We’re major foodies, so when Robin and I were visiting Stockholm last month we decided to make it our mission to find the best Swedish meatballs in Stockholm. (Hey, when in Rome, right? Er… Sweden!)
We tried a bunch of restaurants and I thought I would get tired of eating meatballs by the end of our 3 days in Stockholm, but I couldn’t get enough of them. If you’re also on the hunt to stuff as much of this traditional Swedish food into your face, here’s the standout restaurants in Stockholm for savory, tasty meatballs.
The History Of Classic Swedish Meatballs
But first, why meatballs? I’ll be the first the admit that as an American, I only really associate meatballs and Sweden together thanks to Ikea. But there’s a deep history. This dish was brought back from Turkey in the early 18th century by King Charles XII of Sweden (written as Karl xii in Swedish) who lived there for a time during the Ottoman Empire.
Every one of the restaurants we visited take their own spin on this classic dish, but they all usually have meatballs, mashed potatoes, pickled cucumbers and lingonberry jam. Ok, let’s get into the food guide:
10 Best Places For Swedish Meatballs In Stockholm
Especially if you consider yourself an adventurous eater, Meatballs for the People should be the first restaurant on your Stockholm bucket list. Here, you can try meatballs made from many different animals and I can guarantee you’ve never tried half of them. Choose 4 varieties to try on a personal platter, or you can try 8 if you order family-style for the table. The restaurant takes a farm-to-table approach to this classic dish, so you can feel good about the impact of your meal too! Every meat on the menu, such as moose and bear, is ethically sourced from local farms & hunters.
Meatballs for the People offers diners a casual urban atmosphere with a trendy twist; think exposed brick, a neon sign above the bar, and a tiny patio for al fresco lunches. All in all, this is a great place to be. Plus, no reservations are needed for dinner (or a late-night snack with a glass of wine), so you can head there on a whim after a long day of touring. This is a privilege that can be hard to come by in Stockholm so be sure to keep this one in your back pocket.
In addition to serving some of the Best Swedish meatballs around, restaurant Pelikan might just be the prettiest restaurant in Stockholm. Just ten minutes in this uber trendy location will have you embracing your inner influencer. With towering palms, mood lighting, massive arched windows, and a lavish bar, this is a dining experience that will leave you feeling like one of the cool kids.
Obviously, you can’t leave without trying “Pelikan’s Meatballs” but there are plenty of other superstars on the menu worth considering. The likes of white asparagus polenta, fried salted bacon, and a hazelnut citrus duck breast all leave me begging for a chance to visit.
When hunting for the best Swedish meatballs in Stockholm, it would be a big mistake to skip over the Original Ikea location. After all, aren’t they the international king of Swedish meatballs? Talk about bragging rights back home! Plus, you can take yourself on a little impromptu shopping spree while you’re there.
Ikea is known for telling YOU what you need to buy, with fun little splurges around every corner, and their restaurant is no exception. Obviously, a meatball platter served with cream sauce and a side of their iconic lingonberry sauce is a must, but Ikea has oodles of other food options that are sure to be a hit as well!
Tradition (Restaurang Tradition)
Tradition has definitely earned itself a spot at the top of every “Best place for meatballs in Stockholm” list. As its name suggests, this restaurant is famous for its traditional Swedish food with an elegant flare, so be sure to come with an appetite and an appreciation for the finer things. A meal at Tradition also comes with some Pinterest-worthy photo ops thanks to its classy minimalistic design with Hygge influence.
Settle into a corner table by the window and get ready to chow down on classic dishes like fresh salmon from the Faroe Islands, potato dumplings, locally-caught pickled herring, and the star of this article, some really, REALLY good meatballs.
Glöd (Viking museum restaurant)
Don’t be fooled by this restaurant’s unlikely location! Glöd, located inside the Viking Museum, is simply THE BEST for lunch before or after a museum tour. You can also access it without museum admission, so there’s no excuse not to go. Serving up Nordic and Swedish cuisine from its riverfront perch, you’re sure to leave majorly impressed and satiated.
After choosing between a table in their airy upscale dining room or quaint dockside patio, order up a platter of their meatballs for sharing and a main course for the best of both worlds. If there are any vegetarians out there, I hear the halloumi burger is a fan favorite.
Don’t have a lot of time? No problem. Make a quick pitstop for a traditional Swedish Fika (an afternoon coffee with freshly baked pastries), or a mid-day cocktail hour. Glöd is renowned locally for its strawberry daiquiris- Yum!
The Hairy Pig
Located in Gamla Stan, The Hairy Pig is known for having some of the best meatballs in Stockholm Old Town. If you’re planning a trip, definitely make a reservation for after dark; you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful view of the city skyline all lit up. Though the restaurant gives off classic pub vibes, you’ll find that the menu is anything but ordinary. Farm-to-table cuisine, expertly curated by some of Stockholm's best chefs, is the name of the game at The Hairy Pig.
The inspiration behind the restaurant’s name, taste-testing the wild boar meatballs is a must. For a fun, tapas-style evening with friends, order a sharing board to try many of their other innovative dishes too. Some highlights include reindeer tacos, grilled sausages (made in their own personal sausage factory, I might add), peppercorn fries, and craft cocktails highlighting regional flavors like lingonberry and local gins. As if you needed any more reasons to visit The Hairy Pig, just know that the dessert menu is to die for.
Another Old Town staple, Bakfickan brings something a little different to the table. Start your evening with a grand performance at the Opera house and then head to this exquisite restaurant around back to refuel. With old-world decor and an exclusive 28-seat capacity, you’ll feel like you’re living the lifestyle of the rich and famous.
Among its classic Swedish dishes, this seafood-focused menu features bleak roe, cryfish and local char, and a handful of yummy desserts. When you’ve finished your meal, be sure to hop on over to The Opera Bar across the street for an “upper-class” art nouveau experience.
Mom’s kitchen is one of the best restaurants in Stockholm, and boy, do they make a mean meatball. This restaurant is known for being super friendly and between the good service and cozy atmosphere, it's easy to see why. On a warmer day, you may want to sit out on the pretty terrace and listen to the pounds of this bumbling side street.
Mom’s kitchen is known for its hearty home-cooking made from local organic ingredients- Just like mama used to make! Some of the most popular items on the menu include Swedish meatballs (of course), roasted potatoes, and even a few unexpected pasta dishes. You can also purchase many of Mom’s Kitchen’s meals to-go if you’d like to have an impromptu picnic with your travel crew.
Kalf & Hansen
If you’ve traveled all the way to Sweden just to eat meatballs (don’t worry, I don’t blame you), you need to make time for a meal at Kalf and Hansen. In addition to good eats, this restaurant is highly instagrammable from its pretty plating down to its fashionable urban decor.
With menu features like plant-based Swedish meatballs (yep, you heard that right! Vegetarians can get in on the action too), Kalf and Hansen deserves a place on every foodie's blog. After all, you'd be hard-pressed to find an assortment of redefined Swedish dishes quite this spectacular.
This guide to the best meatballs in Stockholm might be coming to an end, but not to worry. Tranan may be last but it’s certainly not least. The vintage diner feel of this restaurant, complete with picnic-style checkerboard tablecloths, will make for the perfect IG photo. Oh, and the full menu is available in English to make your ordering experience a bit easier. After a week of trying your hardest to learn Swedish, you’ll be quite grateful for the break.
Listen up for the insider’s scoop! Tranan’s meatballs aren’t always listed on the menu, but they are always available so don’t be shy about asking for some. It’s just like the secret menu at Starbucks, but better. As for dishes that ARE on the menu the food here is great, but veteran tourists will tell you not to skip out on their handful of signature cocktails. Tranan is ready to host one hell of a happy hour.