Whether it’s thanks to Noma, IKEA or the concept of hygge, Scandinavian cuisine has never been hotter than it is now. Erica Landin picks out some of her favourite restaurants across Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland to give you some wine travel inspiration for 2017....
Restaurants for wine lovers in Scandinavia
Though separate countries with notable regional differences, there is a commonality among the best Scandinavian restaurants. They work mainly, or solely, with local growers and farms, focusing on fresh, seasonal meat, vegetables and seafood. Foraging for berries, herbs, mushrooms and wild vegetables remains popular. Service tends to be informal but informed, from an enviable number of world-class sommeliers. Let them guide you to new discoveries.
The following reviews are taken from the January issue of Decanter Magazine, to catch the latest restaurant and travel features click here to subscribe.
Written by Erica Landin and edited by Laura Seal for Decanter.com
This is the eagerly awaited restaurant by charismatic duo Christian Nedergaard and Sebastian Rind Nellemann, who run the beloved wine bar Ved Stranden 10. If you are looking for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a hearty late-night snack, their inviting restaurant is just around the corner. Food varies from the well-known to the exciting, with influences as diverse as Japan, the Middle East, the Mediterranean and, of course, Denmark.
The ambience is airy and informal, and the decor inspired by the year 1910 – the year of the building itself. The wine list is an extension of what is served at Ved Stranden 10. Fun wines by the glass include Morillon (aka Chardonnay) from Sepp Muster in Austria, Baby Bandito from Testalonga in South Africa, and Champagne from Poillot. On the bottle list, you’ll find everything from a proprietary house cuvée from Christian Tschida, Moric’s Blaufränkish or a Leflaive Chevalier-Montrachet.
Admiralgade 26, 1066 Copenhagen
Tel +45 33 33 79 73
See the Admiralgade 26 website for bookings
Once seen as the backwater of Scandinavian fine dining, Norway smirked at its neighbours in 2016 when Maaemo (together with Geranium in Copenhagen) won the race to become Scandinavia’s first Michelin three-star restaurant. It is housed in an architectural cement-and-glass building behind the central station. Step inside, however, and head chef Esben Holmboe Bang will take you on an enchanting, evening-long journey through Norway, from steep fjords to cold clear waters and lush, moss-clad forests.
Bang is convinced of the qualities of biodynamic farming. ‘I have yet to meet a farmer who originates from a biodynamic train of thought who does not love what he or she harvests,’ he says. The excitingly innovative wine matchings reflect this preference, though the cellar also houses plenty of big name Burgundies to tempt classic drinkers, such as Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Roumier and Coche-Dury.
Maaemo, Schweigaardsgate 15, Oslo
Te: +47 221 79 969
See the Maaemo website for bookings
Nicolai Nørregaard was not a trained chef when he opened Kadeau with childhood friends Rasmus and Magnus Kofoed, on his native island of Bornholm in the Oresund strait. Many years later the team has both Kadeau Copenhagen and casual favourite Pony, but the original Kadeau Bornholm nevertheless remains an unbeatable gastronomic summer destination.
The restaurant is housed in a beach pavilion with striking views of the sea. The tasting menu features extensive inspiration from Bornholm, with many foraged or house cultivated ingredients. Beach rose, green strawberries, smoked herring, blackcurrant dust and sloe vinegar – Nørregaard’s cooking is playfully regional. The wine list features classic appellations of France, Italy, Germany and Austria, such as Les Béguines from Jérôme Prévost’s Champagne La Closerie, Chablis in magnum from Domaine Pattes Loup, Yann Durieux’s Love and Pif Bourgogne Aligoté, and German Rieslings from Georg Breuer.
Kadeau Bornholm, Baunevej 18, Åkirkeby
Tel +45 56 97 82 50
See the Kadeau Bornholm website for bookings
Pontus Dahlström, a founder of Michelin three-star Maaemo needed a restart. Newly opened Kolonialen is meant to
be a ‘neighbourhood joint’, but the attention to detail and perfection in balance and flavours is nothing but star quality. The atmosphere, however, is relaxed and lively and the prices are good. The menu features fresh oysters, filling plates of beef cheeks with roasted leeks, and milk-poached flounder with mussels.
Wine offerings are divided into the everchanging ‘Fast Track’ list of deliciously easy wines, plus a fancier wine cellar list with Champagne from Agrapart, Riesling from Weingut Keller and red Burgundy from Armand Rousseau, among others. In a region where many top restaurants specialise in ‘natural’ wines, the selections here reflect the clean, classical preferences Pontus became known for at Maaemo.
Kolonialen Bislett, Sofiesgate 16, Oslo
Tel +47 901 15 098
See Kolonialen Bislett website for bookings
Spanish-born sommelier Rubén Sanz Ramiro had established a bright international career when his wife brought him to the Swedish countryside. As luck would have it, the small town of Växjö has one of Sweden’s top fine dining destinations – hotel and restaurant PM & Vänner – where Andreas Larsson (World’s Best Sommelier 2007) had built a wine cellar
of international calibre. With more than 4,000 bottles, including Krug Collection 1981 in magnum, Dominus Estate 1992 from Napa and Domaine de La Romanée-Conti, La Tâche Grand Cru 1989, the impressive cellar is constantly evolving.
‘We work intensively to create a collection of wines that have gained from extended cellaring, which is rare on most restaurant lists,’ says Ramiro. In the morning, fresh bread from the restaurant’s famed sourdough bakery and a swim in the hotel pool will soften the results of extensive explorations of the wine list the night before.
PM & Vänner, Västergatan 10, Växjö
Tel +46 470-75 97 10
See the PM & Vänner website for bookings
Since its opening in 1787, Operakällaren in the Stockholm opera house has been an institution of Swedish high-end gastronomy and a darling of the royal family and artists alike. An extensive wine cellar has been built over the past 30 years, but restaurant manager Carl Frosterud – considered one of the top sommeliers in Sweden – will now start the work of doubling the number of references.
‘We want one of the best wine lists in the world,’ he says. To do this, he looks to broaden the selection from the classics and assembles verticals from top producers. The cuisine is traditional fine dining at its best – a beautiful, updated art nouveau dining salon with a rich history, excellent food, impeccable service and a wine list to get lost in. A wine bar will open this spring in the historic Nobis cellar, which has until now been closed to the public.
Operakällaren, Karl XII Torg, Stockholm
Tel +46 8-676 58 00
See Operakällaren website for bookings
At Palaegade, a renowned team has taken Copenhagen’s diners by storm, delivering old-school service and classic dishes with a youthful touch. At lunch, top-quality smørrebrød, the traditional Danish open-faced sandwiches, are matched with aquavit and beer. Come dinnertime, modern renditions of classic Danish cooking take centre stage.
Restaurateurs and sommeliers Simon Olesen and Rasmus Amdi Larsen are household names among Copenhagen’s wine lovers. Here they serve what they love most. The wine list includes Montesecondo’s Chianti Classico, Léon Barral wines from Hérault, and Moulin-à-Vent from Jules Desjourneys. ‘We like producers who do their own thing, spending their time in the vineyard and cellar rather than on PR or on preaching their convictions,’ says Larsen.
Palaegade 8, Copenhagen
Tel +45 70 82 82 88
See the Restaurant Palaegade website for bookings
Daniel Crespi is the restaurateur who won’t stop reinventing. In an old-town hotel, he has spent years delighting fellow gourmands with, among other venues, meat havens Djuret and lauded Omakase Köttslöjd; Tweed, where crafted cocktails and a cigar collection match the heavy leather couches; and now wine lounge The Burgundy. Over the years, Crespi has accumulated more than 2,800 wine references, many of them from Piedmont, Burgundy and Champagne.
Prices are attractive and the finer the wine, the lower the mark-up. Top wines, such as Marc Colin’s St-Aubin 1er Cru En Remilly 1999 or Giacomo Conterno’s Monfortino Barolo 2002 in magnum, show up by the glass. Hedonistically delicious dishes including house-cured charcuterie, game meats and the best burger in town are on the menu. ‘Today I would suggest Cà d’Morissio, Barolo Riserva 2003 from Giuseppe Mascarello with our tartar calabra and thrice-fried fries,’ says Crespi temptingly. Tomorrow, he will have thought up something else.
The Burgundy, Yxsmedsgränd 12, Stockholm
Tel +46 8-506 400 85
See The Burgundy website for bookings
At restaurant Lyran, in a previously rough neighbourhood of Malmö, they love everything natural. House-grown vegetables on the plate, a limited amount of sulphites in the glass and naturally relaxed service. The team behind the restaurant, chef Jörgen Lloyd with his wife Melissa Gardarsdottir, call themselves ‘warm and friendly ordinary folk’. The tiny kitchen produces good food, not complicated but with plenty of flavour inspired by local seasonal produce and the multicultural influences that characterise Malmö.
‘We love the Loire,’ says restaurant manager Erik Levung about the wine selection. ‘And Jura, St-Joseph and Beaujolais!’ Needless to say, France features heavily, with producers such as Frédéric Cossard in Burgundy and Jean-Louis Dutraive from Beaujolais. Lyran is the essence of Malmö gastronomy and as such, the coolest ticket in town.
Lyran, Simrishamnsgatan 36A, Malmö
Tel +46 76-324 52 28
See Lyran website for bookings
Modern and elegant Finnish cooking with organic, local ingredients in a casual setting, grandma’s wallpaper and chefs who present the food themselves in the tightly packed space. The result? An inviting atmosphere of exciting, energetic charm. The (mostly) self-taught Sasu Laukkonen calls himself a ‘chef, forager and farmer’ and his goal is purity of flavour. Lindenberry, pine, wild mushrooms and garlic mustard leaf can all be found in the creative dishes, many of which are vegetarian.
The food and wine matches are a hallmark of the restaurant – with the right wine, many compositions go from delicious to sublime. The references are mainly European but not classic – many fall within the spectrum of ‘natural’. Champagne from Eric Rodez, rosé from Frank Cornelissen in Sicily and sparkling wines from biodynamic Austrian producer Strohmeier are listed next to wines from Mallorca, Slovenia and the Douro. With most bottles priced between €50-€70, guests can allow themselves to explore. And they do.
Chef & Sommelier, Huvilakatu 28, Helsinki
Tel +358 400 959 44
See Chef & Sommelier website for bookings