47 Scaling Restaurants In Scandinavia To Keep An Eye On (Because They Are Awesome)

The hottest restaurant scene in Europe right now? Scandinavia. 

Yes, you heard right. 

You may not have noticed, but some brilliant restaurant chains and franchises are shaking up the dining culture of the Nordic countries, both with new concepts and by revamping old ones. 

The level of quality, service and innovation is high. These restaurants are scaling fast, and quite often venture far beyond their country of origin.  

In this list we have included food service operations in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland that caught our attention because of their attitude, approach, and business savvy-ness. 

We’ve split the list by country to make it easier to navigate but otherwise the restaurant brands are listed in random order.

Scaling restaurant operations in: 

Restaurants in Denmark

OLIOLI Poke

Oli Oli Poke

11 Outlets

Poké Bowls

Fast Casual Restaurant

Denmark

Take a Hawaiian dish like poké, give it to two Scandinavian guys with Asian roots, add the audacity of the young and a love for food, and what you get is OLIOLI. This new chain (established in 2017) serves the traditional raw fish version but also other variations inspired by Asian taste and Scandinavian food culture. For the founders, poké is not just a dish, but a way to create joy between food and people.

Quote - OLIOLI
Mads Bentzen’s LinkedIn Profile

Jensens Bøfhus

Jensens Bøfhus

21 Outlets

Steak House

Casual Restaurant

Denmark, Sweden, and Norway

For more than 30 years, Jensens Bøfhus has welcomed anyone who wants to enjoy a good meal served with a smile in a relaxed atmosphere. And anyone really means anyone: children and adults, grandparents, business colleagues and couples. Children are especially welcome, with kids menus and games to entertain them. The infinite choice of steaks, hamburgers, and ribs is accompanied by cocktails and unlimited fries. The most important item in their menu, however, is “the good company that creates great memories.”

Pico Pizza

Pico Pizza

3 plus one more coming soon.

Pizza

Fast Casual Restaurant

Denmark

Copenhagen is a lively place with many good eateries, but Pico Pizza has managed to stand out. With the traditional elements of pizza, they create a new experience. An experience that combines the high quality of fine-dining with the cosy atmosphere of sharing dishes with friends. The operational side and menu are also well thought out, making the concept easily scalable. Pico Pizza creates its own niche with plenty of room to grow. 

Quote - Pico Pizza
Rasmus Christensen’s LinkedIn Profile

Zócalo 

Zócalo 

26 Outlets

Mexican Food

Fast Casual Restaurant

Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and UK

The food is inspired by the taquerias in San Francisco’s Mission District. They call the food Fresh Happy Mex – it is Zócalo’s version of Mexican food made from scratch with high quality ingredients. And their fresh take on traditional Mexican food has been gathering a following since 2002. The brand has 26 outlets in three countries under its belt already and hopefully many more to come. 

Quote - Zocalo
Einar Örn Einarsson’s LinkedIn Profile

Jagger

Jagger

13 Outlets

Burgers

Fast Casual Restaurant

Denmark

The group behind Jagger is made up of former Michelin chef Rasmus Oubæk and other three self-professed food geeks, who wanted to take the classic burger chain concept to new heights. At Jagger, they use organic beef from free-range cows, then mince the meat their own way to get the perfect texture and serve their burgers in brioche buns made in-house. The chain opened in 2016 and now operates 13 outlets around Copenhagen.

Quote - Jagger
Christian Brandt’s LinkedIn Profile

Emmerys

Emmerys

31 Outlets

Coffee and Bakery

Coffee Shop

Denmark

Emmerys is not your usual bakery, but a place with a strong focus on the taste experience. Everything is 100% organic: handmade sourdough bread, cakes and pastries, award-winning croissants, and of course organic coffee. The chain operates 31 stores around Copenhagen and Aarhus. Ingredients and nutritional values of all their breads are available on their website.

Halifax

Halifax

11 Outlets

Burgers

Casual Restaurant

Denmark

Halifax Burgers takes its name from the city in Canada where the two founders, Ulrich and Peter, met as students. When they opened their first outlet in 2017, they knew that Halifax’s concept didn’t have to be just about serving delicious burgers in an informal environment, but also about taking care of their employees with summer parties and fun team building events. The two friends keep expanding their burger chain concept with “no frills, but plenty of ambition.”

Gorm’s

Gorm’s

14 Outlets

Italian cuisine with a Nordic touch

Full Service and Quick Service

Denmark

If you’re curious about what a combination of Italian and Nordic cuisine tastes like, then Gorms is your natural destination. Founded in 2008 and now operating 14 outlets in Denmark, Gorms is a purveyor of unpretentious gastronomy cooked with great quality ingredients served in a warm atmosphere. Pizza is Gorms’ playground, from where the curiosity of its six founders can explore new ingredients, food trends and mindsets.

Gasoline Grill

Gasoline Grill

8 Outlets

Burgers

Quick Service Restaurant

Denmark

No fluff, just a classic American burger joint. One peculiarity shows the commitment of Gasoline Grill to quality over quantity: each of the eight locations around Copenhagen has an opening hour but no closing hour. This is because only a limited number of burgers are prepared each day, so when they’re gone they’re gone. The name Gasoline Grill comes from its first location, which opened in 2016 at an old gas station in central Copenhagen.

LETZ SUSHI

LETZ SUSHI

17 Outlets

Sushi

Full Service Restaurant

Denmark

LETZ SUSHI is a sushi restaurant chain that is firmly rooted in tradition, with classics like maki and nigiri rolls, but is not afraid to experiment with new flavors. LETZ SUSHI makes sure that every aspect of its operation is as sustainable as possible. They only use certified sustainable fish and organic rice, FSC-certified paper packaging and chopsticks, trays made with 80% recycled plastics, and electricity from CO2-neutral sources. 

MASH

MASH

10 Outlets

Steak House

Casual Restaurant

Denmark and Germany

MASH took the modern American steak house concept and made it better, by perfecting every aspect of the dining experience, from the moment guests book a table to when they leave. Each of the ten restaurants that MASH operates (in Denmark and in Germany) has its own personality, like the vibrant atmosphere and high ceilings of the one in Bredgade street, or the New York vibe of MASH Penthouse, both in Copenhagen.

Lagkagehuset

Lagkagehuset

119 Outlets

Bread

Bakery

Denmark, UK and USA

During the 30 years between the first Lagkagehuset bakery in the center of Copenhagen in 1991 and the first one in Union Square in Manhattan in 2019, the brand’s mission has been to bake bread with simple ingredients and lots of flavor and texture. Just like a good sommelier will recommend the right wine, at Lagkagehuset they have the right bread for each occasion, whether it’s a cheese platter, breakfast, tapas or soup.

Stick’n’Sushi

Stick'n'Sushi

23 Outlets

Sushi with a twist

Full Service Restaurant

Denmark, UK and Germany

Sticks’n’Sushi has something for everyone: traditional sushi for those who love it, and yakitori sticks — grilled meat or vegetable skewers — for the not-so-fish-lovers. This daring attitude came from the three founders, who have both a Danish and Japanese background. (As is often the case in this list, two of them are brothers.) Sticks’n’Sushi know that they’ll never win a Traditional Japanese Cuisine Award, but are also confident that their food is delicious enough to grant them forgiveness. 

Restaurants in Sweden

Oh Poké

Oh Poké

32 

Poké

Fast Casual Restaurant

Sweden

Hawaiian street food is super popular, but Oh Poké is raising the bar. The brand is rapidly conquering urban areas and gathering a loyal local following along the way. Its ambition is to become the benchmark for poké (and they are well on their way), but that ambition has not made Oh Poké reckless. The restaurant chain is taking responsibility for the planet. For instance, by 2030, 50% of bowls sold must contain plant-based proteins. 

Quote - Oh Poké
Sihaam Masae’s LinkedIn Profile

Basta 

Basta

4 Outlets

Italian Food

Fast Casual Restaurant

Sweden

A name like Basta can mean only one thing: lovely Italian cuisine. But Basta is different from most Mediterranean restaurants. The team isn’t afraid to experiment and cross the boundaries of what is considered traditional Italian, and yet they never lose sight of what makes ‘food from the boot’ so delicious. Basta isn’t just great food — it’s a vibe, and that vibe is catching on. Currently, the team runs five restaurants, but we have the feeling there will be many more. Basta is building a restaurant brand. It’s recognisable, vibrant and has the potential to grow big. 

Quote - Basta
Brazer Bozlak’s LinkedIn Profile

Hawaii Poké 

Hawaii Poké 

19 Outlets

Poké

Fast Casual Restaurant

Sweden

‘Chef-driven bowls in an upbeat, pacific inspired atmosphere’, what is not to love about Hawaii Poké? You are what you eat, as the saying goes, for this popular poké brand that means fresh, healthy & tasty. What makes the brand stand out is that it adds a touch of Scandinavia to the Hawaiian flavours. With already 19 locations fully operational, it is safe to say that the formula is working.

Naked Juicebar

Naked Juicebar

26 Outlets

Juices and Smoothies