Little Lights at Night

On the magical isle of Gotland, there is a stellar hole-in-the-wall type fish restaurant called Bakfickan, which translates to something like “hole-in-the-wall fish restaurant.” It’s the highest-rated restaurant on a fairly large island, and considering all 9 million Swedes go to Gotland and eat at only so many places during the summer holiday, that’s saying something. The food is remarkable for its freshness, casual presentation, and five-star quality.

Particularly when you take into account that the restaurant itself is about the size of a portacabin, looks a lot like a hot dog shack you’d find on the beach along the coast of Florida, and sits on a tiny alleyway overlooking the ruins of a 14th century bath house, the whole presentation and its often five-day waiting list come as a bit of a surprise. When you sit outside in nice weather, you’re sitting on old wood benches, eating your five-star metal bucket of lemon thyme-grilled prawns, downing the tiny, iced glass of schnaaps, staring at the passersby, listening to the gripes from diner-wannabes without reservations who say aloud, “given the fact this place is just a hole in the wall, why can’t we get in”? Such hubris.

This picture is of a young waitress at Bakfickan taking a cigarette break while I looked on; this was taken a few days before my reservation, so I had plenty of time to hang around, waiting to be fed.

Little Lights at Night


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