A Guide To The Best of Gothenburg

06/11/2015

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Nearly four years ago I packed up my clothing and coffee gear and moved from a sleepy town on the midcoast of Maine to the second city of Sweden—Gothenburg. It’s one of those Swedish cities that most people have never heard of and it can be difficult to persuade people to visit when it’s so close to the more tempting capital cities like Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo. But Gothenburg has its own merits. It is the home of Volvo and world re-known bands like The Knife, Little Dragon, In Flames and Ace of Base. It has nearly a dozen soccer teams (ok, just three) and it’s an all-around charming place.

During the first three and a half years I lived in this riverside city of half a million, it became my adopted home. The longest I have spent in one place during the last decade has been in Gothenburg and despite my continuous travels and current sojourn in Stockholm, I often look forward to my eventual return.

Beginning this weekend, thousands of coffee professionals will descend upon the west coast of Sweden from all over the world for Europe’s largest specialty coffee event. Alongside this annual tradeshow for the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe, five world coffee championships will also take place—the World Brewers Cup, World Cup Tasters, World Coffee Roasting, World Latte Art and World Coffee in Good Spirits. The small but ambitious coffee scene in Gothenburg has been anticipating this summer for a long time and we’re really excited to welcome you all to Sweden.

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Below I’ve compiled a list of places where you will find some of the best coffee, beer, cocktails and food in Gothenburg. Most of the city is incredibly walkable, but you can buy a 3-day unlimited ticket for the busses, ferries and trams for 170sek ($20) or you can buy a 3-day pass to the city’s bike share program for 25sek ($3), which is an awesome and cheap way to enjoy the city when the weather is nice.

I recommend using Google’s offline maps so you can find your way around when you aren’t connected to the grid. If you are in need of internet, you’ll find free wifi at the numerous Espresso House locations, along with their own approachable line of coffee roasted by Solberg & Hansen. I hope you enjoy your visit and all of the wonderful things that Gothenburg has to offer. Vi ses snart!

Note: everything mentioned in this article can be found on the map at the bottom.
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Da Matteo

Da Matteo, and its founder Matts Johansson, are the reason specialty coffee exists in Gothenburg and has been one of the driving forces for coffee events around Sweden and abroad. Just this week the coffee roaster and baker were named Sweden’s Best Cafe by White Guide (a Swedish version of Zagat) and they won the Nordic Roaster competition last year. They also have baristas competing in both the World Cup Tasters and World Latte Art Championships next week. There are four locations to visit—two of them share a sunny courtyard and the others are just a short walk away.

Address: Magasinsgatan 17A  /  Vallgatan 5  /  Sodra Larmgatan 14  /  Sprängkullsgatan 10A
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Kale’i Kaffebar

Kale’i Kaffebar is a hidden gem in the heart of downtown Gothenburg tucked away in the back of a quiet courtyard where you’ll also find a nice champagne bar, juice bar and record store. Not long after owner Elin Conradsson met Per Nordby in Oslo, who was roasting for Kaffa at the time, they both returned to Gothenburg. Per opened his own roasting company sharing his name and not long after Kale’i opened and became a lovely showcase for Per’s coffee. You’ll find Elin behind the bar nearly every day where she simultaneously brews coffee and prepares fresh baked breads and other tasty treats.

Address: Kyrkogatan 13
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Viktors Kaffe

Viktors Kaffe is located just around the corner from Götaplatsen, a large public square where you’ll find the Gothenburg Museum of Art, City Theater, City Concert Hall and the Public Library. It’s located on a quiet side street that provides an oasis from the busy Avenyn shopping street nearby. Viktors represents the hip side of coffee in the city, with fresh local art on the walls, good jams, and a mix of vintage designer furniture to compliment a variety of coffee from the Stockholm roaster Johan & Nyström.

Address: Geijersgatan 7
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Café Biscotti

You won’t find pour overs and over-the-top coffee geekery at this stylish neighborhood cafe, but you will find delicious lunches and award winning pastries alongside batch brews and espresso drinks made with Helsingborg’s Koppi Coffee. There’s also a nice patio overlooking a pedestrian street, offering a glimpse of the everyday lives of Swedes in Majorna, one of Gothenburg’s more eclectic neighborhoods.

Address: Allmänna vägen 34
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TheKitchen

TheKitchen was formerly a lovely little café called Con Amor, run by two best friends. When the previous owners decided to move on to something new, a former Da Matteo barista, Setareh Shoghi, and her sister took over. They changed the name and freshened up the inside, but the spirit is much the same. TheKitchen now serve drinks made with the award-winning Drop Coffee from Stockholm and have a nice selection of cakes, pastries and sandwiches—including vegan and gluten free options.

Address: Skanstorget 1
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Kafé Alkemisten

Alkemisten is one of the newest additions to Gothenburg and one of the first to open on the north side of the river earlier this year. The shop is run by a brother and sister who brew coffees roasted by a friend of theirs in Lund. The cafe sits on the corner of a new building in Kvillebäcken, an eco-development on the island of Hisingen that has been (and still is) a construction zone since I moved to Gothenburg. It’s a nice spot for the residents of Hisingen to gather, enjoy single origin coffees and healthy organic foods.

Address: Gustaf Dalénsgatan 14
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Llama Lloyd

Llama Lloyd is a quaint little shop that opened around the same time as Kafé Alkemisten and is located just a few blocks away on Hisingen. The space contains little more than a small bar with a Marco batch brewer and the owner, Robin Olsson, making pour overs of Per Nordby coffee. Robin also uses the shop’s walls to host local art and keeps a set of bike tools on hand for anyone who might need to have their bicycle tuned up while they sip their coffee. The experience inside is quite intimate, but there are also several tables out front if you’d like more space and fresh air.

Address: Väderkvarnsgatan 17A
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Food

In Gothenburg you’ll find a range of food, from kiosks to Michelin Stars. With a recent change in the local laws, food trucks have also become quite popular, with new ones popping up each month. Below I’ve listed a range of the best places to eat and categorized them by cost levels. Almost every where you go will accept debit cards, even the food trucks, so there is little need to carry cash. A note on tipping: it’s not really necessary but it’s appreciated—8% to 12%.  Although at the nicer restaurants, I often tip more because of the service.

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TomToms – Best burrito you’ll find in Scandinavia
Jonsborgs Kiosk – Quality kiosk food with a focus on vegetarian and vegan options
En Deli Haga – Healthy salads and vegetarian fare
Korv United – Bangers & mash with veggie options
Strömmingsluckan – Traditional Swedish fried herring & potato mash

$$:
Market Komex Eatery – Korean, Mexican fusion. Sounds weird, tastes awesome
Hagabion – Vegetarian dining that meat eaters will also enjoy
Lagerhuset – Trendy bistro with rotating menu
The Barn – Burgers and a good selection of bourbon
Moon Thai – Crazy decorations and Thai staples
Puta Madre – Mexican inspired menu with a long list of tequila
Mr. P – Bistro representing a variety of flavors
Restaurant 2112 – Burgers and beer, opened by members of the band “In Flames”
Dubbel Dubbel – Yummy dim sum
Familjen – West Sweden style food with local and seasonal ingredients

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$$$:
Bhoga – Modern Scandinavian, 1 Michelin star
Koka – Relaxed modern gastronomy, 1 Michelin star
SK Mat & Människor – A taste of Swedish heritage and a nice wine bar
Dorsia – Fine dining done well with a great selection of gin
Hoze – Unique, intimate Japanese dining experience
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Bars

Gothenburg has a lot of bars even though the price of alcohol will likely shock everyone living outside of Scandinavia. This is partly done to prevent Scandinavians from drinking themselves to death during the long dark winters and partly because everything is more expensive here. If you’re really into wine, your best bet will be booking a table at one of the restaurants listed above in the high-end ($$$) category, for a nice selection of natural & biodynamic wines, you should also check out Bar Centro.

Beer:
The Rover – Rotating taps featuring many Scandinavian craft brewers, good food as well
Brewers Beer Bar – Nice beers, modern atmosphere, great pizza
NoBa – Nordic-chic with a nice outdoor patio and a solid list of beers
Ölrepubliken – Many of the same beers as The Rover with a more pub-like feel
Jerntorgetsbryghus – Large, two level bar with good beer selection, nice for big groups
Brew Dog – Part of a growing chain of beer bars run by the famous Scottish brewery

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Cocktails:
Hush-Hush – The closest thing to a speakeasy with a creative list of drinks
Puta Madre – Classy period decor, nice drinks, lots of tequila
Dorsia – Check out the hidden garden, lots of gin and champagne
Drinks 20 – Nice outdoor seating with good summer drinks
Liebling – Outdoor seating in a bustling part of town
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Shopping

Swedes love to shop and you will find no shortage of places to indulge yourself. You will find all the staple Swedish brands like H&M, Nudie and Cheap Monday, along with many others you may not have heard of yet. There are also an endless number of vintage and thrift stores sprinkled throughout the shopping districts. So bring an empty duffel bag, because you will be tempted.

Fashion:
Our Legacy
– Menswear known for simple cuts with unique fabrics
Acne – World re-known fashion house with quirky and experimental design
Whyred – Fashion brand known for tailored cuts with creative patterns
Nudie Jeans – Sweden’s version of Levis, all organic denim made in Italy
Grandpa – Mixed boutique with trendy housewares and fashion
Shelta – Streetwear, sneakers and skateboards

Home & More:
Norrgavel – Scandinavian interior design & housewares
Artilleriet – Eclectic shop filled with a diverse range of housewares & oddities
The Kitchen – A new outpost from Artilleriet, basically all of Kinfolk in a store
Designtorget – Scandinavian designer-made gifts and souvenirs
Kvart Interiör – Well curated selection of Nordic housewares & design
Myrorna – A three story thrift shop with furniture, housewares & clothing

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Related Events: A list of events taking place next week that you won’t want to miss.

14 June, Sunday at 3pm – Per Nordby is hosting a showing of “A Film About Coffee” (more info)
15 June, Monday at 7pm – Koppi’s “Meet the Producer” in Helsingborg (more info)
16 June, Tuesday at 6pm – Johan & Nyström block party with Black Eagles & beer (more info)
17 June, Wednesday at 4pm – Try a great selection of local coffee, beer and food (more info)
18 June, Thursday at 9pm – Official Barista After Party at The Brewhouse on Åvägen 24

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