Good Cheap Eats: Stockholm
Stockholm is a sleek city, best known for it’s cool design aesthetic and fashion-forward style. It’s also known for being one of the most expensive cities in the world. If you sit down at a sidewalk restaurant in Gamla Stan a salad could easily set you back upwards of $20, and an espresso could cost around $6-7.
That said, there are so many delicious options to fit within every price range when you know where to look. So if you’re traveling to Stockholm with a per diem, don’t fret. There are possibilities, and good ones at that, for you.
A Few Budget-Friendly Tips
The last thing you want to do is blow your entire business trip budget on a few mediocre meals, and have nothing left for a trendy hotel or rooftop happy hour. So here are a few budget conscious tips to help you save your money for the things you really want to spend it on.
Consider a hotel that offers a breakfast package.
Sweden is home of the smörgåsbord, the original buffet. But not your stale, run-of-the-mill too-cold overcooked dishes lined up in a parade of chafing dishes. The Swedes lay out a variety of fresh fruit, cheeses, breads, sliced deli meat, boiled eggs, slow-cooked oatmeal and yogurt among other things. The breakfast spreads are more reminiscent of a home-cooked dinner party than an American buffet. If your hotel has one, it will likely save you a few dollars. Plus, you can always pocket a few things to get you through your morning meetings or for a picnic lunch.
Eat at a café for lunch.
In addition to a case of premade sandwiches and baked goods, most of the cafés in Stockholm offer a full menu for lunch, and even dinner, at a lower price than a restaurant.
Have your food delivered.
If you are short on time and can’t run out to grab your own meal, order with Foodora, Sweden’s alternative to services like Uber Eats and Caviar.
Now that you know how to save your budget so you have some splurge money left over, here is a roundup of some of our favorite budget-friendly restaurants in Stockholm. Now every meal you eat will be worth writing home about, via Instagram of course.
Meatballs for the People
If you are looking for Swedish meatballs in Stockholm, Meatballs for the People is your answer. Try the traditional meatball plate with a side of Knäckebröd (Swedish crispbread) spread with cream cheese and topped with pickled vegetables. And for the vegetarians out there, the restaurant can substitute spicy falafel balls with most of the plates.
Café Pom and Flora
In terms of brunch spots, Pom and Flora is the place to be. It has one of the best, and prettiest, menus in town. The cafe is small but it it opens early around 7:30 am if you are looking for a breakfast bite and to beat the crowds. Start with a fresh-squeezed juice which is always a mix of seasonal produce. The yogurt super bowl is a delicious healthy option. For summer it is topped with watermelon, mint, granola, cashews and honey.
Hermans Vegetarian Restaurant and Garden Café
Don’t let the vegetarian menu deter you from Hermans. The garden patio offers on of the best aerial views of Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s Old Town. For a set price you can load up on a variety of salads, cold and hot entrees and side dishes from the buffet. The Indian curries are especially good. It’s fun to sample the wide variety of dishes while taking in the sweeping views of Stockholm from their outdoor space.
When you’re walking through Gamla Stan, there are plenty of dining options, but many of them are overly touristy and overpriced. Matgatan 22 offers a good alternative that will keep your tastebuds happy. You can order a pretzel with a variety of dipping sauces for a snack or one of the more substantial entrees for a meal.
Hermitage is another vegetarian buffet. It’s always nice to find a healthy wholesome meal while traveling, especially if it has a local twist. And by the way, they love vegetable lasagna in Stockholm. It’s on nearly every menu. Sit outside Hermitage with a warm plate of goodness and watch the tourists wander by. When it’s cold the cafes and restaurants provide blankets for their outdoor seating. How smart is that?
The Hairy Pig Deli
The Hairy Pig Deli has been called a Gamla Stan hidden gem but it’s a fairly well-known secret, popping up on many lists outlining the must-eats of Stockholm. Perhaps best known for their sausage, but you can also order a variety of Swedish-style small plates.
Even the fast food is stylish in Stockholm. Phil’s Burger looks more like a New York City eatery than a fast food burgers and fries place, but that’s exactly what they serve. With an elevated twist of course. And while the menu mostly reflects that of a typical fast food joint, don’t be afraid to try the fried halloumi salad.
The poké trend has made it’s way to Scandinavia. When you need a quick, bright and healthy meal, Hawaii Poké has you covered. If you are in a real rush, you can grabbed a prepared bowl and be on your way. There’s even a vegan bowl available.
Ikon Kafe is a great stop when you only have a short break between meetings for lunch. The lunch special keeps things budget-friendly and the eggs benedict gets rave reviews. The Scandinavian design also lends itself to making the ambience that much more enjoyable.
There are two Holy Greens locations within walking distance of Kungsträdgården. Stop in for big, fresh salads and juices. While the lines are quick, they cater to the busy by offering scheduled food pickup through their app.
Out in Sankt Eriksgatan away from the most touristy spots of Stockholm, Kaffeverket serves big frothy lattes and delicious, fresh eats. The pancakes (more like crêpes) come a jar of fresh whipped cream and a jar of compote on the side. The sandwiches are pressed and ooze with gooey cheese.
Don’t laugh. We’re serious when we say Ikea serves a good cheap meal alongside a funny cultural experience. While you’ve likely visited an Ikea at home, if you are interested in visiting the mother of all Ikeas, Stockholm is the place to do it. The store in Skärholmen is the largest IKEA store in the world. Ikea offers a free bus from Stockholm, and they intentionally sell the cheapest food you’ll find in Stockholm to get people to stay at the store longer. You can get a full meal and dessert for less than $5. Here’s how to find the free bus to Ikea if you want to visit.