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to-eat list

Copenhagen

March 27th, 2019

BY Rasmus Palsgård

Until 2003, no foreigner would consider visiting Copenhagen to eat well. But thanks to a ‘new-Nordic’ manifesto which established a fresh identity for young aspiring chefs to work towards, Copenhagen became a place where gastronomes went to follow their dreams. Nowadays, the city is a culinary wonderland at every level from street food to triple Michelin-starred cooking. And with a dining scene that’s constantly evolving through international chefs, a newfound South American and Asian focus is bringing even more to the city. What was previously a culinary no-man’s land is today a must-visit for any foodie.

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Fine Dining

Mielcke & Hurtigkarl

Fairytales for foodies

To everyone’s disbelief, Mielcke & Hurtigkarl has still never received a Michelin-star. Regardless, this restaurant is one of the most popular among Copenhagen’s foodies thanks to the playful, original and super delicious dishes made by Jakob Mielcke and co. Entering the dining room is like stepping into a fairytale, bugs are climbing up the wall and there are some *entertaining* installations in the toilets. The cuisine meanwhile is hard to define, whilst the produce is mostly local the kitchen doesn’t limit itself to being solely rooted around it. An excellent wine list and impeccable service are worth the trip alone.

Photo: Marie Louise Munkegaard

INSIDER TIP

Just say yes to everything!

local speciality

Fru Nimb

Proud traditions in an amusement park

Tivoli’s amusement park is a must-visit thanks to an 175 year lineage. Inside, you’ll find Fru Nimb which focuses on Denmark’s strongest culinary tradition smørrebrød. Here, the open rye bread sandwiches are topped with anything from herring to smoked salmon, or liver paté. The restaurant presents these classic dishes with just a few modern touches, all best enjoyed with an ice-cold draft beer or a schnapps made from herbs found in Tivoli Gardens. This is the best place for Copenhagen’s classic smørrebrød.

INSIDER TIP

During Tivoli’s open season you will have to pay park entrance in order to eat at Fru Nimb. Try the bread-crumbed plaice with remoulade, and one of the pickled herring dishes.

Local speciality

Selma

Smørrebrød taken to the next level

Apparently it takes a Swede to successfully challenge Danish smørrebrød traditions. The man responsible is Magnus Pettersson and whilst his knowledge about smørrebrød is vast, he also knows how to bend the rules without losing respect for the original dish. Rye bread is still used for the base, but pickled herring comes served in hot brown butter seared moments before serving and another topping unites potatoes with hazelnuts and crispy chicken skin. If Michelin were ever to give a star for smørrebrød, Selma would get it.

INSIDER TIP

Selma serves brews from small Nordic breweries - everything from acidic lambics to heavy stouts. Ask for a sample to find your favorite.

MON-TUE: 11:30-15:30WED-SAT: 11:30-16:00, 18:00-00:00SUN: 11:30-16:00
Worth the Hype

Slurp Ramen Joint

The best ramen in town

You’re not supposed to hang out in traditional ramen joints and so you can’t book a table at Slurp Ramen, instead be prepared to come early or stand in line. These guys make their own perfectly chewy soba (buckwheat) noodles and the different stocks are flavoured to perfection. Have a seat at one of the counters and enjoy watching the busy chefs prepare ramens à la minute before one of the steaming hot umami bowls lands itself in front of you. 

Photo: Luca Donninelli

INSIDER TIP

Go for the spicy miso ramen with slow-cooked pork belly.

Baked Goods

Juno the Bakery

Small batches of brilliance

The long queue waiting outside this small shop is a solid proof that Juno the Bakery is doing everything right. The man behind the counter is Emil Glaser – a self-taught Swedish chef who worked at Noma for six years and thereafter at three-starred establishments in Japan and France. The selection at Juno is limited in order to put maximum effort into every piece of bread and pastry. The sourdough bread is amazing, the croissants are perfect, and you have to experience the outstanding almond croissant shapes filled with Remonce – made from Spain’s finest Marcona almonds.

INSIDER TIP

The cardamom bun is a must-try!

trailblazer

Barr

Close to restaurant perfection

Everything Noma touches turns to gold, and so to is Restaurant Barr located in the former Noma building. Head chef, Thorsten Schmidt, was well researched on traditional Germanic dishes years before opening and serves up perfect modern-day interpretations that are still easily recognisable. Barr is close to the perfect restaurant with local food served at gourmet level in relaxed surroundings, all by the most friendly and talented staff. 

Photo: Mikkel Heriba

INSIDER TIP

Try the 'frikadeller' (Danish meatballs) and the schnitzel.

Trailblazer

Sanchez

Family Mexican taken to the next level

First she amazed Copenhagen with her authentic tacos at Hija de Sanchez, now she’s opened her own permanent restaurant in the city. Chef Rosio Sanchez searched for her own place after several years in charge of Noma’s desserts and her restaurants have quickly become the most popular venues for comfort Mexican food amongst chefs and foodies alike. Expect classics such as tacos, guacamole and mole, all elevated to the next level. 

INSIDER TIP

Sanchez has an impressive selection of mezcal (smoked tequila), try them neat or in a cocktail.

MON, WED, THUR, FRI: 17:00-00:00SAT-SUN: 11:00-14:00, 17:00-00:00
Trailblazer

Amass

Sustainability pioneer

Sustainability is the keyword at Amass. Located on the island of Refshaleøen on the more remote side of Copenhagen’s canal, the restaurant has its own garden providing vegetables and herbs, they avoid using plastic, and they incorporate waste into all other dishes wherever possible. Ground coffee grains in cookies, for example, or potato breads refashioned into crisps dusted with powder made from cabbage stems. Expect super friendly and knowledgeable staff as well as a casual industrial feel in this former shipbuilding yard.

Photo: Emil Glaser

INSIDER TIP

Keep an eye on their calendar. They often host collaborative dinners with top chefs from all over the world.

Market Experience

Torvehallerne

Copenhagen's food mecca

Torvehallerne is Copenhagen’s glass-fronted central food market with a wide selection of stalls offering everything from excellent seafood to paleo fast-food. It’s the perfect spot for gourmets wanting to shop weekend groceries as well as those looking to soak up the atmosphere with a glass of wine and a confit de canard sandwich from Ma Poule. Turn up with an empty bag – you’ll need it.

Photo: Thomas Steen Sørensen

INSIDER TIP

Go for a tray of oysters at 'Fiskerikajen' and some incredible cheese at 'Arla Unika'.

MON-THU: 10:00-19:00FRI: 10:00-20:00SAT: 10:00-18:00SUN: 10:00-17:00
Breakfast

The Corner 108

Unbelievably good pastry

At The Corner you’ll find excellent coffee made using beans from Norwegian master roaster, Tim Wendelboe, a selection of light dishes and, most importantly, utterly incredible pastries. Buttery, flaky dough is brushed with fermented mushroom juice, blackcurrant juice, coffee and more. The tastes and textures are unbelievable. You can kick things off with a homemade sourdough bun served with butter and cheese in the morning, but make sure you leave space for those pastries.  

Photo: Claus Troelsgård

INSIDER TIP

Just order all the pastries!

Chef's Choice

Barabba

After-hours Italian comfort

Copenhagen doesn’t have a large number of restaurants taking orders after 22:00 and so Barabba was warmly welcomed by Copenhagen’s chefs when it first opened. The restaurant takes orders until 2:00 making it the perfect spot for restaurants workers as well as party goers unsatisfied with a junky after-hours pizza. Expect super delicious Italian comfort food including quality grilled meats from the plancha.

INSIDER TIP

Barabba loves truffles and when the season strikes this is one of the most affordable places to feast on the black gold.

Chef's Choice

Marv & Ben

Casual fine dining done right

The food at this Bib Gourmand-awarded restaurant is almost too good when compared with its laid back, casual atmosphere. Excellent Nordic cooking using local products all pumped with umami flies out of the kitchen while attentive waiters pour great wines. You’ll immediately feel at home at Marv & Ben which is why so many industry people enjoy going to the restaurant on their day’s off. It’s also one of very few restaurants open all week.   

Photo: Jesper Bøjlund Reinholdt

INSIDER TIP

The long menu, consisting of eight dishes, costs DKK 600 and is one of the most affordable high-level cooking options in Copenhagen.

The institution

Noma

The revolutionist

It would have been easy for the world’s most famous restaurant to stay in its old spot and capitalise on its success. But that’s not the mindset which changed the Copenhagen dining landscape and at its new Refshalevej location the world has been wowed once more with butter-basted duck brains on the game menu and celeriac shawarma on the vegetable menu. An interesting addition to the new Noma has been the restaurant’s ability to add even more umami deliciousness to every plate thanks to ferments made of everything from mushrooms to squirrel. Yes, you read that right – squirrel.

Photo: Ditte Isager

INSIDER TIP

Try to search for a seat at the community table, they're easier to book. Be aware also that there are two seating times - go for the later one (8pm or later) in order to have less of a fixed end time.

Winebar

Den Vandrette

Your natural wine spring

Natural wine has been extremely popular in Copenhagen for more than a decade now and Den Vandrette, next to the ever-popular Nyhavn area, is one of the best places to enjoy it. Located just below ground level there’s a cosy ambience in the slightly dim room where friendly waiters are ready and willing to guide you through an extensive wine list full of important natural wine references. The food is simple and very delicious, expect extraordinary old comté cheese, dried hams and small dishes based on the best seasonal products.

INSIDER TIP

If you're here around Christmas ask for their 'gløgg' (the Danish version of 'Glühwein'). Theirs uses a natural wine base served with Marcona almonds and raisins.

Winebar

Ved Stranden 10

The coolest wine bar in town

Ved Stranden 10 has been Copenhagen’s most deservedly trendy wine bar for several years now. Its location inside an old pharmacy with leftover wooden drawers and shelves gives the room an authentic feel and the all important wine list is full of organic and bio-dynamic wines from small, (mostly) European producers. Enjoy your wine in an industry-preferred Zalto wineglass and be sure to try some excellent charcuterie which all comes from Copenhagen’s best producers.

INSIDER TIP

Ask the waiter if s/he can take you down to the cellar. There, you're welcome to pick any wine you wish to drink.

Rasmus Palsgård

Rasmus Palsgård is a journalist based in Copenhagen. He is a regular contributor to Denmark's most influential culinary media and runs https://feinschmeckeren.dk/ all about gastronomy. At the age of 26 he became the youngest member of The Danish Food Critics Association. He is also an enthusiastic home cook (making it all the way to the finals of MasterChef in 2016) and offers exclusive gourmet food tours around Copenhagen.


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