How Stockholm Chefs Have Started a Swedish Culinary Renaissance

© Simon Bajada

After decades of cooking hearty comfort food, Stockholm chefs are making Swedish cuisine more vegetable-friendly.

The Swedish capital has become a model of sustainable dining, with chefs across the city following the foraging and farming principles of the New Nordic movement. For most, it’s less about renouncing meat altogether and more a natural turn toward eating within the seasons.

Rising-star chefs Filip Fastén and Joel Åhlin have earned a loyal following (and a Michelin star) for their sustainable ethos and vegetable-forward dishes—like crispy white moss dipped in chanterelle crème with grated reindeer heart and onion flowers—at Agrikultur and its casual new offshoot, Bar Agrikultur.

For a cool-crowd meal, order the coal-grilled Romanesco broccoli and baked beets with blackberries at Växthuset, a vegan spot next to the popular under-the-bridge nightclub Under Bron. Stockholm’s contemporary photography museum, Fotografiska, is also home to one of the city’s most ambitious vegetarian restaurants.

Chef Paul Svensson practices a no-waste, plant-based method with standout items like compost-baked onions with Jerusalem artichokes and truffle (fish and meat are optional sides). Even chef Mathias Dahlgren, a founder of the New Nordic culinary movement, closed his Michelin two-star restaurant, Matsalen, to open the city’s first vegetarian fine-dining restaurant, Rutabaga, in 2017.

“In the past ten years, I’ve been cooking so much more with greens in general,” Dahlgren says about dishes like his popular avocado and jalapeño ceviche. “For me, that’s the direction food is going in.”