Is Copenhagen a foodie city with amazing restaurants? You bet it is. Well, it’s home to one of the most coveted restaurants on the planet, NOMA. And although famous for its open-faced sandwiches and love of pastries (which in its own right is enough to grant a visit), something quite delicious has been brewing in the Danish capital.
At the turn of the century, Nordic cuisine quickly became the new obsession of chefs and food critics worldwide. It’s not hard to understand why: with the rapid deforestation of the Amazon due to livestock and the increasing popularity of processed foods, along with dramatically changing climatic conditions, suddenly the idea of sourcing and finding inspiration in one’s own backyard is not only evident but, as it turns out, delicious. And that’s exactly what the Danes did.
In 2004, local celebrity chef Claus Meyer (who at the time had just opened Noma, incidentally) along with a dozen or so other influent chefs published a manifest on Nordic cuisine that summarised in ten points the use of seasonal, ethical and substainable products that were of the highest quality.
If you have a restaurant in your area that focuses on small plates, market cuisine, locally-sourced native ingredients… you have this movement to thank.
By the way, velbekomme means “Bon appétit” in Danish. You’ll be hearing it a lot!
The most popular restaurants in Copenhagen for Nordic cuisine
It’s all about oatmeal at this small take-away counter inside Torvehallerne… and not the boring kind. My top pick was the savoury Asian-inspired Congee (chicken, ginger, coriander & soy).
The largest street food venue in the Nordics is located inside an old warehouse on a small island across the Royal Danish Playhouse. It houses 40 stalls and offers some of the most budget-friendly, genuine options in the city with a glorious waterfront terrace to boot.
This organic bakery/café in Nørrebro was opened by the restaurant next door and offer a unique Italian twist on the famous Danish smørrebrød, with focaccia bread and scrumptious cured meats.
La Banchina is a tiny, 14-seat outdoor eatery in an old boathouse with a wooden pier along the harbor at Refshaleøen, with a seafood-heavy offering complemented by natural wines and organic vegetable plates.
Another great choice for significantly affordable restaurants in Copehagen, this time in Nørrebro! This Italian-owned pizzeria operates its very own dairy where they make burrata and ricotta and they even have a salumeria where they cure charcuterie.
With an acronym that stands for Copenhagen Food Collective, it’s no wonder Cofoco has made Danish cuisine the heart of its operations. Located in trendy Vesterbro, it features rustic yet elegantly-presented fare either à la carte or prix-fixe. They also have a dedicated vegeterian menu!
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Nearby on Sankt Peders Stræde, Cofoco’s sister restaurant focuses on fresh Nordic vegetables — with a perfectly seasoned side of meat or fish. The decor is centred around a beautiful greenhouse, stretching up through the restaurant’s two floors.
Now, this is a very special place. The corner building located right by the canals dates back to the late 1700s and is dotted with iconic Nordic-made chairs and tables. The decor is chic, yet bold with a mossy green wall and massive windows including one that opens onto the kitchen so you can spy the cooks hard at work. Head chef Jonas Hillgaard and his accolyte Genzo Miyata have created a Japanese-Danish fusion menu that is even more appetizing in person than on the Web; therefore, do not miss their Japanese-inspired breakfast!
Located in the post-industrial Refshaleøen area of Copenhagen, this cute and light-filled bakery/restaurant works exclusively with organic ingredients. Their classic sourdough sandwich is, indeed, a classic. If you have room in your luggage, make sure to get a jar of their iconic and oh-so-Nordic gooseberry chutney.
Welcome to Copenhagen’s floating restaurant! Located on a cosy houseboat in Sydhavnen, it features above all the most beautiful view of the canals and focuses on substainability. Food is prepared on the ship’s large wood stove; herbs are grown on the floating green garden.
This is where you’ll get your fix of open-faced sandwiches, as they do serve the best smørrebrød in Copenhagen. And in true Danish form, the perfectly-designed space is dotted with classic Scandi furniture, bold checkered flooring and an impossibly cool vibe.
This seasonal bistro is obviously a good choice for its farm-to-table Danish cuisine and its “joyful wines”, but really it’s the leafy courtyard that does the trick. Interior-wise is equally important, in this typical Danish-tall-ceiling, red-brick building that radiates with light despite its austere appearance. The bistro is adjacent to Charlottenburg Palace and is filled with thoughtful furniture and art pieces.
Even if you’re not a beer aficionado, this Copenhagen microbrewery is beyond a must. If only for the interior design! If you’re here for dinner, make sure to ask for the sampling menu, where each dish is expertly paired with one of their 10 homemade brews.