Fjällpuben, Åre, Sweden *****

Q: What is it? A: The best bistro in any Swedish ski resort. In fact, I’d say it’s the best bistro in the entire Swedish mountain region, (check the maps, it’s a rather vast area)!

Look ma!

I believe that this table has the potential to attract a lot of German guests. How exotic! To eat under a moose’s head. Thankfully enough this restaurant has other qualities…

No, this is not a huge restaurant.

The interior is a rather successful play with the style that for decades has been so typical for Swedish cabins and leisure houses.

A Swedish tradition: Embroidered message on the wall.

Translation of feel-good message: “In a home where love is given,
happiness will live and all will enjoy”. It rhymes in Swedish.

The fantastic, amazing, incredible Beef Rydberg.

An all-time classic: The Beef Rydberg on reindeer with onion braised in beer and mustard cream. You don’t need a plate, (you eat it directly from the pan).

Fact 1: Fjällpuben is an important addition to Åre.
It’s a very welcome addition to the Swedish ski resort where ordering a simple pizza has been the culinary equivalent of robbery. Given the well off characteristics of the visitors, there have been many an attempt of opening a more ambitious restaurant in the village. Most of them have failed or simply felt a bit out-of-place. Consequently, when I first heard about the plans of Swedish celebrity chef Melker Andersson starting a restaurant in Åre, the first feeling was scepticism. Would it feel out-of-place? After all, this is a place where you should be able to have dinner with your helmet and back protection hanging on your chair. Q: Does it blend in? A: Yes, it does.

Fact 2: The food is superb.
The menu revolves around typically Swedish courses with a heavy influx of local produce. It is sophisticated without feeling stuffy or just aimed at the city slickers. The Beef Rydberg on reindeer with onion braised in beer and mustard cream is an all time classic, (please, don’t take it away from the menu!). For starters, the Goat Cheese gratinated with sea-buckthorn, honey and walnuts kicks some serious ass. The wine list is limited but the selection matches the food. I don’t think I have ever had a better meal north of Stockholm.

Fact 3: You will be extremely well taken care of.
The service level in Åre is up considerably, compared to a few years ago. That was very much-needed. Maybe we have the recession to thank for this – maybe it’s due to the fact that the number of alternatives has risen in the village. In Åre, there’s always another place to choose around the corner. The village boasts about 50 restaurants. But the Fjällpuben staff can not be driven by such factors. I just think that they genuinely love to take good care of their guests. Sara, who took care of us during two evenings, has the personality and the professionalism that makes you feel very welcome and very much at home. She alone is securing the fifth star in my book.

I’ve found only two little dents in the paintwork:
1. On my second visit, the packed restaurant got hotter than a sauna. Melker/Markus, please get some extra oomph for the AC!
2. I have yet to find a menu in English. This link will take you to the Swedish menu only. When there, it’s not a problem as the staff will be happy to translate it for you.

All in all, a superb restaurant experience. Highly recommended!

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