We the People

Meatballs for the People l http://http://meatball.se/ l Nytorgsgatan 30, 116 40 Stockholm, Sweden l +46 8 466 60 99 l Visited March 2017

Confession time: I’ve never been to IKEA. I mention this because that’s what you’re told when you tell friends that you’re going to Stockholm. Unless they’ve been, they seem to have the big flat pack hawkers as their only frame of reference. Countless hours snaking round a queue trying to work out what to drag home and spend a day building is never what they tell you about though. Because it’s always people losing their mind for meatballs at the end. It even gets #foodporn photos. So this, it seems, is the one food recommendation that I was going to get. And if I love one thing, it’s a recommendation. That’s why you’re here, right?

Meatballs for the People was described to me as the archetypal place to get great, cheap and dare I say authentic examples. It’s sort of a ‘does what it says on the tin scenario’. And the big, inviting, neon sign outside lets you know you’ve reached orb-shaped food Mecca. The queue that formed rapidly after we took our seats also suggested we weren’t the only ones who knew it.

Having a Ball – Pork and Beef Meatballs with Pesto and Spaghetti

The interior immediately has a laid back, cool Swedish vibe to it. Wood tables, plants everywhere, big glass dispensers of serve-yourself water and chalkboards as the only menus. With menus and proclamations that ‘We Love Balls’, there’s a tonne of character here. The waiter wandering around serving in his plaid shirt smiles and tells us to pull up a chair and order at the bar. Service in Stockholm has been ludicrously friendly.

The menu changes every day, so it’s difficult to tell you exactly what to expect but they keep things simple. Drinks wise there are a few local craft beers and some wine or soft drinks. For the food, there are 3-4 daily options. It’s amazing how inventive you can be with meatballs. The one constant seems to be traditional serve beef meatballs with mashed potato, cream gravy, and pickled cucumber. But sometimes you just have to go for more invention and they have soup, salad, and a special option. Yes, all with differing meatballs. To finish things off, there’s a selection of traditional Swedish veg in help yourself pots by the water.

Meatball salad

Salad Balls – Meatballs with Mozzarella, Tomato, and Almond salad

We ended up adventuring, ordering the pasta of pork and beef meatballs with pesto and scattering of Parmesan. Along with a plate of the mozzarella, rocket, red cabbage and almond salad with reindeer meatballs. The pasta is great, with al dente ribbons served with a rich herb pesto that somehow doesn’t detract from the meatballs. Nothing’s heavy and works as a perfect lunch despite it essentially being meatballs and pasta with pesto, showing a real level of thought and craft. The salad is fresh with buttery mozzarella, peppery rocket, and well-seasoned meatballs.

The price is incredibly reasonable for the average meal in the city, with a main costing 125 SEK (£10-11) making this both a fun dinner spot before a night out or a great lunch choice. Speaking of lunch, I should mention that they also do takeaway, which the locals make great use of. If I were to pay a second visit, I don’t think you can go wrong getting a few servings and heading to one of the parks or by the water nearby.

This was a great stop of our wanderings around the city and a nice twist on Swedish classics. So forget IKEA, these are what you need after 3 hours of flatpack on a hangover.