Ulriksdals Wärdshus is famous throughout Sweden for its unrivaled smorgasbord, the country’s great culinary art form. So there could be no lovelier setting than this country inn within its own royal park, built in 1868 upon request of the Swedish Crown.
Most other restaurants serve smörgårdsbords only during summer months and again at Christmas (when it’s called a Yule Table or Julebord), but guests come to Ulriksdals Värdshus at all times of the year. The present day king and queen has been known to appear to tuck into the groaning table of more than seventy-five different offerings.
According to the unofficial smörgårdsbord etiquette, one visits the food-laden table five times, the first for herring (there are twenty variations), the last for desserts. In between are a panoply of Scandinavian specialities such as smoked eel, sweet Baltic shrimp, reindeer, those famous Swedish meatballs, pork chops with the ubiquitous lingonberry sauce, and the much-loved national speciality Jansson Temptation – a delectable quiche of anchovies, potatoes, onions and heavy cream – that no self-respecting smorgasbord or Swede goes without. The typical drink to accompany such indulgence is Swedish aquavit with a beer chaser or schnapps.
But the inn also has one of the finest wine cellars in the country, and all except the most expensive are available by the glass. If you are still lucid at sunset (which is not until 9 p. m. in July), the country’s blue and yellow flag is ceremonially lowered out of the lawn, and everyone stands to sing the national anthem, one of the inn’s more delightful traditions. This is real art in Sweden.
Ulriksdals Royal Park is 5 miles/8 km north of Stockholm.