In the short-lived but magical spirit of Swedish summer, YLC’s Kirsten Smart has hustled together her finest selection of outdoor cafés and eateries so that YOU too can feel the unbridled pleasures of tucking into your rökt lax al fresco!
Nothing makes me feel more liberated than munching outdoors. I’m not sure if it’s the vitamin D, the abundant flow of oxygen or the fact that, for the first time in seven months, I’m not wearing any thermal underwear. In fact I plan on spending every opportunity I get in the sunshine, filling up my belly with pink lemonade and kanelbullar because I feel it’s what I deserve for surviving another winter.
If you are stepping out, bleary eyed, from your first winter in the city, you should know that summer is to Stockholm what the rabbit hole is to Alice; it becomes an entirely different place. The collective mood is tangibly lifted in direct correlation to daylight hours. Suddenly there are more people in the streets, strawberries are in season and short-shorts are being sported, but far and away the best part of summer are the outdoor dining establishments that pop up like tulips:
It’s the obvious choice, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better outdoor café experience. The menu is made up of entirely fresh, organic produce and is updated daily. Patrons are encouraged to pick flowers (paying by weight) from colourful flowerbeds and freshly-baked bread can be bought from their farm store. There is a playground nearby, plentiful beautiful walks and, with the botanical garden dating back to the early 1800’s, one can soak in a little history along with the sunshine by ambling along to the candy-coloured Rosendal Palace.
Hours: May to September: Monday to Friday 11am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am to 6pm. For more information on opening hours in non-summer months, visit the website.
Contact: (08)54581270 (though this place is far too laid-back to take reservations)
Nearest transport: Tram 7 from Sergels Torg in the direction of Waldemarsudde, Bellmansro stop.
Frequented by interesting people and serviced by cheerful staff, Mälarpaviljongen is situated in Kungholmen’s Rålambshovsparken on Norrmälarstrand, overlooking Riddarfjarden and Västerbron. Half on land and half on water, this amphibious café is, for me, one of the very best things about summer in Stockholm. This is not just because it blushes with fresh flowers every day or because you could sit so close to the water that the lightest shove could prompt an unintentional swim. It is because of their kanelbullar. Mälarpaviljongen has, in my opinion, the most scrumptious cinnamon buns in all the land. Perhaps in all the world. In fact, if I could, I would park myself on one of their slatted wooden chairs and eat their kanelbullar until either I entered a cinnamon-induced coma or they kicked me out, whichever would come first. Fortunately for my waist, but unfortunately in every other regard, it is only open from April to September.
Hours: 11am-1am daily (weather dependant)
Contact: (08) 650 87 01 (note: this place is also too cool for reservations)
Nearest transport: Rådhuset t-bana
Away from the crowds of Skansen, but still close enough to the bustle is this elegant lake-side restaurant and outdoor café. Built in 1874 as an homage to the opera singer, Carl Johan Uddman, the historical villa has been in operation as a restaurant since 1897. Lounge under white umbrellas sipping quality teas or perch on the Parisian-esque wrought-iron furniture and tuck into a homemade baguette. Afterwards, if you’re not entirely paralysed with relaxation, I recommend taking a tranquil stroll along the water’s edge. This is a great spot for spending a lazy Sunday afternoon with a few friends or even solo.
Where: Rosendalsvägen 9, Djurgården
Hours: Mondays 11:30am – 10pm, Tuesday-Friday 11:30am – 11pm , Saturday midday – 11pm, Sunday midday – 10 pm
Contact: (08) 505 244 15
Nearest transport: Tram 7 from Sergels Torg to Waldemarsudde, Nordiska museet/Vasa stop, Bus 47 from the city centre.
Lasse i Parken is a time-tested favourite amongst the young and old alike. Set in a charming 18th century cottage near Hornstull T-bana and surrounded by tranquil greenery, the spacious and down-to-earth outdoor café is always a safe bet if you’re looking for a relaxing fika near the city. In the summer months, Lasse i Parken is host to a number of musical and theatrical performances, which are sociable, fun and generally rather popular. The queues for food can be quite long on weekends, so to skip the crowds I would suggest frequenting this cosy café on a sunny week day.
Where: Högalidsgatan 56, Hornstull
When: May-Aug 11am-5pm and 5:30pm-9pm daily. For more information on open hours in non-summer months, visit their website.
Contact: (08) 658 33 95
Nearest transport: T-bana Hornstull
For something further afield and more substantial, I highly recommend this laid-back, but sophisticated restaurant. Nestled in amongst the fairytale woodland on Bockholmen island, this 19th century house comes complete with rolling lawns leading right into the water. The restaurant serves excellent contemporary Scandinavian cuisine and, in the summer, holds brunches on Saturdays and Sundays. The famous brunches aren’t bookable, but I do suggest reserving a table on weekdays because it can get quite crowded. It’s also pretty difficult to get there on public transport and can be rather pricey, but it’s definitely worth a visit… even if it is a struggle to tighten your belt when viewing their dessert menu.
Where: Bockholmsvägen, 170, Solna
When: Between May 2nd and September 29th the opening hours are Monday-Friday 11:30am-4pm lunch, Monday-Saturday dinner 5pm-11pm, Sunday dinner 5pm-9pm, Saturday and Sunday brunch midday-4pm. For more information on open hours in non-summer months, visit their website.
Contact: 08 624 22 00
Nearest transport: Bergshamra t-bana, then bus 503 to Ulriksdals wärdshus, Himlabacken stop
For a map of all the cafés click here.
Featured Image: La Citta Vita/Flickr (file)