Sweden’s plucky up-and-comer is punching well above its weight
Truly, this is a tale of two cities. First we have Copenhagen, Denmark, an internationally recognized capital of culture and gastronomy, the home of Noma, and birthplace of New Nordic cuisine. Across the water, connected by bridge, sits Malmo, the third-biggest city in Sweden -- handsome, yes, but lacking the star attractions or world-renowned chefs found in the Danish capital. You have one day to eat and drink your way round either city, where do you go?
Epicureans, let me tell you: The answer has to be Malmo. There’s something so thrilling about witnessing a food and drink scene in the formative throes of rebellious youth. Immerse yourself in its multicolored mishmash of Scandi-style townhouses, capacious squares, and medieval ruins. Then, when the cold starts to bite, retreat to a hipster coffee shop or, better still, a moodily lit bar or diner. Here, you will likely find Scandi fare -- open sandwiches, pickled fish, and gallons of aquavit, sometimes all at once -- prepared without the stilted reverence you’ll find across the water. Instead, Malmo leans into headline-grabbing innovation. And there’s plenty of that at Rude Food, a cafe that concocts dishes out of would-be food waste, and Fool, a razor-sharp food mag based in the city. Malmo can be hit-and-miss, sure, but it’s never boring.
If you have just one meal: Look past the cheekily provocative name and accept that Bastard is a legitimately provocative kind of place. Not for this restaurant the dainty, delicate creations found elsewhere in the city; here you will find charcuterie, offal, and some exquisitely full-blooded cocktails. At peak times, a table may be hard to find, but if you do find a seat, prepare to be won over. -- Isaac Parham