Having arrived at Gothenburg Central Station or any central station basically, it is important to think fast and make a firm decision concerning your first destination. Your throat is soar, your back aches, your ears itch and your feet are probably swollen. This is not the time to go looking for that “absolute must” in the outskirts. No, you need something close and you want to get there on foot.
A great wine/espresso bar…
…550 metres from the station
Bar Centro is the nicest little Italian bar north of Milan and a great place to start (or end) any visit to Gothenburg. Make your way here and grab a glass of natural Savagnin or what is currently in the fridge under the counter. There's not an abundance of chairs but during summer it is nice to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine. In the evening, the café is transformed into an ambitious little restaurant serving some simple, yet brilliant little dishes. Like the golden beets with pecorino that you see in the picture.
A food truck...
1100 metres from the station
Even though there can be quite a line to Jinx Food Truck it is definitely worth the wait. The Asia inspired street food is filled with cilantro and big flavours. The vegetarian buns with deep fried tofu is a favourite.
An award winning design bar a short boat trip(!) away
One of the best ways to explore Gothenburg is by the public transportation ferry. The boats are really nice and you can sit inside or stand on deck. Get on at the Lilla Bommen stop and hop off at Lindholmenpiren. From there you'll walk the last bit to Radisson Blu Riverside Hotel and their bar Cuckoo's nest where you'll find yourself embraced by a Chesterfield chair. The bar won the European Hotel Design Awards in 2013 and is truly something else.
Before continuing from your first stop you should have come up with answers to the following questions:
1. Where are you going tonight?
2. What should you book for tomorrow?
You will always find a nice place to eat or drink in Gothenburg but if you're more than two and if you want to be certain to get a table at a certain place it is wise to book in advance.
3 great places..
…when you’ve forgotten to make a reservation
Björns Bar is located in the basement of one of Gothenburg’s Michelin starred restaurants, Koka. At Björns Bar you don’t need to make a reservation (actually you can’t). Just do like the locals and be there in good time when it opens at 5 and you’ll get a table. The menu features Fine de Claire oysters, Steak Tartar and lots of other good stuff.
The little taco joint called Little Meats is insanely popular. Sometimes it’s hard to get a table but since you cannot book one, and since it’s fast food restaurant where people don’t stay forever, it always tends to work out in the end. The Portobello tacos (Hongos) are amazing. Also don’t miss out on the guacamole.
The street Tredje Långgatan is lined with popular restaurants and Kafé Magasinet is popular both day and night. Also, it's a life saver when they can't find a table for you at Made in China or Taverna Averna. Go for a pizza or try the autumn sallad, filled with pickled veggies and nice stuff.
3 seafood restaurants...
...that keep it classic
Sjömagasinet is one of Sweden’s most famous seafood restaurants. Great location by the sea gives an extra plus!
In the beautiful fish market hall Feskekörka you can either buy shellfish for later, or enjoy them at one of restaurants inside. Go for some oysters at Restaurang Gabriel where the world champion in oyster opening works(!).
Fiskekrogen is another classic restaurant focused on serving top quality seafood. An interesting detail is the part of the restaurant called Bifångst (bycatch in Swedish) where there is no set menu and a more innovative approach.
3 restaurants where Asia...
To combine west Swedish ingredients and flavours with Japanese cooking methods has grown very popular the last couple of years. Here are three places you need to visit.
Chef Hoze Seruda is the poster boy of new Swedish sushi. His tiny restaurant called Hoze only takes 6 guests which makes coming here a pretty unique experience. Make sure to book in advance.
Björk & Bambu, located in the Linnéstaden area, is a semi-hidden culinary gem with some pretty amazing dishes to sample. The 4 to 6 course menus can be paired with either wine or beer packages. Don’t miss the crayfish dumplings!
Vrå is another Japanese/West Swedish match made in heaven. The restaurant is run by head chef Sofia Bodovic Olsson and Rebecca Olsson and located inside Clarion Hotel Post next to the Gothenburg Central Station.
2 equally amazing...
At Brewers Beer Bar you’ll find more local craft beer than you can possibly handle. And some of the best pizzas you can imagine. Here, a random pizza will have a topping like: cream cheese, pumpkin, old English cheddar cheese, sage, forest mushrooms and hazelnut butter dressing. On top of this, they have one of the best outdoor serving areas in the city during summer.
Ok, so maybe the very best pizza is found in Naples, but BOV (short for "bread and wood") on Gibraltargatan is not far behind. Choose between Margherita, Marinara and BOV of the day, while enjoying the rustic and cozy atmosphere. Want to try the same thing at home? Choose your pizza ingredients from the adjacent deli and greenery store.
3 Michelin restaurants...
...that you should check out
There’s more in life than pizza and Gothenburg has six restaurants with one star each in the Michelin Guide. Some of these have been in the game for ages and some are relatively new. What they all seem to have in common is the focus on local ingredients.
Thörnströms Kök has been around since 1997 and it is well known for top quality food and great wines. Think scallops, deer and lots of goodies from the sea.
Bhoga is one of the newcomers on the Gothenburg fine dining scene and an exciting place for anyone who wants to sample modern, Scandinavian cooking. Think celeriac and oxtail. Five courses with wine cost a little over SEK 1000 – which goes for several of the star restaurants in Gothenburg.
Upper House at Hotel Gothia Towers is run by star chef Krister Dahl and to come here is a quite unique experience. Expect perfection in every detail plus a splendid view.
3 superb places for great food...
...and (natural) wine
At Spisa you should always ask for a seat in the bar by the open kitchen. If they say that they have proper tables available, ask again. From this position you can follow the cooking process and eavesdrop on the chefs while they prepare the small to medium sized dishes that are served here. The wine list is long and there’s a lot of biodynamic and natural bottles to choose from. Be nice to your sommelier and you’re in for a journey.
At vegetarian restaurant Folk they take beets and cale to the next level. Try the vegetarian version of beef tartare made from grinded golden beet. Amazing. Also: lots of nice natural wines by the glass.
Trattoria la Strega is an Italian family restaurant with high ambitions when it comes to both food and wine. A favourite among foodies and critics.