Eating & drinking

Swedish food in Uppsala - what to try and where

Curious about Swedish food? From hearty traditional dishes to contemporary culinary innovations, Uppsala offers a tapestry of flavors that captivate the palate and tell the tale of Swedish culinary heritage. Here are some Swedish dishes you should try when visiting Uppsala.

Swedish cuisine, deeply rooted in tradition and innovation, reflects the country’s diverse landscape, seasons, and cultural influences. It characterized by simplicity, freshness, and a profound connection to nature with a bounty of fresh ingredients sourced from lush forests, pristine lakes, and fields.

A Brief Culinary History of Sweden

Historically, Swedish cuisine has been shaped by various factors, including geography, climate, and cultural exchanges. During the Viking era, preservation methods such as smoking, salting, and fermenting were essential for survival in harsh Nordic winters. These methods still play an important part in dishes consumed during major religious holidays, such as the fermented fish sill (herring) which is a must for any Easter, Christmas and Midsummer meal.

In the 18th century, Swedish cuisine underwent a significant transformation with the introduction of the potato. This period also saw the rise of traditional Swedish dishes such as meatballs and gravlax, which remain beloved classics to this day.

In modern days, Sweden has witnessed a culinary renaissance. Swedish cuisine and chefs are celebrated globally for commitment to sustainability, seasonality, and gastronomic excellence.

Where to try Swedish food in Uppsala

Uppsala has quaint bistros serving reinvented Swedish classics, cozy cafes for a traditional Swedish fika, and new restaurants offering an international spin to Swedish cuisine. Down below are a few typical dishes you should try. If you want even more tips on where to go, read our listing of Scandinavian restaurants.

Herring and S.O.S

Sill, or herring, is a fermented fish sometimes combined with seasoned sauces. S.O.S is one way to serve herring, and the acronym stands for smör, ost, and sill – butter cheese, and herring. Generous amounts of butter is spread over Swedish crisp bread and topped with flavorful cheese and herring. Sometimes chives, bleak roe, potatoes and other trimmings are added as well. S.O.S is served on Scandi restaurants all year round, often as a starter.

Try it here:

Uppströms Fisk
Sillunch at UKK (annual celebration of Walpurgis at the 30th of April)


The concept of Swedish Fika is world renowned. It simply means to sit down for some coffee and a sweet treat. While Swedish bakeries in general are happy to try out new trends, you can always find some classic Fika staples in the counters. If you want to keep it as traditional as possible, look for places with the word “konditori” in the name.

Swedish cinnamon buns is probably the most famous Fika treat and can be found at every café in town worth its salt. This gives you a great opportunity to try several varieties.

Semla is a soft wheat bun filled with sweet almond paste and fluffy cream, available for a limited time of the year (traditionally served to mark the start of the Christian fasting period before Easter).

Serving seven assorted biscuits is a Swedish tradition that goes back to the 19th century, when coffee gatherings became more common. Being less formal compared to dinner parties or other events, it was still important to keep the number of cookie varieties just right for the occasion.

Try it here:

Uppsala boasts many great cafes, ranging from modern coffee bars to traditional bakeries. Read our listing of cafes in Uppsala.

Foto: Björn Tesch/

Köttbullar – Swedish Meatballs

If you ever been to an IKEA store, chances are you are already familiar with the Swedish meatballs. “Köttbullar,” holds a special place in the hearts of Swedes and visitors alike. These savory morsels of seasoned ground meat are typically served with lingonberry sauce, creamy mashed potatoes and cream sauce. Uppsala’s eateries, both traditional and contemporary, pay homage to this iconic dish, offering their own unique interpretations that tantalize the taste buds.

Try it here:

Peppar Peppar


Swedes love licorice – we consume nearly 2 kilos per person per year! Licorice arrived in Sweden in the late 19th century and has since become a very popular product, found in both food and sweets. If you buy pick and mix candy in Uppsala (you should!), there will most definitely be several different varieties of licorice to choose from. In Uppsala city, you’ll also find a shop entirely dedicated to licorice where you can both participate in guided tastings and buy different varieties to take home.

Try it here:

Look for licorice on the dessert menu at restaurants, in the counters of the city’s bakeries or visit the store Lakritsroten,

Foto: Tina Stafrén/


Agriculture has been important in Sweden for all times, and so has the flour-based food pancake. Pancakes have most likely existed in Sweden since ancient times and are first mentioned in Swedish text in 1538. Pancakes are eaten all over the world, but unlike for example the fluffy American version, the traditional Swedish pancake is pan sized and wafer-thin, often served with jam and whipped cream. On Thursdays, many lunch restaurants serve pancakes together with pea soup, a classic combination believed to have gained popularity since it used to be a staple dish in the Swedish army. Today you can find modern interpretations of pancake at restaurant and cafes, with inspiration from French galettes to American pancakes.

Try it here:

Gästrike-Hälsinge Student Nation, Pancake Brunch
Créperi Lemoni
Melrose Café

Try more Swedish Delicacies in Uppsala

Saluhallen (The Market Hall) is a great place to explore Swedish food and try different types of fish, charcuteries, bread, and cheeses.