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Swedish Culture

Top 5 Places for a Fika in Stockholm

June 24, 2021 By Emily Krumm

Fika – the ubiquitously Swedish tradition of taking a break for coffee, conversation and often a baked good or two – is an integral part of life in Sweden. Many companies have official fika breaks built into their daily schedules, students take fika study breaks, and friends can catch up while meeting for a fika. (It’s also a popular first date activity in Sweden!) And ASI’s very own FIKA café is named after it! Since this cultural institution is so important, there are ample cafes in which to partake in the fika ritual. The following are some of our favorites in Sweden’s capital city of Stockholm:

Under Kastanjen

This café, whose name translates to “Under the Chestnut Tree,” is located in Gamla Stan – Stockholm’s Old Town. It’s tucked away from the busy main streets and faces Brända Tomten, a small public square. Centuries-old buildings line this square, and fika-goers might catch some free history lessons by tour groups passing by. The restaurant has both an indoor and an outdoor seating area, and the downstairs seating area looks like a cozy cave.


Drop Coffee

While Drop Coffee Roasters is the overall company, they have a wonderful café located in Södermalm. And the area’s cool reputation is reflected in the café experience, where drinks are meticulously hand-poured by very hip-looking Swedes. The inside is Nordic minimalist chic and there are sidewalk tables to enjoy your brew on sunny days. Since they’re a roastery, you can pick up beans and equipment to make your own fika at home!


Rosendals Trädgårdskafé

This lovely café on Djurgården is located within Rosendals Garden – resulting in plenty of beautiful outdoor seating options to sip your kaffe! Walk or bike there (there are no metro stops on the island) and relax among the flowers and trees away from the hustle of the central city. Since it’s a part of the garden, there are lots of uber fresh goodies to choose from – both sweet and savory. After you’ve had fika, you can check out one of the many museums located on Djurgården (and the thrill seekers can head over the Gröna Lund amusement park).


Café Albert

This cozy spot in Ostermalm features a dimly lit interior with an upstairs loft seating area overlooking the rest of the café. It’s more old world Europe (it doesn’t even have a website) – even Parisian feeling – than one might expect in Stockholm, but their cardamom buns are distinctly and deliciously Swedish. Plus, after fika, you can head down the street and go shopping along Birger Jarlsgatan – one of the longest roads in Stockholm and home to some of the city’s ritziest shops.


Espresso House

This Nordic coffee chain has many locations in Stockholm, so you’re never far from a fika fix! It’s the Starbucks of Sweden, and though there are actual Starbucks stores, it’s more fun to go somewhere you can’t go back home. Plus, during Christmastime Espresso House offers the Tomte Latte – a drink made with lots of cardamom that fills you with the spirit of Jul.


Bonus: Bruce’s favorite fika spot!

Vete-Katten

This café sits just a few blocks from Centralstationen at Kungsgatan 55.  It’s a classic Stockholm fika spot – dating to the late 1920s, with a milieu that is a maze of rooms and courtyards in a turn-of-the-century building that offers many different cozy spots to enjoy coffee, a fine pastry or meal, and the ever-present fog of cardamom.  I’ve spent many hours there with friends and colleagues and never been disappointed.  I’m not sure that one can pick out a “best” or “favorite” item among the many tasty offerings.  But I can’t leave Sweden without sampling a cardamom roll, slice of Princess torte and a dammsugare (the classic Swedish vacuum cleaner).  The owner and chief pastry chef Johan Sandelin is a masterful professional and won several awards, including Pastry Chef of the Year in 2002. — Bruce Karstadt, ASI President and CEO