Tre Kronor: Chicago’s Leading Swedish

I will be the first to say that the thought of Swedish food has never been a particularly appealing one. I’ve always thought of Scandinavian food as dry and fishy, and that thought was always reinforced by my Norwegian grandpa eating fish for nearly every meal. I am a spice lover, so I feared that, going to Tre Kronor, the food would be a bit bland for my particular taste palate. However, my experience was very different than I imagined when I visited there recently.

Troll mural at Tre Kronor

Tre Kronor, located in the diverse neighborhood of Albany Park, is owned by the Swedish Larry Anderson and Norwegian Patty Rasmussen. The couple took over the bistro seventeen years ago and made the Swedish diner into the current Tre Kronor. The restaurant is fairly small and homey, and fills up quickly, so reservations are recommended. Most of the wait staff speak either Swedish or Norwegian, which thrilled my grandpa, whose first language was Norwegian. There were murals of myths and trolls covering the walls, and the typical “Guy was here” spray, to indicate that Guy Fiori from the Food Network ate there (eye roll at that).

The menu is fairly small, however, diverse enough that each person in our party of six ended up ordering a different dish. For an appetizer, we ordered the Gravlax, which was aquavit cured salmon with chilled asparagus and toast points, and pickled herring with mixed greens, tomato and hardboiled eggs. Both were delicious, surprisingly, since I’m usually not a fan of herring. I had an extremely difficult time deciding what to order, torn between several different menu choices. I eventually settled on a pork tenderloin stuffed with apples, prunes, and cherries, with sides of mashed potatoes and gravy and pickled cabbage. The meat was delicious, and much more flavorful that anticipated. It was cooked just tender enough, and the potato gravy was heavenly. The only part of the meal which I didn’t enjoy was the pickled cabbage, but a small price to pay for the enjoyment of the rest of the meal. Other meals that were delicious (we shared) were the salmon with a cherry glaze and the Swedish meatballs. Looking at the menu online, they seemed to have changed this dishes, and they also have daily specials.

Tre Kronor is moderately expensive, with entrees between twelve and sixteen bucks. Lunch and breakfast are also offered, at a little cheaper price, so I would recommend those on a budget going to the Swedish bistro earlier in the day. Tre Kronor is located on 3258 W. Foster Ave. in Chicago.

-Lisa

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