Gothenburg, Sweden foodie guide: where locals eat and drink
Discover our pick of the 19 best places to eat and drink in Gothenburg, Sweden, from the biggest cinnamon buns in town, to coffee geekery at its finest and lemon sole fresh off the boats in the city’s fish market
Looking for Gothenburg restaurants? Want to know the locals favourite bars in Gothenburg? After the best cinnamon bun in this vibrant city in West Sweden? Check out our favourite local places to eat and drink in Gothenburg here...
Best restaurants in Gothenburg
Bjorn Persson closed his renowned Kock & Vin restaurant a couple of years ago to reopen the space as Koka, a more casual and contemporary dining affair (albeit one which has already gained a Michelin star). The sleek, quintessentially Scandi, room is lined with planks of pale fir while dramatic panels of burgundy fabric framing an original, 19th century, glass ceiling hinting at more traditional influences. Cutlery sits on a little wooden box that slides open to reveal the menu of the evening.
In the kitchen, Koka focuses on contemporary gastronomy from West Sweden, with many locally foraged ingredients. Sweet and crunchy charred white asparagus is served with butter mushrooms shavings, grated egg yolk and nettle emulsion. Juicy slow-cooked charcoal pork belly is sweetened with a purée of beetroot and Koka’s unique blackcurrant mustard (it’s worth going for this alone), or served on a bed of cabbage with an emulsion of blue mussels. Blueberries are semi-dried and soaked in Scandinavian spirit Akvavit.
Wine pairing is a must, perfectly complementing the excellent dishes – Chenin Blanc is fresh and fruity, terracotta-aged Chardonnay lets the grapes speak for themselves rather than adding oaky notes and a dessert wine has fig and plum notes with nuttiness from the oak barrels.
Viktoriagatan 12, restaurangkoka.se
Head through an archway off trendy Tredje Langgatan and transport yourself into a large conservatory brimming with plants and flooded with light from a glass ceiling. There are cosy seating areas everywhere you look, and shaggy fur throws to snuggle into.
The café's simple menu features bagels (brisket and mushroom, turkey and mango, salmon and cucumber), salads and inventive pizzas. We suggest the stunning vegan pizza slathered with silky artichoke cream and topped with crispy onions, crunchy asparagus, radishes, new potatoes and dots of citrus cream. Keep it vegan and tuck into a bowl of Asian-style coconutty tomato stew with lentils, crunchy toasted peanuts, cauliflower florets and tasty toasted nut crackers to finish (check out our favourite vegan recipes here).
Fresh orange juice is sweet, citrusy perfection, served in a little glass bottle to pour into a large balloon glass, aperitivo style. Head here in the early evening to make the most of the long summer nights and soak up the buzz of the beautiful young crowd sipping on Aperol Spritzes.
Tredje Langgatan 9, kafemagasinet.se
With only six seats at the counter, this minimalist sushi bar is mighty difficult to get into. If you’re lucky enough to secure a spot, expect traditional sushi crafted using the freshest Scandinavian fish. Chef José Cerda was born in Gothenburg but marries this Scandinavian influence with a Mallorcan heritage - and has a passion for the Japanese concept of achieving kaizen (perfection). These three strands meet in a traditional omakase menu that leaves the choice to the chef but may well include the likes of seared halibut, mackerel roe, Scandinavian-style sushi and kakigori or strawberry dessert, all served on beautiful handmade Japanese crockery.
HOZE has a back-pocket dining concept, Bifangst, allowing just two diners at a time to enjoy a menu driven by the Nordic seasons, using home-grown and foraged ingredients alongside leftovers from the main restaurant to ensure that each ingredient fulfils its purpose. These may include elderflowers, unripe strawberries, spruce shoots and scallops.
Stigbergstorget 17, hozerestaurant.com
Tacos and tequila
This lively taco joint has a round-the-clock party vibe, with laidback staff carting a constant stream of sloshing margaritas (there are five varieties) back and forth between tables and out onto a suntrap terrace.
The food is fresh and vibrant, focusing on ceviches (spicy tuna, scallop, salmon) and, of course, tacos. Tuck into roast pork belly, spicy pineapple, roast coconut flakes and grilled bell pepper cream; panko-fried cod with watermelon and ginger mayo; or grilled Portobello mushroom with black beans, roast almonds and chipotle salsa.
There are sharing bowls of corn chips and guacamole, pimped up with unusual toppings such as strawberry and feta or papaya and pickled red chilli, and a house chilli for something a bit heartier.
Tredje Langgatan 9, tacosandtequila.se
Check out our top tacos recipes here, including:
- crusted halloumi tacos
- lime grilled salmon tacos
- California-style spicy fish tacos
- chicken taquitos
- quick pork and bean tacos
Make like a trendy Gothenburg local and enjoy vegetarian food in the foyer of arts theatre Folkteatern below a glittering disco ball. The tasting menu at Folk is a great value way of trying the vegetarian small plates on offer – raw celeriac with basil pesto, hazelnuts and watercress; butter baked cauliflower with mushroom mayonnaise and punchy pieces of fried ginger; and fried butter ice cream with skin-on poached pear topped with bursts of pomegranate seeds and crunchy caramelised hazelnuts.
Pair the food with natural wines: we enjoyed the delicate citrus and mineral notes of Domaine Montanet-Thoden Bourgogne Vezelay Le Galerne 2014.
Olof Palmes plats 3, folkgbg.se
Any church dedicated to seafood is one we’d like to worship at. The charming indoor fish market Feskekorka, or ‘fish church’, is a must-visit for fresh seafood. Let one of the fishermen here dish out spoonfuls of pink prawns served with garlicky aioli and lemon wedges and take it outside to eat on wooden benches by the river.
If you don’t fancy eating on the move, hop up the wooden stairs to Restaurant Gabriel’s and enjoy a glass of Champagne while tall, bearded Swedes in woolly hats ferry to-and-fro from the open kitchen with plates of oysters, lemon sole with melted butter and Swedish lobster.
Best food trucks in Gothenburg
Jinx Food Truck
This turquoise truck, complete with panda motif, is permanently parked up alongside other street food vendors in a car park off Magasinsgatan. If you’re after a quick fix of fiery Asian food, this is your place.
Pillowy bao buns are stuffed with caramelised pork belly, coriander and peanuts, or silky tofu pieces. We enjoyed the Thaicos – generously sized boxes filled with minced pork, shredded carrot, coriander, lime and peanuts. Spoon the punchy mixture into soft tacos, squirt with sriracha sauce and wash down with a colourful can of Mikeller beer.
Magasinsgatan 17, jinxfoodtruck.com
On a sunny day, pull up a chair in a bustling square off popular shopping street Magasinsgatan and tuck into paper plates of flash-fried herring, creamy mash and tart lingonberry sauce from trendy Strommingsluckan food truck. It’s ideal for people watching and a great way to try traditional Swedish food without blowing the bank balance.
Best cafés and bakeries in Gothenburg
Kafe Höga Nord
Stumble upon this pretty courtyard shared with the Forssen Oberg champagne bar to find a small café dominated by a counter heaving with baked goods. There’s also a pint-sized record store next door.
Höga Nord is known for its vegetarian open sandwiches, and for good reason. A beetroot tartar is spruced up with crunchy golden clusters of rye bread, flax seeds and caramelised brown butter, and plenty of dill. There’s even a sandwich with four types of onions (along with cucumber and sultanas). They’re on the small side, but beautifully executed.
Hip baristas prepare your food while sharing insider tips on the best bars to visit nearby.
Kyrkogatan 13, hoganord.com
It’s hard to miss Da Matteo Coffee Roasters in Gothenburg, so many branches are there. Sit high on a stool in the original Victoriapassagen branch and watch people squeeze through the tiny passage while eyeing up sleek stationery in Rum for Papper opposite. Alternatively, recline on the terrace outside Da Matteo Panetteria, or hop over to Da Matteo Torrefazione to enjoy cinnamon and cardamom buns fresh from the on-site bakery and brews straight from the in-house roastery.
Interiors in each one fit their Scandi-cool clientele down to a T – concrete, exposed brick and stainless steel are cosied up with Swedish throws and cushions to sink in to. Blends rotate seasonally and, rather than ordering a flat white, cappuccino or macchiato, the house blend is served in three sizes only, along with filtered coffee by the cup.
Make sure you wind your way through the warren of coffee sacks to the sun-soaked courtyard at the back of Da Matteo Panetteria. Here you can enjoy your brew surrounded by potted trees and perfectly trimmed bushes spilling out from neighbouring plant emporium, Floramor & Krukatös.
Alvar & Ivar Surdegsbageri
Though these guys specialise in sourdough bread, this tiny neighbourhood café also sells the best cinnamon buns in town. In-the-know city dwellers queue round the block every morning to bag one of Alvar & Ivar’s organic, freshly-baked loaves. Try the fruktbröd sourdough packed with fruit and nuts, or indulge in a semla cream bun.
If you’re lucky, bag one of the two seats inside, or take your bread to the pretty local park, apparently home to one of every type of tree in Scandinavia.
Kastellgatan 11, alvarochivar.se
Take a stroll through the film set-worthy cobbled streets of Haga and you may well stumble across this café. Its large windows are piled with giant cinnamon buns and we strongly advise you go inside and try the doughy, sugar-sprinkled spirals for yourself. Slide your tray, canteen style, past display cabinets brimming with baked goods (including sweet vanilla drömmar biscuits and dense and sticky chocolate kladdkaka cake) and prawn sandwiches. Settle into a booth with a hot chocolate and take in the café’s stunning 19th century glass roof and stucco work.
Haga Nygata 28, cafehusaren.se
Johan & Nyström
This organic coffee roaster and tea merchant from Stockholm slid into the West Coast city in November 2017 with three new concept stores. Contemporary wooden interiors decorate a space where you can learn about beans and blends, as well as finding the perfect brewing method, from Aeropress to Syphon.
Once you’ve found your preferred coffee, browse the sleek shelves for packs to take home, or linger over a cup and a cardamom bun at one of the jade green tables.
Kungsportsavenyen 21/Östra Hamngatan 46-48/Nordstadstorget 10, johanochnystrom.se
Best bars in Gothenburg
Hagabion's Cafe Kino
On busy shopping street Linnegatan, inside a huge red brick building, is this indie cinema with its own, pint-sized, cellar bar. The pull here is the Swedish craft beer and imaginative vegetarian food (goat’s cheese on homemade walnut bread and wild mushroom tortellini with a cream sauce). The bar’s arty customers perch wherever they can in the tiny room – at the bar, on a piano stool or around low tables on mismatched chairs. When it’s warm enough, extra pull-out chairs spill onto the wide cobbled pavement outside and the clean Swedish air fills with animated chatter.
Linnégatan 21, hagabionscafe.se
Champpagnebarren Forssen Oberg
This champagne bar was set up by two female friends who wanted to take the stuffiness out of the champagne world. The result is a tiny bar in a pretty flower-filled courtyard where locals sip from flutes under the shade of trees.
The girls regularly visit the Champagne region to ensure they are bang on trend with the latest vintages and independent producers. There are currently over 775 bottles to choose from, with plenty by the glass (including a complex and briochy Guiborat).
Salty Swedish oysters from Grebbestad and a glass of champagne make a perfect pre-dinner pairing. Or indulge in a cheese and charcuterie board. Otherwise, you can enjoy a three-course seafood menu of mackerel with radishes and buckwheat, artic char with summer cabbage, beurre blanc, trout roe and delicate elderflower, and a Swedish-style eton mess of strawberries with meringue, crème fraiche and lemon verbena.
The bar also has a reputation for live jazz, to the extent that last year they opened a jazz bar in the same courtyard, with live music every night.
Kyrkogatan 13, forssenoberg.com
At this specialist beer bar on trendy Tredje Langgatan there’s a rotation of international and local brews on tap, along with a wide range of bottles from across the globe.
Some local breweries to look out for are Beerbliotek (try its Whoop Ass sour or the citrusy and aromatic Bobek citra American pale ale), Orebro Brygghus in central Sweden, and All in Brewing, offering a wide range from Hustle imperial chocolate hazelnut stout to the SOMA Indian pale ale.
Participate in a two-hour beer tasting, and be guided through 8-10 beers, from treacly stouts to IPAs. Brewers Bar does pretty great sourdough pizzas too, so it’s an ideal spot for a casual evening out with your beer-loving mates.
Tredje Langgatan 8/Magasinsgatan 3, brewersbeerbar.se
This traditional Swedish pub is extremely popular, so prepare to play sardines at its long, beer tap-lined bar while you wait for your ale of choice. The pub dates back to 1892, and nowadays hip young things squish in next to old timers. If it’s nice outside, line up on the wooden bench that hugs the building’s exterior, throw a blanket over your lap and enjoy the bar’s take on classic Swedish comfort food (try the meatballs!).
Andra Långgatan 13, olstugan.se
Cielo rooftop bar
This rooftop bar on the seventh floor of glamorous Hotel Bellora, is the place to head for upmarket cosmopolitan vibes. Gothenburg’s party-goers pack themselves into the narrow space to enjoy the 180 degree views of the city and groove along to the live DJ. There’s a bar at one end, well-stocked with Italian liqueurs and aperitivi.
Slide into one of the white cushioned seats set under a flower-strewn pergola. Sip a refreshing cielo summer cocktail of aperol, gin, elderflower, lemon and soda and watch the sun set over the city’s rooftops.
Kungsportsavenyen 6, hotelbellora.se
Best place to eat in the Gothenburg archipelago
Catch a ferry out to tiny Styrsö island and head straight for Café Obergska, a charming café that sits in a picturesque white picket-fenced herb garden. Relax on a squishy vintage armchair on a raised platform set into a dramatic rocky backdrop and listen as reggae pulses through the air and children clamber over flowerpots to eye up their parents’ platters.
Order a burger from the bearded Swedish blokes on the BBQ and treat yourself to a G&T from the tiny wooden bar in the corner. Suited and booted gin master Olof crushes juniper berries, liquorice and peppery paradise seeds into a tea strainer before infusing the mix into Tanqueray gin and homemade tonic. Don’t miss pillowy, sweet, lightly spiced carrot cake, and make sure you visit the tiny pastel-coloured ice cream parlour inside for a DIY ice cream cone to accompany your stroll through the island’s woodland and fisherman’s houses.
Styrsö island, obergska.se
Where to stay in Gothenburg
This uber-trendy boutique hotel, in the centre of Gothenburg, combines an airy workspace, buzzy bar and comfy bedrooms. A circular white reception desk is the only feature that marks the entrance as a lobby; the space is dominated, instead, by a contemporary bar area that also serves as a breakfast room. Carve out a corner space on an evening and order a shrimp sandwich, or a simple, crisp pizza topped with Serrano ham, plus a cocktail mixed from the impressive collection of spirits behind the bar. In summer, the shaded terrace on the hotel’s first floor is a pleasant, secluded spot to enjoy some quiet al fresco time (at night it’s lit by flickering lanterns).
What are the rooms like? Lofty bedrooms are decked out to provide ultimate comfort – huge beds, bathrooms with monsoon showers and heated floors, side tables kitted out with Swedish teas and coffees. Furnishings are predominately monochrome (some have huge black and white photos, depicting scenes from Gothenburg’s past), with a few pops of colour in the form of a yellow bedside table here, a teal headboard there. There’s even a luminous pink room complete with dusty pink throws and a gigantic stencil of a metallic rose on the wall.
What's breakfast like? Come morning, the breakfast counter is laden with cold meat cuts, tubes of Kalles caviar to spread on thin wheels of Leksands crisp bread, and freshly baked croissants from Johnséns in the city’s Haga district. Add in your choice of Bramhult Swedish juices, or speciality teas from Johan & Nyström. If you want to maximise snoozing time in the hotel’s cosy beds, Flora’s breakfast in a bag can be delivered to your room free of charge (a sandwich, a boiled egg, coffee, tea, juice, Turkish yoghurt with berries and homemade granola).
Grönsakstorget 2, hotelflora.se
Get around with a Gothenburg City Card, it includes free admission to museums including trendy Roda Sten arts centre, and attractions such as the peaceful botanical gardens, as well as free transport throughout the city (including buses, trams and the ferry to Styrso and surrounding islands).
First published May 2016, updated June 2018
Written by Alex Crossley
Photographs by Alex Crossley