The Art of Fika: Your Guide to Stockholm’s Best Cafes

June 10, 2015
sweden, sweden dining
The Art of Fika: Your Guide to Stockholm's Best Cafes

People in the Nordic countries are known as the top coffee consumers in the world. In Sweden, there’s even a special word for drinking coffee – fika. Fika is not just about having coffee, it’s more of a social concept to meet with friends over a cup of coffee, accompanied by a pastry. Because of the love for coffee, there’s an incredible number of cafés in Stockholm. Here’s a list of my favourite cafés to satisfy any caffeine cravings. All of them serve delicious coffee and either have their own bakery or serve fresh pastries from a local supplier.

Tehuset Kungsträdgården

Tehuset Kungsträdgården is my favourite café during the summer. It’s a park café located in Kungsträdgården (the King’s Garden) and aside from good coffee it also offers a beautiful view of the city centre. There are several reasons why I like it so much – it was the first café I visited in Stockholm, it has this Paris-like spirit, it is very centrally located and it’s a great place to take a break at while sightseeing.

When my family visited Stockholm, having a fika in Tehuset Kungsträdgården was on our daily schedule. Unintentionally, we always found ourselves near Kungsträdgården when it was time for coffee. It was there that my sister Laura developed a chocolate-ball-addiction. Now, every time I travel home, I still have to bring her some chocolate balls.

The Art of Fika: Your Guide to Stockholm’s Best Cafes

fika
Tehuset Kungsträdgården

Pascal

Although I discovered Café Pascal only last week, it already belongs in my top 5 list. It’s a typical modern Swedish café decorated in minimalistic design, which puts a big emphasis on quality. It is run by three siblings who do what they love – make good coffee. The pastries and cakes are supplied by a small bakery and are delicious (at least the strawberry Swiss roll that I tried was).

My first impression was so good that when I was in the area (the Odenplan Square) later that week I just had to visit Café Pascal again. At first, I wanted to try one of the other nicely looking cafés but I entered three of them and always left somehow dissatisfied (with the offer of pastries or the environment) and I ended up at Pascal again.

Sturekatten

Sturekatten is one of the most popular Stockholm cafés. It is situated on two floors in an old house from 1700s. When I first came there, I was worried that I entered somebody’s house. I climbed a staircase and ended up in a corridor leading to a delicious selection of cakes and pastries. There were small rooms with antique furniture and decorations reminiscent of the beginning of the 1900s. Only after some Googling, I found out that it actually was a home of two sisters a few decades ago and many pieces of the present equipment are originally from those times. If I said that Pascal is a typical modern Swedish café, Sturekatten is a typical old-fashioned café where cozy blends with shabby.

I always struggle to select only one of the cakes because the selection is huge. Once I went to Sturekatten with my friends Tereza and Lucia and we tried a semla, a sweet roll traditionally served in the northern part of Europe around Easter. A week later, Lucia sent me a picture of her first attempt to make home-made semlas. Sweden should pay me for doing such a good PR!

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Sturekatten

Vete-Katten

Probably the most famous café in Stockholm, Vete-Katten was opened back in 1928. Vete-Katten is Sturekatten’s older sister. I couldn’t find much information about the connection between these two cafés, except for the fact that a former employee at Vete-Katten later started a new café and named it Sturekatten. Many of the things that apply to Sturekatten are similar in Vete-Katten. However, it’s not located in such a beautiful old house and it’s only one floor.

Under Kastanjen

In one of the narrow streets of Stockholm’s Old Town grows a chestnut tree. Under this tree, there’s a nice café called Under Kastanjen (Under the Chestnut Tree). Under Kastanjen is a modern café with warm-hearted atmosphere. Their effort to provide a high-quality service is visible in many aspects – pleasant décor, freshly baked bread, beautiful cakes, gluten-free options, a dog-friendly environment and suspended coffee and soup.

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Under Kastanjen

A few more cafés worth mentioning

Kaffekoppen – It’s one of the well-known tourist attractions, mentioned in Lonely Planet’s guide to Stockholm. This café is situated in a beautiful historical building in the central square of the Old Town. One of the most photographed places of Stockholm. However, I never really figured out what was so special about it. I don’t like the interior at all and though sitting on the terrace might be a pleasant experience, there are other places with better service.

Sjöcaféet – This café with outdoor seating offers an amazing view of the Stockholm’s waterfront boulevard. It’s conveniently located on Djurgården, in a close vicinity of many museums and attractions.

Wiener Caféet – It’s one of the places that I still need to check out. I love Vienna’s cafés and this one in Stockholm looks fabulous just from outside. It also looks a bit fancy, so I’m waiting for a good occasion to go there.

fika stockholm

The Art of Fika: Your Guide to Stockholm’s Best Cafes top photo credit: Kars Alfink

About Patricia Pecnerova

Patricia PecnerovaPatricia is a 20-something from Slovakia. She was an expat in the Czech Republic and Spain, studying Biology, and exploring Central and Southern Europe. Now the research has taken her to Sweden and Stockholm has become her new home for the next couple of years. She is using this opportunity to discover Scandinavia, its nature, culture, customs and food.

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