Restaurant review: Sjoebaren in Gothenburg, Sweden

While walking the streets of Gothenburg, Sweden (which is a very lovely city) where I attended an international conference, I noticed the many Japanese sushi restaurants. Well, I thought the Swedes love to eat fish; why not Japanese?

For dinner, however, my colleague Jules and I, we wanted to check out the original, a Swedish fish restaurant. The receptionist at the hotel pointed us to a couple of interesting places. We decided on a restaurant nearby, the Sjoebaren as it was called (freely translated as “seal” or “sea bear”). We were told that there are two restaurants with that name. We went to the one in Lorensberg.

The entrance of the restaurant

We had not made a booking and the place was full when we arrived. Fortunately, the waiters were very kind and accepted a booking for 20 h. We had an hour and a half of additional time to kill but that was not a problem for us (more about this later).

Kuentz-Bas, 2007 Pinot Gris Tradition from Alsace, France

It was clear, we wanted to eat fish. The first thing I selected was the wine. I opted for a ‘2007 Pinot Gris Tradition’ by Kuentz-Bas from Alsace, France. Decanter awarded 87 points to this wine.

The vintner of Kuentz-Bas is Jean-Baptiste Adam, an icon of the Alsatian wine industry. He runs his vineyards following biodynamic production methods. I am not related to Jean-Baptiste despite the coincidence with the family name.

Wine prices in Sweden are a bit on the high side. We went for only a glass. I loved the Pinot Gris. It was not overpowering, but fine and firm with a complex acidity and an impressive finish.

The starter

The herring was just too good to not order it. We did not expect what was put in front of us by the cheerful waiter. Look at that. This beautiful arrangement was just amazing. One piece of herring was marinated in a cinnamon heavy marinade, the other piece came with fish eggs on top in a white sauce. In addition we were given potatoes, onions, cream cheese and some other delicacies. I t,ell you this starter is to die for. My taste buds went ballistic. What a wonderful start to an Swedish meal.

Two kinds of herring

Fish of the day

My friend Jules ordered the fish of the day. Very tasty.

Graved lachs

I went for “graved lachs” (marinated salmon), my favourite dish from Sweden. Ever since a Swedish friend of ours had introduced us to this delicacy and ever since my wife makes her own version of it, I just cannot resist this fish. The portion was huge. And for the first time ever, I could not finish my plate. It was just to much. Unbelievable. I had to apologize to the waiter with a compliment to the kitchen.

Potatoes in dill-cream sauce

The painting in the middle of the restaurant.

Sjoebaren Lorensberg, when we left it

Sjoebaren is a hot tip if you are in Gothenburg. Do yourself a favor and treat you to something very special. The service is great, prices affordable and the quality extraordinary.

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