tz.mpmn-digital.com
New recipes

How to Make $29 Michelin Star Meatballs From Aquavit

How to Make $29 Michelin Star Meatballs From Aquavit



We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.


Meatballs are a staple when it comes to Sunday night dinners with grandma’s home cooking. Really fancy.

The Best High-End Steakhouse Chains in America

New York City’s Aquavit, located in midtown Manhattan, serves up a $29 meatball dish. But these aren’t your average meatballs that you'll find with a plate of spaghetti at your favorite Italian restaurant. These are crowd-pleasing Swedish meatballs.

Chef Emma Bengtsson, born and raised in Sweden, was recruited by then-executive chef of Aquavit Marcus Jernmark to join the team as a pastry chef. Her interpretation of classic Scandinavian desserts transferred into her savory dishes, helping Aquavit earn two Michelin Stars.

Bengtsson, the first Swedish woman to hold two Michelin stars, has revamped the menu at Aquavit by expanding the bar menu, which includes her fresh take on the classic Swedish meatballs.

“I get to do fine dining [and] more elegant dishes in the Michelin star restaurant,” Bengtsson said, “but I also get to cook food that I love to eat on a daily basis.”

While the meatballs probably won’t taste the same when made at home, here are a few tricks Bengtsson uses to create her popular Swedish meatball dish.

For Aquavit's Swedish Meatballs recipe, click here.

It all starts with the cut of beef or pork. Bengtsson uses bigger cuts of meat, such as pork butt and beef chuck. She recommends looking at the quality of meat you are using and trying to get it freshly ground if you can.

“If you can’t grind [the meat] at home yourself, there are a lot of local butchers who will grind it for you, instead of buying pre-packaged ground beef in the store, where you might not know where it comes from or where it’s been,” she said.

When it comes to forming the meatballs, Bengtsson likes to use a trick that she borrowed from her mother and grandmother.

“You dip your hands in a little bit of cold water and then you form your meatballs,” Bengtsson said. “[After they are formed] let them rest in the fridge for 30 to 45 minutes.”

One ingredient you should never shy away from when following this recipe is half a stick of butter.

“There’s no Swedish food without butter,” Bengtsson said. “It looks like a lot, but trust me, it’s really worth it. The flavor, the nuttiness comes through.”

Bengtsson also recommends that you add spices and seasonings according to your own personal taste. If you like your meatballs saltier, then you are welcome to add more or less, as long as it will sit well with your taste buds. Not only are meatballs great for dinner but they are one of the best comfort foods to make ahead and freeze for a weeknight.


CHOICE TABLES Delectable Fish, In Every Guise, In Goteborg

IF the world thinks about Sweden's second city, Goteborg, at all, it is as the home of Volvo automobiles and Hasselblad cameras. It is, in fact, the lively, friendly capital of the prosperous west Sweden region, a port city that faces west in more ways than one.

When my companion, Franco, and I learned we would be attending a meeting of a European transport project in Goteborg (Gothenburg in English) at the end of October, we immediately consulted the latest Michelin guide to European cities to see whether it was worth spending a couple of extra days. We were surprised to find that more than half the eating establishments listed for this city of half a million have been awarded a star or other symbol for cuisine or ambience. Cross-checking the listings with a local friend, we enjoyed five days of fine food and magnificent design, and are ready to go back any time to try the rest.

The memories we took away were not, as they often are in Italy, of superlative single dishes but rather of the contentment that comes from good food, gracious people and hospitable surroundings, enveloped in the aura of dill and candles and reassured by the proximity of all the marinated herring we could ever desire.

Although one can reach this beautiful restaurant by road (it is on a pier in the restored waterfront of Eriksberg), we were glad we took the 20-minute ferry, so that our first view was from the water. Copper-framed picture windows looked like the open side of a dollhouse. Inside, warm lighting, much of it from candles and oil lamps, softened the sharp geometry of the strikingly designed modern structure. A bistro occupies the ground floor upstairs is the elegant restaurant with one Michelin star. In the large triangular dining room, decorated with fish fossils and relics from the deep, well-spaced tables are arrayed between the glassed-in kitchen and the windows on the water. My only regret was that the well-intentioned seating arrangement that provided as many diners as possible with a harbor view deprived us of the more dynamic and even more beautiful spectacle of kitchen and dining room at work.

An amuse-bouche of rich, delicate white pea bean cream soup with chives set the style, which continued with my voluptuous cream of chestnut soup with slices of partridge breast and paupiettes of sweetbreads and duck liver wrapped in savoy cabbage. Franco's terrine (a surprise: the menu read ''tureen''!) of chunks of Orkney lobster and rare spicy chili-smoked tuna with delicate honey sauce was a fairly successful venture into more fashionable territory.

The service was excellent the flowers on the table were fresh. Only the bread was a little scarce in quality and quantity (as elsewhere). The wine list, presented in a ring binder, was also representative -- mostly French, extensive and expensive. We chose one of the few Italians, a very good Tuscan white, Poggio alle Gazze, Ornellaia 1997 ($40).

Though the menu offers a good choice of meat dishes, Goteborg is known for its fish, and that is what we ordered. A generous fillet of broth-poached hake came on almond potatoes with cream sauce flavored with chives, fried shallots and plenty of dill. The thick fillet of plaice was even more delicious, thanks to being lightly smoked. It, too, had its creamy sauce with a few scattered pine nuts, accompanied by beets and artichoke hearts.

Dessert was fun. A thin leaf of dark chocolate around a cylinder of cherry ice cream looked like pink sushi but came with a chocolate-filled pear and a sprinkling of flavorful sun-dried cherries.

This stylish bistro is right on the Avenue, the city's most elegant street. The inviting space -- brick outside and in -- offers a large dimly lighted bar area and somewhat smaller, much brighter dining room behind it. The wine cellar is visible through mullioned windows off the dining room.

Modern Swedish cuisine is the rule, meaning that along with the herring you get goat cheese, fig sauce, avocado and other fashionable exotica. It also means the use of cream is kept down, and presentation and portion size emphasize lightness and aesthetics, rather than fuel for the winter. We had dinner there on Sunday with three colleagues, two from England and one from Germany.

Modern indeed was the starter of Baltic herring -- a surprising green (the result of a chive marinade) and elegantly presented with a piece of aquavit-flavored cheese and salad with red-onion syrup. My fine starter was a piece of cold-smoked salmon accompanied by a little sandwich of thin salmon-colored bread filled with horseradish-flavored chive cream cheese.

We all ate fillets of different fish, each a generous portion with intriguing accompaniments, all tasty and perfectly cooked. Lemon sole came with crab strudel (like a spring roll) and a barley mold. Pike perch lounged on a bed of potato and cheese cake beneath a dill sauce. And grilled halibut came with a slice of a tasty pink cake made of potatoes and sweet peppers.

From the reasonably priced intercontinental wine list we chose an Italian white, Bianco di Custoza Montresor 1997 ($29).

The dessert menu proposed matches of sweet wine with each selection, and so we enjoyed a glass of Tokay ($6) to accompany the superb delicate apple cake with cinnamon ice cream.

Another beauty is this downtown fish restaurant, whose opulent setting, with Oriental rugs and model ships, recalls that Goteborg owes much of its present civility to the wealth brought home by the East India Company.

The spacious premises are divided into different areas and rooms, with a long buffet between the bar and the main dining room. Green paneled walls and enormous chandeliers swathed in cream-colored drapery create a soothing atmosphere a smooth headwaiter and many young women in long white aprons provided friendly service.

For this Monday lunch, we dined from the buffet (unlimited trips have a lower price if you order a main course, a higher price if you make the buffet your meal).

On one side, steaming copper pans beckoned, while on the other the salad seemed to punctuate the end of the sequence. We began in the middle, with the array of cold hors d'oeuvres -- excellent specimens of the four canonical herrings (cream, red-wine vinegar, mustard sauce and tomato sauce). There were also delicate shrimps on oyster shells, pates of fish and horseradish, cold fried herrings and gravad lax with its usual sweet-tart dill-mustard sauce. (A Swedish specialty, gravad lax, or gravlax, is cured raw salmon served in thin slices.) The smooth fish soup with rouille (a rust-colored garlicky oil-based sauce dolloped into fish soups) was just the thing to follow, and then came our '⟺mous codfish meatballs'' with boiled potatoes. On the far side of the herring were platters of spicy chicken wings with a fruit sauce. Only the bland salad with some sort of creamy dressing disappointed. A half bottle of white Torre di Giano 1997 ($19) went nicely with everything. The dessert menu was brief -- sherbet with pears or chocolate and coconut truffles served with the coffee. We chose the latter, an appropriately refined close to the meal.

A few steps below street level (at No. 28), this excellent downtown restaurant with one Michelin star began as a wine and cheese restaurant (the plus sign alludes to the measurement of the fatness of cheese). We dined there on a weeknight with our friend Ulrich, an engineer from Munich.

Charming though it was, the white-walled, candlelit basement setting was the least beautiful and comfortable of the restaurants we visited. The cuisine, however, was the best and most sophisticated, which may say something about the relationship between food and decor.

The triple amuse-bouche consisted of a little fish soup (announced as bouillabaisse) with Parmesan toast, a superb raviolo filled with goat cheese, and a spuma (Italian for foam) of green peas with bits of smoked eel.

Franco began with a starter of sweetbreads, tender yet crisp with a sauce made from Jerusalem artichokes and tarragon juice. Ulrich's marinated Baltic herring was topped with Swedish caviar from the otherwise inedible small fish called lojrom, which came with a little salad and a dish of very strong cheese. I had a perfectly delicious serving of crayfish consisting of two little wooden skewersful (maybe a shade overcooked). The crayfish were encrusted with sesame seeds and ginger resting on a cooked tomato and topped with bitter kyona (a Japanese mustard green) leaves.

It was a little hard to pin down a style, but everything was so good we didn't care. The wonderful tastes were wiped away by the cucumber and tomato sherbets (really ices) that followed to prepare our palates for the excitement to come.

The main course offerings were as eclectic as the appetizers. Slices of very lightly smoked venison were draped into curlicues and accompanied by mushrooms, a cauliflower puree and lingonberry sauce. Ulrich's haddock formed an obelisk surrounded by a crayfish-based butter sauce. My pike perch fillet in red wine vinaigrette did not form an interesting shape, but it was delicious anyway.

The wine list was superb but the wine service was not (possibly our choices were not considered important enough). Our deliciously crisp Sancerre ''Les Baronnes'' Henri Bourgeois 1998 ($52) was, until we protested, left to warm up in the reflected light of the heat lamps melting a brace of cheeses for our neighboring table's raclette. Franco had a half bottle of red for the venison, a full-bodied Chateau Cantenac St.-Emilion Grand Cru 1996 ($35).

Desserts were weak -- blackberry pannacotta was rubbery the plum souffle good but a bit bland. The mostly French cheeses, however, displayed in a vitrine for choosing, were excellent. The only Swedish cheese offered was the best -- a Brie made of goat's milk, Skarby Getgard -- soft but sharp.

For lunch on our last day we took a 20-minute tram ride with several colleagues to this restored 18th-century wooden warehouse, which houses an atmospheric and excellent restaurant (also with a Michelin star). Its barnlike interior is well designed, with a loft and dividers, so that diners feel neither lost in space nor crowded by other tables even when the restaurant is bustling. A magnificent model ship hanging from the ceiling as well as fishnets and other nautical paraphernalia evoke the building's past. A solicitous headwaiter and busy staff provided competent service.

All but one of us climbed to the loft for appetizers from the buffet: warm fried herring, many variations on creamed herring, Swedish cheeses, steamed mussels, sweet small shrimp in their shells, gravad lax with dill-mustard sauce. Only Michael, an economist from Rotterdam, for whom there is no novelty in pickled herring, ordered from the menu, a generous plate of smoked salmon topped with yellow bleakfish roe.

The main courses, generous poached fish fillets, were everything the herrings -- with their bold flavors and assertive sauces -- were not. The six nationalities around our table (Irish, English, Dutch, German, Italian and American) all zeroed in on either the cod or the turbot, which were delicate, refined and subtly flavored, but with some slightly irrelevant juxtapositions. The cod came in a bouillon flavored with sweet pepper and oregano, with shrimps and Jerusalem artichokes. The exquisite turbot was served in brown butter flanked by a little molded portion of chopped egg and plenty of grated fresh horseradish.

A superb Sancerre Les Aristides 1998 ($72) was just the right accompaniment.

Dessert choices were limited, but a little roll of crushed almonds and chocolate mousse, accompanied by raspberry sherbet, was certainly satisfactory. Pralines and chocolate truffles (charged by the piece) were also listed on the dessert menu. Delicious shortbread cookies arrived with the coffee. And when the last crumb was gone, the transportation experts dispersed by tram and taxi to catch their planes.

Goteborg differs from such other automotive capitals as Detroit and Turin in its utopian intermodal public transportation system, meaning that one can go to dinner by tram and boat, which run like clockwork. There is also an extensive network

of bicycle paths. The savings on taxi fare go to offset the cost of the wine.

Goteborg itself has an international airport and is only 90 minutes from Amsterdam.

Prices, calculated at 8.5 kronor to the dollar, are for a meal for two with a bottle of wine from the low end of the list. Our propensity for ordering Italian wines is due less to chauvinism than to the favorable price-quality ratio they offer.

Smoking was allowed in all these restaurants, and there were no separate smoking sections, but smoke was not a problem anywhere.

Westra Piren, Eriksberg, Dockepiren (on Pier No. 4), (46-31) 519555, fax (46-31) 239940. Closed Sunday dinner only. Take the ferry from Lilla Bommens Hamm, near the opera house, to Eriksberg. Meal for two with wine about $165.

Tvakanten, 27 Kungsport Avenyn, (46-31) 182115, fax (46-31) 811198. Closed Sunday lunch. Meal for two with wine about $175.

Fiskekrogen, 1 Lilla Torget, (46-31) 101005, fax (46-31) 101006. Closed Sunday. Our buffet lunch with a half bottle of wine cost $70. A three-course dinner, ordered from the menu, would run at least twice as much.

28+, 28 Gotabergsgatan, (46-31) 202161, fax (46-31) 819757. Closed Sunday. Dinner only. Centrally situated near the Avenue. Meal for two with wine about $180.

Sjomagasinet, 5 Klippans Kulturreservat, (46-31) 7755920, fax (46-31) 245539. Closed Saturday and Sunday for lunch dinner daily. Take tram No. 3 or 9 to Jaegerdorfplatsen then walk toward the water. Meal for two with wine about $175. MAUREEN B. FANT


CHOICE TABLES Delectable Fish, In Every Guise, In Goteborg

IF the world thinks about Sweden's second city, Goteborg, at all, it is as the home of Volvo automobiles and Hasselblad cameras. It is, in fact, the lively, friendly capital of the prosperous west Sweden region, a port city that faces west in more ways than one.

When my companion, Franco, and I learned we would be attending a meeting of a European transport project in Goteborg (Gothenburg in English) at the end of October, we immediately consulted the latest Michelin guide to European cities to see whether it was worth spending a couple of extra days. We were surprised to find that more than half the eating establishments listed for this city of half a million have been awarded a star or other symbol for cuisine or ambience. Cross-checking the listings with a local friend, we enjoyed five days of fine food and magnificent design, and are ready to go back any time to try the rest.

The memories we took away were not, as they often are in Italy, of superlative single dishes but rather of the contentment that comes from good food, gracious people and hospitable surroundings, enveloped in the aura of dill and candles and reassured by the proximity of all the marinated herring we could ever desire.

Although one can reach this beautiful restaurant by road (it is on a pier in the restored waterfront of Eriksberg), we were glad we took the 20-minute ferry, so that our first view was from the water. Copper-framed picture windows looked like the open side of a dollhouse. Inside, warm lighting, much of it from candles and oil lamps, softened the sharp geometry of the strikingly designed modern structure. A bistro occupies the ground floor upstairs is the elegant restaurant with one Michelin star. In the large triangular dining room, decorated with fish fossils and relics from the deep, well-spaced tables are arrayed between the glassed-in kitchen and the windows on the water. My only regret was that the well-intentioned seating arrangement that provided as many diners as possible with a harbor view deprived us of the more dynamic and even more beautiful spectacle of kitchen and dining room at work.

An amuse-bouche of rich, delicate white pea bean cream soup with chives set the style, which continued with my voluptuous cream of chestnut soup with slices of partridge breast and paupiettes of sweetbreads and duck liver wrapped in savoy cabbage. Franco's terrine (a surprise: the menu read ''tureen''!) of chunks of Orkney lobster and rare spicy chili-smoked tuna with delicate honey sauce was a fairly successful venture into more fashionable territory.

The service was excellent the flowers on the table were fresh. Only the bread was a little scarce in quality and quantity (as elsewhere). The wine list, presented in a ring binder, was also representative -- mostly French, extensive and expensive. We chose one of the few Italians, a very good Tuscan white, Poggio alle Gazze, Ornellaia 1997 ($40).

Though the menu offers a good choice of meat dishes, Goteborg is known for its fish, and that is what we ordered. A generous fillet of broth-poached hake came on almond potatoes with cream sauce flavored with chives, fried shallots and plenty of dill. The thick fillet of plaice was even more delicious, thanks to being lightly smoked. It, too, had its creamy sauce with a few scattered pine nuts, accompanied by beets and artichoke hearts.

Dessert was fun. A thin leaf of dark chocolate around a cylinder of cherry ice cream looked like pink sushi but came with a chocolate-filled pear and a sprinkling of flavorful sun-dried cherries.

This stylish bistro is right on the Avenue, the city's most elegant street. The inviting space -- brick outside and in -- offers a large dimly lighted bar area and somewhat smaller, much brighter dining room behind it. The wine cellar is visible through mullioned windows off the dining room.

Modern Swedish cuisine is the rule, meaning that along with the herring you get goat cheese, fig sauce, avocado and other fashionable exotica. It also means the use of cream is kept down, and presentation and portion size emphasize lightness and aesthetics, rather than fuel for the winter. We had dinner there on Sunday with three colleagues, two from England and one from Germany.

Modern indeed was the starter of Baltic herring -- a surprising green (the result of a chive marinade) and elegantly presented with a piece of aquavit-flavored cheese and salad with red-onion syrup. My fine starter was a piece of cold-smoked salmon accompanied by a little sandwich of thin salmon-colored bread filled with horseradish-flavored chive cream cheese.

We all ate fillets of different fish, each a generous portion with intriguing accompaniments, all tasty and perfectly cooked. Lemon sole came with crab strudel (like a spring roll) and a barley mold. Pike perch lounged on a bed of potato and cheese cake beneath a dill sauce. And grilled halibut came with a slice of a tasty pink cake made of potatoes and sweet peppers.

From the reasonably priced intercontinental wine list we chose an Italian white, Bianco di Custoza Montresor 1997 ($29).

The dessert menu proposed matches of sweet wine with each selection, and so we enjoyed a glass of Tokay ($6) to accompany the superb delicate apple cake with cinnamon ice cream.

Another beauty is this downtown fish restaurant, whose opulent setting, with Oriental rugs and model ships, recalls that Goteborg owes much of its present civility to the wealth brought home by the East India Company.

The spacious premises are divided into different areas and rooms, with a long buffet between the bar and the main dining room. Green paneled walls and enormous chandeliers swathed in cream-colored drapery create a soothing atmosphere a smooth headwaiter and many young women in long white aprons provided friendly service.

For this Monday lunch, we dined from the buffet (unlimited trips have a lower price if you order a main course, a higher price if you make the buffet your meal).

On one side, steaming copper pans beckoned, while on the other the salad seemed to punctuate the end of the sequence. We began in the middle, with the array of cold hors d'oeuvres -- excellent specimens of the four canonical herrings (cream, red-wine vinegar, mustard sauce and tomato sauce). There were also delicate shrimps on oyster shells, pates of fish and horseradish, cold fried herrings and gravad lax with its usual sweet-tart dill-mustard sauce. (A Swedish specialty, gravad lax, or gravlax, is cured raw salmon served in thin slices.) The smooth fish soup with rouille (a rust-colored garlicky oil-based sauce dolloped into fish soups) was just the thing to follow, and then came our '⟺mous codfish meatballs'' with boiled potatoes. On the far side of the herring were platters of spicy chicken wings with a fruit sauce. Only the bland salad with some sort of creamy dressing disappointed. A half bottle of white Torre di Giano 1997 ($19) went nicely with everything. The dessert menu was brief -- sherbet with pears or chocolate and coconut truffles served with the coffee. We chose the latter, an appropriately refined close to the meal.

A few steps below street level (at No. 28), this excellent downtown restaurant with one Michelin star began as a wine and cheese restaurant (the plus sign alludes to the measurement of the fatness of cheese). We dined there on a weeknight with our friend Ulrich, an engineer from Munich.

Charming though it was, the white-walled, candlelit basement setting was the least beautiful and comfortable of the restaurants we visited. The cuisine, however, was the best and most sophisticated, which may say something about the relationship between food and decor.

The triple amuse-bouche consisted of a little fish soup (announced as bouillabaisse) with Parmesan toast, a superb raviolo filled with goat cheese, and a spuma (Italian for foam) of green peas with bits of smoked eel.

Franco began with a starter of sweetbreads, tender yet crisp with a sauce made from Jerusalem artichokes and tarragon juice. Ulrich's marinated Baltic herring was topped with Swedish caviar from the otherwise inedible small fish called lojrom, which came with a little salad and a dish of very strong cheese. I had a perfectly delicious serving of crayfish consisting of two little wooden skewersful (maybe a shade overcooked). The crayfish were encrusted with sesame seeds and ginger resting on a cooked tomato and topped with bitter kyona (a Japanese mustard green) leaves.

It was a little hard to pin down a style, but everything was so good we didn't care. The wonderful tastes were wiped away by the cucumber and tomato sherbets (really ices) that followed to prepare our palates for the excitement to come.

The main course offerings were as eclectic as the appetizers. Slices of very lightly smoked venison were draped into curlicues and accompanied by mushrooms, a cauliflower puree and lingonberry sauce. Ulrich's haddock formed an obelisk surrounded by a crayfish-based butter sauce. My pike perch fillet in red wine vinaigrette did not form an interesting shape, but it was delicious anyway.

The wine list was superb but the wine service was not (possibly our choices were not considered important enough). Our deliciously crisp Sancerre ''Les Baronnes'' Henri Bourgeois 1998 ($52) was, until we protested, left to warm up in the reflected light of the heat lamps melting a brace of cheeses for our neighboring table's raclette. Franco had a half bottle of red for the venison, a full-bodied Chateau Cantenac St.-Emilion Grand Cru 1996 ($35).

Desserts were weak -- blackberry pannacotta was rubbery the plum souffle good but a bit bland. The mostly French cheeses, however, displayed in a vitrine for choosing, were excellent. The only Swedish cheese offered was the best -- a Brie made of goat's milk, Skarby Getgard -- soft but sharp.

For lunch on our last day we took a 20-minute tram ride with several colleagues to this restored 18th-century wooden warehouse, which houses an atmospheric and excellent restaurant (also with a Michelin star). Its barnlike interior is well designed, with a loft and dividers, so that diners feel neither lost in space nor crowded by other tables even when the restaurant is bustling. A magnificent model ship hanging from the ceiling as well as fishnets and other nautical paraphernalia evoke the building's past. A solicitous headwaiter and busy staff provided competent service.

All but one of us climbed to the loft for appetizers from the buffet: warm fried herring, many variations on creamed herring, Swedish cheeses, steamed mussels, sweet small shrimp in their shells, gravad lax with dill-mustard sauce. Only Michael, an economist from Rotterdam, for whom there is no novelty in pickled herring, ordered from the menu, a generous plate of smoked salmon topped with yellow bleakfish roe.

The main courses, generous poached fish fillets, were everything the herrings -- with their bold flavors and assertive sauces -- were not. The six nationalities around our table (Irish, English, Dutch, German, Italian and American) all zeroed in on either the cod or the turbot, which were delicate, refined and subtly flavored, but with some slightly irrelevant juxtapositions. The cod came in a bouillon flavored with sweet pepper and oregano, with shrimps and Jerusalem artichokes. The exquisite turbot was served in brown butter flanked by a little molded portion of chopped egg and plenty of grated fresh horseradish.

A superb Sancerre Les Aristides 1998 ($72) was just the right accompaniment.

Dessert choices were limited, but a little roll of crushed almonds and chocolate mousse, accompanied by raspberry sherbet, was certainly satisfactory. Pralines and chocolate truffles (charged by the piece) were also listed on the dessert menu. Delicious shortbread cookies arrived with the coffee. And when the last crumb was gone, the transportation experts dispersed by tram and taxi to catch their planes.

Goteborg differs from such other automotive capitals as Detroit and Turin in its utopian intermodal public transportation system, meaning that one can go to dinner by tram and boat, which run like clockwork. There is also an extensive network

of bicycle paths. The savings on taxi fare go to offset the cost of the wine.

Goteborg itself has an international airport and is only 90 minutes from Amsterdam.

Prices, calculated at 8.5 kronor to the dollar, are for a meal for two with a bottle of wine from the low end of the list. Our propensity for ordering Italian wines is due less to chauvinism than to the favorable price-quality ratio they offer.

Smoking was allowed in all these restaurants, and there were no separate smoking sections, but smoke was not a problem anywhere.

Westra Piren, Eriksberg, Dockepiren (on Pier No. 4), (46-31) 519555, fax (46-31) 239940. Closed Sunday dinner only. Take the ferry from Lilla Bommens Hamm, near the opera house, to Eriksberg. Meal for two with wine about $165.

Tvakanten, 27 Kungsport Avenyn, (46-31) 182115, fax (46-31) 811198. Closed Sunday lunch. Meal for two with wine about $175.

Fiskekrogen, 1 Lilla Torget, (46-31) 101005, fax (46-31) 101006. Closed Sunday. Our buffet lunch with a half bottle of wine cost $70. A three-course dinner, ordered from the menu, would run at least twice as much.

28+, 28 Gotabergsgatan, (46-31) 202161, fax (46-31) 819757. Closed Sunday. Dinner only. Centrally situated near the Avenue. Meal for two with wine about $180.

Sjomagasinet, 5 Klippans Kulturreservat, (46-31) 7755920, fax (46-31) 245539. Closed Saturday and Sunday for lunch dinner daily. Take tram No. 3 or 9 to Jaegerdorfplatsen then walk toward the water. Meal for two with wine about $175. MAUREEN B. FANT


CHOICE TABLES Delectable Fish, In Every Guise, In Goteborg

IF the world thinks about Sweden's second city, Goteborg, at all, it is as the home of Volvo automobiles and Hasselblad cameras. It is, in fact, the lively, friendly capital of the prosperous west Sweden region, a port city that faces west in more ways than one.

When my companion, Franco, and I learned we would be attending a meeting of a European transport project in Goteborg (Gothenburg in English) at the end of October, we immediately consulted the latest Michelin guide to European cities to see whether it was worth spending a couple of extra days. We were surprised to find that more than half the eating establishments listed for this city of half a million have been awarded a star or other symbol for cuisine or ambience. Cross-checking the listings with a local friend, we enjoyed five days of fine food and magnificent design, and are ready to go back any time to try the rest.

The memories we took away were not, as they often are in Italy, of superlative single dishes but rather of the contentment that comes from good food, gracious people and hospitable surroundings, enveloped in the aura of dill and candles and reassured by the proximity of all the marinated herring we could ever desire.

Although one can reach this beautiful restaurant by road (it is on a pier in the restored waterfront of Eriksberg), we were glad we took the 20-minute ferry, so that our first view was from the water. Copper-framed picture windows looked like the open side of a dollhouse. Inside, warm lighting, much of it from candles and oil lamps, softened the sharp geometry of the strikingly designed modern structure. A bistro occupies the ground floor upstairs is the elegant restaurant with one Michelin star. In the large triangular dining room, decorated with fish fossils and relics from the deep, well-spaced tables are arrayed between the glassed-in kitchen and the windows on the water. My only regret was that the well-intentioned seating arrangement that provided as many diners as possible with a harbor view deprived us of the more dynamic and even more beautiful spectacle of kitchen and dining room at work.

An amuse-bouche of rich, delicate white pea bean cream soup with chives set the style, which continued with my voluptuous cream of chestnut soup with slices of partridge breast and paupiettes of sweetbreads and duck liver wrapped in savoy cabbage. Franco's terrine (a surprise: the menu read ''tureen''!) of chunks of Orkney lobster and rare spicy chili-smoked tuna with delicate honey sauce was a fairly successful venture into more fashionable territory.

The service was excellent the flowers on the table were fresh. Only the bread was a little scarce in quality and quantity (as elsewhere). The wine list, presented in a ring binder, was also representative -- mostly French, extensive and expensive. We chose one of the few Italians, a very good Tuscan white, Poggio alle Gazze, Ornellaia 1997 ($40).

Though the menu offers a good choice of meat dishes, Goteborg is known for its fish, and that is what we ordered. A generous fillet of broth-poached hake came on almond potatoes with cream sauce flavored with chives, fried shallots and plenty of dill. The thick fillet of plaice was even more delicious, thanks to being lightly smoked. It, too, had its creamy sauce with a few scattered pine nuts, accompanied by beets and artichoke hearts.

Dessert was fun. A thin leaf of dark chocolate around a cylinder of cherry ice cream looked like pink sushi but came with a chocolate-filled pear and a sprinkling of flavorful sun-dried cherries.

This stylish bistro is right on the Avenue, the city's most elegant street. The inviting space -- brick outside and in -- offers a large dimly lighted bar area and somewhat smaller, much brighter dining room behind it. The wine cellar is visible through mullioned windows off the dining room.

Modern Swedish cuisine is the rule, meaning that along with the herring you get goat cheese, fig sauce, avocado and other fashionable exotica. It also means the use of cream is kept down, and presentation and portion size emphasize lightness and aesthetics, rather than fuel for the winter. We had dinner there on Sunday with three colleagues, two from England and one from Germany.

Modern indeed was the starter of Baltic herring -- a surprising green (the result of a chive marinade) and elegantly presented with a piece of aquavit-flavored cheese and salad with red-onion syrup. My fine starter was a piece of cold-smoked salmon accompanied by a little sandwich of thin salmon-colored bread filled with horseradish-flavored chive cream cheese.

We all ate fillets of different fish, each a generous portion with intriguing accompaniments, all tasty and perfectly cooked. Lemon sole came with crab strudel (like a spring roll) and a barley mold. Pike perch lounged on a bed of potato and cheese cake beneath a dill sauce. And grilled halibut came with a slice of a tasty pink cake made of potatoes and sweet peppers.

From the reasonably priced intercontinental wine list we chose an Italian white, Bianco di Custoza Montresor 1997 ($29).

The dessert menu proposed matches of sweet wine with each selection, and so we enjoyed a glass of Tokay ($6) to accompany the superb delicate apple cake with cinnamon ice cream.

Another beauty is this downtown fish restaurant, whose opulent setting, with Oriental rugs and model ships, recalls that Goteborg owes much of its present civility to the wealth brought home by the East India Company.

The spacious premises are divided into different areas and rooms, with a long buffet between the bar and the main dining room. Green paneled walls and enormous chandeliers swathed in cream-colored drapery create a soothing atmosphere a smooth headwaiter and many young women in long white aprons provided friendly service.

For this Monday lunch, we dined from the buffet (unlimited trips have a lower price if you order a main course, a higher price if you make the buffet your meal).

On one side, steaming copper pans beckoned, while on the other the salad seemed to punctuate the end of the sequence. We began in the middle, with the array of cold hors d'oeuvres -- excellent specimens of the four canonical herrings (cream, red-wine vinegar, mustard sauce and tomato sauce). There were also delicate shrimps on oyster shells, pates of fish and horseradish, cold fried herrings and gravad lax with its usual sweet-tart dill-mustard sauce. (A Swedish specialty, gravad lax, or gravlax, is cured raw salmon served in thin slices.) The smooth fish soup with rouille (a rust-colored garlicky oil-based sauce dolloped into fish soups) was just the thing to follow, and then came our '⟺mous codfish meatballs'' with boiled potatoes. On the far side of the herring were platters of spicy chicken wings with a fruit sauce. Only the bland salad with some sort of creamy dressing disappointed. A half bottle of white Torre di Giano 1997 ($19) went nicely with everything. The dessert menu was brief -- sherbet with pears or chocolate and coconut truffles served with the coffee. We chose the latter, an appropriately refined close to the meal.

A few steps below street level (at No. 28), this excellent downtown restaurant with one Michelin star began as a wine and cheese restaurant (the plus sign alludes to the measurement of the fatness of cheese). We dined there on a weeknight with our friend Ulrich, an engineer from Munich.

Charming though it was, the white-walled, candlelit basement setting was the least beautiful and comfortable of the restaurants we visited. The cuisine, however, was the best and most sophisticated, which may say something about the relationship between food and decor.

The triple amuse-bouche consisted of a little fish soup (announced as bouillabaisse) with Parmesan toast, a superb raviolo filled with goat cheese, and a spuma (Italian for foam) of green peas with bits of smoked eel.

Franco began with a starter of sweetbreads, tender yet crisp with a sauce made from Jerusalem artichokes and tarragon juice. Ulrich's marinated Baltic herring was topped with Swedish caviar from the otherwise inedible small fish called lojrom, which came with a little salad and a dish of very strong cheese. I had a perfectly delicious serving of crayfish consisting of two little wooden skewersful (maybe a shade overcooked). The crayfish were encrusted with sesame seeds and ginger resting on a cooked tomato and topped with bitter kyona (a Japanese mustard green) leaves.

It was a little hard to pin down a style, but everything was so good we didn't care. The wonderful tastes were wiped away by the cucumber and tomato sherbets (really ices) that followed to prepare our palates for the excitement to come.

The main course offerings were as eclectic as the appetizers. Slices of very lightly smoked venison were draped into curlicues and accompanied by mushrooms, a cauliflower puree and lingonberry sauce. Ulrich's haddock formed an obelisk surrounded by a crayfish-based butter sauce. My pike perch fillet in red wine vinaigrette did not form an interesting shape, but it was delicious anyway.

The wine list was superb but the wine service was not (possibly our choices were not considered important enough). Our deliciously crisp Sancerre ''Les Baronnes'' Henri Bourgeois 1998 ($52) was, until we protested, left to warm up in the reflected light of the heat lamps melting a brace of cheeses for our neighboring table's raclette. Franco had a half bottle of red for the venison, a full-bodied Chateau Cantenac St.-Emilion Grand Cru 1996 ($35).

Desserts were weak -- blackberry pannacotta was rubbery the plum souffle good but a bit bland. The mostly French cheeses, however, displayed in a vitrine for choosing, were excellent. The only Swedish cheese offered was the best -- a Brie made of goat's milk, Skarby Getgard -- soft but sharp.

For lunch on our last day we took a 20-minute tram ride with several colleagues to this restored 18th-century wooden warehouse, which houses an atmospheric and excellent restaurant (also with a Michelin star). Its barnlike interior is well designed, with a loft and dividers, so that diners feel neither lost in space nor crowded by other tables even when the restaurant is bustling. A magnificent model ship hanging from the ceiling as well as fishnets and other nautical paraphernalia evoke the building's past. A solicitous headwaiter and busy staff provided competent service.

All but one of us climbed to the loft for appetizers from the buffet: warm fried herring, many variations on creamed herring, Swedish cheeses, steamed mussels, sweet small shrimp in their shells, gravad lax with dill-mustard sauce. Only Michael, an economist from Rotterdam, for whom there is no novelty in pickled herring, ordered from the menu, a generous plate of smoked salmon topped with yellow bleakfish roe.

The main courses, generous poached fish fillets, were everything the herrings -- with their bold flavors and assertive sauces -- were not. The six nationalities around our table (Irish, English, Dutch, German, Italian and American) all zeroed in on either the cod or the turbot, which were delicate, refined and subtly flavored, but with some slightly irrelevant juxtapositions. The cod came in a bouillon flavored with sweet pepper and oregano, with shrimps and Jerusalem artichokes. The exquisite turbot was served in brown butter flanked by a little molded portion of chopped egg and plenty of grated fresh horseradish.

A superb Sancerre Les Aristides 1998 ($72) was just the right accompaniment.

Dessert choices were limited, but a little roll of crushed almonds and chocolate mousse, accompanied by raspberry sherbet, was certainly satisfactory. Pralines and chocolate truffles (charged by the piece) were also listed on the dessert menu. Delicious shortbread cookies arrived with the coffee. And when the last crumb was gone, the transportation experts dispersed by tram and taxi to catch their planes.

Goteborg differs from such other automotive capitals as Detroit and Turin in its utopian intermodal public transportation system, meaning that one can go to dinner by tram and boat, which run like clockwork. There is also an extensive network

of bicycle paths. The savings on taxi fare go to offset the cost of the wine.

Goteborg itself has an international airport and is only 90 minutes from Amsterdam.

Prices, calculated at 8.5 kronor to the dollar, are for a meal for two with a bottle of wine from the low end of the list. Our propensity for ordering Italian wines is due less to chauvinism than to the favorable price-quality ratio they offer.

Smoking was allowed in all these restaurants, and there were no separate smoking sections, but smoke was not a problem anywhere.

Westra Piren, Eriksberg, Dockepiren (on Pier No. 4), (46-31) 519555, fax (46-31) 239940. Closed Sunday dinner only. Take the ferry from Lilla Bommens Hamm, near the opera house, to Eriksberg. Meal for two with wine about $165.

Tvakanten, 27 Kungsport Avenyn, (46-31) 182115, fax (46-31) 811198. Closed Sunday lunch. Meal for two with wine about $175.

Fiskekrogen, 1 Lilla Torget, (46-31) 101005, fax (46-31) 101006. Closed Sunday. Our buffet lunch with a half bottle of wine cost $70. A three-course dinner, ordered from the menu, would run at least twice as much.

28+, 28 Gotabergsgatan, (46-31) 202161, fax (46-31) 819757. Closed Sunday. Dinner only. Centrally situated near the Avenue. Meal for two with wine about $180.

Sjomagasinet, 5 Klippans Kulturreservat, (46-31) 7755920, fax (46-31) 245539. Closed Saturday and Sunday for lunch dinner daily. Take tram No. 3 or 9 to Jaegerdorfplatsen then walk toward the water. Meal for two with wine about $175. MAUREEN B. FANT


CHOICE TABLES Delectable Fish, In Every Guise, In Goteborg

IF the world thinks about Sweden's second city, Goteborg, at all, it is as the home of Volvo automobiles and Hasselblad cameras. It is, in fact, the lively, friendly capital of the prosperous west Sweden region, a port city that faces west in more ways than one.

When my companion, Franco, and I learned we would be attending a meeting of a European transport project in Goteborg (Gothenburg in English) at the end of October, we immediately consulted the latest Michelin guide to European cities to see whether it was worth spending a couple of extra days. We were surprised to find that more than half the eating establishments listed for this city of half a million have been awarded a star or other symbol for cuisine or ambience. Cross-checking the listings with a local friend, we enjoyed five days of fine food and magnificent design, and are ready to go back any time to try the rest.

The memories we took away were not, as they often are in Italy, of superlative single dishes but rather of the contentment that comes from good food, gracious people and hospitable surroundings, enveloped in the aura of dill and candles and reassured by the proximity of all the marinated herring we could ever desire.

Although one can reach this beautiful restaurant by road (it is on a pier in the restored waterfront of Eriksberg), we were glad we took the 20-minute ferry, so that our first view was from the water. Copper-framed picture windows looked like the open side of a dollhouse. Inside, warm lighting, much of it from candles and oil lamps, softened the sharp geometry of the strikingly designed modern structure. A bistro occupies the ground floor upstairs is the elegant restaurant with one Michelin star. In the large triangular dining room, decorated with fish fossils and relics from the deep, well-spaced tables are arrayed between the glassed-in kitchen and the windows on the water. My only regret was that the well-intentioned seating arrangement that provided as many diners as possible with a harbor view deprived us of the more dynamic and even more beautiful spectacle of kitchen and dining room at work.

An amuse-bouche of rich, delicate white pea bean cream soup with chives set the style, which continued with my voluptuous cream of chestnut soup with slices of partridge breast and paupiettes of sweetbreads and duck liver wrapped in savoy cabbage. Franco's terrine (a surprise: the menu read ''tureen''!) of chunks of Orkney lobster and rare spicy chili-smoked tuna with delicate honey sauce was a fairly successful venture into more fashionable territory.

The service was excellent the flowers on the table were fresh. Only the bread was a little scarce in quality and quantity (as elsewhere). The wine list, presented in a ring binder, was also representative -- mostly French, extensive and expensive. We chose one of the few Italians, a very good Tuscan white, Poggio alle Gazze, Ornellaia 1997 ($40).

Though the menu offers a good choice of meat dishes, Goteborg is known for its fish, and that is what we ordered. A generous fillet of broth-poached hake came on almond potatoes with cream sauce flavored with chives, fried shallots and plenty of dill. The thick fillet of plaice was even more delicious, thanks to being lightly smoked. It, too, had its creamy sauce with a few scattered pine nuts, accompanied by beets and artichoke hearts.

Dessert was fun. A thin leaf of dark chocolate around a cylinder of cherry ice cream looked like pink sushi but came with a chocolate-filled pear and a sprinkling of flavorful sun-dried cherries.

This stylish bistro is right on the Avenue, the city's most elegant street. The inviting space -- brick outside and in -- offers a large dimly lighted bar area and somewhat smaller, much brighter dining room behind it. The wine cellar is visible through mullioned windows off the dining room.

Modern Swedish cuisine is the rule, meaning that along with the herring you get goat cheese, fig sauce, avocado and other fashionable exotica. It also means the use of cream is kept down, and presentation and portion size emphasize lightness and aesthetics, rather than fuel for the winter. We had dinner there on Sunday with three colleagues, two from England and one from Germany.

Modern indeed was the starter of Baltic herring -- a surprising green (the result of a chive marinade) and elegantly presented with a piece of aquavit-flavored cheese and salad with red-onion syrup. My fine starter was a piece of cold-smoked salmon accompanied by a little sandwich of thin salmon-colored bread filled with horseradish-flavored chive cream cheese.

We all ate fillets of different fish, each a generous portion with intriguing accompaniments, all tasty and perfectly cooked. Lemon sole came with crab strudel (like a spring roll) and a barley mold. Pike perch lounged on a bed of potato and cheese cake beneath a dill sauce. And grilled halibut came with a slice of a tasty pink cake made of potatoes and sweet peppers.

From the reasonably priced intercontinental wine list we chose an Italian white, Bianco di Custoza Montresor 1997 ($29).

The dessert menu proposed matches of sweet wine with each selection, and so we enjoyed a glass of Tokay ($6) to accompany the superb delicate apple cake with cinnamon ice cream.

Another beauty is this downtown fish restaurant, whose opulent setting, with Oriental rugs and model ships, recalls that Goteborg owes much of its present civility to the wealth brought home by the East India Company.

The spacious premises are divided into different areas and rooms, with a long buffet between the bar and the main dining room. Green paneled walls and enormous chandeliers swathed in cream-colored drapery create a soothing atmosphere a smooth headwaiter and many young women in long white aprons provided friendly service.

For this Monday lunch, we dined from the buffet (unlimited trips have a lower price if you order a main course, a higher price if you make the buffet your meal).

On one side, steaming copper pans beckoned, while on the other the salad seemed to punctuate the end of the sequence. We began in the middle, with the array of cold hors d'oeuvres -- excellent specimens of the four canonical herrings (cream, red-wine vinegar, mustard sauce and tomato sauce). There were also delicate shrimps on oyster shells, pates of fish and horseradish, cold fried herrings and gravad lax with its usual sweet-tart dill-mustard sauce. (A Swedish specialty, gravad lax, or gravlax, is cured raw salmon served in thin slices.) The smooth fish soup with rouille (a rust-colored garlicky oil-based sauce dolloped into fish soups) was just the thing to follow, and then came our '⟺mous codfish meatballs'' with boiled potatoes. On the far side of the herring were platters of spicy chicken wings with a fruit sauce. Only the bland salad with some sort of creamy dressing disappointed. A half bottle of white Torre di Giano 1997 ($19) went nicely with everything. The dessert menu was brief -- sherbet with pears or chocolate and coconut truffles served with the coffee. We chose the latter, an appropriately refined close to the meal.

A few steps below street level (at No. 28), this excellent downtown restaurant with one Michelin star began as a wine and cheese restaurant (the plus sign alludes to the measurement of the fatness of cheese). We dined there on a weeknight with our friend Ulrich, an engineer from Munich.

Charming though it was, the white-walled, candlelit basement setting was the least beautiful and comfortable of the restaurants we visited. The cuisine, however, was the best and most sophisticated, which may say something about the relationship between food and decor.

The triple amuse-bouche consisted of a little fish soup (announced as bouillabaisse) with Parmesan toast, a superb raviolo filled with goat cheese, and a spuma (Italian for foam) of green peas with bits of smoked eel.

Franco began with a starter of sweetbreads, tender yet crisp with a sauce made from Jerusalem artichokes and tarragon juice. Ulrich's marinated Baltic herring was topped with Swedish caviar from the otherwise inedible small fish called lojrom, which came with a little salad and a dish of very strong cheese. I had a perfectly delicious serving of crayfish consisting of two little wooden skewersful (maybe a shade overcooked). The crayfish were encrusted with sesame seeds and ginger resting on a cooked tomato and topped with bitter kyona (a Japanese mustard green) leaves.

It was a little hard to pin down a style, but everything was so good we didn't care. The wonderful tastes were wiped away by the cucumber and tomato sherbets (really ices) that followed to prepare our palates for the excitement to come.

The main course offerings were as eclectic as the appetizers. Slices of very lightly smoked venison were draped into curlicues and accompanied by mushrooms, a cauliflower puree and lingonberry sauce. Ulrich's haddock formed an obelisk surrounded by a crayfish-based butter sauce. My pike perch fillet in red wine vinaigrette did not form an interesting shape, but it was delicious anyway.

The wine list was superb but the wine service was not (possibly our choices were not considered important enough). Our deliciously crisp Sancerre ''Les Baronnes'' Henri Bourgeois 1998 ($52) was, until we protested, left to warm up in the reflected light of the heat lamps melting a brace of cheeses for our neighboring table's raclette. Franco had a half bottle of red for the venison, a full-bodied Chateau Cantenac St.-Emilion Grand Cru 1996 ($35).

Desserts were weak -- blackberry pannacotta was rubbery the plum souffle good but a bit bland. The mostly French cheeses, however, displayed in a vitrine for choosing, were excellent. The only Swedish cheese offered was the best -- a Brie made of goat's milk, Skarby Getgard -- soft but sharp.

For lunch on our last day we took a 20-minute tram ride with several colleagues to this restored 18th-century wooden warehouse, which houses an atmospheric and excellent restaurant (also with a Michelin star). Its barnlike interior is well designed, with a loft and dividers, so that diners feel neither lost in space nor crowded by other tables even when the restaurant is bustling. A magnificent model ship hanging from the ceiling as well as fishnets and other nautical paraphernalia evoke the building's past. A solicitous headwaiter and busy staff provided competent service.

All but one of us climbed to the loft for appetizers from the buffet: warm fried herring, many variations on creamed herring, Swedish cheeses, steamed mussels, sweet small shrimp in their shells, gravad lax with dill-mustard sauce. Only Michael, an economist from Rotterdam, for whom there is no novelty in pickled herring, ordered from the menu, a generous plate of smoked salmon topped with yellow bleakfish roe.

The main courses, generous poached fish fillets, were everything the herrings -- with their bold flavors and assertive sauces -- were not. The six nationalities around our table (Irish, English, Dutch, German, Italian and American) all zeroed in on either the cod or the turbot, which were delicate, refined and subtly flavored, but with some slightly irrelevant juxtapositions. The cod came in a bouillon flavored with sweet pepper and oregano, with shrimps and Jerusalem artichokes. The exquisite turbot was served in brown butter flanked by a little molded portion of chopped egg and plenty of grated fresh horseradish.

A superb Sancerre Les Aristides 1998 ($72) was just the right accompaniment.

Dessert choices were limited, but a little roll of crushed almonds and chocolate mousse, accompanied by raspberry sherbet, was certainly satisfactory. Pralines and chocolate truffles (charged by the piece) were also listed on the dessert menu. Delicious shortbread cookies arrived with the coffee. And when the last crumb was gone, the transportation experts dispersed by tram and taxi to catch their planes.

Goteborg differs from such other automotive capitals as Detroit and Turin in its utopian intermodal public transportation system, meaning that one can go to dinner by tram and boat, which run like clockwork. There is also an extensive network

of bicycle paths. The savings on taxi fare go to offset the cost of the wine.

Goteborg itself has an international airport and is only 90 minutes from Amsterdam.

Prices, calculated at 8.5 kronor to the dollar, are for a meal for two with a bottle of wine from the low end of the list. Our propensity for ordering Italian wines is due less to chauvinism than to the favorable price-quality ratio they offer.

Smoking was allowed in all these restaurants, and there were no separate smoking sections, but smoke was not a problem anywhere.

Westra Piren, Eriksberg, Dockepiren (on Pier No. 4), (46-31) 519555, fax (46-31) 239940. Closed Sunday dinner only. Take the ferry from Lilla Bommens Hamm, near the opera house, to Eriksberg. Meal for two with wine about $165.

Tvakanten, 27 Kungsport Avenyn, (46-31) 182115, fax (46-31) 811198. Closed Sunday lunch. Meal for two with wine about $175.

Fiskekrogen, 1 Lilla Torget, (46-31) 101005, fax (46-31) 101006. Closed Sunday. Our buffet lunch with a half bottle of wine cost $70. A three-course dinner, ordered from the menu, would run at least twice as much.

28+, 28 Gotabergsgatan, (46-31) 202161, fax (46-31) 819757. Closed Sunday. Dinner only. Centrally situated near the Avenue. Meal for two with wine about $180.

Sjomagasinet, 5 Klippans Kulturreservat, (46-31) 7755920, fax (46-31) 245539. Closed Saturday and Sunday for lunch dinner daily. Take tram No. 3 or 9 to Jaegerdorfplatsen then walk toward the water. Meal for two with wine about $175. MAUREEN B. FANT


CHOICE TABLES Delectable Fish, In Every Guise, In Goteborg

IF the world thinks about Sweden's second city, Goteborg, at all, it is as the home of Volvo automobiles and Hasselblad cameras. It is, in fact, the lively, friendly capital of the prosperous west Sweden region, a port city that faces west in more ways than one.

When my companion, Franco, and I learned we would be attending a meeting of a European transport project in Goteborg (Gothenburg in English) at the end of October, we immediately consulted the latest Michelin guide to European cities to see whether it was worth spending a couple of extra days. We were surprised to find that more than half the eating establishments listed for this city of half a million have been awarded a star or other symbol for cuisine or ambience. Cross-checking the listings with a local friend, we enjoyed five days of fine food and magnificent design, and are ready to go back any time to try the rest.

The memories we took away were not, as they often are in Italy, of superlative single dishes but rather of the contentment that comes from good food, gracious people and hospitable surroundings, enveloped in the aura of dill and candles and reassured by the proximity of all the marinated herring we could ever desire.

Although one can reach this beautiful restaurant by road (it is on a pier in the restored waterfront of Eriksberg), we were glad we took the 20-minute ferry, so that our first view was from the water. Copper-framed picture windows looked like the open side of a dollhouse. Inside, warm lighting, much of it from candles and oil lamps, softened the sharp geometry of the strikingly designed modern structure. A bistro occupies the ground floor upstairs is the elegant restaurant with one Michelin star. In the large triangular dining room, decorated with fish fossils and relics from the deep, well-spaced tables are arrayed between the glassed-in kitchen and the windows on the water. My only regret was that the well-intentioned seating arrangement that provided as many diners as possible with a harbor view deprived us of the more dynamic and even more beautiful spectacle of kitchen and dining room at work.

An amuse-bouche of rich, delicate white pea bean cream soup with chives set the style, which continued with my voluptuous cream of chestnut soup with slices of partridge breast and paupiettes of sweetbreads and duck liver wrapped in savoy cabbage. Franco's terrine (a surprise: the menu read ''tureen''!) of chunks of Orkney lobster and rare spicy chili-smoked tuna with delicate honey sauce was a fairly successful venture into more fashionable territory.

The service was excellent the flowers on the table were fresh. Only the bread was a little scarce in quality and quantity (as elsewhere). The wine list, presented in a ring binder, was also representative -- mostly French, extensive and expensive. We chose one of the few Italians, a very good Tuscan white, Poggio alle Gazze, Ornellaia 1997 ($40).

Though the menu offers a good choice of meat dishes, Goteborg is known for its fish, and that is what we ordered. A generous fillet of broth-poached hake came on almond potatoes with cream sauce flavored with chives, fried shallots and plenty of dill. The thick fillet of plaice was even more delicious, thanks to being lightly smoked. It, too, had its creamy sauce with a few scattered pine nuts, accompanied by beets and artichoke hearts.

Dessert was fun. A thin leaf of dark chocolate around a cylinder of cherry ice cream looked like pink sushi but came with a chocolate-filled pear and a sprinkling of flavorful sun-dried cherries.

This stylish bistro is right on the Avenue, the city's most elegant street. The inviting space -- brick outside and in -- offers a large dimly lighted bar area and somewhat smaller, much brighter dining room behind it. The wine cellar is visible through mullioned windows off the dining room.

Modern Swedish cuisine is the rule, meaning that along with the herring you get goat cheese, fig sauce, avocado and other fashionable exotica. It also means the use of cream is kept down, and presentation and portion size emphasize lightness and aesthetics, rather than fuel for the winter. We had dinner there on Sunday with three colleagues, two from England and one from Germany.

Modern indeed was the starter of Baltic herring -- a surprising green (the result of a chive marinade) and elegantly presented with a piece of aquavit-flavored cheese and salad with red-onion syrup. My fine starter was a piece of cold-smoked salmon accompanied by a little sandwich of thin salmon-colored bread filled with horseradish-flavored chive cream cheese.

We all ate fillets of different fish, each a generous portion with intriguing accompaniments, all tasty and perfectly cooked. Lemon sole came with crab strudel (like a spring roll) and a barley mold. Pike perch lounged on a bed of potato and cheese cake beneath a dill sauce. And grilled halibut came with a slice of a tasty pink cake made of potatoes and sweet peppers.

From the reasonably priced intercontinental wine list we chose an Italian white, Bianco di Custoza Montresor 1997 ($29).

The dessert menu proposed matches of sweet wine with each selection, and so we enjoyed a glass of Tokay ($6) to accompany the superb delicate apple cake with cinnamon ice cream.

Another beauty is this downtown fish restaurant, whose opulent setting, with Oriental rugs and model ships, recalls that Goteborg owes much of its present civility to the wealth brought home by the East India Company.

The spacious premises are divided into different areas and rooms, with a long buffet between the bar and the main dining room. Green paneled walls and enormous chandeliers swathed in cream-colored drapery create a soothing atmosphere a smooth headwaiter and many young women in long white aprons provided friendly service.

For this Monday lunch, we dined from the buffet (unlimited trips have a lower price if you order a main course, a higher price if you make the buffet your meal).

On one side, steaming copper pans beckoned, while on the other the salad seemed to punctuate the end of the sequence. We began in the middle, with the array of cold hors d'oeuvres -- excellent specimens of the four canonical herrings (cream, red-wine vinegar, mustard sauce and tomato sauce). There were also delicate shrimps on oyster shells, pates of fish and horseradish, cold fried herrings and gravad lax with its usual sweet-tart dill-mustard sauce. (A Swedish specialty, gravad lax, or gravlax, is cured raw salmon served in thin slices.) The smooth fish soup with rouille (a rust-colored garlicky oil-based sauce dolloped into fish soups) was just the thing to follow, and then came our '⟺mous codfish meatballs'' with boiled potatoes. On the far side of the herring were platters of spicy chicken wings with a fruit sauce. Only the bland salad with some sort of creamy dressing disappointed. A half bottle of white Torre di Giano 1997 ($19) went nicely with everything. The dessert menu was brief -- sherbet with pears or chocolate and coconut truffles served with the coffee. We chose the latter, an appropriately refined close to the meal.

A few steps below street level (at No. 28), this excellent downtown restaurant with one Michelin star began as a wine and cheese restaurant (the plus sign alludes to the measurement of the fatness of cheese). We dined there on a weeknight with our friend Ulrich, an engineer from Munich.

Charming though it was, the white-walled, candlelit basement setting was the least beautiful and comfortable of the restaurants we visited. The cuisine, however, was the best and most sophisticated, which may say something about the relationship between food and decor.

The triple amuse-bouche consisted of a little fish soup (announced as bouillabaisse) with Parmesan toast, a superb raviolo filled with goat cheese, and a spuma (Italian for foam) of green peas with bits of smoked eel.

Franco began with a starter of sweetbreads, tender yet crisp with a sauce made from Jerusalem artichokes and tarragon juice. Ulrich's marinated Baltic herring was topped with Swedish caviar from the otherwise inedible small fish called lojrom, which came with a little salad and a dish of very strong cheese. I had a perfectly delicious serving of crayfish consisting of two little wooden skewersful (maybe a shade overcooked). The crayfish were encrusted with sesame seeds and ginger resting on a cooked tomato and topped with bitter kyona (a Japanese mustard green) leaves.

It was a little hard to pin down a style, but everything was so good we didn't care. The wonderful tastes were wiped away by the cucumber and tomato sherbets (really ices) that followed to prepare our palates for the excitement to come.

The main course offerings were as eclectic as the appetizers. Slices of very lightly smoked venison were draped into curlicues and accompanied by mushrooms, a cauliflower puree and lingonberry sauce. Ulrich's haddock formed an obelisk surrounded by a crayfish-based butter sauce. My pike perch fillet in red wine vinaigrette did not form an interesting shape, but it was delicious anyway.

The wine list was superb but the wine service was not (possibly our choices were not considered important enough). Our deliciously crisp Sancerre ''Les Baronnes'' Henri Bourgeois 1998 ($52) was, until we protested, left to warm up in the reflected light of the heat lamps melting a brace of cheeses for our neighboring table's raclette. Franco had a half bottle of red for the venison, a full-bodied Chateau Cantenac St.-Emilion Grand Cru 1996 ($35).

Desserts were weak -- blackberry pannacotta was rubbery the plum souffle good but a bit bland. The mostly French cheeses, however, displayed in a vitrine for choosing, were excellent. The only Swedish cheese offered was the best -- a Brie made of goat's milk, Skarby Getgard -- soft but sharp.

For lunch on our last day we took a 20-minute tram ride with several colleagues to this restored 18th-century wooden warehouse, which houses an atmospheric and excellent restaurant (also with a Michelin star). Its barnlike interior is well designed, with a loft and dividers, so that diners feel neither lost in space nor crowded by other tables even when the restaurant is bustling. A magnificent model ship hanging from the ceiling as well as fishnets and other nautical paraphernalia evoke the building's past. A solicitous headwaiter and busy staff provided competent service.

All but one of us climbed to the loft for appetizers from the buffet: warm fried herring, many variations on creamed herring, Swedish cheeses, steamed mussels, sweet small shrimp in their shells, gravad lax with dill-mustard sauce. Only Michael, an economist from Rotterdam, for whom there is no novelty in pickled herring, ordered from the menu, a generous plate of smoked salmon topped with yellow bleakfish roe.

The main courses, generous poached fish fillets, were everything the herrings -- with their bold flavors and assertive sauces -- were not. The six nationalities around our table (Irish, English, Dutch, German, Italian and American) all zeroed in on either the cod or the turbot, which were delicate, refined and subtly flavored, but with some slightly irrelevant juxtapositions. The cod came in a bouillon flavored with sweet pepper and oregano, with shrimps and Jerusalem artichokes. The exquisite turbot was served in brown butter flanked by a little molded portion of chopped egg and plenty of grated fresh horseradish.

A superb Sancerre Les Aristides 1998 ($72) was just the right accompaniment.

Dessert choices were limited, but a little roll of crushed almonds and chocolate mousse, accompanied by raspberry sherbet, was certainly satisfactory. Pralines and chocolate truffles (charged by the piece) were also listed on the dessert menu. Delicious shortbread cookies arrived with the coffee. And when the last crumb was gone, the transportation experts dispersed by tram and taxi to catch their planes.

Goteborg differs from such other automotive capitals as Detroit and Turin in its utopian intermodal public transportation system, meaning that one can go to dinner by tram and boat, which run like clockwork. There is also an extensive network

of bicycle paths. The savings on taxi fare go to offset the cost of the wine.

Goteborg itself has an international airport and is only 90 minutes from Amsterdam.

Prices, calculated at 8.5 kronor to the dollar, are for a meal for two with a bottle of wine from the low end of the list. Our propensity for ordering Italian wines is due less to chauvinism than to the favorable price-quality ratio they offer.

Smoking was allowed in all these restaurants, and there were no separate smoking sections, but smoke was not a problem anywhere.

Westra Piren, Eriksberg, Dockepiren (on Pier No. 4), (46-31) 519555, fax (46-31) 239940. Closed Sunday dinner only. Take the ferry from Lilla Bommens Hamm, near the opera house, to Eriksberg. Meal for two with wine about $165.

Tvakanten, 27 Kungsport Avenyn, (46-31) 182115, fax (46-31) 811198. Closed Sunday lunch. Meal for two with wine about $175.

Fiskekrogen, 1 Lilla Torget, (46-31) 101005, fax (46-31) 101006. Closed Sunday. Our buffet lunch with a half bottle of wine cost $70. A three-course dinner, ordered from the menu, would run at least twice as much.

28+, 28 Gotabergsgatan, (46-31) 202161, fax (46-31) 819757. Closed Sunday. Dinner only. Centrally situated near the Avenue. Meal for two with wine about $180.

Sjomagasinet, 5 Klippans Kulturreservat, (46-31) 7755920, fax (46-31) 245539. Closed Saturday and Sunday for lunch dinner daily. Take tram No. 3 or 9 to Jaegerdorfplatsen then walk toward the water. Meal for two with wine about $175. MAUREEN B. FANT


CHOICE TABLES Delectable Fish, In Every Guise, In Goteborg

IF the world thinks about Sweden's second city, Goteborg, at all, it is as the home of Volvo automobiles and Hasselblad cameras. It is, in fact, the lively, friendly capital of the prosperous west Sweden region, a port city that faces west in more ways than one.

When my companion, Franco, and I learned we would be attending a meeting of a European transport project in Goteborg (Gothenburg in English) at the end of October, we immediately consulted the latest Michelin guide to European cities to see whether it was worth spending a couple of extra days. We were surprised to find that more than half the eating establishments listed for this city of half a million have been awarded a star or other symbol for cuisine or ambience. Cross-checking the listings with a local friend, we enjoyed five days of fine food and magnificent design, and are ready to go back any time to try the rest.

The memories we took away were not, as they often are in Italy, of superlative single dishes but rather of the contentment that comes from good food, gracious people and hospitable surroundings, enveloped in the aura of dill and candles and reassured by the proximity of all the marinated herring we could ever desire.

Although one can reach this beautiful restaurant by road (it is on a pier in the restored waterfront of Eriksberg), we were glad we took the 20-minute ferry, so that our first view was from the water. Copper-framed picture windows looked like the open side of a dollhouse. Inside, warm lighting, much of it from candles and oil lamps, softened the sharp geometry of the strikingly designed modern structure. A bistro occupies the ground floor upstairs is the elegant restaurant with one Michelin star. In the large triangular dining room, decorated with fish fossils and relics from the deep, well-spaced tables are arrayed between the glassed-in kitchen and the windows on the water. My only regret was that the well-intentioned seating arrangement that provided as many diners as possible with a harbor view deprived us of the more dynamic and even more beautiful spectacle of kitchen and dining room at work.

An amuse-bouche of rich, delicate white pea bean cream soup with chives set the style, which continued with my voluptuous cream of chestnut soup with slices of partridge breast and paupiettes of sweetbreads and duck liver wrapped in savoy cabbage. Franco's terrine (a surprise: the menu read ''tureen''!) of chunks of Orkney lobster and rare spicy chili-smoked tuna with delicate honey sauce was a fairly successful venture into more fashionable territory.

The service was excellent the flowers on the table were fresh. Only the bread was a little scarce in quality and quantity (as elsewhere). The wine list, presented in a ring binder, was also representative -- mostly French, extensive and expensive. We chose one of the few Italians, a very good Tuscan white, Poggio alle Gazze, Ornellaia 1997 ($40).

Though the menu offers a good choice of meat dishes, Goteborg is known for its fish, and that is what we ordered. A generous fillet of broth-poached hake came on almond potatoes with cream sauce flavored with chives, fried shallots and plenty of dill. The thick fillet of plaice was even more delicious, thanks to being lightly smoked. It, too, had its creamy sauce with a few scattered pine nuts, accompanied by beets and artichoke hearts.

Dessert was fun. A thin leaf of dark chocolate around a cylinder of cherry ice cream looked like pink sushi but came with a chocolate-filled pear and a sprinkling of flavorful sun-dried cherries.

This stylish bistro is right on the Avenue, the city's most elegant street. The inviting space -- brick outside and in -- offers a large dimly lighted bar area and somewhat smaller, much brighter dining room behind it. The wine cellar is visible through mullioned windows off the dining room.

Modern Swedish cuisine is the rule, meaning that along with the herring you get goat cheese, fig sauce, avocado and other fashionable exotica. It also means the use of cream is kept down, and presentation and portion size emphasize lightness and aesthetics, rather than fuel for the winter. We had dinner there on Sunday with three colleagues, two from England and one from Germany.

Modern indeed was the starter of Baltic herring -- a surprising green (the result of a chive marinade) and elegantly presented with a piece of aquavit-flavored cheese and salad with red-onion syrup. My fine starter was a piece of cold-smoked salmon accompanied by a little sandwich of thin salmon-colored bread filled with horseradish-flavored chive cream cheese.

We all ate fillets of different fish, each a generous portion with intriguing accompaniments, all tasty and perfectly cooked. Lemon sole came with crab strudel (like a spring roll) and a barley mold. Pike perch lounged on a bed of potato and cheese cake beneath a dill sauce. And grilled halibut came with a slice of a tasty pink cake made of potatoes and sweet peppers.

From the reasonably priced intercontinental wine list we chose an Italian white, Bianco di Custoza Montresor 1997 ($29).

The dessert menu proposed matches of sweet wine with each selection, and so we enjoyed a glass of Tokay ($6) to accompany the superb delicate apple cake with cinnamon ice cream.

Another beauty is this downtown fish restaurant, whose opulent setting, with Oriental rugs and model ships, recalls that Goteborg owes much of its present civility to the wealth brought home by the East India Company.

The spacious premises are divided into different areas and rooms, with a long buffet between the bar and the main dining room. Green paneled walls and enormous chandeliers swathed in cream-colored drapery create a soothing atmosphere a smooth headwaiter and many young women in long white aprons provided friendly service.

For this Monday lunch, we dined from the buffet (unlimited trips have a lower price if you order a main course, a higher price if you make the buffet your meal).

On one side, steaming copper pans beckoned, while on the other the salad seemed to punctuate the end of the sequence. We began in the middle, with the array of cold hors d'oeuvres -- excellent specimens of the four canonical herrings (cream, red-wine vinegar, mustard sauce and tomato sauce). There were also delicate shrimps on oyster shells, pates of fish and horseradish, cold fried herrings and gravad lax with its usual sweet-tart dill-mustard sauce. (A Swedish specialty, gravad lax, or gravlax, is cured raw salmon served in thin slices.) The smooth fish soup with rouille (a rust-colored garlicky oil-based sauce dolloped into fish soups) was just the thing to follow, and then came our '⟺mous codfish meatballs'' with boiled potatoes. On the far side of the herring were platters of spicy chicken wings with a fruit sauce. Only the bland salad with some sort of creamy dressing disappointed. A half bottle of white Torre di Giano 1997 ($19) went nicely with everything. The dessert menu was brief -- sherbet with pears or chocolate and coconut truffles served with the coffee. We chose the latter, an appropriately refined close to the meal.

A few steps below street level (at No. 28), this excellent downtown restaurant with one Michelin star began as a wine and cheese restaurant (the plus sign alludes to the measurement of the fatness of cheese). We dined there on a weeknight with our friend Ulrich, an engineer from Munich.

Charming though it was, the white-walled, candlelit basement setting was the least beautiful and comfortable of the restaurants we visited. The cuisine, however, was the best and most sophisticated, which may say something about the relationship between food and decor.

The triple amuse-bouche consisted of a little fish soup (announced as bouillabaisse) with Parmesan toast, a superb raviolo filled with goat cheese, and a spuma (Italian for foam) of green peas with bits of smoked eel.

Franco began with a starter of sweetbreads, tender yet crisp with a sauce made from Jerusalem artichokes and tarragon juice. Ulrich's marinated Baltic herring was topped with Swedish caviar from the otherwise inedible small fish called lojrom, which came with a little salad and a dish of very strong cheese. I had a perfectly delicious serving of crayfish consisting of two little wooden skewersful (maybe a shade overcooked). The crayfish were encrusted with sesame seeds and ginger resting on a cooked tomato and topped with bitter kyona (a Japanese mustard green) leaves.

It was a little hard to pin down a style, but everything was so good we didn't care. The wonderful tastes were wiped away by the cucumber and tomato sherbets (really ices) that followed to prepare our palates for the excitement to come.

The main course offerings were as eclectic as the appetizers. Slices of very lightly smoked venison were draped into curlicues and accompanied by mushrooms, a cauliflower puree and lingonberry sauce. Ulrich's haddock formed an obelisk surrounded by a crayfish-based butter sauce. My pike perch fillet in red wine vinaigrette did not form an interesting shape, but it was delicious anyway.

The wine list was superb but the wine service was not (possibly our choices were not considered important enough). Our deliciously crisp Sancerre ''Les Baronnes'' Henri Bourgeois 1998 ($52) was, until we protested, left to warm up in the reflected light of the heat lamps melting a brace of cheeses for our neighboring table's raclette. Franco had a half bottle of red for the venison, a full-bodied Chateau Cantenac St.-Emilion Grand Cru 1996 ($35).

Desserts were weak -- blackberry pannacotta was rubbery the plum souffle good but a bit bland. The mostly French cheeses, however, displayed in a vitrine for choosing, were excellent. The only Swedish cheese offered was the best -- a Brie made of goat's milk, Skarby Getgard -- soft but sharp.

For lunch on our last day we took a 20-minute tram ride with several colleagues to this restored 18th-century wooden warehouse, which houses an atmospheric and excellent restaurant (also with a Michelin star). Its barnlike interior is well designed, with a loft and dividers, so that diners feel neither lost in space nor crowded by other tables even when the restaurant is bustling. A magnificent model ship hanging from the ceiling as well as fishnets and other nautical paraphernalia evoke the building's past. A solicitous headwaiter and busy staff provided competent service.

All but one of us climbed to the loft for appetizers from the buffet: warm fried herring, many variations on creamed herring, Swedish cheeses, steamed mussels, sweet small shrimp in their shells, gravad lax with dill-mustard sauce. Only Michael, an economist from Rotterdam, for whom there is no novelty in pickled herring, ordered from the menu, a generous plate of smoked salmon topped with yellow bleakfish roe.

The main courses, generous poached fish fillets, were everything the herrings -- with their bold flavors and assertive sauces -- were not. The six nationalities around our table (Irish, English, Dutch, German, Italian and American) all zeroed in on either the cod or the turbot, which were delicate, refined and subtly flavored, but with some slightly irrelevant juxtapositions. The cod came in a bouillon flavored with sweet pepper and oregano, with shrimps and Jerusalem artichokes. The exquisite turbot was served in brown butter flanked by a little molded portion of chopped egg and plenty of grated fresh horseradish.

A superb Sancerre Les Aristides 1998 ($72) was just the right accompaniment.

Dessert choices were limited, but a little roll of crushed almonds and chocolate mousse, accompanied by raspberry sherbet, was certainly satisfactory. Pralines and chocolate truffles (charged by the piece) were also listed on the dessert menu. Delicious shortbread cookies arrived with the coffee. And when the last crumb was gone, the transportation experts dispersed by tram and taxi to catch their planes.

Goteborg differs from such other automotive capitals as Detroit and Turin in its utopian intermodal public transportation system, meaning that one can go to dinner by tram and boat, which run like clockwork. There is also an extensive network

of bicycle paths. The savings on taxi fare go to offset the cost of the wine.

Goteborg itself has an international airport and is only 90 minutes from Amsterdam.

Prices, calculated at 8.5 kronor to the dollar, are for a meal for two with a bottle of wine from the low end of the list. Our propensity for ordering Italian wines is due less to chauvinism than to the favorable price-quality ratio they offer.

Smoking was allowed in all these restaurants, and there were no separate smoking sections, but smoke was not a problem anywhere.

Westra Piren, Eriksberg, Dockepiren (on Pier No. 4), (46-31) 519555, fax (46-31) 239940. Closed Sunday dinner only. Take the ferry from Lilla Bommens Hamm, near the opera house, to Eriksberg. Meal for two with wine about $165.

Tvakanten, 27 Kungsport Avenyn, (46-31) 182115, fax (46-31) 811198. Closed Sunday lunch. Meal for two with wine about $175.

Fiskekrogen, 1 Lilla Torget, (46-31) 101005, fax (46-31) 101006. Closed Sunday. Our buffet lunch with a half bottle of wine cost $70. A three-course dinner, ordered from the menu, would run at least twice as much.

28+, 28 Gotabergsgatan, (46-31) 202161, fax (46-31) 819757. Closed Sunday. Dinner only. Centrally situated near the Avenue. Meal for two with wine about $180.

Sjomagasinet, 5 Klippans Kulturreservat, (46-31) 7755920, fax (46-31) 245539. Closed Saturday and Sunday for lunch dinner daily. Take tram No. 3 or 9 to Jaegerdorfplatsen then walk toward the water. Meal for two with wine about $175. MAUREEN B. FANT


CHOICE TABLES Delectable Fish, In Every Guise, In Goteborg

IF the world thinks about Sweden's second city, Goteborg, at all, it is as the home of Volvo automobiles and Hasselblad cameras. It is, in fact, the lively, friendly capital of the prosperous west Sweden region, a port city that faces west in more ways than one.

When my companion, Franco, and I learned we would be attending a meeting of a European transport project in Goteborg (Gothenburg in English) at the end of October, we immediately consulted the latest Michelin guide to European cities to see whether it was worth spending a couple of extra days. We were surprised to find that more than half the eating establishments listed for this city of half a million have been awarded a star or other symbol for cuisine or ambience. Cross-checking the listings with a local friend, we enjoyed five days of fine food and magnificent design, and are ready to go back any time to try the rest.

The memories we took away were not, as they often are in Italy, of superlative single dishes but rather of the contentment that comes from good food, gracious people and hospitable surroundings, enveloped in the aura of dill and candles and reassured by the proximity of all the marinated herring we could ever desire.

Although one can reach this beautiful restaurant by road (it is on a pier in the restored waterfront of Eriksberg), we were glad we took the 20-minute ferry, so that our first view was from the water. Copper-framed picture windows looked like the open side of a dollhouse. Inside, warm lighting, much of it from candles and oil lamps, softened the sharp geometry of the strikingly designed modern structure. A bistro occupies the ground floor upstairs is the elegant restaurant with one Michelin star. In the large triangular dining room, decorated with fish fossils and relics from the deep, well-spaced tables are arrayed between the glassed-in kitchen and the windows on the water. My only regret was that the well-intentioned seating arrangement that provided as many diners as possible with a harbor view deprived us of the more dynamic and even more beautiful spectacle of kitchen and dining room at work.

An amuse-bouche of rich, delicate white pea bean cream soup with chives set the style, which continued with my voluptuous cream of chestnut soup with slices of partridge breast and paupiettes of sweetbreads and duck liver wrapped in savoy cabbage. Franco's terrine (a surprise: the menu read ''tureen''!) of chunks of Orkney lobster and rare spicy chili-smoked tuna with delicate honey sauce was a fairly successful venture into more fashionable territory.

The service was excellent the flowers on the table were fresh. Only the bread was a little scarce in quality and quantity (as elsewhere). The wine list, presented in a ring binder, was also representative -- mostly French, extensive and expensive. We chose one of the few Italians, a very good Tuscan white, Poggio alle Gazze, Ornellaia 1997 ($40).

Though the menu offers a good choice of meat dishes, Goteborg is known for its fish, and that is what we ordered. A generous fillet of broth-poached hake came on almond potatoes with cream sauce flavored with chives, fried shallots and plenty of dill. The thick fillet of plaice was even more delicious, thanks to being lightly smoked. It, too, had its creamy sauce with a few scattered pine nuts, accompanied by beets and artichoke hearts.

Dessert was fun. A thin leaf of dark chocolate around a cylinder of cherry ice cream looked like pink sushi but came with a chocolate-filled pear and a sprinkling of flavorful sun-dried cherries.

This stylish bistro is right on the Avenue, the city's most elegant street. The inviting space -- brick outside and in -- offers a large dimly lighted bar area and somewhat smaller, much brighter dining room behind it. The wine cellar is visible through mullioned windows off the dining room.

Modern Swedish cuisine is the rule, meaning that along with the herring you get goat cheese, fig sauce, avocado and other fashionable exotica. It also means the use of cream is kept down, and presentation and portion size emphasize lightness and aesthetics, rather than fuel for the winter. We had dinner there on Sunday with three colleagues, two from England and one from Germany.

Modern indeed was the starter of Baltic herring -- a surprising green (the result of a chive marinade) and elegantly presented with a piece of aquavit-flavored cheese and salad with red-onion syrup. My fine starter was a piece of cold-smoked salmon accompanied by a little sandwich of thin salmon-colored bread filled with horseradish-flavored chive cream cheese.

We all ate fillets of different fish, each a generous portion with intriguing accompaniments, all tasty and perfectly cooked. Lemon sole came with crab strudel (like a spring roll) and a barley mold. Pike perch lounged on a bed of potato and cheese cake beneath a dill sauce. And grilled halibut came with a slice of a tasty pink cake made of potatoes and sweet peppers.

From the reasonably priced intercontinental wine list we chose an Italian white, Bianco di Custoza Montresor 1997 ($29).

The dessert menu proposed matches of sweet wine with each selection, and so we enjoyed a glass of Tokay ($6) to accompany the superb delicate apple cake with cinnamon ice cream.

Another beauty is this downtown fish restaurant, whose opulent setting, with Oriental rugs and model ships, recalls that Goteborg owes much of its present civility to the wealth brought home by the East India Company.

The spacious premises are divided into different areas and rooms, with a long buffet between the bar and the main dining room. Green paneled walls and enormous chandeliers swathed in cream-colored drapery create a soothing atmosphere a smooth headwaiter and many young women in long white aprons provided friendly service.

For this Monday lunch, we dined from the buffet (unlimited trips have a lower price if you order a main course, a higher price if you make the buffet your meal).

On one side, steaming copper pans beckoned, while on the other the salad seemed to punctuate the end of the sequence. We began in the middle, with the array of cold hors d'oeuvres -- excellent specimens of the four canonical herrings (cream, red-wine vinegar, mustard sauce and tomato sauce). There were also delicate shrimps on oyster shells, pates of fish and horseradish, cold fried herrings and gravad lax with its usual sweet-tart dill-mustard sauce. (A Swedish specialty, gravad lax, or gravlax, is cured raw salmon served in thin slices.) The smooth fish soup with rouille (a rust-colored garlicky oil-based sauce dolloped into fish soups) was just the thing to follow, and then came our '⟺mous codfish meatballs'' with boiled potatoes. On the far side of the herring were platters of spicy chicken wings with a fruit sauce. Only the bland salad with some sort of creamy dressing disappointed. A half bottle of white Torre di Giano 1997 ($19) went nicely with everything. The dessert menu was brief -- sherbet with pears or chocolate and coconut truffles served with the coffee. We chose the latter, an appropriately refined close to the meal.

A few steps below street level (at No. 28), this excellent downtown restaurant with one Michelin star began as a wine and cheese restaurant (the plus sign alludes to the measurement of the fatness of cheese). We dined there on a weeknight with our friend Ulrich, an engineer from Munich.

Charming though it was, the white-walled, candlelit basement setting was the least beautiful and comfortable of the restaurants we visited. The cuisine, however, was the best and most sophisticated, which may say something about the relationship between food and decor.

The triple amuse-bouche consisted of a little fish soup (announced as bouillabaisse) with Parmesan toast, a superb raviolo filled with goat cheese, and a spuma (Italian for foam) of green peas with bits of smoked eel.

Franco began with a starter of sweetbreads, tender yet crisp with a sauce made from Jerusalem artichokes and tarragon juice. Ulrich's marinated Baltic herring was topped with Swedish caviar from the otherwise inedible small fish called lojrom, which came with a little salad and a dish of very strong cheese. I had a perfectly delicious serving of crayfish consisting of two little wooden skewersful (maybe a shade overcooked). The crayfish were encrusted with sesame seeds and ginger resting on a cooked tomato and topped with bitter kyona (a Japanese mustard green) leaves.

It was a little hard to pin down a style, but everything was so good we didn't care. The wonderful tastes were wiped away by the cucumber and tomato sherbets (really ices) that followed to prepare our palates for the excitement to come.

The main course offerings were as eclectic as the appetizers. Slices of very lightly smoked venison were draped into curlicues and accompanied by mushrooms, a cauliflower puree and lingonberry sauce. Ulrich's haddock formed an obelisk surrounded by a crayfish-based butter sauce. My pike perch fillet in red wine vinaigrette did not form an interesting shape, but it was delicious anyway.

The wine list was superb but the wine service was not (possibly our choices were not considered important enough). Our deliciously crisp Sancerre ''Les Baronnes'' Henri Bourgeois 1998 ($52) was, until we protested, left to warm up in the reflected light of the heat lamps melting a brace of cheeses for our neighboring table's raclette. Franco had a half bottle of red for the venison, a full-bodied Chateau Cantenac St.-Emilion Grand Cru 1996 ($35).

Desserts were weak -- blackberry pannacotta was rubbery the plum souffle good but a bit bland. The mostly French cheeses, however, displayed in a vitrine for choosing, were excellent. The only Swedish cheese offered was the best -- a Brie made of goat's milk, Skarby Getgard -- soft but sharp.

For lunch on our last day we took a 20-minute tram ride with several colleagues to this restored 18th-century wooden warehouse, which houses an atmospheric and excellent restaurant (also with a Michelin star). Its barnlike interior is well designed, with a loft and dividers, so that diners feel neither lost in space nor crowded by other tables even when the restaurant is bustling. A magnificent model ship hanging from the ceiling as well as fishnets and other nautical paraphernalia evoke the building's past. A solicitous headwaiter and busy staff provided competent service.

All but one of us climbed to the loft for appetizers from the buffet: warm fried herring, many variations on creamed herring, Swedish cheeses, steamed mussels, sweet small shrimp in their shells, gravad lax with dill-mustard sauce. Only Michael, an economist from Rotterdam, for whom there is no novelty in pickled herring, ordered from the menu, a generous plate of smoked salmon topped with yellow bleakfish roe.

The main courses, generous poached fish fillets, were everything the herrings -- with their bold flavors and assertive sauces -- were not. The six nationalities around our table (Irish, English, Dutch, German, Italian and American) all zeroed in on either the cod or the turbot, which were delicate, refined and subtly flavored, but with some slightly irrelevant juxtapositions. The cod came in a bouillon flavored with sweet pepper and oregano, with shrimps and Jerusalem artichokes. The exquisite turbot was served in brown butter flanked by a little molded portion of chopped egg and plenty of grated fresh horseradish.

A superb Sancerre Les Aristides 1998 ($72) was just the right accompaniment.

Dessert choices were limited, but a little roll of crushed almonds and chocolate mousse, accompanied by raspberry sherbet, was certainly satisfactory. Pralines and chocolate truffles (charged by the piece) were also listed on the dessert menu. Delicious shortbread cookies arrived with the coffee. And when the last crumb was gone, the transportation experts dispersed by tram and taxi to catch their planes.

Goteborg differs from such other automotive capitals as Detroit and Turin in its utopian intermodal public transportation system, meaning that one can go to dinner by tram and boat, which run like clockwork. There is also an extensive network

of bicycle paths. The savings on taxi fare go to offset the cost of the wine.

Goteborg itself has an international airport and is only 90 minutes from Amsterdam.

Prices, calculated at 8.5 kronor to the dollar, are for a meal for two with a bottle of wine from the low end of the list. Our propensity for ordering Italian wines is due less to chauvinism than to the favorable price-quality ratio they offer.

Smoking was allowed in all these restaurants, and there were no separate smoking sections, but smoke was not a problem anywhere.

Westra Piren, Eriksberg, Dockepiren (on Pier No. 4), (46-31) 519555, fax (46-31) 239940. Closed Sunday dinner only. Take the ferry from Lilla Bommens Hamm, near the opera house, to Eriksberg. Meal for two with wine about $165.

Tvakanten, 27 Kungsport Avenyn, (46-31) 182115, fax (46-31) 811198. Closed Sunday lunch. Meal for two with wine about $175.

Fiskekrogen, 1 Lilla Torget, (46-31) 101005, fax (46-31) 101006. Closed Sunday. Our buffet lunch with a half bottle of wine cost $70. A three-course dinner, ordered from the menu, would run at least twice as much.

28+, 28 Gotabergsgatan, (46-31) 202161, fax (46-31) 819757. Closed Sunday. Dinner only. Centrally situated near the Avenue. Meal for two with wine about $180.

Sjomagasinet, 5 Klippans Kulturreservat, (46-31) 7755920, fax (46-31) 245539. Closed Saturday and Sunday for lunch dinner daily. Take tram No. 3 or 9 to Jaegerdorfplatsen then walk toward the water. Meal for two with wine about $175. MAUREEN B. FANT


CHOICE TABLES Delectable Fish, In Every Guise, In Goteborg

IF the world thinks about Sweden's second city, Goteborg, at all, it is as the home of Volvo automobiles and Hasselblad cameras. It is, in fact, the lively, friendly capital of the prosperous west Sweden region, a port city that faces west in more ways than one.

When my companion, Franco, and I learned we would be attending a meeting of a European transport project in Goteborg (Gothenburg in English) at the end of October, we immediately consulted the latest Michelin guide to European cities to see whether it was worth spending a couple of extra days. We were surprised to find that more than half the eating establishments listed for this city of half a million have been awarded a star or other symbol for cuisine or ambience. Cross-checking the listings with a local friend, we enjoyed five days of fine food and magnificent design, and are ready to go back any time to try the rest.

The memories we took away were not, as they often are in Italy, of superlative single dishes but rather of the contentment that comes from good food, gracious people and hospitable surroundings, enveloped in the aura of dill and candles and reassured by the proximity of all the marinated herring we could ever desire.

Although one can reach this beautiful restaurant by road (it is on a pier in the restored waterfront of Eriksberg), we were glad we took the 20-minute ferry, so that our first view was from the water. Copper-framed picture windows looked like the open side of a dollhouse. Inside, warm lighting, much of it from candles and oil lamps, softened the sharp geometry of the strikingly designed modern structure. A bistro occupies the ground floor upstairs is the elegant restaurant with one Michelin star. In the large triangular dining room, decorated with fish fossils and relics from the deep, well-spaced tables are arrayed between the glassed-in kitchen and the windows on the water. My only regret was that the well-intentioned seating arrangement that provided as many diners as possible with a harbor view deprived us of the more dynamic and even more beautiful spectacle of kitchen and dining room at work.

An amuse-bouche of rich, delicate white pea bean cream soup with chives set the style, which continued with my voluptuous cream of chestnut soup with slices of partridge breast and paupiettes of sweetbreads and duck liver wrapped in savoy cabbage. Franco's terrine (a surprise: the menu read ''tureen''!) of chunks of Orkney lobster and rare spicy chili-smoked tuna with delicate honey sauce was a fairly successful venture into more fashionable territory.

The service was excellent the flowers on the table were fresh. Only the bread was a little scarce in quality and quantity (as elsewhere). The wine list, presented in a ring binder, was also representative -- mostly French, extensive and expensive. We chose one of the few Italians, a very good Tuscan white, Poggio alle Gazze, Ornellaia 1997 ($40).

Though the menu offers a good choice of meat dishes, Goteborg is known for its fish, and that is what we ordered. A generous fillet of broth-poached hake came on almond potatoes with cream sauce flavored with chives, fried shallots and plenty of dill. The thick fillet of plaice was even more delicious, thanks to being lightly smoked. It, too, had its creamy sauce with a few scattered pine nuts, accompanied by beets and artichoke hearts.

Dessert was fun. A thin leaf of dark chocolate around a cylinder of cherry ice cream looked like pink sushi but came with a chocolate-filled pear and a sprinkling of flavorful sun-dried cherries.

This stylish bistro is right on the Avenue, the city's most elegant street. The inviting space -- brick outside and in -- offers a large dimly lighted bar area and somewhat smaller, much brighter dining room behind it. The wine cellar is visible through mullioned windows off the dining room.

Modern Swedish cuisine is the rule, meaning that along with the herring you get goat cheese, fig sauce, avocado and other fashionable exotica. It also means the use of cream is kept down, and presentation and portion size emphasize lightness and aesthetics, rather than fuel for the winter. We had dinner there on Sunday with three colleagues, two from England and one from Germany.

Modern indeed was the starter of Baltic herring -- a surprising green (the result of a chive marinade) and elegantly presented with a piece of aquavit-flavored cheese and salad with red-onion syrup. My fine starter was a piece of cold-smoked salmon accompanied by a little sandwich of thin salmon-colored bread filled with horseradish-flavored chive cream cheese.

We all ate fillets of different fish, each a generous portion with intriguing accompaniments, all tasty and perfectly cooked. Lemon sole came with crab strudel (like a spring roll) and a barley mold. Pike perch lounged on a bed of potato and cheese cake beneath a dill sauce. And grilled halibut came with a slice of a tasty pink cake made of potatoes and sweet peppers.

From the reasonably priced intercontinental wine list we chose an Italian white, Bianco di Custoza Montresor 1997 ($29).

The dessert menu proposed matches of sweet wine with each selection, and so we enjoyed a glass of Tokay ($6) to accompany the superb delicate apple cake with cinnamon ice cream.

Another beauty is this downtown fish restaurant, whose opulent setting, with Oriental rugs and model ships, recalls that Goteborg owes much of its present civility to the wealth brought home by the East India Company.

The spacious premises are divided into different areas and rooms, with a long buffet between the bar and the main dining room. Green paneled walls and enormous chandeliers swathed in cream-colored drapery create a soothing atmosphere a smooth headwaiter and many young women in long white aprons provided friendly service.

For this Monday lunch, we dined from the buffet (unlimited trips have a lower price if you order a main course, a higher price if you make the buffet your meal).

On one side, steaming copper pans beckoned, while on the other the salad seemed to punctuate the end of the sequence. We began in the middle, with the array of cold hors d'oeuvres -- excellent specimens of the four canonical herrings (cream, red-wine vinegar, mustard sauce and tomato sauce). There were also delicate shrimps on oyster shells, pates of fish and horseradish, cold fried herrings and gravad lax with its usual sweet-tart dill-mustard sauce. (A Swedish specialty, gravad lax, or gravlax, is cured raw salmon served in thin slices.) The smooth fish soup with rouille (a rust-colored garlicky oil-based sauce dolloped into fish soups) was just the thing to follow, and then came our '⟺mous codfish meatballs'' with boiled potatoes. On the far side of the herring were platters of spicy chicken wings with a fruit sauce. Only the bland salad with some sort of creamy dressing disappointed. A half bottle of white Torre di Giano 1997 ($19) went nicely with everything. The dessert menu was brief -- sherbet with pears or chocolate and coconut truffles served with the coffee. We chose the latter, an appropriately refined close to the meal.

A few steps below street level (at No. 28), this excellent downtown restaurant with one Michelin star began as a wine and cheese restaurant (the plus sign alludes to the measurement of the fatness of cheese). We dined there on a weeknight with our friend Ulrich, an engineer from Munich.

Charming though it was, the white-walled, candlelit basement setting was the least beautiful and comfortable of the restaurants we visited. The cuisine, however, was the best and most sophisticated, which may say something about the relationship between food and decor.

The triple amuse-bouche consisted of a little fish soup (announced as bouillabaisse) with Parmesan toast, a superb raviolo filled with goat cheese, and a spuma (Italian for foam) of green peas with bits of smoked eel.

Franco began with a starter of sweetbreads, tender yet crisp with a sauce made from Jerusalem artichokes and tarragon juice. Ulrich's marinated Baltic herring was topped with Swedish caviar from the otherwise inedible small fish called lojrom, which came with a little salad and a dish of very strong cheese. I had a perfectly delicious serving of crayfish consisting of two little wooden skewersful (maybe a shade overcooked). The crayfish were encrusted with sesame seeds and ginger resting on a cooked tomato and topped with bitter kyona (a Japanese mustard green) leaves.

It was a little hard to pin down a style, but everything was so good we didn't care. The wonderful tastes were wiped away by the cucumber and tomato sherbets (really ices) that followed to prepare our palates for the excitement to come.

The main course offerings were as eclectic as the appetizers. Slices of very lightly smoked venison were draped into curlicues and accompanied by mushrooms, a cauliflower puree and lingonberry sauce. Ulrich's haddock formed an obelisk surrounded by a crayfish-based butter sauce. My pike perch fillet in red wine vinaigrette did not form an interesting shape, but it was delicious anyway.

The wine list was superb but the wine service was not (possibly our choices were not considered important enough). Our deliciously crisp Sancerre ''Les Baronnes'' Henri Bourgeois 1998 ($52) was, until we protested, left to warm up in the reflected light of the heat lamps melting a brace of cheeses for our neighboring table's raclette. Franco had a half bottle of red for the venison, a full-bodied Chateau Cantenac St.-Emilion Grand Cru 1996 ($35).

Desserts were weak -- blackberry pannacotta was rubbery the plum souffle good but a bit bland. The mostly French cheeses, however, displayed in a vitrine for choosing, were excellent. The only Swedish cheese offered was the best -- a Brie made of goat's milk, Skarby Getgard -- soft but sharp.

For lunch on our last day we took a 20-minute tram ride with several colleagues to this restored 18th-century wooden warehouse, which houses an atmospheric and excellent restaurant (also with a Michelin star). Its barnlike interior is well designed, with a loft and dividers, so that diners feel neither lost in space nor crowded by other tables even when the restaurant is bustling. A magnificent model ship hanging from the ceiling as well as fishnets and other nautical paraphernalia evoke the building's past. A solicitous headwaiter and busy staff provided competent service.

All but one of us climbed to the loft for appetizers from the buffet: warm fried herring, many variations on creamed herring, Swedish cheeses, steamed mussels, sweet small shrimp in their shells, gravad lax with dill-mustard sauce. Only Michael, an economist from Rotterdam, for whom there is no novelty in pickled herring, ordered from the menu, a generous plate of smoked salmon topped with yellow bleakfish roe.

The main courses, generous poached fish fillets, were everything the herrings -- with their bold flavors and assertive sauces -- were not. The six nationalities around our table (Irish, English, Dutch, German, Italian and American) all zeroed in on either the cod or the turbot, which were delicate, refined and subtly flavored, but with some slightly irrelevant juxtapositions. The cod came in a bouillon flavored with sweet pepper and oregano, with shrimps and Jerusalem artichokes. The exquisite turbot was served in brown butter flanked by a little molded portion of chopped egg and plenty of grated fresh horseradish.

A superb Sancerre Les Aristides 1998 ($72) was just the right accompaniment.

Dessert choices were limited, but a little roll of crushed almonds and chocolate mousse, accompanied by raspberry sherbet, was certainly satisfactory. Pralines and chocolate truffles (charged by the piece) were also listed on the dessert menu. Delicious shortbread cookies arrived with the coffee. And when the last crumb was gone, the transportation experts dispersed by tram and taxi to catch their planes.

Goteborg differs from such other automotive capitals as Detroit and Turin in its utopian intermodal public transportation system, meaning that one can go to dinner by tram and boat, which run like clockwork. There is also an extensive network

of bicycle paths. The savings on taxi fare go to offset the cost of the wine.

Goteborg itself has an international airport and is only 90 minutes from Amsterdam.

Prices, calculated at 8.5 kronor to the dollar, are for a meal for two with a bottle of wine from the low end of the list. Our propensity for ordering Italian wines is due less to chauvinism than to the favorable price-quality ratio they offer.

Smoking was allowed in all these restaurants, and there were no separate smoking sections, but smoke was not a problem anywhere.

Westra Piren, Eriksberg, Dockepiren (on Pier No. 4), (46-31) 519555, fax (46-31) 239940. Closed Sunday dinner only. Take the ferry from Lilla Bommens Hamm, near the opera house, to Eriksberg. Meal for two with wine about $165.

Tvakanten, 27 Kungsport Avenyn, (46-31) 182115, fax (46-31) 811198. Closed Sunday lunch. Meal for two with wine about $175.

Fiskekrogen, 1 Lilla Torget, (46-31) 101005, fax (46-31) 101006. Closed Sunday. Our buffet lunch with a half bottle of wine cost $70. A three-course dinner, ordered from the menu, would run at least twice as much.

28+, 28 Gotabergsgatan, (46-31) 202161, fax (46-31) 819757. Closed Sunday. Dinner only. Centrally situated near the Avenue. Meal for two with wine about $180.

Sjomagasinet, 5 Klippans Kulturreservat, (46-31) 7755920, fax (46-31) 245539. Closed Saturday and Sunday for lunch dinner daily. Take tram No. 3 or 9 to Jaegerdorfplatsen then walk toward the water. Meal for two with wine about $175. MAUREEN B. FANT


CHOICE TABLES Delectable Fish, In Every Guise, In Goteborg

IF the world thinks about Sweden's second city, Goteborg, at all, it is as the home of Volvo automobiles and Hasselblad cameras. It is, in fact, the lively, friendly capital of the prosperous west Sweden region, a port city that faces west in more ways than one.

When my companion, Franco, and I learned we would be attending a meeting of a European transport project in Goteborg (Gothenburg in English) at the end of October, we immediately consulted the latest Michelin guide to European cities to see whether it was worth spending a couple of extra days. We were surprised to find that more than half the eating establishments listed for this city of half a million have been awarded a star or other symbol for cuisine or ambience. Cross-checking the listings with a local friend, we enjoyed five days of fine food and magnificent design, and are ready to go back any time to try the rest.

The memories we took away were not, as they often are in Italy, of superlative single dishes but rather of the contentment that comes from good food, gracious people and hospitable surroundings, enveloped in the aura of dill and candles and reassured by the proximity of all the marinated herring we could ever desire.

Although one can reach this beautiful restaurant by road (it is on a pier in the restored waterfront of Eriksberg), we were glad we took the 20-minute ferry, so that our first view was from the water. Copper-framed picture windows looked like the open side of a dollhouse. Inside, warm lighting, much of it from candles and oil lamps, softened the sharp geometry of the strikingly designed modern structure. A bistro occupies the ground floor upstairs is the elegant restaurant with one Michelin star. In the large triangular dining room, decorated with fish fossils and relics from the deep, well-spaced tables are arrayed between the glassed-in kitchen and the windows on the water. My only regret was that the well-intentioned seating arrangement that provided as many diners as possible with a harbor view deprived us of the more dynamic and even more beautiful spectacle of kitchen and dining room at work.

An amuse-bouche of rich, delicate white pea bean cream soup with chives set the style, which continued with my voluptuous cream of chestnut soup with slices of partridge breast and paupiettes of sweetbreads and duck liver wrapped in savoy cabbage. Franco's terrine (a surprise: the menu read ''tureen''!) of chunks of Orkney lobster and rare spicy chili-smoked tuna with delicate honey sauce was a fairly successful venture into more fashionable territory.

The service was excellent the flowers on the table were fresh. Only the bread was a little scarce in quality and quantity (as elsewhere). The wine list, presented in a ring binder, was also representative -- mostly French, extensive and expensive. We chose one of the few Italians, a very good Tuscan white, Poggio alle Gazze, Ornellaia 1997 ($40).

Though the menu offers a good choice of meat dishes, Goteborg is known for its fish, and that is what we ordered. A generous fillet of broth-poached hake came on almond potatoes with cream sauce flavored with chives, fried shallots and plenty of dill. The thick fillet of plaice was even more delicious, thanks to being lightly smoked. It, too, had its creamy sauce with a few scattered pine nuts, accompanied by beets and artichoke hearts.

Dessert was fun. A thin leaf of dark chocolate around a cylinder of cherry ice cream looked like pink sushi but came with a chocolate-filled pear and a sprinkling of flavorful sun-dried cherries.

This stylish bistro is right on the Avenue, the city's most elegant street. The inviting space -- brick outside and in -- offers a large dimly lighted bar area and somewhat smaller, much brighter dining room behind it. The wine cellar is visible through mullioned windows off the dining room.

Modern Swedish cuisine is the rule, meaning that along with the herring you get goat cheese, fig sauce, avocado and other fashionable exotica. It also means the use of cream is kept down, and presentation and portion size emphasize lightness and aesthetics, rather than fuel for the winter. We had dinner there on Sunday with three colleagues, two from England and one from Germany.

Modern indeed was the starter of Baltic herring -- a surprising green (the result of a chive marinade) and elegantly presented with a piece of aquavit-flavored cheese and salad with red-onion syrup. My fine starter was a piece of cold-smoked salmon accompanied by a little sandwich of thin salmon-colored bread filled with horseradish-flavored chive cream cheese.

We all ate fillets of different fish, each a generous portion with intriguing accompaniments, all tasty and perfectly cooked. Lemon sole came with crab strudel (like a spring roll) and a barley mold. Pike perch lounged on a bed of potato and cheese cake beneath a dill sauce. And grilled halibut came with a slice of a tasty pink cake made of potatoes and sweet peppers.

From the reasonably priced intercontinental wine list we chose an Italian white, Bianco di Custoza Montresor 1997 ($29).

The dessert menu proposed matches of sweet wine with each selection, and so we enjoyed a glass of Tokay ($6) to accompany the superb delicate apple cake with cinnamon ice cream.

Another beauty is this downtown fish restaurant, whose opulent setting, with Oriental rugs and model ships, recalls that Goteborg owes much of its present civility to the wealth brought home by the East India Company.

The spacious premises are divided into different areas and rooms, with a long buffet between the bar and the main dining room. Green paneled walls and enormous chandeliers swathed in cream-colored drapery create a soothing atmosphere a smooth headwaiter and many young women in long white aprons provided friendly service.

For this Monday lunch, we dined from the buffet (unlimited trips have a lower price if you order a main course, a higher price if you make the buffet your meal).

On one side, steaming copper pans beckoned, while on the other the salad seemed to punctuate the end of the sequence. We began in the middle, with the array of cold hors d'oeuvres -- excellent specimens of the four canonical herrings (cream, red-wine vinegar, mustard sauce and tomato sauce). There were also delicate shrimps on oyster shells, pates of fish and horseradish, cold fried herrings and gravad lax with its usual sweet-tart dill-mustard sauce. (A Swedish specialty, gravad lax, or gravlax, is cured raw salmon served in thin slices.) The smooth fish soup with rouille (a rust-colored garlicky oil-based sauce dolloped into fish soups) was just the thing to follow, and then came our '⟺mous codfish meatballs'' with boiled potatoes. On the far side of the herring were platters of spicy chicken wings with a fruit sauce. Only the bland salad with some sort of creamy dressing disappointed. A half bottle of white Torre di Giano 1997 ($19) went nicely with everything. The dessert menu was brief -- sherbet with pears or chocolate and coconut truffles served with the coffee. We chose the latter, an appropriately refined close to the meal.

A few steps below street level (at No. 28), this excellent downtown restaurant with one Michelin star began as a wine and cheese restaurant (the plus sign alludes to the measurement of the fatness of cheese). We dined there on a weeknight with our friend Ulrich, an engineer from Munich.

Charming though it was, the white-walled, candlelit basement setting was the least beautiful and comfortable of the restaurants we visited. The cuisine, however, was the best and most sophisticated, which may say something about the relationship between food and decor.

The triple amuse-bouche consisted of a little fish soup (announced as bouillabaisse) with Parmesan toast, a superb raviolo filled with goat cheese, and a spuma (Italian for foam) of green peas with bits of smoked eel.

Franco began with a starter of sweetbreads, tender yet crisp with a sauce made from Jerusalem artichokes and tarragon juice. Ulrich's marinated Baltic herring was topped with Swedish caviar from the otherwise inedible small fish called lojrom, which came with a little salad and a dish of very strong cheese. I had a perfectly delicious serving of crayfish consisting of two little wooden skewersful (maybe a shade overcooked). The crayfish were encrusted with sesame seeds and ginger resting on a cooked tomato and topped with bitter kyona (a Japanese mustard green) leaves.

It was a little hard to pin down a style, but everything was so good we didn't care. The wonderful tastes were wiped away by the cucumber and tomato sherbets (really ices) that followed to prepare our palates for the excitement to come.

The main course offerings were as eclectic as the appetizers. Slices of very lightly smoked venison were draped into curlicues and accompanied by mushrooms, a cauliflower puree and lingonberry sauce. Ulrich's haddock formed an obelisk surrounded by a crayfish-based butter sauce. My pike perch fillet in red wine vinaigrette did not form an interesting shape, but it was delicious anyway.

The wine list was superb but the wine service was not (possibly our choices were not considered important enough). Our deliciously crisp Sancerre ''Les Baronnes'' Henri Bourgeois 1998 ($52) was, until we protested, left to warm up in the reflected light of the heat lamps melting a brace of cheeses for our neighboring table's raclette. Franco had a half bottle of red for the venison, a full-bodied Chateau Cantenac St.-Emilion Grand Cru 1996 ($35).

Desserts were weak -- blackberry pannacotta was rubbery the plum souffle good but a bit bland. The mostly French cheeses, however, displayed in a vitrine for choosing, were excellent. The only Swedish cheese offered was the best -- a Brie made of goat's milk, Skarby Getgard -- soft but sharp.

For lunch on our last day we took a 20-minute tram ride with several colleagues to this restored 18th-century wooden warehouse, which houses an atmospheric and excellent restaurant (also with a Michelin star). Its barnlike interior is well designed, with a loft and dividers, so that diners feel neither lost in space nor crowded by other tables even when the restaurant is bustling. A magnificent model ship hanging from the ceiling as well as fishnets and other nautical paraphernalia evoke the building's past. A solicitous headwaiter and busy staff provided competent service.

All but one of us climbed to the loft for appetizers from the buffet: warm fried herring, many variations on creamed herring, Swedish cheeses, steamed mussels, sweet small shrimp in their shells, gravad lax with dill-mustard sauce. Only Michael, an economist from Rotterdam, for whom there is no novelty in pickled herring, ordered from the menu, a generous plate of smoked salmon topped with yellow bleakfish roe.

The main courses, generous poached fish fillets, were everything the herrings -- with their bold flavors and assertive sauces -- were not. The six nationalities around our table (Irish, English, Dutch, German, Italian and American) all zeroed in on either the cod or the turbot, which were delicate, refined and subtly flavored, but with some slightly irrelevant juxtapositions. The cod came in a bouillon flavored with sweet pepper and oregano, with shrimps and Jerusalem artichokes. The exquisite turbot was served in brown butter flanked by a little molded portion of chopped egg and plenty of grated fresh horseradish.

A superb Sancerre Les Aristides 1998 ($72) was just the right accompaniment.

Dessert choices were limited, but a little roll of crushed almonds and chocolate mousse, accompanied by raspberry sherbet, was certainly satisfactory. Pralines and chocolate truffles (charged by the piece) were also listed on the dessert menu. Delicious shortbread cookies arrived with the coffee. And when the last crumb was gone, the transportation experts dispersed by tram and taxi to catch their planes.

Goteborg differs from such other automotive capitals as Detroit and Turin in its utopian intermodal public transportation system, meaning that one can go to dinner by tram and boat, which run like clockwork. There is also an extensive network

of bicycle paths. The savings on taxi fare go to offset the cost of the wine.

Goteborg itself has an international airport and is only 90 minutes from Amsterdam.

Prices, calculated at 8.5 kronor to the dollar, are for a meal for two with a bottle of wine from the low end of the list. Our propensity for ordering Italian wines is due less to chauvinism than to the favorable price-quality ratio they offer.

Smoking was allowed in all these restaurants, and there were no separate smoking sections, but smoke was not a problem anywhere.

Westra Piren, Eriksberg, Dockepiren (on Pier No. 4), (46-31) 519555, fax (46-31) 239940. Closed Sunday dinner only. Take the ferry from Lilla Bommens Hamm, near the opera house, to Eriksberg. Meal for two with wine about $165.

Tvakanten, 27 Kungsport Avenyn, (46-31) 182115, fax (46-31) 811198. Closed Sunday lunch. Meal for two with wine about $175.

Fiskekrogen, 1 Lilla Torget, (46-31) 101005, fax (46-31) 101006. Closed Sunday. Our buffet lunch with a half bottle of wine cost $70. A three-course dinner, ordered from the menu, would run at least twice as much.

28+, 28 Gotabergsgatan, (46-31) 202161, fax (46-31) 819757. Closed Sunday. Dinner only. Centrally situated near the Avenue. Meal for two with wine about $180.

Sjomagasinet, 5 Klippans Kulturreservat, (46-31) 7755920, fax (46-31) 245539. Closed Saturday and Sunday for lunch dinner daily. Take tram No. 3 or 9 to Jaegerdorfplatsen then walk toward the water. Meal for two with wine about $175. MAUREEN B. FANT


CHOICE TABLES Delectable Fish, In Every Guise, In Goteborg

IF the world thinks about Sweden's second city, Goteborg, at all, it is as the home of Volvo automobiles and Hasselblad cameras. It is, in fact, the lively, friendly capital of the prosperous west Sweden region, a port city that faces west in more ways than one.

When my companion, Franco, and I learned we would be attending a meeting of a European transport project in Goteborg (Gothenburg in English) at the end of October, we immediately consulted the latest Michelin guide to European cities to see whether it was worth spending a couple of extra days. We were surprised to find that more than half the eating establishments listed for this city of half a million have been awarded a star or other symbol for cuisine or ambience. Cross-checking the listings with a local friend, we enjoyed five days of fine food and magnificent design, and are ready to go back any time to try the rest.

The memories we took away were not, as they often are in Italy, of superlative single dishes but rather of the contentment that comes from good food, gracious people and hospitable surroundings, enveloped in the aura of dill and candles and reassured by the proximity of all the marinated herring we could ever desire.

Although one can reach this beautiful restaurant by road (it is on a pier in the restored waterfront of Eriksberg), we were glad we took the 20-minute ferry, so that our first view was from the water. Copper-framed picture windows looked like the open side of a dollhouse. Inside, warm lighting, much of it from candles and oil lamps, softened the sharp geometry of the strikingly designed modern structure. A bistro occupies the ground floor upstairs is the elegant restaurant with one Michelin star. In the large triangular dining room, decorated with fish fossils and relics from the deep, well-spaced tables are arrayed between the glassed-in kitchen and the windows on the water. My only regret was that the well-intentioned seating arrangement that provided as many diners as possible with a harbor view deprived us of the more dynamic and even more beautiful spectacle of kitchen and dining room at work.

An amuse-bouche of rich, delicate white pea bean cream soup with chives set the style, which continued with my voluptuous cream of chestnut soup with slices of partridge breast and paupiettes of sweetbreads and duck liver wrapped in savoy cabbage. Franco's terrine (a surprise: the menu read ''tureen''!) of chunks of Orkney lobster and rare spicy chili-smoked tuna with delicate honey sauce was a fairly successful venture into more fashionable territory.

The service was excellent the flowers on the table were fresh. Only the bread was a little scarce in quality and quantity (as elsewhere). The wine list, presented in a ring binder, was also representative -- mostly French, extensive and expensive. We chose one of the few Italians, a very good Tuscan white, Poggio alle Gazze, Ornellaia 1997 ($40).

Though the menu offers a good choice of meat dishes, Goteborg is known for its fish, and that is what we ordered. A generous fillet of broth-poached hake came on almond potatoes with cream sauce flavored with chives, fried shallots and plenty of dill. The thick fillet of plaice was even more delicious, thanks to being lightly smoked. It, too, had its creamy sauce with a few scattered pine nuts, accompanied by beets and artichoke hearts.

Dessert was fun. A thin leaf of dark chocolate around a cylinder of cherry ice cream looked like pink sushi but came with a chocolate-filled pear and a sprinkling of flavorful sun-dried cherries.

This stylish bistro is right on the Avenue, the city's most elegant street. The inviting space -- brick outside and in -- offers a large dimly lighted bar area and somewhat smaller, much brighter dining room behind it. The wine cellar is visible through mullioned windows off the dining room.

Modern Swedish cuisine is the rule, meaning that along with the herring you get goat cheese, fig sauce, avocado and other fashionable exotica. It also means the use of cream is kept down, and presentation and portion size emphasize lightness and aesthetics, rather than fuel for the winter. We had dinner there on Sunday with three colleagues, two from England and one from Germany.

Modern indeed was the starter of Baltic herring -- a surprising green (the result of a chive marinade) and elegantly presented with a piece of aquavit-flavored cheese and salad with red-onion syrup. My fine starter was a piece of cold-smoked salmon accompanied by a little sandwich of thin salmon-colored bread filled with horseradish-flavored chive cream cheese.

We all ate fillets of different fish, each a generous portion with intriguing accompaniments, all tasty and perfectly cooked. Lemon sole came with crab strudel (like a spring roll) and a barley mold. Pike perch lounged on a bed of potato and cheese cake beneath a dill sauce. And grilled halibut came with a slice of a tasty pink cake made of potatoes and sweet peppers.

From the reasonably priced intercontinental wine list we chose an Italian white, Bianco di Custoza Montresor 1997 ($29).

The dessert menu proposed matches of sweet wine with each selection, and so we enjoyed a glass of Tokay ($6) to accompany the superb delicate apple cake with cinnamon ice cream.

Another beauty is this downtown fish restaurant, whose opulent setting, with Oriental rugs and model ships, recalls that Goteborg owes much of its present civility to the wealth brought home by the East India Company.

The spacious premises are divided into different areas and rooms, with a long buffet between the bar and the main dining room. Green paneled walls and enormous chandeliers swathed in cream-colored drapery create a soothing atmosphere a smooth headwaiter and many young women in long white aprons provided friendly service.

For this Monday lunch, we dined from the buffet (unlimited trips have a lower price if you order a main course, a higher price if you make the buffet your meal).

On one side, steaming copper pans beckoned, while on the other the salad seemed to punctuate the end of the sequence. We began in the middle, with the array of cold hors d'oeuvres -- excellent specimens of the four canonical herrings (cream, red-wine vinegar, mustard sauce and tomato sauce). There were also delicate shrimps on oyster shells, pates of fish and horseradish, cold fried herrings and gravad lax with its usual sweet-tart dill-mustard sauce. (A Swedish specialty, gravad lax, or gravlax, is cured raw salmon served in thin slices.) The smooth fish soup with rouille (a rust-colored garlicky oil-based sauce dolloped into fish soups) was just the thing to follow, and then came our '⟺mous codfish meatballs'' with boiled potatoes. On the far side of the herring were platters of spicy chicken wings with a fruit sauce. Only the bland salad with some sort of creamy dressing disappointed. A half bottle of white Torre di Giano 1997 ($19) went nicely with everything. The dessert menu was brief -- sherbet with pears or chocolate and coconut truffles served with the coffee. We chose the latter, an appropriately refined close to the meal.

A few steps below street level (at No. 28), this excellent downtown restaurant with one Michelin star began as a wine and cheese restaurant (the plus sign alludes to the measurement of the fatness of cheese). We dined there on a weeknight with our friend Ulrich, an engineer from Munich.

Charming though it was, the white-walled, candlelit basement setting was the least beautiful and comfortable of the restaurants we visited. The cuisine, however, was the best and most sophisticated, which may say something about the relationship between food and decor.

The triple amuse-bouche consisted of a little fish soup (announced as bouillabaisse) with Parmesan toast, a superb raviolo filled with goat cheese, and a spuma (Italian for foam) of green peas with bits of smoked eel.

Franco began with a starter of sweetbreads, tender yet crisp with a sauce made from Jerusalem artichokes and tarragon juice. Ulrich's marinated Baltic herring was topped with Swedish caviar from the otherwise inedible small fish called lojrom, which came with a little salad and a dish of very strong cheese. I had a perfectly delicious serving of crayfish consisting of two little wooden skewersful (maybe a shade overcooked). The crayfish were encrusted with sesame seeds and ginger resting on a cooked tomato and topped with bitter kyona (a Japanese mustard green) leaves.

It was a little hard to pin down a style, but everything was so good we didn't care. The wonderful tastes were wiped away by the cucumber and tomato sherbets (really ices) that followed to prepare our palates for the excitement to come.

The main course offerings were as eclectic as the appetizers. Slices of very lightly smoked venison were draped into curlicues and accompanied by mushrooms, a cauliflower puree and lingonberry sauce. Ulrich's haddock formed an obelisk surrounded by a crayfish-based butter sauce. My pike perch fillet in red wine vinaigrette did not form an interesting shape, but it was delicious anyway.

The wine list was superb but the wine service was not (possibly our choices were not considered important enough). Our deliciously crisp Sancerre ''Les Baronnes'' Henri Bourgeois 1998 ($52) was, until we protested, left to warm up in the reflected light of the heat lamps melting a brace of cheeses for our neighboring table's raclette. Franco had a half bottle of red for the venison, a full-bodied Chateau Cantenac St.-Emilion Grand Cru 1996 ($35).

Desserts were weak -- blackberry pannacotta was rubbery the plum souffle good but a bit bland. The mostly French cheeses, however, displayed in a vitrine for choosing, were excellent. The only Swedish cheese offered was the best -- a Brie made of goat's milk, Skarby Getgard -- soft but sharp.

For lunch on our last day we took a 20-minute tram ride with several colleagues to this restored 18th-century wooden warehouse, which houses an atmospheric and excellent restaurant (also with a Michelin star). Its barnlike interior is well designed, with a loft and dividers, so that diners feel neither lost in space nor crowded by other tables even when the restaurant is bustling. A magnificent model ship hanging from the ceiling as well as fishnets and other nautical paraphernalia evoke the building's past. A solicitous headwaiter and busy staff provided competent service.

All but one of us climbed to the loft for appetizers from the buffet: warm fried herring, many variations on creamed herring, Swedish cheeses, steamed mussels, sweet small shrimp in their shells, gravad lax with dill-mustard sauce. Only Michael, an economist from Rotterdam, for whom there is no novelty in pickled herring, ordered from the menu, a generous plate of smoked salmon topped with yellow bleakfish roe.

The main courses, generous poached fish fillets, were everything the herrings -- with their bold flavors and assertive sauces -- were not. The six nationalities around our table (Irish, English, Dutch, German, Italian and American) all zeroed in on either the cod or the turbot, which were delicate, refined and subtly flavored, but with some slightly irrelevant juxtapositions. The cod came in a bouillon flavored with sweet pepper and oregano, with shrimps and Jerusalem artichokes. The exquisite turbot was served in brown butter flanked by a little molded portion of chopped egg and plenty of grated fresh horseradish.

A superb Sancerre Les Aristides 1998 ($72) was just the right accompaniment.

Dessert choices were limited, but a little roll of crushed almonds and chocolate mousse, accompanied by raspberry sherbet, was certainly satisfactory. Pralines and chocolate truffles (charged by the piece) were also listed on the dessert menu. Delicious shortbread cookies arrived with the coffee. And when the last crumb was gone, the transportation experts dispersed by tram and taxi to catch their planes.

Goteborg differs from such other automotive capitals as Detroit and Turin in its utopian intermodal public transportation system, meaning that one can go to dinner by tram and boat, which run like clockwork. There is also an extensive network

of bicycle paths. The savings on taxi fare go to offset the cost of the wine.

Goteborg itself has an international airport and is only 90 minutes from Amsterdam.

Prices, calculated at 8.5 kronor to the dollar, are for a meal for two with a bottle of wine from the low end of the list. Our propensity for ordering Italian wines is due less to chauvinism than to the favorable price-quality ratio they offer.

Smoking was allowed in all these restaurants, and there were no separate smoking sections, but smoke was not a problem anywhere.

Westra Piren, Eriksberg, Dockepiren (on Pier No. 4), (46-31) 519555, fax (46-31) 239940. Closed Sunday dinner only. Take the ferry from Lilla Bommens Hamm, near the opera house, to Eriksberg. Meal for two with wine about $165.

Tvakanten, 27 Kungsport Avenyn, (46-31) 182115, fax (46-31) 811198. Closed Sunday lunch. Meal for two with wine about $175.

Fiskekrogen, 1 Lilla Torget, (46-31) 101005, fax (46-31) 101006. Closed Sunday. Our buffet lunch with a half bottle of wine cost $70. A three-course dinner, ordered from the menu, would run at least twice as much.

28+, 28 Gotabergsgatan, (46-31) 202161, fax (46-31) 819757. Closed Sunday. Dinner only. Centrally situated near the Avenue. Meal for two with wine about $180.

Sjomagasinet, 5 Klippans Kulturreservat, (46-31) 7755920, fax (46-31) 245539. Closed Saturday and Sunday for lunch dinner daily. Take tram No. 3 or 9 to Jaegerdorfplatsen then walk toward the water. Meal for two with wine about $175. MAUREEN B. FANT