Marcus Samuelsson is one of the most recognizable names in food, with good reason. Born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden, he built his reputation as a top chef in New York, where he was the executive chef at Aquavit at the plum age of 23. Samuelsson went on open the ever-popular Red Rooster, where Ethiopian and Scandinavian influences put a interesting (and very palatable) spin on American comfort food. While he may call Harlem home, the chef-restaurateur also has three establishments in Sweden—including American Table and Brasserie in Stockholm—and has a few local secrets to divulge about the capital city, including where to hear jazz after splurging on a Michelin-starred meal.
Where do you put up friends visiting town? Miss Clara, which is in a beautifully restored Art Nouveau building. The rooms are really well done, comfortable and huge—you’ll never want to leave—and it's in the heart of the city (Sveavägen 48; 46-8/440-6700; missclarahotel.com).
Where is the best place to find Sweden's signature dishes? Probably at one of the bigger food halls, like Östermalmshallen, where you can find amazing smoked game meat, and of course lots of cured salmon, whitefish roe, and pickled herring. Eat it on pumpernickel toast (Östermalmstorg; ostermalmshallen.se).
What is your favorite restaurant to take visitors? I think first-time visitors to the city should always experience a really authentic meal. For that I always choose the Pelikan for meatballs and pickled herring plates (Blekingegatan 40; 46-8/5560-9090; pelikan.se).
Where can you find the best cocktails? Beer list? Cocktails just recently became a huge selling point in Stockholm. The bar at the Story Hotel is contemporary and a fun place for a drink (Riddargatan 6; 46-8/5450-3940; storyhotels.com). For beer, I like Café Duvel (Vasagatan 50; 46-8/234-820; duvelcafe.com).
Where would you choose to splurge on a night out? Restaurant Frantzen is a really special place. It's elegant, clean, simple, and modern and showcases local ingredients in a very artful way. It's a great way to experience and splurge on a meal in Stockholm (Lilla Nygatan 21; 46-8/208-580; restaurantfrantzen.com).
What is your go-to after-hours bar? Fasching is a really fun jazz club that's open late, and usually you can catch the end of a great show—whether it's a well-known artist or a local up-and-comer (Kungsgatan 63; 46-8/200-066; fasching.se).
What’s the best way to spend a Saturday afternoon in town? It's great to visit the Moderna Museet, Stockholm's modern art museum. I'll spend hours walking around and then sit and have coffee at the museum's restaurant, which has a really amazing view of the water (Skeppsholmen; 46-8/5202-3500; modernamuseet.se).
Where is the best brunch? Greasy Spoon is my favorite; it’s modeled after a no-frills British breakfast joint. The Full English Breakfast is so classic and delicious, with toast, bacon, sausage, and eggs—and you can get black pudding on the side (Tjärhovsgatan 19; 46-72/944-2472; greasyspoon.se).
Where do you go for the perfect cup of coffee? Kura Café for their espresso (Kungsgatan 25; 46-8/4037-6202; k25.nu).
What’s your favorite view in town (that tourists might not know about)? There are lots of spots to view the city, but my favorite is Skinnarviksberget park—the perfect place to take a delicious picnic on a summer day. It's the highest point in the city and you can see almost everything.
What’s your favorite path or trail to follow on a walk? Walking in Djurgarden, the island in the middle of Stockholm, is so relaxing.
What are your favorite offbeat cultural attractions? Il Caffé. It's full of art, and the coffee is great to boot. I love seeing the murals done by Stockholm graffiti artist Finsta (multiple locations; ilcaffe.se).
What’s your favorite shop or boutique? I love the antiques at Svenska Rum. Even if I don't bring anything home, the history behind the pieces is incredible, and it's always awesome to see (Nybrogatan 40; 46-8/6621-777; svenskarumantikt.se).
What’s the best-kept local secret? I love the style and aesthetic in Stockholm, so some of my favorite local secrets are second-hand vintage stores. You can always find a new store with interesting pieces if you spend enough time in the neighborhood. One of my go-to spots is Judits Second Hand (Hornsgatan 75; 46-8/844-510; judits.se).
In our Hometown Guides series, we're seeking the best restaurants, bars, vistas, and things to do in a given place from the people who know best—the artists, designers, chefs, and store-owners who live there. See more Hometown Guides »
Photos: Getty Images, Franz Garcia, Courtesy Story Hotel