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PA & Co, Östermalm

This pocket-sized bistro started more as a hangout when five pals bought the space in 1986 to host their friends and family. Though it quickly grew in popularity, the intimacy is undimmed and the food as delectable as ever (it even released a cookbook in 2016 to mark the 30-year milestone). Dishes range from Swedish staples such as råraka (hash browns) and gravlax to simple continental plates, many inspired by Sweden’s longstanding dalliance with French cuisine. The whole grilled sea bass is worth every krona.

8 Riddargatan, 114 35 
+46 (0)8 611 0845 
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Agrikultur, Vasastan

Vasastan has recently emerged as a thrilling culinary quarter, with Agrikultur leading the pack. At first glance it’s an unexpected success: small (just 24 seats), not much to look at from the outside and closed on weekends. But what sets it apart is the food. Filip Fastén (former winner of Sweden’s Cook of the Year contest) and Joel Åhlin change the set menu daily, depending on what’s available from farmers in the vicinity. Together they create extraordinary dishes with roots in traditional Swedish cooking. The vegetables are the stars; meat is relegated to a supporting role. Reservations can be hard to come by but the four best seats in the house, from which you can sit and watch the chefs at work, are kept for drop-ins.

43 Roslagsgatan, 113 54 
+46 (0)8 150 202
agrikultur.se
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Barobao, Södermalm

Barobao is bright, polished and oh so pretty but it’s not the Bumling lamps, blonde-wood furniture or suspended plant pots that have us hooked. The winning formula comes courtesy of Japanese chef Saori Ichihara – formerly of Oaxen and Shibumi – who treats well-heeled Södermalmers to lunchtime bao. There are several options to choose from but we recommend the fish tataki or cauliflower-and-kale variant for the vegetarians. There are rice boxes too, while the dinner menu is more extensive and offers slower sit-down dishes. Whatever you choose, make sure you snag a glass of the Kirin lager. 

66 Hornsgatan, 118 21 
+46 (0)8 643 7776 
barobao.se  
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Tyge & Sessil, Östermalm

Tyge & Sessil is buoyant, bustling and just round the corner from Stureplan. In the unpretentious interior, chef Niklas Ekstedt is living out his dream of running an avant-garde wine bar not far from his eponymous restaurant. Offering more than 300 natural wines, this is the place to find one-off sensations from small producers such as France’s Domaine Singla in Roussillon. Ekstedt’s friend and sommelier, Maximilian Mellfors, has developed a menu to complement the wine and there is a piano for guests to play until 01.00.

4 Brahegatan, 114 37
+46 (0)8 5194 2277 
tygesessil.se
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Sturehof, Östermalm 

The waiters here wear double-breasted jackets but the mood is more bustling brasserie than anything formal. Fresh seafood is the order of the day, although this city favourite started as a German beer hall back in 1897 before restaurateur PG Nilsson acquired it. Don’t fear the extensive menu – perhaps start with some knäckebröd, then half a dozen oysters followed by deep-fried perch from the waters of Lake Mälaren.

2 Stureplan, 114 35 
+46 (0)8 440 5730 
sturehof.com

Images: Simon Bajada

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