The alabaster square of seared cod sat primly in a bath of golden foam, nude except for a tiny corsage of watercress and a transparent veil of pickled cucumber. The dish looked so pure, so innocent, I was not prepared for its potent, primal flavors: The sauce's sea-buckthorn berries were tart and bright, tempered by the lactic richness of good butter. Course after course, my lunch at F12 embodied the kind of modern Swedish cooking that has quietly transformed Stockholm into one of Europe's most intriguing food cities. F12, named for its address on the thoroughfare Fredsgatan, may have one Michelin star, but a meal here comes with none of the tedious hauteur or wilting fussiness you might expect from restaurants of this caliber in other cities. Great food in Sweden, I've learned, has never been locked inside the gilded cage of Gallic gastronomic conventions. The country's best restaurants reflect Swedish values—egality, yes; pretension and privilege, no.