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Restaurants

Fika Cafe

Posted by Jen Hunter / Profiled on June 3, 2013 / review policy

Fika Cafe TorontoFika Cafe, the Swedish-inspired spot from Nikki Leigh McKean and husband Victor Barry (Splendido, County General), opened this week on Kensington Avenue, serving up a selection of coffees, sandwiches and pastries.

Fika Cafe TorontoTaking cue from the siesta-style tradition of taking fika (a small coffee break with sweets) at various junctures throughout the day, McKean has created a spot for people to grab a quick bite and escape for a few minutes. She told me that she studied for a year in Sweden, and the idea of bringing the culture of ceremonious break-taking to Canada has been a dream of hers for years.

Fika Cafe TorontoThe space, designed by Sarah Callanan, is extremely clean and bright. Caesarstone tables and a tasteful mixture of whites, greys, and blues leave the cafe uncluttered, though small touches can be found everywhere once we start looking around. Behind the bar is a collection of vintage teacups used in Nikki and Victor's wedding, and a restrained display of exposed beams and brickwork accent, rather than dominate, the space.

Fika Cafe TorontoThe front patio is finished, but the work for a back patio and studio / meeting room / communal table in the back of the house are still underway. It's a lovely area, and, once finished, should make for an attractive getaway from the bustle of the market, as well as doubling the square-footage currently available.

Fika Cafe KensingtonCoffee comes locally from Pilot Coffee Roasters, with double shots of espresso loaded into every drink. We visited on a hot day, so we ordered an iced coffee ($4.25), topped with a sprig of mint. The baristas are friendly, enthusiastic, and fuss over the smallest details in the drink.

Fika Cafe TorontoThe pastries are crafted at Splendido, though the sandwiches are built to order. The mortadella sandwich ($7.50) is gorgeous. A fat stack of the thinly-sliced meat is panini-pressed between two slices of Splendido's potato bread.

Fika Cafe TorontoThe smoked salmon ($7.50) is served open-face as a smorgasbord, layered with picked red onions, radishes, and pickled cucumbers.

Fika Cafe TorontoThe chocolate tart ($4.75) is as decadent as you would expect from the Splendido crew, tasting like a snack-pack with a perfect buttery crust. The chocolate-chip cookie ($2.50) is worth every penny, soft and moist beyond belief. The jumbo-sized salted caramel macaroon ($3.00), however, is worth the trip alone.

Fika Cafe TorontoToo hot of a day? Not to worry, the ice cream sandwich ($4.50) is comprised of a tart and sweet lemon compote, and vanilla bean ice cream, that is then nestled in-between two delectable pistachio cookies.

Fika Cafe TorontoA blind taste-test would render it easy to imagine the place as a sibling restaurant to Barry's main spot, The County General, but in reality the cafe hosts a completely different atmosphere and design ethic that stands it apart. Airy and peaceful, our quick visit soon transformed into the best part of an afternoon. I'll be going back for the mortadella sandwiches, but I can easily see this space becoming a regular rest-stop from navigating the Market throng on a weekend.

Fika Cafe TorontoFika is currently open Tuesday through Sunday, 9am-7pm. Plans are afoot for weekend barbecues on the front patio.

Photos by Morris Lum

Discussion

21 Comments

Holly / June 3, 2013 at 08:59 am
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This place looks like paradise!
Kara / June 3, 2013 at 09:00 am
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This looks lovely. I walked past it yesterday and was wondering what it was. Will have to go back and try it out.
kstop / June 3, 2013 at 09:04 am
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$4.25 for an iced coffee seems a bit high, considering there are a gazillion other coffee shops in the neighbourhood.
Jalodge / June 3, 2013 at 09:38 am
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Open face Scandi sandwich = "smoerrebroede" ikke "smorgoasbord". Kom nu! I maa proeve at vaere ikke saa daarligt.
jennsanerd / June 3, 2013 at 10:50 am
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What a beautiful space! And the food looks lovely. I'll be stopping by for sure.
mayor dodge / June 3, 2013 at 10:56 am
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WOW, does this place looks both intriguing and inviting! Gotta love those open faced sandwiches. I can't wait to stop in and bask in the cool vibes this place has to offer. Follow me.
Erin / June 3, 2013 at 11:11 am
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A smorgasboard is a huge buffet-style meal. An open faced sandwich is a smörgås.
the lemur replying to a comment from Jalodge / June 3, 2013 at 11:26 am
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Ooh, looks like we've got ourselves a testy Dane here.

Either way, fika is just a coffee break verging on a meal, so not a 'siesta-style' tradition in any sense.
the lemur replying to a comment from Jalodge / June 3, 2013 at 11:30 am
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Also, as long as you insist on eating it as a slice of bread with stuff on top and no slice on top (good luck getting everything to stay on), it's not really 'sandwiched' anyway.
Maureen replying to a comment from the lemur / June 3, 2013 at 12:54 pm
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Sandwiches were named after an Earl in the UK and have nothing to do with being between something, right? Anyway, you could call them 'loaded-rafts' instead.
the lemur replying to a comment from Maureen / June 3, 2013 at 01:28 pm
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Yeah, but the Earl of Sandwich didn't ask his servants for a single topped slice of bread either.
Maureen replying to a comment from the lemur / June 3, 2013 at 02:47 pm
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No, he asked them for something simple to eat. Maybe they tried a raft which is like welsh rarebit. Maybe they folded it, too.
the lemur replying to a comment from Maureen / June 3, 2013 at 05:07 pm
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We'll probably never know for sure, but history associates him with something folded in or layered between bread, not just 'bread and meat', i.e., the raft you are comparing it to.
Becca / June 4, 2013 at 12:56 am
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I love Swedish style and this place looks great! I just wish I'd read the full article to see the open times at the bottom before I dragged my friend here earlier today! Alas, I shall return!
Maureen replying to a comment from the lemur / June 4, 2013 at 09:02 am
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Okay. All this sandwich talk is getting me hungry. I'm going to go and try that smoked salmon raft or the mortadella sandwich.
nib / June 4, 2013 at 02:58 pm
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Ooh! I'll pop in a snus and come for coffee some time!
FB / June 7, 2013 at 12:33 pm
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This place is great! Staff is friendly, and the atmosphere is really calm and relaxing. It has a fun vibe, and the food is awesome. Plus, I had the best latte I've ever had here. No scalded milk taste, and the coffee ratio was just right. . . not to mention the salted caramel macaroon!!! YUM! :) Good work Barrys! ;)
Smith / June 10, 2013 at 07:40 pm
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The employees were really nice, I got a free huge slice of the chocolate tarte because it was cracked and they said they weren't going to sell it anyways. Great service & the tarte was delicious.
Brovig / October 27, 2013 at 01:48 am
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The Scandinavian open-face sandwich is called a Smörgås in Swedish, Smørbrød in Norwegian and Smørrebrød in Danish. The Danes don't have a monopoly on this! The word Fika is distinctly Swedish and refers to a coffee/tea break together with something edible. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fika_(coffee_break)
Niklas / April 28, 2014 at 05:14 pm
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There is nothing Swedish about this place and as a Swede I'm better off going to Ikea for a taste of Sweden.
Frances / June 12, 2014 at 01:20 am
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Life beyond Ikea! This looks lovely!!

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