Favorite Summer Bar: Mälarpaviljongen!

I have posted several times over the years about this floating bar but, as this weekend is supposed to be sunny and warm, I though a friendly reminder would be good. Plus, I just visited Mälarpaviljongen last week and took new pictures!
Mälarpaviljongen is located on the waterfront on the island of Kungsholmen. In fact, most of it is floating on the water. This, along with the fantastic views, makes it an idyllic place to have lunch or an evening cocktail. Very popular with Stockholmers and a bit off the beaten path, so visitors really don't stumble on to it unless they know where to go. Lots of boats and kayakers passing by on the lake...
Mälarpaviljongen is gay owned and operated and does attract a large LGBT crowd, especially later in the evenings. But, generally speaking, the clientele is very mixed with everything from gay couples to young families to grannies with their lap dogs, all enjoying a drink and the views. All are welcome. This is, after all, Sweden where a big deal isn't made about a person's sexuality. If you are in Stockholm on a warm and sunny day, Mälarpaviljongen is definitely worth a visit!

Best Places to Eat Swedish Meatballs

Meatballs at the restaurant Tradition
Is there anything more Swedish than the Swedish meatball? It is up there with ABBA, Volvo and IKEA. Speaking of IKEA, this is probably where most people have tried Swedish meatballs outside of Sweden. Not to discredit IKEA meatballs which are quite tasty, but this is really a "fast food" (mass produced) variant of the Swedish culinary favorite. If you are visiting Stockholm then there are many great restaurants that serve meatballs with all of the traditional fixings so you can try and compare. I have done a similar article about restaurants serving traditional Swedish cuisine (often includes meatballs) but so many guests ask specifically for meatballs I thought it deserved its own article.
Classic accoutrements: lingonberries and pickled cucumbers
The first time "köttbulle" (Swedish for meatball) was used in text was 1755 in a cookbook written by Cajsa Warg, but they are obviously older than that. Classic Swedish meatballs are handmade with ground beef/veal, milk, egg, breadcrumbs, diced/fried yellow onion and salt & pepper... but certain variations of the recipe are often found (like adding allspice, nutmeg or other spices). One popular variation found on some menus is "wild meatballs" with ground moose. Click here for recipe.
Meatballs at Den Gyldene Freden
But what truly makes this meatball Swedish is the accoutrements (or fixings) that are served with the meatballs. Potatoes are a must, either mashed/puréed or cooked, as well as a cream sauce, lingonberries and pickled cucumbers (not pickles). The tartness/sweetness of the cucumbers and  lingonberriesis is great to offset the heaviness of the dish (cream, potatoes, etc.). Here are some Stockholm restaurants, in no particular order, that I recommend which have meatballs on the menu...

There are, of course, other good restaurants in the city with meatballs on the menu. And, hey, we also have the world's largest IKEA in Stockholm if you prefer their meatballs! If you are staying at the Hotel Rival, contact me directly if you want more information or help in booking a table. 
Meatballs for the People
Photo by Tina Stafrén/imagebank.sweden.se

2018 Summer Tips!

Photo by Helén Pe/mediabank.visitstockholm.com /
I am starting a two and a half week family vacation tomorrow and I thought I would post a blog article with some good summer tips and recommendations while I am away (linked to blog articles and helpful websites). You can also browse through my recent blog posts to find more advice and recommendations. Hopefully this can help you in planning your upcoming visit!

Getting Around the City
Sightseeing (multiple blog articles, but here are links to the individual company websites)
Stockholm views
Photo by Henrik Trygg/mediabank.visitstockholm.com 
Handy Tips and Great Websites
This is really just some highlights and top tips. If you are staying at the Hotel Rival while I am away these two weeks, my competent colleagues will be happy to help you with more detailed information!
Kayaking in Stockholm
Photo by Henrik Trygg/mediabank.visitstockholm.com 

Bergius Botanical Gardens

I was out on another adventure with my visiting parents the other day. This time we visited the Bergius Botanical Gardens (or Bergianska Trädgården). It was actually my first visit here... so it is perfect for a blog article! I recently blogged about taking a nature walk around Djurgården park and the botanical gardens are actually a part of the park, albeit in the northern part (not the island of Djurgården). The park is actually quite huge, stretching like an inverted, wonky C around the eastern part of the Stockholm.
The Japanese pond
Bergianska Trädgården is located on the shores of Brunnsviken, close to Stockholm University in an area called Frescati. This is north of the central part of Stockholm, 7 subway stops (red line) from the Hotel Rival to the station Universitet. While it isn't centrally located, it is good to note that, besides the gardens, you have acres of parkland as well as the Museum of Natural History in the area... so you can easily spend a full day here.
Herb garden with Gamla Orangeriet
The Gardens were originally founded by the Bergius brothers back in 1791 and moved to its current location in 1885. The gardens themselves are free to visit and wander about. They do have two greenhouses which charge admission... the Edvard Anderson Conservatory and the historic Victoria House (open only May through September). They also have an old orangery (Gamla Orangeriet) with herb garden which has a nice restaurant & café for lunch.
Giant lily pads at Victoria House
We mainly wandered through the outdoor gardens. The theme this year is "around the world" and we enjoyed the Italian terrace, Japanese gardens and Rhododendron valley. We did visit the Victoria House which, while small, was pretty amazing... especially the giant water lily (Victoria). The lily pads are enormous and the flowers are really spectacular. The house itself is classified as historic and unique due to similar conservatories having disappeared across Europe.
Brunnsviken resembles a lake, though it is actually an inlet of the Baltic. The park stretches around the entire inlet and you can walk the entire shoreline (10 kilometers). On the other side of Brunnsviken from the botanical gardens is´Haga Park which is full of interesting places to visit. The area around Brunnsviken is a popular recreational area for Stockholmers who enjoy coming here to swim, boat, jog, bike and picnic.
Brunnsviken seen from the Italian terrace.
Trails along the water
Victoria House from the outside
Italian terrace

Berns Asiatiska- Asian Fusion Restaurant

Entrance to Berns
I had the opportunity to dine at Berns Asiatiska last week with my fellow Stockholm Concierges. Berns is an historic Stockholm entertainment venue with restaurants, bars, concert stage and nightclubs. Built in 1863 by Heinrich Robert Berns (hence the name), it was actually the first restaurant in Sweden to serve Chinese cuisine (1940's). Some really famous people have performed here throughout the years, from Josephine Baker, Frank Sinatra, Marlene Dietrich up to Rihanna and Ryan Adams.
Beautiful interiors
They still serve Chinese cuisine here, though these days the menu is more "Asian fusion" with flavors and dishes from throughout the Far East. Berns also has another restaurant in the park out front that serves French cuisine and is called Berns Bistro. It is especially popular on sunny, summer evenings with a large outdoor area. But back to Asiatiska...
Berns Asiatiska, located in the downtown area, has probably the most beautiful restaurant interior in Stockholm with amazingly high, carved wooden ceilings, gold & red velvet interiors and enormous chandeliers. They have really been good at keeping the historic ambiance of the venue alive. As I mentioned, the menu is a fusion of Far East cuisines... with favorite dishes from China, Japan and Korea. We had the tasting/sharing menu for groups and it was all very delicious.
It can get a bit boisterous on late evenings during the weekends as they have a popular bar and nightclub as well. The easiest way to get there from the Hotel Rival is either by taxi (10 minutes) or by taking the subway (red line) to Östermalmstorg, exit to Stureplan and then walk 10 minutes to the restaurant. Otherwise the station Kungsträdgården (blue line) is quite close if you are coming from another part of Stockholm.
They also have a very popular brunch here on the weekends! You can book your table on their website which I have linked above or by contacting me directly if you are staying at the Rival. Click here for other restaurant recommendations.
Bistro Berns in the park.