OAD (Opinionated About Dining) is the only dining survey that factors experience into its rating system. Its 2016 results are based on over 160,000 reviews contributed by more than 4,500 people who registered for the survey. Scandinavian restaurants are well represented.
OAD was established by Steve Plotnicki as a dining blog. Steve is a strong proponent of dining as a hobby. As a way of promoting the hobby, Steve moderates a discussion forum group which also goes by the name Opinionated About Dining.
Steve lives in Manhattan with his wife and twin teenage sons. He has a day job in the entertainment industry with offices in New York and London. More importantly, he gets hungry every day.
Here are the Scandinavian restaurants featured in his 2016 list:
Fäviken magasinet (Järpen, Sweden) (4)
Magnus Nilsson’s restaurant is set in the midst of the woods in central Sweden (the closest town is 30 minutes away by car). The combination of hard-core naturalism and science defines the cooking of this era. When you finally arrive, you feel you have journeyed into the past.
Noma (Copenhagen, Denmark) (5)
René Redzepi created the culinary narrative that came to be known as the New Nordic cuisine. It created such a sensation that it is now being copied in restaurants all over the globe.
Daniel Berlin (Tranås, Skåne, Sweden) (12)
Located in an area people refer to as “the Tuscany of Sweden”, this restauranmt is one of Sweden’s most inventive young chefs. His cooking is referred to as “poetic and lyrical”.
Restaurant Frantzén (Stockholm, Sweden) (16)
Björn Frantzén’s restaurant breaks with the minimalist tradition one associates with the NewNordic cooking. One reviewer described it as “really top-quality produce and delicious creative dishes: a must go for any food-loving individual traveling in Scandinavia,” while another lauded the “casual elegance” of the place, claiming it was “one of my top three meals of the year.”
Kadeau Bornholm (Aakirkeby, Denmark) (23)
The reason to make the arduous trek to this island 240 kilometers north of Poland is twofold: the unusual and amazing ingredients that are raised on the island, and the talented team of Nikolai Nørregaard and Rasmus and Magnus Kofoed. More than one reviewer described the experience as “the best dinner of the year.”
Maaemo (Oslo, Norway) (24)
Espen Holmboe Bang is utilizing “the right blend of modernism and classicism,” and the result is “a more refined version of Scandinavian cuisine”. Sommelier Pontus Dahlstrøm’s cellar is filled with tasty examples of classic French bottlings.
Geranium (Copenhagen, Denmark) 26)
Bocuse D’Or winner Rasmus Kofoed’s restaurant Geranium should be a mandatory stop on any trip to the city.
Studio (Copenhagen, Denmark) (40)
The Standard in Copenhagen is a combination of jazz club, brasserie and a fine-dining restaurant that Claus Meyer named Studio.
Relæ (Copenhagen, Denmark) (41)
Do not be fooled by the casual appearance of Christian Puglisi’s restaurant. Some of the most refined cooking in Copenhagen is happening here. Reviewers speak of “modern cooking techniques that are respectful of nature” and “Nordic cooking at its simplest and grandest.”
Oaxen (Stockholm, Sweden) (50)
Swedish chef Magnus Ek got the King of Denmark to give him permission to plant a garden on the Djurgården, where he raises as much of the produce he uses as possible. And Ek is a real patriot. Everything from the tables to the porcelain to the knives used in the restaurant were fabricated in the shipyard a few hundred meters from the restaurant.
Kadeau (Copenhagen, Denmark) (70)
Nicolai Nørregaard, Rasmus Kofoed and Magnus Hoegh Kofoed has firmly established itself among the top tier of the second generation of New Nordic restaurants.
Gastrologik (Stockholm, Sweden) (83)
This attractive dining room features the cooking of Jacob Holmström and pastry chef Anton Bjuhr. This is one of the few fine-dining restaurants where dairy products play an important role in the cuisine.
Ekstedt (Stockholm, Sweden) (94)
Niklas Ekstedt does an amazing job cooking everything over a wood fire.
Henne Kirkeby Kro (Henne, Denmark) (95)
British-born Paul Cunningham gave up the big city life and moved from Copenhagen to this idyllic location on the west coast of Denmark.
Mathias Dahlgren (Stockholm, Sweden) (97)
Located in Grand Hotel, Stockholm, Mathias Dahlgren’s restaurant is famous for its interpretation of the “New Nordic Cuisine”.
Esperanto (Stockholm, Sweden) (103)
Sayan Isaksson’s restaurant is on the short list of Scandinavian restaurants that people should pay attention to.
Falsled kro (Milinge, Denmark) (144)
A two-hour drive from Copenhagen, this lovely inn offers diners a break from the hustle-bustle of Denmark’s largest city. While the “top-quality food,” “superb wine list” and “spotless service” may be enough to prompt you to visit the restaurant, when you add the beautiful hotel and amazing gardens to the mix, the place is almost irresistible.
Amass (Copenhagen, Denmark) (165)
California-born Matt Orlando did a two-and-a-half-year stint as Noma restaurant’s executive chef before opening Amass in 2013. Orlando’s menu offers a more international take on Nordic cuisine.
AOC (Copenhagen, Denmark) (171)
Despite losing the chef who put the restaurant on the map (Ronny Emborg), AOC manages to quietly soldier on, attracting positive responses from the list’s reviewers along the way. Emborg’s shoes were filled by Søren Selin, who after a slow start, has managed to raise the profile of the restaurant to where it was before the change in chefs.
Alchemist (Copenhagen, Denmark) (178)
Rasmus Munk is the name of the brave young man behind this restaurant, and if you can secure a seat at the 13-person counter where he serves dinner four nights a week, he will bombard you with a menu of culinary and liquid delights that totals over 40 courses.
Feature image (on top): Falsled kro, Denmark
Scandinavian Restaurants Rank Among the Best in Europe, edited by Tor Kjolberg