Gothenburg is a city where both classic and new destinations are well worth a detour. Explore the past, visit inspiring shops, dine in world-famous restaurants and discover trendy bars. We have compiled a list with the best from both “new” and “old” Gothenburg.
One Half Special (or Halv special in Swedish), please!
There’s a cold wind from above, from below and from the side. But nothing seems to affect those standing in line for Mariaplan’s hot dog stand in Majorna, Gothenburg. Everyone in the line seem to be regulars, and all of them ask for a “Halv special”, a Half special. Except for one lady, she wants a Full special, “Hel special”.
When it’s finally our turn, we order one Half special, the girl in the hot dog stand asks if we are hungry and before we have the chance to say yes, she adds prawn salad on top. And as per tradition, we get a Pucko, a chocolate beverage, to go with the meal. It’s tasty, but almost impossible to finish all the food. A Half special consists of a hot dog bun with a thin boiled or grilled hot dog, and two scoops of mashed potato on top. If you order a Full special, Hel special in Swedish, the filling meal is served with two hot dogs instead.
A great dining experience
If Half special is an ancient Gothenburg classic, the restaurant we are dining at tonight is a modern classic. The chef and restaurateur Leif Mannerström introduced the Sjömagasinet seafood restaurant on the restaurant scene and today, it is run by Ulf Wagner, with Gustav Trägårdh as head chef. And the food doesn’t disappoint. The impeccable service, wonderful belon oysters and steamed fillet of turbot and back of cod three ways, make us forget about the bad weather outside.
Hang out at the bar at Gothenburg’s Folkteater
The evening’s best bar is, according to reliable sources, Matsalen på FOLK, a part of Gothenburg’s theatre by Järntorget.
FOLK is jam-packed. The DJ plays old Swedish vispop, a genre similar to American folk rock or bluegrass, and people are swaying to the music. The atmosphere is great. FOLK has become famous primarily because of its large selection of natural wines. Just before 2 am, people start to leave. The place closes at 3, but if you want to have a go at the night club Yaki-Da’s busy dance floor – and you do! – it’s time to move on.
Best coffee in the city?
The next morning, we have breakfast at da Matteo. Today, there are several da Matteo cafés, but da Matteo was first opened in 1995 in the quaint Victoriapassagen so this is where we go.
According to many coffee-lovers, da Matteo offers Gothenburg’s best coffee. We order fresh croissants and coffee. Drip-brewed coffee is a weak but very flavoursome way of drinking coffee brewed following the “pour over method”. The coffee is brewed manually with filter and drip coffee cone. The water is added gradually and the entire process takes a few minutes.
A shop you won’t leave empty handed
In the past years, Magasinsgatan has attracted some of Gothenburg’s best shopping. The main attraction is still the trendy interior and home decoration shop Artilleriet. A visit to this shop equals a purchase. Along this street, you also find shops like Floramor & Krukatös, Grandpa and Miss Ragtime, as well as a food truck serving Baltic herring.
Restaurant culture in Linnéstaden
We spend the afternoon in the heated roof pool at Clarion Hotel Post, and when we are nice and warm, we head to Tredje Långgatan, a brand-new restaurant cluster in Linnéstaden.
It’s almost dark by the time we reach Tredje Långgatan. Our destination is Taverna Averna, the Italian hotspot in the block that is dubbed Gothenburg’s most exciting. We sneak into a passage way. According to a small sign, this is called Långgårdarna – a backyard. But it’s a backyard with its own wine bar, a sourdough bakery, a quaint café and a Mexican restaurant. As well as a food truck. All these venues are connected with Taverna Averna and the Chinese restaurant Made in China.
It’s love at first sight with Taverna Averna. The restaurant’s high ceiling is amazing, just like the décor, the art and the menu. We start off with a burrata and tomatoes from Sicily (mozzarella, stuffed with mozzarella pieces and cream), heavenly.
Then we continue with an Italian flavour symphony consisting of Vitello Tonnato (thinly sliced veal with tuna sauce), Italian charcuterie, and grilled bread with snow crab. One hour later, we finish off with one of their famous pizzas. A bianco (without tomato sauce) with truffles salami. And with a glass of Chianti as well.
9 Gothenburg Classics
1. KorvKiosken Mariaplan
One of the two hot dog stands that know how to serve a Half and Full special. Another classic served here is Luffare, meaning drifter in Swedish, a hot dog bun with potato mash, ketchup and mustard.
- Where: Mariaplan, Majorna
A great restaurant, located in a port warehouse from the 1800’s and one of Sweden’s best seafood restaurants since the mid 1990’s. The restaurant was founded by the leading chef Leif Mannerström and today, it’s operated by the celebrity chefs Ulf Wagner and Gustav Trägårdh.
- Website: Sjömagasinet
- Where: Adolf Edelsvärds gata 5
3. Matsalen på FOLK
The theatre’s own restaurant and bar just by Järntorget. Here they offer one of Sweden’s largest selection of natural wines, many of which are served by the glass. On Fridays and Saturdays, there’s a DJ playing in the bar and FOLK closes at 03:00 am.
- Website: Matsalen på FOLK
- Where: Olof Palmes plats 5
With a roof terrace, two dance floors, coffee bar and bistro, Yaki-Da is truly a temple of entertainment. On weekends, you can often catch a live gig.
- Website: Yaki-Da
- Where: Storgatan 47
5. da Matteo
With their delicious pastries and superior coffee, the founders of da Matteo made their mark on Gothenburg already in the autumn of 1995. Still to this day, it’s widely popular to drink your coffee in the beautiful Victoriapassagen. Da Matteo is also located at Sprängkullsgatan 10A, Magasinsgatan 17A and Vallgatan 5.
- Website: da Matteo
- Where: Södra Larmgatan 14, Victoriapassagen
With a mixture of French and Scandinavian, modern and antique, unique and personal, Artilleriet has become Magasinsgatan’s leading shopping destination.
- Website: Artilleriet
- Where: Magasinsgatan 19
7. Taverna Averna
The well-known restaurateurs Avenyfamiljen have had a hand in transforming the old docklands Tredje Långgatan into Gothenburg’s most talked-about area at the moment. In the former facilities and mansion of Auktionsverket, you will find everything from a wine bar to Chinese dim sum bistro. And last but certainly not least, here is where you find the popular Italian restaurant Taverna Averna.
- Website: Taverna Averna
- Where: Tredje Långgatan 7
8. Kök & Bar 67
At Quality Hotel 11’s restaurant Kök & Bar 67 you order a classic open prawn sandwich and a glass of Eriksberg beer whilst enjoying the city’s best view of the Gothenburg skyline.
- Website: Kök & Bar 67
- Where: Maskingatan 11
9. Kville Saluhall
Kville Saluhall at Vågmästarplatsen on Hisingen was inaugurated 2013. Today, it’s the district’s go-to destination for buying seafood, cheese, vegetables and meat. On the first floor, you find the Peruvian restaurant Ceviche.
- Website: Kville Saluhall
- Where: Gustav Dalénsgatan
Hotels in Gothenburg
Do you also want to visit? Here you find a list of all our lovely hotels in the city!