Finding the best Swedish meatballs in Stockholm is a big deal. I know this, because my trip to Stockholm in winter basically became one epic quest to find the best meatballs in the city.
Swedish meatballs are the best. They’re rich and full of flavor, drowning in a creamy gravy, enhanced by the taste of mashed potato and lingonberry. They’re a traditional Swedish food which won’t break the bank (important in pricey Stockholm).
There’s certain things that you simply must do when you travel to Sweden, and sampling the finest meatballs on offer is one of them. Alongside singing along to ABBA and squealing “look, there’s an IKEA!”, but devouring meatballs is way more fun than either of those things!
So, let’s take a look at why sampling meatballs in Stockholm is a must, and get my secret list of awesome Stockholm restaurants!
So what’s so special about Swedish meatballs?
Okay, so the meatballs that you’re probably most familiar with, assuming that you’ve never tried any Swedish food in your life, is going to be an Italian one. It’s about the size of a golf ball, loosely formed, and seasoned with herbs. It’s probably found in a pasta dish, with a tomato sauce.
Right – as much as I love Italian food, get the idea of those meatballs right out of your head, and into a lovely Swedish recycling bin.
Traditional Swedish meatballs are smaller than their Italian cousins – probably about the size of your eye (please do not insert meatballs into your eyes to check this). They’re closely-pressed, which gives them a dense but juicy texture, and often made of a mix of pork and beef. For extra flavour, they’re served with a creamy gravy which is to die for. Seriously, you’ll happily sell your house/granny/firstborn for this stuff once you’ve had a taste.
Want some sides with that? Cool, because meatballs in Stockholm come with all the trimmings. Mashed potatoes wallow in the divine gravy, and lingonberries and pickled cucumber provide the perfect tart, sharp taste to offset all that meat.
If you’ve never tried them, keep reading – because you’re in for a treat!
The BEST Swedish meatballs in Stockholm
Okay people, I’m going to cut to the chase. Although there’s many a popular meatball place in the city (and keep reading for some other choices), you want the best meatballs in Stockholm.
In my humble opinion, the best meatballs in town are to be found at Meatballs For The People, located in the neighborhood of Södermalm – the large island just south of Gamla Stan.
Just check out the Tripadvisor reviews, and you’ll see multitudes of folk falling over themselves to praise this place, and I completely concur with all of them. It’s not the biggest restaurant in the world (be sure to make a reservation if you’re visiting on a weekday – on weekends, you’re just going to have to cross your fingers, especially as there isn’t a huge amount of outdoor seating either), but the food is ah-may-zing.
There’s only one thing on the menu – meatballs. But that doesn’t mean that you’ve only got one choice! Take a look at the options, and you’ll see that there’s a veritable smorgasbord of meatballs for you to choose from, including elk, wild boar, and veggie options. They’re all made with 100% Swedish ingredients (there’s even a map on the wall showing you where the ingredients came from), with no preservatives or additives, and completely organic and gluten free. Nifty!
I personally went for the classic Swedish meatballs, in the name of taste-testing and finding the finest meatballs in Stockholm. My boyfriend plumped for the Deluxe Plate. Both of them were absolutely fantastic, absolutely beyond any kind of criticism. Mine were by far the nicest classic meatballs I tried in Stockholm, and the Deluxe Plate was a delicious twist – the bacon definitely added a salty, wonderful bit of flavour. Yup, I’m totally not above stealing my boyfriend’s food.
Also, with the Swedish Classic at a price of 179 kronor, Meatballs For The People is a fantastic choice for cheap meatballs. You may well see other places offering lower prices – but you won’t get nearly as many meatballs.
Want a sneak peek of what to expect at Meatballs For The People? Check out this clip of one of my favourite shows, Travel Man. Stockholm meatballs just don’t come any better.
The best meatballs in Stockholm’s Old Town
Meatballs For The People may provide the best meatballs in Stockholm, but what if they’re full, and you can’t get a table? DISASTER!
Well, kind of, but that doesn’t mean that you have to go without your spherical meat morsels. If you’re staying in one of the fine Stockholm hotels located in Gamla Stan – the Old Town – you’ve got some excellent meatballs within a stone’s throw.
Tradition is a lovely restaurant located just by the Royal Palace museum (and within rolling distance of Hotell Skeppsbron, my favourite Stockholm hotel, and an excellent choice for meatball hunters).
Check out Tradition’s amusingly blunt website (“record-keeping home cooking. End of discussion”) which doesn’t reflect how friendly the staff are, and you’ll see köttbullar on offer. They might not be as cheap as the ones in Meatballs For The People, but you’re getting an authentic dining experience right in the heart of Gamla Stan. All the food options here are incredible; lovingly cooked to authentic recipes, but given a modern touch.
You’ll also receive a more-than-generous helping of meatballs; they really do believe in quantity as well as quality! If you’re looking for excellent meatballs in Stockholm, and don’t want to stray too far from the centre, then these are most certainly the best meatballs in Stockholm’s Old Town.
Where to eat meatballs in Stockholm – other choices
Fancy some other choices for meatballs in Stockholm? Never hurts, does it?
If neither Meatballs For The People nor Tradition are available to you, there’s a good number of other Stockholm restaurants to try. Whether you’re looking for Kungsholmen restaurants near the hostels, or if you’re staying further out in Stockholm county and looking for something near public transport, I’ve got you covered!
Master Anders: Want some Scandi fusion food and classy surrounds, whilst simultaneously enjoying some of the best meatballs in Stockholm? Look no further than Master Anders in Kungsholmen! Locals really rate this eatery, which was founded in 1692, and which has had a loyal following throughout the city ever since. Prices are a little higher than average.
Uffe & Lotta’s: You can’t go wrong with this cozy Kungsholmen restaurant – it’s proudly local, low-key, and chilled-out, providing traditional Swedish cooking to hungry guests. The owners love to take the personal touch, and run this family restaurant themselves. The meatballs are top-notch, and it’s worth the trip for the atmosphere alone!
Bakfickan Operakällaren: Stockholm’s Opera provides both glorious music and glorious food, thanks to its in-house restaurant! It’s famously one of the best restaurants in Stockholm, and the meatballs definitely don’t disappoint. They’ll be delivered to your table in a neat stack (how do they manage that?), which you’ll happily demolish when you realise how good they taste!
Akkurat: This place, located just across the road from the busy Slussen metro station, is more of a gastropub than a restaurant, but there’s no denying that it serves great food! The meatballs are tasty and succulent – just be aware that you’ll need to go into the dining section of the building, as food isn’t served in the drinking area. Make a reservation!
Mom’s Kitchen Nybrogatan: This cosy place might just be second to Meatballs For The People in the hearts of Stockholmers. The whole concept is to provide traditional, home-cooked meals, just like your Swedish granny made ’em. It’s wildly successful with that aim, and the meatballs in particular are to die for, drowning in a rich gravy, whilst still having a contemporary look.
Bla Dorren: The name translates as “Blue Door”, and if you step through the eponymous door of this Slussen restaurant, you’ll be transported into a cosy eating hall. The elk meatballs melt in the mouth, the pickled cucumber is particularly awesome, and the staff are super-friendly. Service is fast, and the wait staff are more than happy to chat a bit!
IKEA: … really? If you just have to grab some takeaway meatballs, or nab some of the gravy mix to take home, the original IKEA is there for you. Plus it’s pet friendly, should you be travelling with your four-legged friend! How to get to IKEA Stockholm? Simply take the Line 1 bus from Stockholm central station – it’s a mere 25 minute journey.
I hope this guide has been useful to you! Eating Swedish meatballs in Stockholm is just one of those things you have to do; you’ll regret it forever if you don’t. The melancholy will creep up on you at odd times, as you gaze into the middle-distance, and wonder just how good those meatballs would’ve tasted. Don’t do it to yourself.
Plus, if you take anything away from this article, let it be this advice: wherever, you intend to eat, make a reservation. Trust me.
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Thanks for reading!
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