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Athens' only nordic restaurant Safka
Athens' only nordic restaurant Safka

People

Scandinavian food is here to stay

Long gone are the days when your average foodie didn’t know their kanelbulle from their gravlax. From New York’s Michelin-starred ­Aquavit to East London’s hipster haven Fika, Scandinavian food has firmly ­established itself as a favorite of ­foodies the world over.

Claus MeyerNew York

Scandinavian food keeps gaining in popularity, and now Claus Meyer, a driving force behind the New Nordic Cuisine movement and co-owner of restaurant Noma in Copenhagen, has announced plans to set up a food hall in the Vanderbilt Hall at New York’s Grand Central Terminal. And he wants to make it a Nordic-themed food hall. Inside the 1,500 square meter hall, there will be numerous takeout options, and a fine-dining brasserie, which Meyer will run himself.

What are you looking to create?
A relaxed, dynamic place with lots of affordable, relevant, and delicious options, and a menu that changes throughout the day but never cuts corners. One thing is certain – most of our supplies will come from local American farmers.

Why do you think it will appeal to the people of NYC?
New Yorkers are very open-minded and the American guests we receive in our restaurants, delis, and bakeries in Denmark almost always tell us that the city needs us.

This is what we can expect to see in the Vanderbilt Hall at New York’s Grand Central Terminal

What will you serve?
Salads, a huge selection of great sandwiches, organic wholegrain bread and butter-based pastries, beer with attitude, wine, Nordic cocktails, freshly made juices and smoothies, and some of the best coffee and tea in the world. We’ll even have a soup cart and a hot dog stall.

The popularity of Scandinavian food just keeps growing. Why?
The food is light, crisp, and fresh. Nordic produce obviously doesn’t travel very well, but our values do: the ambition to bridge healthiness and deliciousness, the concept of defending diversity and celebrating the farmer, and the notion of transparent co-operation and knowledge sharing.

Restaurants serving Scandinavian food

Safka, Athens

Athens’ only Nordic restaurant is run by Samu and Marika Koskinen, a Finnish brother­sister team. Samu is a veteran of the Nordic food scene, having worked at Helsinki’s top restaurants, as well as Aquavit in New York. Safka’s clients love the fresh smoked salmon and – once they overcome their horror of eating “Rudolph” – the unique flavor of reindeer.

Safka

Megalou Alexandrou 80-82, Athens

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ScandiKitchen, London

ScandiKitchen, a café and grocery store in central London, serves a daily array of open sandwiches, snacks, treats, and pastries. The owners, Swede Jonas Aurell and his Danish wife Bronte, have created something unapologetically Scandinavian. The Scandi food shop, also available online in the UK, stocks more than 800 various foodstuffs, including 32 kinds of crispbread and 28 types of cheese.

ScandiKitchen

61 Great Titchfield Street, New York

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Fuglen, Tokyo

Who would have thought that a Norwegian café could make a splash on the trendy Japanese coffee shop scene? Owners Halvor Digernes, Einar Kleppe Holthe and Peppe Trulsen say the locals can’t get enough of Norwegian beer and aquavit or brown cheese on toast. Fuglen Tokyo offers visitors a taste of Norwegian design and Nordic coffee culture, with the house beans roasted down the road.

Fuglen

1-16-11 Tomigaya, Shibuya, Tokyo

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Pappa Sven, Barcelona

Founder and head chef Nina Olsson has brought her passion for Swedish food all the way from her native Karlskrona to Barcelona. Pappa Sven combines the best of Swedish cuisine with the finest Spanish ingredients to create an unforgettable dining experience. Highlights include köttbullar (meatballs) and more types of sill (herring) and lax (salmon) than you can shake a stick at. Don’t miss “Swedish tapas,” served on Wednesdays.

Pappa Sven

C/Villarroel 22, Barcelona

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Pläj, San Francisco

Pläj is an innovative San Francisco restaurant that combines California fare and Scandinavian flavors. “Pläj is a phonetic spelling of the Swedish word for play. When we say Pläj, we embrace life, happiness, right before, in the midst of, or after a great meal. Pläj is a celebration of food, drink, and great company, and a place where cultures come together,” says owner Roberth Sundell.

Pläj

333 Fulton St, San Francisco

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