If You Love ‘Downton Abbey’, You Need to Watch ‘The Restaurant’: What Is the Swedish TV Series About?

The Restaurant may be the next binge-worthy historical drama tailor-made for Downton Abbey fans. Originally titled Vår tid Är nu (directly translated to Our Time is Now), this Swedish series has three seasons. Retitled The Restaurant for English-speaking audiences, the TV show is available for streaming via Sundance Now — which can be accessed through an Amazon Prime account.

The TV series ‘The Restaurant’ has 3 seasons and 28 episodes available via Amazon Prime

Downton Abbey
Behind the scenes of Downton Abbey | Hazel Thompson/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

The TV series The Restaurant begins in 1945 at the end of World War II. The first episode, titled “Peace,” introduces the wealthy, restaurant-owning Löwander family. The upper-class Löwanders own a popular Stockholm restaurant catering to the Swedish elite, but the restaurant itself is struggling financially. The family is comprised of the mother, Helga, two sons, Peter and Gustaf, and a daughter named Nina.

Nina Löwander may be seen as the equivalent to Michelle Dockery’s character, Lady Mary Crawley, in Downton Abbey. In a 2019 interview at the Göteborg Film Festival, Hedda Stiernstedt, who plays Nina, shared that she learned “so much about [herself] and developed as an actress” during the 300 days of shooting the series. The Restaurant star felt fortunate to work with so many amazing actors and directors, too, throughout the 28 episodes.

Although the series’ actors may not be household names in the U.S., the beautiful Nina rocks some fabulous outfits, much like Downton Abbey’s Lady Mary.

Stiernstedt herself is also a fashionista; she was featured in a February 2018 Vogue piece where she shared her personal fashion preferences:

In real life, I’m way much more of a comfortable tomboy, but I do love to play on my femininity as well, and the red carpets are definitely where I do it the most.

The Swedish series and characters have many similarities to ‘Downton Abbey’

On The Restaurant, Nina serendipitously meets her forbidden love-interest, Carl “Calle” Svensson, played by Swedish actor Charlie Gustafsson. Calle might be considered a parallel to Downton Abbey’s character, Tom Branson (portrayed by actor Allen Leech). Like Branson’s character, Calle works for the wealthy Löwander family in the kitchenWhile the star-crossed lovers are from distinct social classes, Calle’s sweet, hard-working disposition and excellent cooking skills make him too hard to resist for Nina.

Downton Abbey
A signed and framed poster of Downton Abbey in 2011 | Ian Gavan/Getty Images

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As suggested by TheCultureTrip: “If you loved Downton Abbey, you’re going to love Sweden’s answer to that epic show: Our Time is Now/The Restaurant.” 

Much like Downton Abbey, the cinematography in The Restaurant is captivating and acting superb.

“It’s a story of hope, the challenges of life and love, how we deal with the world we’re born into, and how we react when it changes,” the publication continued.

The show’s first season won the Kristallen Award for Best Swedish TV drama. Reading the Swedish subtitles is a small price to pay to watch “Sweden’s Downton Abbey.”

A special Christmas-themed fourth season will hopefully be released at the end of this 2020.