In the fifth edition of the MICHELIN Guide Nordic Countries, counter restaurant Frantzén is the star of the show, as it was awarded the coveted three Michelin stars.
But where did the star journey begin for Björn Frantzén and how did he get to where he is today?
Frantzén opened Frantzén/Lindeberg in Stockholm in 2008—it received its first star one year later, followed by a second in 2010. Though Daniel Lindeberg left in 2013, the restaurant retained its two stars.
After eight years at this tiny restaurant in Gamla Stan, Frantzén decided it was time to relocate. He found a 19th-century townhouse in an up-and-coming part of the city, which allowed him to spread his restaurant over three floors. However, rather than expanding upon the number of guests he was serving, he kept it the same, focusing on the quality both of the cuisine and the overall dining experience.
The new restaurant is a reflection of himself, and he studied every detail in order to give his guests a truly unique experience—and this starts the minute you arrive. Ring the doorbell to enter, then enjoy snacks and an aperitif in the living room before being invited to a viewing and explanation of the day’s ingredients. After which, you’re guided through to the dining room, where you’ll find extremely comfortable armed stools set at a beautiful wooden L-shaped counter wrapped around a sleek, modern kitchen.
Don’t come thinking this will be your usual casual counter experience—it is, in fact, quite the opposite. This is a truly immersive dining experience and you really feel like you’re part of the kitchen. It’s not just the sights, smells and sounds—you can also feel the heat from the flames. The experience is further enhanced by the chefs presenting many of the dishes themselves, skillfully finishing them in front of you and enthusiastically explaining their construction.
The menu is a set tasting affair of around 10 courses and is packed full of the finest quality luxury ingredients—some are even bespoke to the restaurant. Cooking is modern and creative but also displays some classic techniques, including the use of open fire, and dishes have a real depth of flavor despite their apparent simplicity. Textures and tastes are cleverly combined and, alongside new creations, you’ll find others which give a nod to Frantzén’s favorite dishes from his former restaurant. To accompany the cooking, you’ll find a superb selection of wines that have been expertly chosen by the knowledgeable sommelier; French wines—Burgundies in particular—are a strength.
It’s clear to see that these larger premises are giving Frantzén a freedom he didn’t previously have. He wisely still serves the same amount of guests—only now he has the space to really take his creativity to a new level and give diners his very best. The new surroundings are a perfect fit for his cooking and have elevated this to one of the finest counter dining restaurants in Europe.
Here are some of our favorite dishes:
Deep-fried langoustine—A large, plump langoustine on a thin layer of crispy Koshihikari rice, accompanied by a subtle emulsion of clarified butter with ginger and chives. Delicate flavors are perfectly combined, with a superb marriage between texture and taste.
Barbecued aged quail—A sizeable quail from Brittany cooked over open flames, lacquered with sauce à la presse and accompanied by a crisp endive salad. (It was served as half a bird on the bone, so using your fingers is a must.) The skin is golden brown and the flesh was moist and tender, with strong smoky flavors and an intense sauce. The delicate bitterness of the endives provide a great contrast to the caramelized skin of the quail.
Swedish and Japanese beef—Slices of mature Swedish and Japanese wagyu beef are served with Bordelaise jus and Alba truffles. The savory aged Swedish beef contrasts perfectly with the wonderfully marbled Japanese beef and the truffles are wonderfully aromatic. This was followed by a delicious grilled beef tea, packed full of flavor and served with fermented mushrooms and cubes of truffled tofu. The meat is tender, the sauce is delicious and the truffles—sublime.