Mathias Dahlgren,

Grand Hôtel Stockholm,

Södra Blasieholmshamnen 6,

Stockholm, Sweden

Phone: + 46 (0)8 679 35 84

April 2009

I am deeply indebted to readers for their suggestions on dining in Scandinavia. I had a number of delicious meals on my recent trip to Helsinki and Stockholm, but our dinner at Matbaren in Stockholm’s Grand Hôtel in particular stood out. In fact, this was easily one of the best meals I have had so far in 2009! Mathias Dahlgren is one of Europe’s most celebrated chefs. Matbaren is an informal winebar that offers a simpler version of the award-winning cuisine Dahlgren serves at his luxury dining room, Matsalen, which boasts two stars from Michelin. Despite the casual atmosphere, food and wine are taken equally seriously at Matbaren, and its one Michelin star is more than fully deserved. We sat at the bar area, which afforded views of the open kitchen. The atmosphere was fun and exuberant. Our sommelier and waiters were all clearly thrilled with the quality of the food and wine they were serving, and their passion came through in spades.

The menu is composed of a series of small dishes that are described as being between an appetizer and entrée portion. The pork dumplings were simply brilliant. Perfectly cooked and seasoned, they were a joy to taste. The braised corn chicken was easily one the best chicken dishes I have had in a very long time. Here, too, all of the elements came together on the plate in stunning style. The fried duck was quite a bit richer, but all of the flavors showed remarkable intensity and delineation. I am a huge fan of Ogier’s wines so I couldn’t resist the 2005 Côte-Rôtie. The wine was initially very tight but after an hour or so in decanter the hard edges softened and the wine’s softer, generous side bloomed with gorgeous intensity. This was a thrilling, delicious wine that also paired exceptionally well with our food, especially the soy, ginger and scallions in the duck. It was an inspired match! The banana cake was equally delicious, not to mention a wonderful finish to a truly unforgettable dinner. In short, I can’t recommend Matbaren highly enough. Readers should note that reservations are essential at all times. 


Dumplings of pork from Rocklunda gård, vegetables, sweet & sour syrup sauce  

Braised corn chicken from Bjäre, truffle béchamel, spinach, crispy onions

Fried canette (duck) from Bretagne, soba noodles, ginger, soy sauce, scallions

Cake with bananas from Costa Rica, ginger, brown sugar, vanilla, passion fruit


2005   Ogier Côte-Rôtie        92

[Photo and credit: Matbaren, Stockholm, Sweden]

--Antonio Galloni