The Swedes know how to do a buffet. Smörgåsbord literally means sandwich table. But what I had at the Veranda in the Grand Hotel on a sunny, but cold, Stockholm day was way beyond this. I was traveling with a friend on this trip, and we definitely wanted to have a proper Swedish meal here. Sidenote: We couldn’t afford to stay in the hotel but figured we could treat ourselves to one superb meal while on Easter holiday break from our PhD studies. Splurging a bit on a nice meal while traveling is an excellent way to indulge without spending a fortune. As I learned, the best way to savor a Swedish Smörgåsbord is to show up early and follow the rules.
Now, join me as I experience a traditional smörgåsbord at the Veranda! Let’s set the scene, shall we?
I spotted the Grand Hotel in the distance, the flags on its roof drawing our attention to its stately exterior.
Upon arriving, I realized that I was in for a truly unique and enjoyable meal.
From the elegant front doors…
to the luxurious entrance of the hotel….
this was indeed a tranquil and refined atmosphere, perfect for whiling away the time with an unforgettable meal.
After checking in, we found that we were a bit too early, so we relaxed in the comfortable waiting area.
I also checked out the menu:
At the time I visited, the cost of the buffet was SEK 425, or about $50. Note: the price has since increased to SEK 525, or about $60. I know, this is a lot to pay for one meal, but I considered this a once in a lifetime experience, so I decided to go for it.
It was the first buffet either of us had ever been to where “suggestions” were provided on how to begin.
A small history lesson. The smörgåsbord was historically only reserved for the Swedish upper class and consisted of a light spread of cheeses, breads, and, of course, brännvin. Over time both cold and warm dishes were added and the smörgåsbord debuted at the 1912 Olympics as a main course. It gained international popularity at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Nowadays, for a pretty penny any common-folk can now enjoy this universe of deliciousness.
Cue dreamy music bringing us back to this memorable day. After a few minutes, our wait was over and it was time to eat! Much to our surprise, we were the first people seated, and we were the only people there for at least one course. Our advice? Arrive as soon as the restaurant opens and you’ll find that you’ll have the whole place to yourself, making it feel like you are eating in your own sublime dining room.
Once we were seated and ordered our drinks, it was time to hit the buffet!!!
The food itself was delicious, with different types of herring, smoked salmon, salads, cheeses, soup, lamb, chicken, meatballs, veggies, and potatoes, and we were so full we almost didn’t have time for dessert, but they looked too good to pass up.
The following pictures speak for themselves. It was a gluttonous, glorious experience.
We followed their instructions on the order of courses. As recommended, we took our time as we ate, as evidenced by the sparsity of our plates each time we visited the buffet:
Believe it or not, we each visited the buffet more times than these plates might indicate. For $50, it probably comes to about $7/plate, which actually isn’t too bad (we know, we’re trying to rationalize paying $50 for a buffet). However, this was really worth the price, not only for the delicious meal including dessert, but also for the ambiance and the chance to experience something quintessentially Swedish while in Sweden.
The Veranda restaurant at the Grand Hotel is 5 minutes away from a Metro stop, making it easy to get to no matter where you’re staying in Stockholm. The waterfront view isn’t too shabby either.
Thanks for joining us on a culinary tour of a smörgåsbord! Leave us a message if you’ve had similar smörgåsbords or have any questions!