Kajsas fish soup, Stockholm

Kajsas fish soup

Kajsas fish soup
Fish soup with harissa and aioli—perfection.

I dream of Kajsas’ fish soup! Since I started visiting Kajsas Fiskbistron (fish bistro) in the 90s, I always order only that. It’s a hearty red broth stocked with fish like a dude ranch pond. Miraculously, the large tender filets are boneless.

Kajsas fish soup
Anyone who knows anything orders the fish soup at Kajsas Fisk.

When you order, you say yes or no to additional spoonfuls of cooked shrimp (yes!), shelled mussels (yes!), and aioli (absolutely!). Then you add your own double-dollop of harissa (spicy Moroccan chili paste) (essential!). Feast in a bowl!

The free “salad,” on my last visit a few days ago, was shredded napa cabbage, a nice, crunchy complement. I seem to remember other simple salads on other visits, but you don’t go for the salad. Bread is included, and so is water.

You can order other seafood dishes, but why? Plenty of tasty choices are on the blackboard menu, but only a few people seem to order them. They must be frequent visitors who work nearby. Just get the fish soup and swoon. There’s a bar, too, so you can have a beer with it if you like.

Located inside a top-quality food hall, Kajsas must source its fish from the neighboring seafood dealers—I’m presuming here—or maybe the restaurant buys from the same fishmongers the neighbors do. Regardless, you imagine you’re eating the fishermen’s own stew.

I love the atmosphere, even though the place is indoors, underground, in a market, with a giant, shiny Patagonian toothfish staring at me from between the octopus and baby squids in the glass counter across the aisle. It’s not romantic or scenic or high-design—just authentic, unpretentious, and efficient.

Kajsas Fiskbistron is in Hötorgshallen, in Hötorget, Stockholm. Take the escalator down to the food hall. Fish soup is SEK 90, about $14 with everything (at today’s exchange rate).

Kajsas fish soup
Kajsas is beside a fishmonger and a shop of gorgeous cheeses.
Kajsas fish soup
Cramped seating at shared tables, but it’s fine that way. Waiters maneuver skillfully.
Kajsas fish soup
There’s a bar area, and more comfortable seating at the opposite end.

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