Serious food fans might be forgiven for steering clear of a city in which good old mashed potato - gött mos - is synonymous with excellence. Despite the vagaries of local slang, however, Gothenburg boasts a fine and well-respected culinary tradition and an enviable collection of restaurants.
In the last couple of decades, the city has produced several of the country’s top chefs and four of its restaurants currently hold Michelin stars. This, however, is not to say that they are inaccessible, prohibitively pricey or exclusive – typically, fine dining is attainable at a relatively affordable cost.
Götabergsgatan 28, Göteborg
031 20 21 61
This restaurant combines gourmet dining with upmarket fromagerie, featuring a cheese boutique as well as intimate and chic dining rooms. Here, the focus is certainly on relaxing over fine food, rather than eat-and-run business lunches, but the selection of menus means that you can enjoy your experience without shelling out enormously.
However, if you choose to splash out, go for one of the larger tasting-style menus, of which 28+ boasts a couple. The stora menyn (large menu) provides the hungry Gothenburger with the opportunity to sample the restaurant’s best dishes for less than 900kr.
Continentally-inspired classics are given imaginative twists, with an emphasis on the ingredients’ origins. You can choose between a mixed menu or the seafood & shellfish selection.
The highlights – crab cannelloni with foam and basil oil, tuna carpaccio, smoked pigeon breast – have earned the food a glowing reputation in the city.
If you’re feeling really extravagant, you can splash out on a wine menu to go with your tasting plates – the standard selection costs less than 575kr, while the exclusive selection weighs in just shy of 1,300kr.
Götabergsgatan 28, Gothenburg
This charming restaurant was awarded its Michelin star in 2004 and since then has striven to provide excellent contemporary Swedish cuisine made from the best ingredients.
The menu here changes daily (alongside the selection of perennial “classics”) depending on what’s in season and on the availability of the best foodstuffs.
Provenance again is important, and reflected in the menu - expect a seasonal first course (asparagus, shellfish, etc), a fish course that steers clear of cod and focuses on locally-caught varieties, and a meat course which again adds a twist to traditional Swedish tastes.
The intimate dining rooms downstairs are complemented by Basement Upstairs, a larger function or party room with an adjoining kitchen, where pre-booked parties can learn how to cook some of the dishes on offer with the assistance of one of the chefs.
Those looking for something light can also opt for the framfickan lounge, where guests can sit and enjoy one or two dishes and a glass of wine, rather than the main dining rooms’ options of four, six or eight dishes (the menu augmented by foie gras, cheese etc. on the larger selections).
Prices start at 660kr for the four-course menu, rising to 1,050kr for eight.
031 81 25 80
In contrast to the intimate dining rooms previously mentioned, Fond is a large, funky restaurant – all plate glass, pale wood and rich green surfaces – in the cultural centre of the city.
The emphasis is on informality – it’s possible to take an hour-long business lunch, with one course and a glass of wine, or come later in the day and make a full evening of it.
The recently-renovated dining rooms are large, airy and modern, and the food is contemporary and seasonally-driven.
Head chef Stefan Karlsson’s best-loved dish of deep-fried crayfish with carrots and orange butter is still on the menu eight years after the restaurant’s opening night, and the other choices – such as herring with Präst and pickled cabbage, coquilles Saint-Jacques, reindeer fillet, angler fish with cuttlefish and a selection of vegetables – take well-sourced ingredients and turn them into traditionally Nordic dishes with hints of more exotic flavours.
The menu walks you through the flavours and helps with wine recommendations, and it’s possible to have a tasting menu of 6 dishes for 700kr per person.
Adolf Edelsvärdsgata 5, Gothenburg
031 775 59 20
One of the city’s most popular restaurants, Sjömagasinet has had a Michelin star since 1999 and is situated near the harbour for a fully picturesque eating experience.
Taking full advantage of the city’s reputation for fish and seafood, the menu focuses on delicate and classic ways to serve the pick of the day’s catches.
As in the other Michelin-starred restaurants in the city, Sjömagasinet offers a selection of set-price menus for groups of eight or more, starting at 525kr for the daily three-course menu and moving up.
Diners can also order from an extensive à la carte menu which contains specialities such as the lobster soup, pan-fried halibut with duck liver, shellfish dishes galore (freshly caught and simply prepared) and a couple of gourmet meat options.
You can expect to pay through the nose for a full evening meal here – the restaurant is unabashedly high-class – but those interested in sampling the food at a lower price can take advantage of the lunch offers, with a couple of dishes each day available at around the 135kr mark.