Gothenburg has been building a reputation as a foodie destination that puts the focus on fresh, local ingredients – not least the super-tasty seafood that’s caught just offshore.
But what if you’re trying to stick to a tight budget, and would rather not blow all your cash on lobster claws and oysters? Well don’t worry: it’s still possible to eat really well in Sweden’s second city. These top tips will lead you straight to a whole bellyful of cheap and tasty eats.
Seek out Gothenburg’s cheap food trucks and snack stands
A few smart new food trucks have opened around Gothenburg recently, providing a nice cheap alternative to proper sit-down restaurants – during the summertime, at least.
The most obvious cluster of decent food trucks is just off Magasinsgatan in the centre of town, where you’ll find a choice of tasty sausages, vegan-friendly Asian food and fried strömming (Baltic herring) served up the classic Swedish way: with lingonberries and mashed potatoes. Most meals from these places cost around 60–80 SEK, and should keep you full for hours.
Other fun options include the tiny Argentine and Mexican deli vans that park up outside Lidl on Linnégatan (handy if you’re staying at Slottsskogens Hostel). There’s also a classic Swedish hot dog place near the Mariaplan tram stop in Majorna. Another good option is Fhoods, which sells organic burgers from an old shipping container on Esperantoplatsen, a short walk from Järntorget.
Otherwise, you’ll find simple gatukök (street kitchens) dotted around the city, selling Thai food, pizza and tasty falafel wraps for around 50–80 SEK.
Food trucks in Gothenburg:
Head to the food halls
Gothenburg has a few excellent indoor food halls where small companies sell fresh ingredients and pre-prepared meals. The city’s main food hall, Stora Saluhallen, is fun for a look around and can be okay for grabbing a few picnic ingredients, but a lot of the grub served inside is over-the-top expensive.
For cheaper, equally tasty eats, head north on the tram to Vågmästareplatsen on the island of Hisingen, where the recently opened Kville Saluhall sells everything from fresh fruit and veg to stinky cheese and cooked meats. Upstairs on the first floor there’s an excellent little Peruvian restaurant serving up plates of zingy ceviche for 99 SEK (go at lunchtime for the best deals). This guide shows you how to use the tram.
Stock up at the supermarket
If you’re staying in a hostel or Airbnb place with its own kitchen, you’ll be able to eat for even less by stocking up on Swedish products at a local supermarket and making your own meals.
Lidl usually has the lowest prices for basics but, being a German chain, it isn’t exactly stuffed to the rafters with proper Swedish food. For berries, elk meat, caviar, pickled herring, or anything typically ‘Swedish’, your best bet is to try a decent-sized branch of Ica (or the snigger-inducing Willys).
One thing to remember: the branches of Hemköp on Linnégatan and inside the Nordstan shopping centre tend to be more expensive than other supermarkets in town.
Cheap supermarkets in Gothenburg:
Fill up ‘afterwork’ or over a lazy brunch
Lots of bars and restaurants across Gothenburg run ‘afterwork’ sessions from around 4–5pm on weekdays, with cheap deals on food and drink. At the best places you can buy a beer or glass of wine for 50–100 SEK, and then get an empty plate that you can fill from a small buffet (and, if you want, keep going back for more). Quality varies enormously though, so it’s worth taking a peek at the food before handing over your cash.
Another way to eat lots of good food on the cheap is to pay a visit to one of Gothenburg’s best brunch joints. Ritz puts on a vast spread on Saturdays and Sundays, while the city’s only casino does a hearty ‘brunch à la Vegas’ on Sundays, including all the pancakes and fresh fruit you can eat. Veggies should head straight to the Röda Sten art gallery on Sunday mornings for a completely meat-free brunch.
Pick your restaurants carefully
As is typical across Sweden, restaurants in Gothenburg tend to serve cheaper meals at lunchtime and then increase their prices (and offer more choice) during the evening. But it is still possible to eat out in the evening without it being ruinously expensive.
Keep it casual at a place like Beijing 8, Meat the Greek or Bombay Restaurant and you can eat well for less than 120 SEK per person. Moving up a bit price-wise, places like Burgersson and Moon Thai Kitchen provide more of a comfortable restaurant experience; allow around 150 SEK per person.
If you’re looking for reasonably priced, authentic meatballs in Gothenburg, try Café du Nord on Kungstorget. For a seafood feast that doesn’t cost the earth, head to Sjöbaren in Haga – it’s one of the few places that manages to do fresh local seafood without letting its prices fly off into orbit. Alternatively, grab a takeaway seafood salad from Gothenburg’s fish church (though bear in mind that it closes by 5 or 6pm).
Fika outside Haga
Haga is one of Gothenburg’s prettiest neighbourhoods for a bit of fika, but a couple of the best-known coffee shops in the area have put their prices up to take advantage of the passing tourist trade. For equally tasty treats in less touristy parts of town, try one of these great coffee bars – they’re all good value, and most have a cracking selection of Swedish pastries and cakes to work your way through.
Drink tap water
A bit of an obvious tip, we know. But as bottled water is so expensive in Sweden (around 25 SEK for a small bottle) you can save yourself some serious cash by sticking to tap water instead. The cold water that comes out of the taps in hostels, hotels, restaurants and shops is completely safe to drink.
Buy your booze from Systembolaget
After all that successful money saving, you’ll probably have built up quite a thirst. Instead of doing battle with the high prices charged in bars, grab yourself a couple of drinks from Systembolaget, Sweden’s alcohol monopoly.
The stores have very limited hours (most close at lunchtime on Saturday and stay shut until Monday morning) but they have a good selection of booze to choose from. Prices for a single beer run from around 8–30 SEK, depending on the quality and country of origin, while wine starts at around 50 SEK a bottle.
Handy branches of Systembolaget in Gothenburg:
Need more suggestions? See our full guide to eating and drinking in Gothenburg.
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