Restaurant Pelikan is a classic restaurant in Stockholm you’ll love for authentic traditional Swedish food.
It was my very first day in Stockholm, and I wanted to get a real taste for Swedish home-style cooking, and so I knew I needed to eat at Restaurant Pelikan.
Keep reading this blog post for all the details about eating at this amazing Swedish food restaurant in Stockholm.
Restaurant Pelikan is a legendary restaurant in Stockholm that has been serving Swedish cuisine since 1733. Now that’s impressive!
They started off in the center of Old Stockholm, and they’ve been at their current location since the 1940’s, although, as our waiter told me, the current location has been a beer hall and restaurant since 1904.
Restaurant Pelikan has some some serious history to it, and you can tell immediately as you walk in; Everything from the checkered tiles on the floor to the antique tables. I also really liked the high ceiling, giving the restaurant a Swedish food hall style feel.
Having a look through the menu, almost everything sounded good to me in my state of hunger as I arrived.
On the menu you’ll find a good list of traditional Swedish dishes, ranging from appetizers to giant main courses and desserts. I knew I wanted to try the Swedish meatballs, one of the most well known of all Swedish foods. I had tried Swedish meatballs like this before, but never had I tried the meatballs like they serve at Pelikan.
Also, a couple of other things on the menu at Pelikan restaurant stood out to me, including the steak tartare and reindeer steak, and there was nothing I could do to talk myself out of them.
Steak tartare (råbiff)
I have a little bit of a fascination with raw meat dishes from Thai sok lek to Ethiopian kitfo, and so when I see steak tartare on the menu, it’s nearly impossible for me to pass up. Råbiff is the Swedish version of steak tartare.
The råbiff at Restaurant Pelikan came elegantly decorated with the minced meat in a patty formation, topped with a raw egg yolk, mustard, and surrounded by capers, red onions, and thin shoestrings of what I’m pretty sure was horseradish.
I’m not totally sure the correct method of eating råbiff, but I mixed all the ingredients together before taking my first bite.
The minced beef melted in my mouth, and the crispness of the onions, plus the sharpness of the horseradish (that just slightly went up my nose), was beautiful.
If you’re a lover of minced raw beef that melts in your mouth, the råbiff at Pelikan is a starter you don’t want to miss. It was outstanding.
Swedish meatballs (köttbullar)
Even if you know very little about Swedish food, the one dish you’ve probably heard of are Swedish meatballs – and Swedish meatballs I think is the only real Swedish dish I had tried before traveling to Sweden.
So on my first meal in Stockholm at Restaurant Pelikan, I needed to order their special köttbullar, Swedish meatballs.
At Pelikan the meatballs were huge in size, not quite tennis balls, but at least billiards.
They came neatly stacked in a pyramid formation, covered in gravy, and alongside lingonberries and pickles, and with a side of mashed potatoes.
The meatballs were smoother in texture than I had previously imagined. They were densely packed, and the sauce was slightly sweet and had a sticky texture to it.
Since the meatballs were also quite salty, the sweet lingonberries complemented each bite of meatballs extremely well.
Additionally the mashed potatoes were delicious. They were so smooth and silky, with a wonderful buttery taste.
Roasted reindeer steak
One of the reasons I love to travel so much is to taste local foods, and I also love nothing more than trying something I’ve never tried before.
When I noticed the reindeer steak on the menu at Restaurant Pelikan, just like the råbiff, I absolutely had to go for it.
The reindeer proved to be insanely delicious and juicy. On the bottom of the plate was some kind of a strip of mashed potatoes I think, but they had been seasoned with possibly some sour cream.
Then on the top they placed a generous helping of strips of roasted reindeer, cooked just perfectly so the juices were running, and it was slightly pink in the middle. I think my reindeer was about medium cooked.
What surprised me most about the reindeer was that it was so tender, and it had a definite livery taste to it, slightly irony. The reindeer meet was also extremely lean, and normally lean meat has potential to be tougher, but it was actually nearly disintegrating tender.
The reindeer was the highlight of my meal at Restaurant Pelikan. It was so good, and if you’re looking to try some Swedish reindeer when you’re in Stockholm, it’s a must.
Watch the video
If you have a few minutes, watch the video of eating all the food at Restaurant Pelikan. The part of this video at the restaurant starts at 10:21.
(If you can’t see the video, watch it on YouTube here)
For my wife and I, we ordered these three dishes at Restaurant Pelikan and shared everything, and we didn’t order any drinks.
Our total bill came to 668 SEK ($78.19), and we left about a 10% tip, although in Sweden it’s not mandatory to leave a tip.
Restaurant Pelikan is not cheap by any means, but it’s the type of restaurant that though you pay a lot, you feel good about it because the food is great quality and servings are decently big. Stockholm is an expensive city to eat out in, but there’s great food available.
Restaurant Pelikan is a classic heritage restaurant in Stockholm, and it’s an amazing place that you can eat authentic traditional Swedish food.
Along with serving excellent food, the ambiance of the restaurant, with its decor that looks like it hasn’t changed in decades, is part of what makes a meal at Pelikan so special.
Related: Check out my Stockholm Travel Guide
The dishes I tried were fantastic, and as much as I enjoyed the Swedish meatballs, I have to give it up for the råbiff (Swedish steak tartare) and the incredibly juicy reindeer steak.
In Stockholm, for a classy Swedish meal, Restaurant Pelikan is a fantastic choice.
Restaurant Pelikan – Stockholm, Sweden
Address: Blekingegatan 40, 116 62 Stockholm, Sweden
Open hours: Monday – Friday from 4 pm – 12 midnight, Friday – Sunday from 12 noon – 1 am
How to get there: I took the Stockholm Metro to Skanstull station, walked up the main road for about 5 minutes, and made a right turn on Blekingegatan, and it’s right there.