A Local’s Guide to Gothenburg

Sebastian Hammer
Apr 17 · 11 min read
Gothenburg

Where to go for food?

When you have that sick craving for tacos

Little meats | best tacos in Gothenburg
It seems fitting to start this guide out with tacos because it seems like Swedes have an obsession with this Mexican delight. And it seems fitting to start with Little Meats as it is the best place in the city for tacos. Place a little out of the center, this place is more a less a whole-in-the-wall-restaurant. On the outside, and inside it doesn’t look like much. But what they lack in looks, they make up for in delicious food. On weekends you will find a line out on the street. They make everything from scratch which means when they are out of ingredients they have to turn customers away, which happens regularly. But even if that is the case, it is refreshing to dine at a place that won’t compromise on quality to make more money. A solid fuck you to Taco Bell.

Holly Molly | best value for your money
Holly Molly might be the cheapest tacos in Gothenburg, but it is by no means the worst. The restaurant is tacky in that Swedish-trying-to-be-Mexican-theme-restaurant, but again, they make up for it in delicious food. It is not fancy ingredients but it gets the job done in simple elegance. A taco is around 40 SEK.

Taco & Tequila | treat yourself to gourmet tacos
If you have read any guides about Gothenburg before this, Taco & Tequila is most likely mentioned. But I will mention it again because no tacos restaurant list would be complete without it. Not only can you find ingredients you never knew would be delicious in tacos, but they also have a list of fancy tequilas. You most likely think of your teenage years when you think of tequila, but you never thought tequila could taste like this, and you soon come to realize that the tequila you have been drinking is what Jack Daniels is to the whiskey industry. You cannot order a table online, so get there early.

Taco & Tequila

When your guy friend visit you from abroad

Odins Parkgrill | hidden burger gem
So Swedes have this thing called Gatukök (street kitchens) which is small sheds that serve burgers or sausages or kebab. Normally they are so shit that only drunk teens and really, really hungry truck drivers will eat there (no offense). But Odins Parkgrill flips this stereotype on its head. Besides looking super nice, their burgers are amazing AND CHEAP! You can get a meal for the same price as McDonald’s but three times as good.

Tugg | burger experimentation
This is the more expensive burger place, but equally, they do crazy burgers. I once got one with blueberries, as it was a limited edition summer special. It is equal to Taco & Tequila, just with burgers. Super busy, so make sure you reserve a table.

The Barn | most manly burger
The Barn is a place where you go to get an American burger (Americans would probably think that statement blasphemy, but whatever, not a lot of them here in Gothenburg). Definitely worth a visit if you are a couple of guys out to get an honest burger.

Brewer’s | sourdough pizza and craft beer
You can get some of the weirdest fucking beers here. Now, there are two of them, which can be a bit confusing. The one at Magasinsgatan has the best pizza in town, but their selection is not as big as the one Tredje Långgatan. At the ladder, I once had a blue pineapple sour beer. Dunno how they come up with that sort of thing.

Boule Bar | best group restaurant
You are a group guys and gals that are going for an evening out. You go to Boule Bar, where you have two lanes for playing boule. You make a little tournament out of it.

Most instagrammable cafes

JOS | acai & poke bowls for all of your money
Besides having fucking excellent coffee, they have extremely healthy food served by the female equivalent of Joe & the Juice dudes. However, you do pay a price for the experience, so make sure to bring your parents so they can pay for it.

Studio HPKSM | restaurant turn techno club
Studio HPKSM is not easy to find, but it will be worth it. Considered by the upper-class hipster group as the biggest in-place, this place functions as a restaurant, a bar, and a fucking techno club when it gets late. It is tiny though so be sure to book a table in advance, or you will sit in the coat-check. I am not bitter at all.

Jinx Food Truck | vegetarian street food truck
While the food is really good, it is a bit like the Mona Lisa — you mostly go there to say you have been there. But if nothing else, you get some reasonably cheap food for the bragging rights afterward.

Jinx Food Truck

Where to go for drinks?

Bars with a view

OGBG Rooftop | the best view for getting pissed
OGBG is by itself an okay place to go for drinks. But in the summer they open up their rooftop that has a view over the canal that runs separate Hisingen from Central Gothenburg. Needless to say, it gets crowded, and there are not a lot of seats. You can reserve, or just come early.

OGBG Rooftop

Ciero | nicest interior for a rooftop
Ciero is super small and intimate. They didn’t make much of an effort to optimize the space, so when it reaches full capacity, people are sitting around on the floor. Awesome view over the cities.

Radisson Blue Riverside | hot top + rooftop bar anyone?
Here I am talking about Radisson on Hisingen. In the summer this bar turns into a tanning spot for all the office workers in the area. (If you are smart you sneak in a bathing suit and pay for the spa, of course …)

Pigalle | pretend you are Gatsby
This is sort of secret bar in the hotel by the same name. You ride the Victorian-looking elevator to the top floor. In the summer there is a rooftop terrace, which is amazing, but in the winter you sit in what feels like a loft. There are mirrors in the ceiling and live fire in the fireplace. Once I was there they served out cocktails in teacups, which is a nod to the prohibition era where you couldn’t serve alcohol, so to disguise it was served in porcelain. Such a cool detail.

Impress your (tinder) date

Stranger | impress her with a secret bar
Stranger is the only speak-easy bar we have in Gothenburg (as far as we know). Solid cocktail menu and a cool experience, especially if your date is not used to speak-easy. Could also come across as creepy. Just act laid back about it, ‘kay.

Cafe Gazette | pretend you are Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid, Love
This is one of the most smooth bars in Gothenburg. Super casual electronic lounge music (weekends include live DJ of deep house), relatively cheap wine and beer, and super good food should the date escalate into dinner.

Zamenhof | the coolest secret arcade you can find
You know the awkward moment that happens on some dates where you run out of things to talk about? Well, if it happens on Gazette (see above) fear not, just take your awkward-ass date to The Silver Lining that is located in the back of Gazette. Besides having a good selection of beer you can discover throughout the evening, they also have a collection of old arcade games! If it is a bad date, at least you get to play Time Crisis II, right?

Zamenhof

Kafe Magasinet | get smashed in an indoor garden
Kafe Magasinet is located opposite Taco and Tequila (which was mentioned before) and is the perfect place to grab a casual glass of wine or beer. The interior is super nice and scandi, but it gets quite crowded in the weekend, especially at the start of every month (just after people got paid).

When you need to get shit-faced

Yaki-da | free pizza and beer garden.
When I first moved here Yaki-da was mandatory on Fridays because of the free pizza in the beer garden. In the summer it is amazing, but in the winter, they have three floors (I think) with different vibes and dancefloors. The interior is like an old house, filled with bookshelves and painting, so when you get sufficiently drunk you can pretend you are at one of those frat-parties you were never invited to in college. Go there before 10 pm for free entrance.

Lounge(s) | free tacos and outdoor area
A bit tired of pizza? Just go to the next bar and you will have free tacos instead. I don’t remember much of Lounge(s) to be honest as I have always been super drunk. But I hear it is nice.

King’s head | cheap beer
So, this bar is known for being absolutely the last place you go before you go home. It has cheap beer, and a cheap buffet if you come early. You will most likely run into a lot of students here. Drunk students.

Hagabion | movie and a beer
While this is technically a bio where they show artsy films, it is best known by locals as a bar. For some reason, it seems to attract the French community. I know … but give it a chance. They have amazing outdoor seating.

Where to go for shopping?

Shops that looks more like design museums

Artilleriet | The king of design
Top place to shop ever. Not that I have actually ever bought anything in there. I am not made of money. But the mere experience of the store is amazing and worth a visit. Every time.

Vallgatan 12 | The most hipstery + pricey shop in the city
From the outside, it looks like a cafe, but upstairs you will find a huge area of art decor and interior, overpriced hipster fashion, and expensive artisan-made jewelry. Not the best place to shop unless you have the cash to burn, but awesome for inspiration and introduction to new labels.

The weirdest niche stores

Magasin 11 | Weird affordable talking pieces
One of the only stores where I have found Seletti furniture. The store looks quite retro, but the stuff in there is very … special. It is one of those stores you go into find something you didn’t know you needed.

Kawaii | Weird affordable talking pieces
You go to the most Swedish area of Gothenburg, and then you find the least Swedish store. This tiny boutique has all the weird Japanese stuff you see on YouTube. And if you are into man-hating pins, they have that too for some reason.

Second-hand paradise

Beyond Retro| Hawaii shirts ad libitum
This store is hidden away inside a mall, but once you find it, the selection is fab. I went there specifically to buy Hawaiian shirts, and for that purpose alone, I really like this store. Hawaiian shirt will be in this summer, I promise you.

Myrorna| Find all the stuff in Artilleriet for 1/10 of the price
You will be presented with more choice than you want. There are several floors packed to the brim with all sort of people’s old crap. But if you can help not being overwhelmed, take a look at the individual things. you will quickly realize that the really thick and heavy glass ashtray you loved in Artilleriet is only €2 instead of the €110. Note: I am talking this place up, cos basically half of my furniture is from here.

What to do in the city?

When it is cold, windy, rainy and miserable

Sauna Frihamman | free sauna for everyone!
Book a time early because this place is flame, especially in the winter. You will take the bus out into the most uncharming industrial area. When you get off the bus stop and think, what the fuck am I doing here, this cannot be the right place, you have come to the right place. Now go to the giant metal creature shaped structure near the water, and you will find the sauna. Good luck.

Frihamnen Sauna

Dance Vida | bring some sunshine into your life
Despite its small size, Gothenburg has an incredible Latin Dance community. You can attend classes for a semester, for around 1500 SEK, which gives you 12 classes or so (you will be a pro in no time). Besides that, you can take part in a loooooot of social events around salsa, bachata, and kizomba. Check out Dance Vida and Esconde’s facebook page to see their event calendar.

Biljardpalatset | the best toilets + shuffleboards
One place you must visit. You come in, and it is the most gentlemanish men’s club vibe. Tons and tons of pool tables and shuffleboards are lined up next to the old-school-mad-men restaurant. Chesterfield couches all around. But the best is yet to come! Visit the toilets before you leave. There is not only a mouth wash but also occasional perfume and candy. In the ladies, females and transgenders can stock up on tampons.

Science Fiction-Bokhandeln | weird books and secret board game cafe
Being a sucker for book stores, the Science Fiction bookshop I visit religiously. It is straight out of Big Bang Theory, just nicer. What few people know, there is a “secret” cafe in the back of the shop where you can play all sorts of board games.

When it is warm’ish and sunny

Cykelköket | Super cheap bikes
I cannot believe not more students know about this place. You go there, pay 50 SEK and pick a wreck + unlimited spare parts for your bike. Then you fix the wreck. There are volunteers to help you if you haven’t done it before, and when your bike brakes during the year (which it will) you can go there and fix it up again for free. 50 SEK people!

Outdoor Gym | Sun’s out, gun’s out
In Gothenburg’s favorite park, Slottsskogen, go to the most southern point of the park and you find an outdoor gym. It is well-equipped and there is a good opportunity to do a session after a run.

Botanical Garden Secret Vantage Point | Best view from the city
Go just opposite Slottsskogen and will be in the botanical garden. If you search on google maps for Bjerg Landskab, you will find the approximate destination to this secret point. Follow the foot-beaten path up until you are on the top of the cliffs. Fucking amazing view. Remember to bring some cold beer.

Botanical Garden

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