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Sticky cinnamon buns
Nordic Bakery [Official Photo]

The Best Places in London to Fika

The 10 places to enjoy strong filter coffee and a cinnamon bun on a leisurely break, Swedish style

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Sticky cinnamon buns
| Nordic Bakery [Official Photo]

London may be sick of Scandinavian trends but there is one, fika, which doesn’t involve an entire lifestyle overhaul or the purchase of costly sheepskin rugs. Fika is a communal coffee break taken twice a day in Sweden — usually involving a cup of strong filter coffee and a cinnamon bun. It’s so sacred in Sweden that, famously, even the Volvo car plant breaks for it. The crucial aspects are that it should be communal, savoured, and it should occur away from your desk — so chugging back a Costa latte at the keyboard really doesn’t count. Fika can’t be hurried however, so only those establishments that allow lingering with a friend count. And as the number of Scandinavian-style cafes in London offering slices of princess cake and knotted cardamom buns has expanded enormously in the past years, here is a round up of the best.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Söderberg Soho

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36 Berwick St, Soho
London W1F 8RR, UK

Soderberg, an established Swedish bakery and café in Edinburgh, arrived on London’s fika scene this year. Alongside the expected cinnamon buns, there are also longer cinnamon plaits for the hungry and kladdkaka — a sticky chocolate cake — as well as the palely beautiful mazarins, which are almond cakes with a white icing.

Buns
Soderberg [Official Photo]

2. Curious Yellow Kafe

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77 Pitfield St, Hoxton
London N1 6BT, UK

This might be the friendliest café in London, loved by locals, freelancers and tourists alike. The owner, Shoko Ghanbar, was raised in Stockholm and really understands the art of fika, with a whole blackboard full of different hot drinks. The gifflar, or mini cinnamon rolls, are a steal at 45p each or three for £1.

Semla
Curious Yellow Kafe/Facebook

3. Scandinavian Kitchen

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61 Great Titchfield St, Fitzrovia
London W1W 7PP, UK

This is mecca for any homesick Scandinavians: there are a good range of open sandwiches with fillings piled high — fika doesn’t need to be sweet — as well as sticky buns. There is plenty of space to spread out and enjoy fika but they also stock over 600 hard to find Scandinavian groceries.

Open sandwiches
Scandinavian Kitchen/Facebook

4. Fabrique Bakery

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Arch 385, Geffrye St
London E2 8HZ, UK

These burnished, knotted cinnamon and cardamom buns might be the most beautiful in London. At Christmas, cheeringly yellow saffron buns are also available. In the Hackney branch, watch them being baked in batches in large industrial ovens, should there be any doubt they are made on site.

Saffron buns
Fabrique/Instagram

5. Bageriet

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24 Rose St, Charing Cross
London WC2E 9EA, UK

Bageriet is a small bakery and café packed to the rafters with sweet treats, and entering it is like winding up in a particularly well-stocked Wendy house in the Swedish woods. Specialities range from slices of princess cake — a light sponge — to ‘gentleman biscuits’ — vanilla biscuits with nib sugar and apricot jam.

Bärbakelse
Bageriet/Facebook

6. Nordic Bakery

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14A Golden Square, Soho
London W1F 9JG, UK

This small chain of cafes take fika seriously. Coffee is served in large mugs and the cinnamon rolls are enormous, in the Finnish style. There are also buns filled with blueberry or lingonberry jam on offer and the Swedish classic, Tosca cake — a soft sponge cake with a crispy almond caramel.

Sticky cinnamon buns
Nordic Bakery [Official Photo]

7. The Bread Station

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373 Helmsley Pl
London E8 3SB, UK

The Bread Station is actually run by a Danish chef Christoffer Hruskova and Per Brun — the latter pioneered sourdough in Denmark. A Swedish source says that the bakery makes the best pastries for fika in London, so it’s all good to savour the deliciously light tebirkes, sweet poppy seed rolls.

Poppy seed rolls
The Bread Station/Facebook

8. Ole & Steen

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Unit 8, 67-79 Charing Cross Rd
London WC2H 0NE, UK

This small chain of cafes is relaxed enough forlingering . The signature cake is the Christianshavner, a cake with a caramelized hazelnut base topped with strawberry mousse and fresh fruit. The real joy of Ole and Steen, however, is the cinnamon social, a long cinnamon pastry with cinnamon and vanilla that is intended “for sharing.”

Cinnamon social
Ole & Steen/Facebook

9. ARKET Store and Café

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Westfield Stratford City, Montfichet Rd
London E20 1EJ, UK

Arket is where Londoners normally head for brightly coloured knitwear and cheaper-than-Aesop handcream, but it also does some excellent pastries in its cafes, particularly sticky buns and seasonal additions to the menu. These cafes are also, somewhat surprisingly, noticeably tranquil spots in spite of their locations.

Vegan cinnamon bun
Arket/Facebook

10. Hej Coffee

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1 Bermondsey Square, Bermondsey
London SE1 3UN, UK

Hej takes coffee so seriously that there is a barista training school on the premises. If it’s warm enough, linger on the terrace which is prettily decorated with fresh flowers. Others speak highly of the “viking balls” — meatballs wrapped in bread — but this festive season, perhaps stick with the glazed cinnamon buns.

Espresso and cinnamon bun
Hej Coffee/Instagram

1. Söderberg Soho

36 Berwick St, Soho, London W1F 8RR, UK
Buns
Soderberg [Official Photo]

Soderberg, an established Swedish bakery and café in Edinburgh, arrived on London’s fika scene this year. Alongside the expected cinnamon buns, there are also longer cinnamon plaits for the hungry and kladdkaka — a sticky chocolate cake — as well as the palely beautiful mazarins, which are almond cakes with a white icing.

36 Berwick St, Soho
London W1F 8RR, UK

2. Curious Yellow Kafe

77 Pitfield St, Hoxton, London N1 6BT, UK
Semla
Curious Yellow Kafe/Facebook

This might be the friendliest café in London, loved by locals, freelancers and tourists alike. The owner, Shoko Ghanbar, was raised in Stockholm and really understands the art of fika, with a whole blackboard full of different hot drinks. The gifflar, or mini cinnamon rolls, are a steal at 45p each or three for £1.

77 Pitfield St, Hoxton
London N1 6BT, UK

3. Scandinavian Kitchen

61 Great Titchfield St, Fitzrovia, London W1W 7PP, UK
Open sandwiches
Scandinavian Kitchen/Facebook

This is mecca for any homesick Scandinavians: there are a good range of open sandwiches with fillings piled high — fika doesn’t need to be sweet — as well as sticky buns. There is plenty of space to spread out and enjoy fika but they also stock over 600 hard to find Scandinavian groceries.

61 Great Titchfield St, Fitzrovia
London W1W 7PP, UK

4. Fabrique Bakery

Arch 385, Geffrye St, London E2 8HZ, UK
Saffron buns
Fabrique/Instagram

These burnished, knotted cinnamon and cardamom buns might be the most beautiful in London. At Christmas, cheeringly yellow saffron buns are also available. In the Hackney branch, watch them being baked in batches in large industrial ovens, should there be any doubt they are made on site.

Arch 385, Geffrye St
London E2 8HZ, UK

5. Bageriet

24 Rose St, Charing Cross, London WC2E 9EA, UK
Bärbakelse
Bageriet/Facebook

Bageriet is a small bakery and café packed to the rafters with sweet treats, and entering it is like winding up in a particularly well-stocked Wendy house in the Swedish woods. Specialities range from slices of princess cake — a light sponge — to ‘gentleman biscuits’ — vanilla biscuits with nib sugar and apricot jam.

24 Rose St, Charing Cross
London WC2E 9EA, UK

6. Nordic Bakery

14A Golden Square, Soho, London W1F 9JG, UK
Sticky cinnamon buns
Nordic Bakery [Official Photo]

This small chain of cafes take fika seriously. Coffee is served in large mugs and the cinnamon rolls are enormous, in the Finnish style. There are also buns filled with blueberry or lingonberry jam on offer and the Swedish classic, Tosca cake — a soft sponge cake with a crispy almond caramel.

14A Golden Square, Soho
London W1F 9JG, UK

7. The Bread Station

373 Helmsley Pl, London E8 3SB, UK
Poppy seed rolls
The Bread Station/Facebook

The Bread Station is actually run by a Danish chef Christoffer Hruskova and Per Brun — the latter pioneered sourdough in Denmark. A Swedish source says that the bakery makes the best pastries for fika in London, so it’s all good to savour the deliciously light tebirkes, sweet poppy seed rolls.

373 Helmsley Pl
London E8 3SB, UK

8. Ole & Steen

Unit 8, 67-79 Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0NE, UK
Cinnamon social
Ole & Steen/Facebook

This small chain of cafes is relaxed enough forlingering . The signature cake is the Christianshavner, a cake with a caramelized hazelnut base topped with strawberry mousse and fresh fruit. The real joy of Ole and Steen, however, is the cinnamon social, a long cinnamon pastry with cinnamon and vanilla that is intended “for sharing.”

Unit 8, 67-79 Charing Cross Rd
London WC2H 0NE, UK

9. ARKET Store and Café

Westfield Stratford City, Montfichet Rd, London E20 1EJ, UK
Vegan cinnamon bun
Arket/Facebook

Arket is where Londoners normally head for brightly coloured knitwear and cheaper-than-Aesop handcream, but it also does some excellent pastries in its cafes, particularly sticky buns and seasonal additions to the menu. These cafes are also, somewhat surprisingly, noticeably tranquil spots in spite of their locations.

Westfield Stratford City, Montfichet Rd
London E20 1EJ, UK

10. Hej Coffee

1 Bermondsey Square, Bermondsey, London SE1 3UN, UK
Espresso and cinnamon bun
Hej Coffee/Instagram

Hej takes coffee so seriously that there is a barista training school on the premises. If it’s warm enough, linger on the terrace which is prettily decorated with fresh flowers. Others speak highly of the “viking balls” — meatballs wrapped in bread — but this festive season, perhaps stick with the glazed cinnamon buns.

1 Bermondsey Square, Bermondsey
London SE1 3UN, UK

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