuration.
Besides booking for private groups or conferences, you have several choices to dine here when visiting Stockholm. They serve lunch every Friday between 11:30am and 2pm in The Kitchen at community tables. It is a three course lunch which costs 295 SEK per person. A great way to enjoy a delicious lunch while gazing out over the city. For dinner to you have some other options. On certain evenings they will have a pop-up restaurant in the Dining Room where Pontus himself will be cooking and on some evenings a wine-maker's dinner (hosted by top wine producers). On other evenings they will have a Dinner Club in The Kitchen. On these occaisions an up and coming chef will be in charge of putting together and executing the dinner.
Evening views looking west...
These evenings are not regular events and happen a little sporadically. If you are going to be staying at the Rival Hotel and are interested in one of these special evenings or want to book a Friday lunch, contact me directly for help with reservations. Otherwise check their website for more information and to reserve a table/room. Click here for other restaurant reviews and recommendations and click here for other places in Stockholm with a view.
...and southeast.

February 10, 2016

Calendar of Festivals & Events in Stockholm- 2016

Stockholm views. Photo by Henrik Trygg/mediabank.visitstockholm.com.
Here we go... my calendar of festivals, concerts, sporting events and fun happenings that have special appeal for visitors to Stockholm. Hopefully this calendar will help you plan your upcoming visit to the city. I haven't put in every event, concentrating more on the larger ones and events that attract a lot of visitors (there are hundreds of other smaller events & concerts not listed). While some events going on during your stay may not be of interest to you, it is good to be aware of them as they may cause traffic problems (marathon), high occupancy in hotels and restaurants (concerts & matches) or business closures (bank holidays). If you are going to be staying at the Rival Hotel and are interested in more detailed information or smaller events that may be going on during your visit, contact me directly. I will be adding more information and events as more information comes in. If I haven't provided a link to an event or festival, it is because an updated website wasn't available at the time I wrote this... but check back. I will try to update the calendar as much as possible. There are a plethora of fairs going on in Stockholm with everything from antiques to gardening to boats. It is impossible to list them all here (just a few of the big ones) but check the event calendar here to see which fairs are going on at the Stockholm International Fairgrounds at Älvsjö this year.
Guards at the Royal Palace. Photo by Jeppe Wikström/mediabank.visitstockholm.com.

February

March
  • 3rd- Ellie Goulding in concert at the Globe Arena.
  • 4th- Carrie Underwood & Jill Johnson concert at Hovet
  • 8th- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis concert at Globe Arena
  • 11th & 12th- Melodifestivalen (Swedish finals for Eurovision) at Friends Arena.
  • 16th to 18th- Kings of Tennis at Stockholm Waterfront
  • 24th through 28th- Easter weekend. Keep in mind that Friday & Monday are bank holidays in Sweden. Skansen is a good place to partake in traditional celebrations.
  • 27th- daylight savings time starts (clocks "spring forward"). Or does it end? Never get that straight.
  • Sweden vs Czech Republic in football (mens) at Friends Arena.
April
Walpurgis Eve celebrations. Phot by Jeppe Wikström/mediabank.visitstockholm.com
May
June
ÅF Offshore Race. Photo by Erik G Svensson/mediabank.visitstockholm.com.
July
August
Stockholm music event at Gustav Adolfs Torg. Photo by Robert Höglund/mediabank.visitstockholm.com.
September
October
November
Christmas market at Stortorget. Photo by Jeppe Wikström/mediabank.visitstockholm.com
December

Many of the dates and websites for events in October, November and December haven't been determined yet (as I write this in Feb '16). Check back towards the end of summer for an updated fall/winter calendar.

February 9, 2016

Restaurant Il Tempo

Last week the Rival Hotel's front desk staff went out to dinner together and we chose a restaurant close to the hotel... Il Tempo. Il Tempo is a nice, neighborhood Italian restaurant. But instead of trying to aspire to be a Roman, Neapolitan or even Tuscan restaurant, they take their inspiration from the Italian restaurants in New York's Little Italy or Brooklyn.
In fact, when the restaurant first opened in the early 1990's, it was a copy of the famous restaurant Gino in NYC... right down to the art deco wallpaper designed by Flora Scalamandré (who designed the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel). Il Tempo is located on the island of Södermalm (Stockholm's own Brooklyn according to some) and just a  minute walk from the hotel.
Wood-burning oven.
Besides the wallpaper, the other stand out design in the restaurant is the traditional wood burning oven where they make their own bread and pizzas. The restaurant is popular and I don't think I have ever been there when it hasn't been busy. This evening was no exception!
Pasta with scallops and truffles.
My colleagues and I mainly stuck with pastas and a risotto, though some of them sitting a bit further away from me opted for pizzas. I had the pasta with home-made maccheroni tossed in truffles, lemon and parmesan with seared scallops. My colleagues sitting closest to me had the risotto with autumn mushrooms and crispy sweetbreads and the pasta with grilled flat shrimp, mussel stock, white wine, garlic and chili. But besides pastas and pizzas, they also have meat & fish dishes and more on the menu.
Risotto with mushrooms and sweetbreads.
So if you are visiting Stockholm, have a hankering for classic Italian cuisine in a neighborhood restaurant with Little Italy ambiance then Il Tempo is a good choice for you. Click here for other restaurant reviews/recommendations.
Busy restaurant... but they do have window alcoves with tables for two.



February 4, 2016

The Rival: Your Hotel for the TBEX Europe 2016 Congress!

Generally I don't blog about my workplace (The Rival Hotel) itself here... but in this case I am going to make an exception as it pertains to my roll as a blogger.
On July 14th through 16th 2016 Stockholm will be the host city of the TBEX Europe congress. TBEX is the largest conference in the world for travel bloggers, online travel journalists, travel brands and other industry professionals. Stockholm has been actively trying to get the chance to host TBEX. And rightly so... it is, after all, the perfect group to open your doors for and showcase your city! The Rival Hotel is offering congress delegates a special discounted rate during the period July 8th to 18th. Click here for more information about the rate and to reserve a room! So why should you, a travel blogger, choose the Rival? I am glad you asked. Here are three great resons!
1. Location. The Rival Hotel is located in a beautiful residential area on the island of Södermalm, yet still is centrally located. It is only a 10 minute walk to the historic Gamla Stan and regular ferries to Djurgården where you will find the Vasa Museum, ABBA the Museum, Skansen and many other popular attractions. The subway station Mariatorget is only 2 blocks from the hotel and the Stockholm Waterfront Congress Center, home of TBEX, is just three subway stops away. Make sure you take time to explore Södermalm with its funky shopping, pedestrian streets, endless cafés and SoFo district. In 2014, Vogue Magazine called Södermalm one of the world’s 15 coolest neighbourhoods.
2. The hotel. The Rival Hotel opened its doors in 2003 as Stockholm’s first boutique hotel. And it is so much more than a hotel! Under the same roof you will find a popular bistro, café, several bars, conference facilities as well as 700-seat theatre. The theatre was once a cinema and this Swedish cinematic theme can be found throughout the Rival. Elegant yet cosy, romantic yet exciting, with a genuinely friendly and welcoming staff... the Rival is the perfect home away from home and a destination in itself. A fantastic place from where to discover what Stockholm has to offer.
Owner, and former ABBA member, Benny Andersson believes that love is in the details. He wanted to create a hotel which conveyed a feeling of coming home. That is why you will find a teddy bear in each and every room at the Rival.
3. Blogger and social media friendly. While warm and cosy, the Rival is still fitted with the latest technology. Free WiFi is available throughout the hotel, both in the rooms and public areas. You don’t have to worry about bringing an adapter with you as each room has several USB ports, including the bed’s headboard, where you can charge your smart phones and tablets. Guests can also connect devices such as laptops, tablets or smart phones directly to a JackPack. When the device is connected to the JackPack you can use Apps on your device and display the content directly on the Samsung LED TV that is installed in all of our rooms. Listen to your own music or enjoy your subscriptions* on Netflix, HBO, Spotify etc. We do have extra cables to loan so you can recharge your device via the JackPack as well* Local restrictions may apply
Forgot your computer? Not a problem! On the fourth floor we have a guest corner and business center open 24 hours a day. Here you will find computers to use as well as a printer.
During the TBEX Congress we will have a Bloggers’ Lounge open for delegates staying at the Rival. Here you can get some refreshments, kick back, see what is trending with popular congress hashtags, check your social media accounts and do some serious blogging. In the lounge you have free WiFi & wired internet access. You will also find connections for VGA, USB, HDMI, a 60" Led TV and whiteboards. Get creative! #hotelrival #tbex #tbexeurope 
And if you need another reason after all of those... I am here! A blogger myself and the social media coordinator for the Rival. This blog was recently named by Spotted by Locals as one of the top 5 blogs about Stockholm. Click here for more information about our TBEX rate and to reserve your room.