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Five superb Gothenburg meals for families with children

Happy children mean happy parents, and food plays a large part in this. From giant cinnamon buns to exciting street food, Gothenburg has a number of specialties that will tickle the taste buds of children and adults alike.
Seafood at display with a bottle of pilsner (beer)
01. Gabriel’s fish soup
Seafood at Restaurant Gabriel, Gothenburg, Gothenburg
Photo: Tina Stafren/ Göteborg & Co

With its proximity to the sea, Gothenburg has a fantastic selection of fish and seafood. Most of it is super fresh, and even the little ones will be able to find something they like.  “Here in Gothenburg you can get turbot, hake, coley, mackerel and many other varieties of fish depending on the season,” says Niclas Svensson at Restaurant Gabriel. The restaurant’s fine fish soup, which is based on an old recipe, will certainly appeal to the taste buds of the youngest guests. Gothenburg’s fauna boasts animals that come under the big five of lobster, mussels, crayfish, shrimp and oysters and you can find them served in a multitude of ways throughout the city. Feskekôrka fish market has them to buy either separately or all together in a shellfish salad ready for you to take on a picnic. Nor is trend-sensitive Gothenburg slow to find new ways of preparing the fish they haul up. Take, for example, a healthy and wholesome poke from Hawaii – which the whole family will enjoy – or a fabulous sushi dish. The sea’s own bounty can be found in the city’s restaurants, and it was caught right on the doorstep.

People standing in line to a foodtruck
02. Food trucks on Magasinsgatan
Street food in Gothenburg, Gothenburg
Photo: Anna Hållams

Traditional food is great, but the people of Gothenburg haven’t been slow to pick up on the latest trends and combine what they have to offer with their own larder. Street food from around the world can now be acquired in many locations throughout the city, and it’s all down to food trucks rolling around the streets offering tasty food from every corner of the globe. From Jamaican soul food to Mexican burritos, or Peruvian ceviche to herring prepared in the Swedish style – anything and everything is available. Not only do they serve excellent food, an added benefit is that the whole family can enjoy their favourite dish at an affordable price. But can we agree on ice-cream for dessert? Very good, and very Gothenburg. Or perhaps we should say “new Gothenburg”? 

Eating a giant cinnamon bun in Gothenburg
03. Hagabullen
Giant cinnamon bun in Gothenburg, Gothenburg
Photo: Anna Hållams

The British have their afternoon tea, the Spaniards have their tapas and the Swedes have fika. A social phenomenon and a legitimate reason to take a break, fika can be enjoyed at home, at work or at a café, according to the Swedish Institute. It normally involves something sweet to eat, like a cinnamon bun, sandwiches or perhaps a scrumptious raspberry tart. Gothenburg also has its own fika specialty, Hönökaka, which is named after the island located an hour away by boat. But if you want to fika like you’ll never forget, you may want to drop by Café Husaren for their famous Hagabullen (named after the district of Haga). It’s a huge cinnamon bun with pearl sugar on top. 

A 'half special' - a classic Gothenburg meal consisting of a hot dog in a bread with mashed potatoes on top.
04. Hel och halv special
Halvspecial in Gothenburg, Gothenburg
Photo: Anna Hållams

An old Gothenburg bestseller on the food front is the so-called Hel och halv special (literally, “full and half” special). But what is it? “A full or half special consists of a hot dog in a bread with mashed potatoes on top. Then you add ketchup and mustard,” says Larry Wensund, manager of Oves gatukök. So what’s the difference between a full and a half special? A full special has two sausages, whereas a half special has only one. The speciality is supposed to have originated in the 1960s, when football players Conny and Päsa asked for a sausage topped off with a bit of mash, and it has been popular ever since. But you won’t get it anywhere else. “If you ask for a full or half special in Stockholm, nobody will know what you’re talking about.” And that’s brilliant as far as the city’s inhabitants are concerned. A half special can be obtained at Oves gatukök, but also at the classic Lasse på Heden and Mariaplan sausage kiosks.

05. Green people
The Hagabion cinema and cafe in Gothenburg, Gothenburg
Photo: Beatrice Törnros/Göteborg & Co

How about homemade pasta or moules-frites with tomato confiture but without meat or fish? Gothenburg can provide excellent alternatives for those who want to eat less meat or simply have it as an option. The best places for tasty green food are the Hagabion Café, where the whole menu is changed daily, and Folk, which serves delicious vegetarian and vegan dishes. Local wine producer Wine Mechanics always serves vegetarian dishes but also gives you the option to add meat or fish. And don’t miss the vegetarian Green Room at Liseberg– perfect for the family.