Anthony Bourdain in Sweden: 4 Spots Where Tony Ate

“Sweden: it’s more than just meatballs!” declares Anthony Bourdain in the opening scenes of the Sweden episode. Despite a deep-seated hatred of ABBA – one that is entirely unsupported by the Swedes he meets –, Tony travels to the land of IKEA, meatballs, and reindeer to show us his unique perspective.

Anthony Bourdain visited Sweden in episode 6 of season 2 of No Reservations; it’s his one and only visit to the socialist Swedish Kingdom. During his winter visit, he spends time in the capital city of Stockholm, as well as up north in the frozen north – aka Lapland –, where he spends a night in traditional Sami accommodation, and has a meal of traditional reindeer dishes.

Anthony Bourdain in Sweden Hero

Whether you’re planning a trip to Sweden to enjoy the winter wonderland and a chance to see the northern lights, or are smart enough to spend your time there during the summer, this guide covers the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Sweden. There aren’t as many options as in other European countries, due to Tony’s interest in music and art taking up time on screen, but you’ll find a few worth visiting and sampling the local fares.

Want to watch the episode where Anthony Bourdain visits Sweden?
The No Reservations episode is available on Hulu and other streaming services.

In this post, I promote travel to a destination that is the traditional lands of the Sápmi (Sámi) peoples, among others. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to the past and present people of these lands. To learn more about the peoples who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.

This post was originally published in November 2022, and was updated most recently in November 2023.

Restaurant Pelikan

Anthony Bourdain in Sweden - Meatballs

Anthony Bourdain starts his trip to Sweden with a meal at Restaurant Pelikan, known for its traditional Swedish food. He’s joined by a pair of professional downhill skiers, who spend part of the meal knitting Tony a hat. When their meal arrives, dishes include Swedish meatballs – not just for IKEA! – and Tony’s plate of Fläsklägg (pig knuckle), one of his all-time favorite dishes.

Östermalms Salu Hall

Next, Anthony Bourdain heads to Salu Hall, one of Stockholm’s food markets. As his visit overlapped with the feast of Saint Martin of Tours, Tony wanted to enjoy an even more traditional meal to celebrate. After sampling some food at the market – oysters and crab with beer and aquavit – he heads to a local dinner that includes goose blood black soup and wine; goose is a traditional food for St. Martin’s Day.

Restaurant Lux

Anthony Bourdain in Sweden - Scallops

Always one to balance casual dining spots with ones worthy of a white tablecloth, Bourdain next meets up with chef Leonard Anderson; Anderson is originally Swedish and spent time at Aquavit in both New York City and Minneapolis (the latter of which is now closed).

They sit down in the kitchen at Restaurant Lux for a high-end Swedish dining experience. Their meal includes lobster in butter and sugar, a lingonberry sorbet palette cleanser, and lemon sole, scallops, and scallop roe. Today, the restaurant menu features market fresh products each day.

Maxi Grillen

Last but not least, no visit to a European destination would be complete without Tony seeking out whatever late-night sausage snacks are available. As he puts it in the episode, “it’s late at night, I just stumbled bar, I need animal protein. Some kind of pork or meat product of indeterminate origin wrapped into a tube, maybe with mashed potatoes.”

Sweden is happy to oblige with Tunnbrödsrulle, a hot dog with mashed potatoes and shrimp salad rolled up in flatbread. Tony enjoys this unusual combination with a bottle of Pucko – a chocolate sugar-milk drink. It’s all quite a combination!

Stockholm Food Tours to Try

As Tony doesn’t eat at many places during his visit, you might want to sample even more Swedish food during your own time in the country. Here are a few Stockholm food tours to consider; these will let you try everything from cheeses to candies, and fresh seafood to fika (Swedish coffee and pastries) at stops along the way.

Have any questions about the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Sweden, or – more accurately – Stockholm? Let me know in the comments below!

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Valerie is a travel writer currently based in Cleveland, but her favorite destinations are Alaska, London, and Jordan – only one of which Bourdain ever visited! You can find her writing on Lonely Planet, Forbes, and her travel blog, Valerie & Valise.

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