If you haven't tried Fika at the American Swedish Institute at 2500 Park Ave. South in Minneapolis, you are really missing out! The ASI has built an ultra-modern companion to their classic stone mansion on Park Avenue, and in it they placed a café, the name of which means to take a break.
The café looks like a cafeteria but has table service and a full bar. The food is as gourmet as it gets, with a Swedish twist. Each dish is a sculptured taste delight. We had, on two different occasions, velvety smooth beet soup (room temperature); butter lettuce salad; beet salad (large chunks of beet); meatballs on a bed of pureed potatoes and thinly sliced cucumber pickles; fork-tender braised beef; and salmon, the latter two on European-style rye bread; delicious Brussels sprouts with golden raisins; cauliflower au gratin, and for dessert, pistachio cake and frozen custard. Nothing was more than $9. Portions are either small or a perfect size, depending on your point of view (quantity versus quality).
The house white wine is an un-oaked French chardonnay, and the house red is a petite Syrah from California, both excellent and at a very reasonable $24.
Although Fika looks at first glance like a cafeteria, it a full service café. Service is friendly but without a lot of training, in particular how to pour wine. The bright white table was spotted with red drips and glass "rings" before we touched our glasses. As we shared plates and dropped bits of food in the process, the dropped bits stayed in place throughout the meal. In that way, it is like a cafeteria.
This is a great place for lunch but is open in the evening only on Wednesday. The seating area is pretty much in the main corridor between the entrance and the rest of the Institute, so it is a bit like sitting at an indoor sidewalk café. There is ample free parking and note that Park Avenue is one-way northbound.
The dates of our visits were May 18 and 22, 2013.
If you own or manage FIKA, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.