July 12, 2013 6:24 pm

Five of the best: Stockholm coffee shops

Known as fika, coffee with cake, cinnamon buns or cardamon-flavoured rolls is a Swedish social ritual
Cinammon bun©Eva Jansson

Vete-Katten Konditori

Sundbergs Konditori

Something is perhaps lost in translation on the sign that claims this gilded coffee shop offers the “oldest confectionery” in Stockholm. They mean, of course, it is the oldest konditori in the city, founded in 1785. Coffee is dispensed from a copper samovar, refills are free and the sponge, cream and green marzipan princess cake is a model of the genre. It’s a touch genteel but a welcome respite from the frenetic Old Town streets (if you can find a seat).

Järntorget 83, Gamla Stan

+46 8 106735

. . .

Lisa’s Café & Hembageri

The Millennium Trilogy trail winds through this part of Stockholm, and the cinnamon buns at this no-frills café have become almost as famous as Stieg Larsson’s books. The other cakes and pastries are also worth sampling. No nonsense here about cappuccinos, flats and lattes: the filter coffee comes straight, with just a dash of cold milk. Help yourself, and pay when you’re full.

Skånegatan 68, Södermalm +46 8 6403636

. . .

Vete-Katten Konditori

The warren of rooms inside this large, traditional café has a charmingly jumbled air. You may, for instance, find yourself sitting on a velvet sofa in fin-de-siècle style, or in a crowded alcove next to the bakery. There’s a gracious and polite atmosphere – try to contain your excitement when faced with the vast range of cakes, pastries, buns and breads. The semla (pastry, almond paste and whipped cream) are show-stoppers.

Kungsgatan 55, Norrmalm +46 8 208405; www.vetekatten.se

. . .

Café Saturnus

The superb cinnamon buns (kanelbulle) are the size of small planets, as befits the name of this café-cum-bakery. There’s no sign, but you can spot the place by the model of Saturn hanging outside the entrance. This is a bright, popular fika stop for locals – junior members of the royal family have been known to frequent it too. There’s also a good choice of light lunches and sandwiches, as well as freshly ground coffee.

Eriksbergsgatan 6 Östermalm, +46 8 6117700; www.cafesaturnus.se

. . .

Xoko

The beautifully crafted products of this popular artisan café, bakery, “desserterie” and chocolate shop are the epitome of chic, Nordic design with stylish, if pricey, riffs on classic themes, eye-catching whipped-cream pastries and modern flavour twists. Think dark chocolate, star anise and passion fruit, or sourdough with cumin, fennel and flax seeds. There are four kinds of yeast bun and the coffee hits the fika spot.

Rörstrandsgatan 15 Vasastaden, +46 8 318487; www.xoko.se

Clarissa Hyman is the author of ‘Oranges: A Global History’ (Reaktion Books)

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