There are currently over 250,000 Scandinavian-Americans in New York, not taking into account the increasing number of tourists, students, and temporary expats. It’s therefore no wonder that Nordic cuisine over the years has become increasingly integrated into New York City’s culinary culture.
Scandinavians love New York. Whether it is their open-minded and liberal natures that align perfectly with the exciting “city of dreams,” or NYC’s vast contrast to the small communities in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, there is no doubt that Scandinavians are aspiring to create a Nordic splash in the city. Here’s our guide to good Scandinavian eating in New York City.
Thomas Keller’s restaurant in the Time Warner Center has three Michelin stars. Per Se opened in 2004 and is Thomas Keller’s acclaimed New York interpretation of The French Laundry. The restaurant is Chef Keller’s second three-Michelin-starred property featuring his daily nine-course tasting menu and a nine-course vegetable tasting menu using classic French technique and the finest quality ingredients available. An award-winning wine list, boasting more than 2,000 bottles, complements the menu.
Located in the trendy NoHo neighborhood of Lower Manhattan, Acme specializes in New American cuisine with a Scandinavian flare. It offers inventive dishes that feature thoughtful flavor pairings and the freshest, locally sourced ingredients. The dinner menu is separated into vegetable and protein selections as well as small bites, ‘soil’ meals predominantly of root vegetables and large entrees. With exposed brick walls, warm candle lighting and a bold, retro tiled ceiling, Acme stands at the fashionable intersection of innovation and sophistication with a chic, urban twist.
Aska serves food from Scandinavia using ingredients from upstate, Long Island, and other pastoral lands around New York City. The multi-course dinner often features crackers made from pig’s blood and dolloped with sea buckthorn, dill ice cream, and pickled herring with egg yolk. Whatever you get will be carefully prepared, then carefully explained to you by a member of the kitchen staff. At less than $100 for seven seasonal, elegant, thought-provoking courses, this just might be the best deal in town.
The illustrious Aquavit has been serving the finest in Nordic cuisine since its Midtown doors opened in 1987. With two Michelin stars and over twenty years of critically acclaimed culinary success, this Manhattan institution is founded on the gastronomic treasures of Sweden: seafood, game and root vegetables, to name a few. Diners enjoy the best of Scandinavia in a sleek yet rustic setting accompanied by wood paneling with pristine white accents and typically modern Arne Jacobsen chairs. The decor perfectly complements Chef Emma Bengtsson’s refined menu of earthy dishes such as hay-smoked gravlax and venison tartar with huckleberries, smoked vanilla and juniper crisp. As the name suggests, the restaurant also specializes in aquavit (alternatively spelled akvavit), a spirit infused with herbs and spices. Aquavit is a discerning choice for those seeking a truly exceptional dining experience.
Sockerbit is a West Village candy store that gets its goodies from Sweden. These imports range from chocolates, including coconut-covered caramels and marzipan, to pretty, flavorful gummies to fluffy, cherry-kissed marshmallows to salty-sweet or fruit-flavored licorice. Indeed, all told Sockerbit offers 140 different types of candy to choose from, organized in bins in an entirely white store, which makes the funky colors pop. Everything is one price, so you can mix and match and scoop until your heart’s content.
Crêpes du Nord
Crêpes du Nord on Wall Street infuses the French crêpe with Nordic influences and a conscience. Supporting the customer’s right to eat well in every sense of the word, the crêperie promotes delicious food, local business and environmental sustainability by growing their own produce, obtaining their own eggs and sourcing all crêpe ingredients from local, organic farms. Alongside a selection of salads, juices, teas and wine, Crêpes du Nord features an extensive range of sweet and savory crêpes, from their signature Crêpe Du Nord, cured salmon and scrambled eggs with dill crème; to the Midnight Sun, white chocolate and fresh strawberries with whipped cream. Crêpes du Nord is the perfect spot for a relaxed yet elegant European-style meal.
FIKA, which in Swedish means ‘a coffee break to indulge in the ritual of conversation, often accompanied by something sweet or savory’, expertly fuses delicious food with a rich cultural atmosphere and welcoming decor. In the Scandinavian tradition, FIKA aims to uphold high quality standards without environmental or economic compromise. Therefore, everything from the milk they serve to their products’ packaging is locally and honestly sourced to balance fresh, delicious flavors with the fullest integrity. The menu features Swedish favorites like cured salmon, artisanal meatballs, an assortment of house baked pastries and hand rolled truffles from their very own Tribeca-based chocolatier; even the coffee beans are roasted locally using a Swedish technique to achieve the perfect cup. In promoting the Swedish ‘coffee-centric lifestyle’ amongst coffee-fueled New Yorkers, FIKA has created something of a match made in heaven.
It’s all about the perfect brew, quality food and engaging conversation at , a Nordic-style café named Konditori after the Swedish term for a ‘gathering place to enjoy friends over great coffee, fine baked goods and confections’. Konditori fosters an air of rustic comfort with vintage accents, the perfect environment in which to relax whilst enjoying Scandinavian treats such as Kanelbulle (cinnamon rolls) and cardamom bread (coffee bread with almond filling). Essential to the concept of Konditori is a strong, aromatic cup of coffee, and the café is partnered with a local Brooklyn roaster to create a unique Konditori blend that customers can appreciate via French press or filter brew. Bringing both the taste and feel of Sweden to several locations around New York City, Konditori infuses the comforts of a Swedish atmosphere with a lively sense of New York City trendiness.
Luksus, offering traditional Nordic forager’s fare, is a small restaurant with definitive Danish tones adjacent to Tørst, a lively Scandinavian-style beer hall. The Danish word for ‘luxury’, Luksus features a scaled-back tasting menu with carefully crafted dishes staring vividly colored, garden fresh ingredients. Each plate is delicate with a subtle sophistication, clearly thought through from concept to garnish. In keeping with such a focused menu, Tørst steals the beverage show with a selection of craft beers to pair with your meal, as there is no option to order wine or cocktails. The décor is minimalist chic and harmonious with the food’s presentation. With OpenTable Diners’ Choice Awards for ‘Best Overall’ restaurant, ‘Best Ambiance’ and ‘Best Food’, Luksus possesses the magic combination of comfort and style conducive to a thoroughly enjoyable meal.
Noshi is bridging the gap between two seafood-based cuisines to create an unexpected yet compatible menu of ‘Nordic sushi’, Noshi unites Danish smørrebrød, an open sandwich, with the fresh simplicity of Japanese sushi. Noshi’s one-of-a-kind version of smørrebrød prepares Japanese ingredients such as seaweed, ginger and wasabi using the Danish techniques of curing and smoking. Noshi consists of a rye bread sourdough-base topped with variations of cured and smoked salmon, mackerel, herring and cod, as well as colorful garnishes of cucumber, beet and dill. This is an unconventional food joint, operating kiosk-style at Smorgasburg, a food market in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. With long lines of eager patrons and the East River as its backdrop, Noshi’s atmosphere is appropriately relaxed, simple and focused on the food.
The farm fresh ingredients of New Nordic cuisine serve as the foundation of Midtown-based Smörgås Chef, located in the Nordic cultural center, Scandinavia House. Guests enjoy a distinctively Scandinavian atmosphere featuring a central birch tree installation and contemporary Arne Jacobsen seating. The restaurant sources all meat and produce from their very own Blenheim Hill Farm in the Catskills, ensuring that only the finest quality local fixings make their way onto your plate. Smörgås Chef offers deliciously dynamic lunch, brunch, dinner and prix fixe menus; as well as ‘Dinner and a Movie’ options on Wednesday and Friday evenings, complete with a three-course meal and film screening. After sharing a classic smorgasbord platter or partaking in a greenhouse-fresh salad, round out your Nordic experience by exploring Scandinavia House’s gallery, concerts, lectures and cultural events.
It is worth noting that many Scandinavians take the ferry out to IKEA in Brooklyn on weekends to stock up on bulk Scandinavian food items and to satisfy their love of Swedish meatballs in IKEA’s cafeteria while enjoying the beautiful view of the Statue of Liberty.
Scandinavian Eating in New York City, compiled by Admin