Walking the streets of Stockholm’s Old Town on a lazy winter morning, my nose was alerted to the spritly smell of freshly crushed citrus. Whole cartoons of crushed oranges lay outside an old world cafe. The warm orange light seemed wonderfully welcoming. That began a love affair with Cafe Schweizer.
This is perhaps the best cafe for a fika in all of Stockholm, at least thats what I think. Fika is a cultural institution in Sweden which involves chatting with others armed with cake and coffee. A good fika setting (to me) is one that is warm and welcoming, conducive for conversation, not forgetting that it should also serve good pastries and coffee (but that’s a secondary consideration to be fair).
And, in my view, no one in Stockholm does a better job (in fitting my fika bill) than Cafe Schweizer.
Cafe Schweizer is a century old institution in Stockholm’s Old Town, beginning in the 1920 when it was set up by German-speaking Swiss migrants from Zurich. Prior to being a cafe in 1920, it was a Schweizeri in the 1800s. The word Schweizer comes from the word Schweizeri where they served coffee tea, warm chocolate and liquor. This was the start of the modern cafe in Sweden, and the nascence of cafe culture in cities like Stockholm. Till this day, the cafe continues to be run as a family tradition and they serve good food and some very tasty looking confectionary.
What separates Cafe Schweizer however is the fact that it is not the food, nor the coffee, but that it is not a concept but a cafe. It has a kitsch but cozy old world vibe not on purpose but because that is what it is.
Modern touches have been added to the cafe, for example guests are invited to mark themselves on the walls of the cafe. You can see patrons from all over the world who have documented their experience, some from Asia and Africa, others from around Europe, still others from the Americas.
Then there are those who express their love for their favourite k-pop bands, clearly Hallyu has arrived in Stockholm.
I haven’t seen anyone who hasn’t been brightened up by a fika in this place.
ON THE MAP