Friday, 21 Sep 2018

The best cafes in Stockholm for your fika fix

Swedes adore coffee, so it’s no wonder that there seems to be a café on every corner in Stockholm. Every afternoon, locals huddle in cafés for daily fika, a tradition of chatting over coffee and a cinnamon bun. I know you’re thinking, ‘what’s so special about that?’ but Sweden takes its fika seriously, to the point that it’s a bit strange if you have less than three fika a day. Fika with work colleagues, fika with friends and fika with family. Swedes consume a whopping 1.36 cups of filtered coffee per capita per day, third in the world after Finland and the Netherlands. Whether you prefer your brews in fresh, trendy brunch spots with bacon waffles, or prefer to tuck in at a traditional wooden house, Stockholm has a spot for you. Here are some of the best cafés in Stockholm:

Rosendals Trädgård

Rosendals is a favorite of locals. This café rests within the Rosendals’ Garden Foundation on the forested island of Djurgarden, neighbour to a garden center, farm shop and artisanal wood-burning bakery. The menu is based on seasonal produce. It’s a perfect spot to kick back on a sunny summer day, amid the flowers and herbs, a bit of a idyllic respite in the middle of the city. Leave it to the Swedes to combine the best of sustainable and ecological with an unassuming celebration of good weather.

Address: Rosendalsvägen 38.

Vete-Katten

The epitome of an Old World café, Vete-Katten manages to stay fresh and unpretentious at the same time. Widely popular with tourists and locals, the coffee shop has a 1920s vibe throughout its labyrinth of rooms, corridors and stairwells. When asked what she would name her cafe, founder Ester Nordhammar replied, “Ja, det vete katten,” which in Swedish can mean “the cat knows,” or “the wheat cat.” The name stuck and so has the café, ever since 1928.

Address: Kungsgatan 55.

The Greasy Spoon

The Greasy Spoon is one of the highest rated cafes in the city although it’s not traditionally Swedish. Founded by two Brits, you’ll find a menu of eggs benedict and morning cocktails. Be prepared to wait in a line for an hour or more if you’re there for a weekend, or swing by on a quieter weekday.

Address: Tjärhovsgatan 19 and Hagagatan 4.

Ritorno Konditori

Ritorno is a local neighbourhood cafe, with retro couches, communal tables and wine-dark carpets. Founded in 1935, the style is flamboyant and cosy with gilded paintings, exquisite chandeliers and mirrors for walls. Classic meatball sandwiches and massive cups of soup are a bargain. Drop in after work to catch Stockholmers at their best: loosening up over fika.

Address: Odengatan 80.

Lisa’s Café & Hembageri

It’s a well-kept secret, but if you want a peek into a classic Swedish grandma’s kitchen, head to Lisa’s on Södermalm. You can’t get more authentic than red checkered tablecloths, nostalgic wall photos, and a self-service counter of cinnamon buns, cardamom buns, and sumptuous cakes. Entering Lisa’s, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a timeless ‘60s or ‘70s Swedish home – a perfect spot to take your mother for fika.

Address: Skånegatan 68.

Snickerbacken 7

The fashionable Snickarbacken 7 is a fantastic café, shop and gallery all rolled into one. Smack-dab in the heart of downtown, this is where you’d go to make an impression. Browse the shop inside for artisanal health products, clothes or artwork. Just be sure to get a seat before noon, as it fills up to the brim with customers around lunchtime.

Address: Snickerbacken 7.

Johan & Nyström

Founded in 2004 by two brothers committed to bringing coffee with high-quality and intense flavoured beans, Johan & Nyström is now a staple of Södermalm, and a favourite among passionate coffee drinkers. Their java is thick with flavor. You can also pick up roasted beans from Guatemala and Sumatra, as well as coffee accessories like French press, percolators, chemex.

Address: Swedenborgsgatan 7.

Drop Coffee

Another Södermalm landmark, Drop Coffee owns Swedish minimalism. Classic wooden furniture, a casual atmosphere and some of the best coffee in Stockholm make this a great choice. They also host brewing courses.

Address: Wollmar Yxkullsgatan 10.

About the Author

Wailana Kalama is a freelance travel writer from Hawaii, based in Stockholm. Read more of her work and follow her on instagram @waikalama.

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