I was cold, I was tired, I was on a dreary stretch of 58th street, and there it was, like an oasis: the sleek design, the promise of hot caffeine, the cookies piled so high I could spot them from across the street... it was Fika, the Swedish Espresso Bar, and it was amazing.
This tiny space (there's one table, and a four-seat window bar) functions as a coffee house, a sandwich/salad shop, a chocolatier, and a bakery. I had a large Macchiato (basically an espresso with just a bit of steamed milk), and though I'm no coffee connoisseur, I must say it was the smoothest, tastiest cup I've had years, with perhaps only Joe coming close. Apparently the owner imports his beans from Sweden (where, by the way, "fika" is a verb meaning "to have a coffee break"), and in my opinion, it's totally worth the effort.
I also ate cookies, of course, starting with a superb Coconut Top, which was gooey and crunchy and rich and sweet and pretty much my dream macaroon come true. Then I had a heavenly Vanilla Dream, which melted away in my mouth in a swirl of buttery bliss; a Farmhouse, which was wonderfully hard and almondy; and an equally perfect piece of Shortbread, which the attractive, smiley and presumably Swedish counter people gave me for free. I can't wait to try their sandwiches, all of which sound good. This is the ideal spot for a post-MoMA pick-me-up.
Fika first arrived here (on 58th, between 6th and 5th Avenues) about four months ago, with plans to expand to other neighborhoods. I hope that includes everywhere I ever go.