gourmet pistachio restaurant dessert

The Eateries Shunning The New Nordic Stereotype

The Nordic countries are revered by chefs and gastronomes across the world as being the home of possibly the most enticing, forward-thinking and sustainable food cultures of the modern day.  (Check out some of the best Nordic restaurants here).

As Nordic food culture sweeps across the world, spreading it’s hyper-local and ingredient-focused influence to restaurants, cafes and bakeries from London to Singapore, a new confidence has emerged. 

Confidence leads to innovation, and despite being a region with a very distinct local heritage, international influences have collided with local traditions to create a new wave of Nordic restaurants. This revolution is one that embraces the cultures of the world whilst at the same time applying the principles of the local cuisine. 

Here we take a look at some of the most interesting examples across the region where New Nordic cuisine is no longer centre stage… 

Taco And A Tuborg?

Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark and probably the food capital of Scandinavia. With its array of Michelin stars and ultra hipster drinking scene that’s moved on from draught Carlsberg to street corner natural wine bars, this city is top of many a food & drink lovers’ trip lists. 

A must-visit corner of this eclectic city lies in the old meat-packing district, which is now a hotbed of industrial chic, lined with bars and restaurants owned by passionate culinary entrepreneurs. One chef who has taken up residence here is Rosio Sanchez, a former pastry chef from the city’s renowned restaurant, Noma. Rosio runs an excruciatingly cool taqueria called Hija de Sanchez, where she harks back to her Mexican roots by offering a range of delectable Mexican tacos and small platefuls that are easily good enough to transport you to the streets of Oaxaca. 

Swedish World Tour

Sweden’s liberal politics and relatively relaxed approach to immigration has been a blessing in terms of diversifying parts of Swedish food culture. Particularly as you wander round the contemporary city centres, the wafting aromas of dill and cinnamon are accompanied by the perfume of saffron or kaffir lime leaves. 

In Malmo you can experience food multiculturalism at its best during a visit to the Möllevångstorget – a food market that is glimmering with fruit and veg from around the world, owing to the city’s diverse population. Here you’ll find everything from Vietnamese fish sauce to Kampot peppercorns. Situated within a bustling market square in the South West of the city centre, the edges are lined with Turkish kebab houses, Thai restaurants and East Asian supermarkets. 

Head north to Stockholm, and you’ll find Frantzen – arguably Sweden’s top restaurant. Here you will sample the hyper-local delights of Swedish cuisine, paired with traditional Japanese flavours and serving styles. For a full Scandi-Japan experience, Sweden’s first specialist Asian restaurant to win a Michelin star, Sushi Sho, is a truly world class sushi restaurant in the Scandinavian capital. 

Finnish Tapas 

Fast becoming one of the Baltic’s trendiest cities, Helsinki is quietly turning into a delectable food destination. Hip locals will shun the old fashioned Finnish fare of fish and potatoes, and head instead to the colourful sights of North Africa for a mid-morning feast at Sandro – possibly Helsinki’s hippest brunch spot. Chickpea dips, tabouleh, and labneh are served in gigantic platters over the weekends, and have been a huge hit with the locals. Sauna followed by mint tea and baklava anyone? 

Of course food culture isn’t all about the ingredients and recipes, but about the serving style, the feel, the pace and the etiquette. Jurri, a restaurant that celebrates all that the Finnish food culture is about, takes inspiration from Spain with its ‘Sappas’ menu, offering small tapas-style bites of Finnish flavours. These platefuls are paired with a whole range of different drinks, from new world Australian chardonnay to Finnish imperial stouts and local birch sap-based distillations. 

Icelandic Pizza Party 

Iceland is a country that embraces a few questionable foods. It’s not uncommon to be offered a nibble on a sheep head or a delightfully rotten cube of fermented shark. 

But luckily for international tourist and not-so-adventurous locals alike, the most popular fast food here is the humble pizza. Reykjavik is a great place to pick up a piping hot slice of cheesy loveliness, and at Blackbox in the financial district, you can let your creative city run wild. Here diners are encouraged to go rouge and select their own toppings from a huge range of delicious options. Ranging from old favourites like ham and local mushrooms, to slightly more discerning flavours like confit duck and local blue cheese.