There's no shortage of exceptionally delicious food in Stockholm. And trying the local food was one of our top reasons for visiting the city, especially given the still-growing popularity of The New Nordic Cuisine. While a majority of the restaurants we dined at were affordable, we treated ourselves to a luxurious meal at Mathias Dahlgren Matbordet on our final night in the city. In the more than two months since our visit, our dinner at Matbordet still remains one of the highlights of our trip - and it's a meal that we won't soon forget.
As one of Sweden's top chefs - and decorated with two Michelin stars - it can only be expected that a meal at one of Mathias Dahlgren's restaurants will be transformational. He currently runs Matbordet, Matbaren and Matsalen, all within Stockholm's iconic Grand Hotel. Each restaurant offers a completely different experience, but they are all guided by the same principle: the natural cuisine, centered on carefully-sourced and high-quality Swedish ingredients.
Distinct to Madbordet (which literally translates to The Dining Table) is the intimate Chef's Table experience, where up to 10 guests dine together around a beautiful cooking station on most evenings. You're able to watch a seasoned and highly-skilled chef prepare your meal right in front of your eyes, while learning and asking about every ingredient in detail - where it's sourced from, how it's cooked and its history in Swedish cuisine.
This is a particularly great experience if this is your first time visiting Sweden because you can get insights on Swedish culture and tradition from locals and make new friends in the process.
The menu, which changes every evening, highlights seasonal produce and unique flavor combinations prepared perfectly. On Fridays and Saturdays, the menu features "5 Produce," Tuesdays and Thursdays feature "3 Produce," and on other nights, it may even serve as Mathias Dahlgren's development kitchen. If you have a large party, you can also request fun culinary ideas that Matbordet can bring to life.
We dined on a Tuesday and experienced the "3 Produce" menu, along with the wine pairing (which was extraordinary).
The chef started us off with incredible house-made rye bread, along with smoked butter, organic butter from Jama, and Svedjans farm cheese, which was one of the most delicious cheeses we've ever tasted. Just the bread spread alone made our experience worth it.
Our first course was carrots with curry, yogurt, lime and sesame. That may sound like a simple dish, but the chef made it extraordinary by preparing the carrots multiple ways and layering at least a dozen flavors together. The curry sauce also brought out the sweetness and earthiness of the produce.
Our second (and favorite) course was saddle of lamb with seasonal mushrooms, spring onion and truffle. We can't even explain the deliciousness of this dish using words, but the element that stood out most was the mushroom puree. The chef cooked down a generous portion of seasonal mushrooms, blended it, and layered it beneath the lamb. Once combined with the lamb juice and shaved truffle, this puree formed a sauce packed with umami. The lamb was also perfectly cooked and not at all gamey.
For our first dessert, which was not originally on the menu, we were able to sample one of Mathias Dahlgren's lastest food experiments: smoked cow heart shaved over a salted caramel ice cream sundae. The result was a unique flavor combination - sweet ice cream with salty caramel and savory smoked heart - with each bite leaving us wanting more.
The second dessert featured a sponge cake with fresh Swedish berries, house-made mini-meringues, fruit sorbet, yuzu and chervil. Another flavor-packed dish, this was the perfect refreshing dessert to end a rich meal.
Our final dessert (also not on the menu) of simple, yet intense, chocolate cake with homemade whipped cream, was designed for the perfect post-dinner fika. But it was a shame because, after all of those courses, we were too stuffed to enjoy more than one very memorable bite.
The entire experience at Matbordet, which stretched over three-plus hours, was incomparable. As our first time trying the Chef's Table at a high-end restaurant, Matbordet exceeded our expectations at every turn. The service was impeccable, with hostesses and waitstaff attending to our every need and treating us warmly, the food was amazing, the chef was top-notch, entertaining and engaging, and the company was great.
Unfortunately, this will probably be our last time trying Matbordet as well, since both Matbordet and Matsalen will be serving their last meals on Dec. 22. The restaurant will be undergoing extensive renovation to make way for an entirely new experience created by Mathias Dahlgren. So make a trip to Matbordet while you can!
Matbordet Södra Blasieholmshamnen 8 Box 164 24 103 27 Stockholm, Sweden