There are a thousand and one ways to travel, but for many of us, it is above all a matter of getting out of our way in order to satisfy our thirst for curiosity and discover the habits and customs of the local culture. When you arrive in Stockholm, there is a habit practiced by all Swedes that you will adopt with pleasure: the gourmet break, called Fika. Remember this term because it is one of the very first words you will learn when visiting the Swedish capital, just after “tack” (thank you) and “hej” (hello). No need to try to translate this word into French, it would lose all its meaning. In Swedish, it evokes an essential moment in everyday life.
Fika is a social institution in Sweden, the expression of the Swedish art of living. The luxury of simplicity: take your time for a real “coffee” pose with colleagues, friends or family. Like an invitation to share happiness, Fika is above all a moment of conviviality, moments of exchange while sipping a hot drink and savoring a pastry, cakes, cookies or even a sandwich or a famous freshly prepared Swedish toast.
Fika is thus a praise of the sweetness of life and gluttony. The sweets that accompany it are extremely important. If you don't yet know the star of Swedish pastries, it goes by the sweet name of kanelbulle (or kanelbullar in the plural). Popularized in the 1920s, this moist cinnamon brioche sprinkled with pearl sugar is the kingdom's most famous pastry! It is available in several tempting scents (cardamom, vanilla, etc.).
So where to take a Fika break in Stockholm? Rest assured, there is no shortage of good addresses: the city hosts an anthology of coffee shops and cafes. Here is a selection of the best places to live this unique culinary experience. Addresses frequented by locals, tested and approved!
Here is a chain of traditional Swedish wood-fired bakeries that turns pastries and gourmet pastries into art! The brand offers the classics of fika: kanelbulles with various flavors, blueberry brioches, top quality sourdough bread, buns and homemade cakes made with natural ingredients according to ancestral traditions. Several bakeries are scattered across the capital!
Rosenlundsgatan 28, 11853 Stockholm
+46 (0) 8-39 07 37
If you're a little greedy, it's impossible to miss a Bröd & Salt establishment without succumbing to the smell of hot bread! With several stores scattered around the city, Bröd & Salt is a local chain of artisan bakeries that only serve fresh produce, made from sourdough and lactose-free. Besides fresh bread, brioches and cookies, Bröd & Salt also offers a selection of fresh salads, sandwiches and wraps if you're hungry for lunch. Something to titillate your taste buds and have a good time.
Regeringsgatan 48, 111 56 Stockholm
+46 (0) 8 522 468 70
Unmissable for its kanelbulles known to be among the best in the city, this café hides behind its window a mosaic of bright colors, mismatched tapestries on the walls and a warm universe in which to settle down for a timeless break. Please note that the name of the café is not on the sign, but you can spot it thanks to the model of Saturn hanging outside the entrance. A large choice of pastries arranged on a tray at the bar awaits you. One tip: come before 3 p.m. if you want to savor the popular kanelbulles because they are not waiting for you!
Eriksbergsgatan 6, Ostermalm
+46 (0) 86117700
Treat yourself to a fika or a “tea time” in the oldest bakery-café in Stockholm is an experience in its own right, a welcome gourmet break when strolling the charming alleys of the old town. Dating back to 1785, Sundbergs Konditori offers a journey through time: a cozy living room atmosphere, large chic and elegant chandeliers, old-fashioned tea sets and pastries, each tastier than the next. All the same, we should give priority to trying the famous Princesstarta, this sponge cake with cream and green almond paste that has made the reputation of the establishment for nearly a century!
Järntorget 83, Gamla Stan
Gourmet alert! The Vetekatten tea room is one of the oldest in the city and has resolutely kept its charm from the past. Since 1928, Vetekatten has been a “Mecca of gourmet pleasures” at Kungsgatan 55 in the Norrmalm district. Today you will find five Vetekatten scattered throughout the city, such as at the central station or in some shopping malls. The window gives pride of place to gourmet pastries, but the specialty here is none other than "Princesstarta", this famous cake with cream and marzipan. Coffee is available here in all forms: espresso, Americano, cappuccino... The choice quickly becomes difficult!
On Tuesdays from 3 p.m., the all-you-can-eat pastry buffet is 175 SEK!
Kungsgatan 55, 111 22 Stockholm
+46 (0) 8-20 84 05
To enjoy one of the most beautiful panoramic views of the Baltic Sea, Gamla Stan and the island of Skeppsholmen, head to the Fotografiska museum café for a well-deserved gourmet break after a visit! Direction the top floor of the museum, facing a huge bay window to contemplate the city from above and landscapes as far as the eye can see. Classic pastries like kanelbulle are here very well brought up to date with one and only goal: to please.
Stadsgårdshamnen 22, 116 45 Stockholm
Two addresses for a Fika or a pleasant break by visiting the ArkDes Museum of Architecture and Design or the Moderna Museet since they are located in the same building on the island of Skeppsholmen. Both cafes obviously offer the famous Kanelbulle, homemade cakes like cheesecake or hazelnut muffin. As in many establishments in Stockholm, Café Blom offers organic cuisine made with local products. The Moderna restaurant offers a large bay window from which to admire a panoramic view of the Östermalm docks and Djurgården.
Exercisplan 4 111 49 Stockholm
Foodies, enter the temple of the Swedish waffle tucked away in a small street near Katarina Bangata! In a timeless atmosphere that perfectly combines the elegance and vintage of the 50s, savor a selection of house waffles from another world: the classic with jam and cream, nougat, lemon curd, apple pie, brownie waffle or exotic fruit. You will also find a range of delicious pastries like the famous Kanelbulle, of course!
+46 (0) 86437878
Right next to the lively Odenplan square, Café Pascal is a haven of peace and an excellent place to enjoy a hot drink and its side dishes, of your choice. In 2019, this cafe won the prestigious Gulddraken Award for the best coffee in Stockholm! Among the "must eat" of the brand, let us point out again and again the famous Kanelbulle, the avocado toast and its poached egg, the vanilla brioche topped with strawberries, the chocolate brioche, or the caramelized brioche with pear and almonds. In short, a changing menu, new products to be consumed without moderation!
+46 (0) 8-31 61 10
For a well-deserved break in the middle of frantic shopping, here is a charming address in the heart of the trendy SOFO district in Sodermalm. A particularly popular place for locals for fika, Il Caffé offers homemade pastries, lunches and fresh bread! A real moment of relaxation and conviviality.
Södermannagatan 23, Sodermalm
+46 (0) 08 20 35 05
A sanctuary for foodies! Mr. Cake is rightly considered one of the best pastry shops in Stockholm. With a wide choice of delicacies such as... kanelbulle (obviously!), Kardemummabulle, red velvet croissant, donut or sugarlick and a selection of breathtakingly beautiful cheesecake, this is the ideal place to a Swedish fika in a relaxed place in the north of Ostermalm!
+46 (0) 8-400 17 190
In Stockholm, forget about Starbucks and discover Espresso House, a popular meeting place for Swedish youth throughout the day. The brand is present on every street corner and offers places that are cozy, warm and full of life! The one from Götgatan to Södermalm is the largest. Succumb to pastries, cakes and sandwiches. All accompanied by latte, chai and other coffees as you wish!
Götgatan 15 - Södermalm
+46 (0) 105101308
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Article and photos prepared by Lesley Williamson for City Guide Stockholm