Stockholm has emerged as a culinary hot spot only in the past few years, but its top gourmet marketâ€”perhaps Scandinaviaâ€™s best indoor food marketâ€”has been around since 1888. Behind the fortresslike presence of this neo-Gothic red-brick building, today the Saluhall has an air of epicurean chic thatâ€™s well suited to the tony Old Town neighborhood in which itâ€™s located.
Enter through the main tower and youâ€™ll reach the large, light-filled hall, with castiron struts supporting a glass ceiling and stalls handsomely framed with carved wood pillars and fretwork canopies. Originally there were 153 small stalls, but today about 20 upscale merchants set up shop, each spreading out over a number of booths; several also operate as restaurants or cafes.
Vendors earn their places through a competitive process, so the quality is quite high. Fish and gameâ€”cornerstones of Swedish cuisineâ€”are prominently displayed; if youâ€™ve ever hankered to try reindeer meat, nowâ€™s your chance. Between the piled-high Swedish pastries, braided loaves of bread, hanging joints of meat, silvery mounds of fish, and brilliant baskets of berries, itâ€™s like one still life after another. Among the longest established tenants are Lisa Elmqvist for fish and delicatessen products, Gerdas Fisk & Skaldjursrestaurang a seafood restaurant, J. E. Olsson & SĂ¶ner for fruits and vegetables, and Betsy Sandberg Choklad for handmade chocolates. Expect stiff pricesâ€”this isnâ€™t a spot where youâ€™d do your weekly shopping on a regular basisâ€”but itâ€™s worth the splurge for the luxe experience.
While youâ€™re in the neighborhood, head up Nybrogatan to no. 55, where a stand named Brunoâ€™s serves the cityâ€™s best Swedish hot dogs, or korvsâ€”a variety of sausages grilled to tooth-snapping perfection and stuffed in a French bread roll.