Olivia Hahne, our hottest new contributor, is on a one woman-and-baby mission to find the best place to have a coffee in Stockholm. This week: Nytorget.
Address: Södermannagatan 23, Stockholm. Tel No: 08 462 9500
Il Caffè is living proof that a café doesn’t have to be pocket sized to have character. What from the outside looks like it might be a pokey little coffee joint is actually a maze of rooms that happens to have a coffee bar and bakery right in the middle.
The spaciousness doesn’t compromise the ambience though, with funky features placed throughout, from the Elvis clock on the wall and the hand-picked LPs behind the counter, to the over-sized silver ghetto blaster straight out of the 1980s in the back room. I half expect Public Enemy’s Flavour Flav to come bursting out of one of those speakers. The inclusion of this sort of retro paraphernalia (yep, I’m feeling old with that statement too) must make Il Caffè some kind of interactive museum for young kids, who try as they might, just can’t figure out why they can’t get the stereo to work by swiping their finger across it.
The interior is pretty minimalist, with orange tables, black bar stools and hanging light fixtures and black graffiti-covered walls creating an urban vibe.
The coffee is great and the filter coffee is served in individual cafetières – a nice touch. The menu is short and simple – bullar, sourdough sandwiches and Italian sweets. The fresh bullar (cinnamon, cardamom and blueberry) and sourdough bread are all delivered daily by local bakery Fabrique.
Il Caffè is good for most occasions – plenty of room for big groups, smaller tables fitting for a solo fika and definitely enough space for buggies.
Cost of a Latte: 30, 35 kronor (depending on size)
Perfect for: enjoying a fika without being sat so close to the person next to you that you can tell what perfume they’re wearing
Avoid if: you’re on the pull; with more than enough tables and chairs to go round, it’s unlikely you’ll have the excuse to ask “is this seat taken?” and position yourself next to that hottie by the window.
Musical equivalent: Lust for Life by Iggy Pop
Address: Skånegatan 79, Stockholm. Tel No: 08-599 09 180
Gilda’s Rum has become a firm favourite on Söder since it opened in 2009, and walking through the door it’s not hard to understand why. The style is the glamorous side of kitsch – eclectic meets eccentric. Imagine a 1950s-style cupcake stall set up in your favourite vintage store and you won’t be too far off.
The furniture is a mish mash of luxuriant armchairs and chaise longues (some, apparently, formerly belonging to a local burlesque performer). Even the cups and plates are mix and match, with the overall feeling akin to having afternoon tea at your Grandma’s place. That is, if your Grandma was cool, lived in Nytorget and had invited lots of Söder locals over for tea.
In terms of food there are generous portions of salads and sandwiches on offer plus a good selection of homemade cakes, cupcakes and pies, all displayed on cake stands that wouldn’t look out of place at a 1950s tea party. Weekends can be on the cramped side of cosy and a sign on the door politely informs patrons that whilst children and dogs are welcome, buggies are not. However, what Gilda’s lacks in buggy friendliness, it makes up for in people-watching opportunities with outside tables perfectly poised for soaking up that Nytorget vibe.
Cost of a Latte: 35 kronor
Perfect for: a fika in the café equivalent of your favourite vintage boutique.
Avoid if: anything more hectic than white Ikea furniture freaks you out
Musical equivalent: With Every Heartbeat by Robyn
Address: Nytorgsgatan 38, Stockholm. Tel No: 08-714 85 14
Walking into Café String is a bit like taking a trip down memory lane into for anyone over the age of 30. There’s a young, studenty vibe to this place, with enough skinny jeans and faux leather jackets to open up a market stall right outside, but that’s all part of the charm. None of the furniture matches, heck even the cups and plates don’t match and there just happens to be a scooter propped up in the window.
The food (sandwiches, salads, cakes) is simple, good quality and reasonably priced. Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 – 13:00 are full of 20-somethings enjoying the 80 kronor brunch. Café String is good for a fika, too, with a filter coffee and anything from the cake cabinet costing just 40 kronor – a bit of a bargain in this part of town. I opt for the blueberry pie with vanilla sauce which looks and tastes just like a blueberry pie and vanilla sauce should. There’s Daim and Snickers flavoured kladdkaka for those of you bored with the traditional plain chocolate version.
Sure, some of the coffee cups are a bit chipped but this isn’t Grand Hotel, nor is it pretending to be. Café String may be no frills but it’s fun and it’s good to know you can still find somewhere with a genuinely good atmosphere, great people-watching and good value food and drink in an area becoming increasingly full with gourmet (read: expensive) fashionable-right-now cafés
Cost of a Latte: 30 kr
Perfect for: the young, or just plain young at heart, looking for a fika that won’t break the bank
Avoid if: your mum’s visiting and you want to impress her with high tea
Musical equivalent: Jamming by Bob Marley