One of Stockholm’s best restaurants is the one Michelin starred restaurant at Grand Hotel run by Mathias Dahlgren, Matbaren. The casual fine dining concept is just perfect and the ambiance is lovely. Don’t be afraid of dropping by for a spontaneous dinner at the bar when strolling by Stockholm’s most exclusive hotel.
A Michelin starred restaurant located in the same building as the most exclusive hotel, Grand Hôtel, in Stockholm. Well, that introduction probably puts an image in your head of a pricy, fine dining in a stale environment. But apart from fine dining, nothing really sticks to Matbaren.
Mathias Dahlgren has a long history of running successful restaurants in Stockholm, starting with the legendary Bon Loc, which he ran between 1996 and 2005 and was rewarded one Michelin star. In 2007 he opened Matsalen at Grand Hôtel and received the first star in 2008, and in 2009 it was elevated to two stars which was quite a big step since only Edsbacka Krog had managed to be awarded two stars ever in Sweden. But why this long lesson in Swedish Michelin history? Well I just think that it is quite amazing that the more informal Matbaren received one star at the same time as Matsalen was awarded its second.
And informal fine dining is just what you get at Matbaren. The staff is amazingly friendly, knowledgeable but first and foremost relaxed and tentative. When you walk in you get a feeling that this is not a formal setting, and that is meant as a positive thing. My favorite spot is the seats at the bar, with a full view of whats going on in the kitchen. And an extra plus is that the normally keep a couple of drop in spots at the bar every evening, so you can always try your luck and just swing by and hope for the best.
The menu is not classical fine dining with a set course menu, instead there are mid-sized dishes that you order one by one. You will probably need two or three, but in all fairness it easily becomes a fourth as well, just because so much is just so tasty. There is a strong focus on what is in season right now, and the staff are more than happy to explain where the produce comes from and pair it with some brilliant, but often a bit unusual, wines. The steamed buns are a classic dish on the menu and also one of my favorites, even though it varies a bit from time to time exactly what they consist of. Often the most unpretentious things on the menu are the best, for example I wasn’t really that excited about a 63c egg, truffles and almond potatoes when I read it on the menu, but boy was I wrong. I could go on forever just dropping different items that have been on the menu, but since it’s constantly changing based on what’s in season it really doesn’t make any sense. But don’t shy away from the pure vegetable dishes, they are often my favorites at least. All I can say is that you won’t be disappointed. Prices are quite moderate for being a Michelin starred restaurant, even though the tab will set you back a bit. The dishes range from about 150kr-300kr each.
Seven years after the start, the concept holds just as well. Matbaren is about to become one of the classic restaurants in Stockholm where you always know that both you and your pallet will be well taken care of.