I have never been a fan of the word fika. One can wonder if the term is still relevant today since we have come to expect so much more from this Swedish inspired custom of meeting friends or family for a cup of coffee or tea and perhaps a snack.
Instead of serving guests a café latte and a kanel bulle many cafes in town are finding a niche and dramatically exceeding our expectations of what one should expect from this sacred tradition.
Sandwiched between Mekonomen and Tullverket, it is easy to miss the very charming Carrotte. This delicatessen/café is definitely worth the trip out to Frihamnen. For many cafes in town, organic, healthy and locally produced equals boring and tasteless food that costs a lot and lacks creativity.
That is not the case here. Carotte puts their own spin on things. Try their salad with fresh seared tuna or the Boeuf bourguignon with is a regular on their lunch menu. If your lunch was too healthy then stay for dessert and try their fabulous selection of teas and homemade cookies or scones.
Östermalm: Kaffe Verket (also known as Snickarbacken 7)
Snickarbacken used to be an old stable but has since been converted into a place where boutiques, office spaces and cafe merge. Tucked away on a side street, this space is recognizable from Birger Jarlsgatan by the big electric “7” hanging over the doorway.
Whereas most Östermalm cafes are traditional and cozy, Sickarbacken 7 is minimalistic and hip. The narrow café is lined with steel benches against one wall so that guests can watch the baristas perform their magic. The menu here is short and to the point. Order a coffee made from their meticulously sourced beans, a fresh squeezed orange juice with ginger and the homemade egg sandwich on sourdough bread. You wont be disappointed.
Believe it or not there is an oasis for coffee lovers in the middle of the chain-packed street of Drottninggatan. Kafe Esaias is a simple location with extremely good coffee. Their traditional brewed coffee is excellent as are their espresso drinks.
Esaias gets their baked goods from the very popular Bakery & Spice, but get there early because most of their baked goods are already sold out by lunch on the weekends. Also worth noting is that their staff is incredibly friendly.
Sosta Coffee Bar
The original Sosta Coffee Bar on Jakobsbergsgatan has won numerous awards for its coffee. Most, however don't know that they have opened a second location on Sveavägen. This second outpost is much smaller than the original one, much more authentic to its Italian roots and in my opinion, much better.
Businessmen line up elbow to elbow at the crowded bar with their morning papers in a multitude of languages and order a “short” espresso and a small croissant sandwich. There isn't a lot of room here so leave the strollers at home.
Vasastan: Salinos Espressobar
Salinos Espressobar on the corner of Odenplan is one of those places that you walk by numerous times before you notice it. This family owned and operated café prides themselves on Italian sweets and specialties made with carefully sourced, high quality goods.
Their espresso drinks are much better than their regular coffee, but it is their food, small Italian sandwiches with Taleggio and mushrooms or a hearty soup that makes you feel at home here.
Kungsholmen: Le Petite France
You know that Le Petite France has done something right from the length of the line that extends outside the door. Their numerous awards for best café in Stockholm has made it a challenge to get a table here on a Saturday or Sunday morning, but I can assure you that it is worth the wait.
Here you can order a creamy café au lait together with the best croissant in town or a more luxurious tarte aux pommes. If you want something on the more savory side then go for the croque madame a delectable salad or picture perfect omelette.
Don't forget to buy a few loaves of their freshly made bread before you head home. If you aren't yet convinced then check out the owner Sebastian's blog. These pictures are sure to send you running to Le Petite France.
Södermalm: Johan & Nyström
Johan & Nyström is already well established, but I had to include it here because they have very unique offerings and their coffee is just so darn good. Their employees are true pioneers in the art of coffee making. If the ever-changing menu is confusing then let them help you choose the right beans and brew for you.
Their staff is well-trained and they enthusiastically discuss the origin, smell and aftertaste of each option. Sandwiches seem a little pricey at 55 kronor ($8.50) but they have inspiring combinations in a town where ham and cheese sandwich is all too common. Their desserts are supplied by Dessert & Chokolad Stockholm and are even more delicious than they look.
Also worth noting is that Johan & Nyström collaborated with Blossa to select the coffee beans that are used in this years much awaited Blossa Glögg.