Copenhagen has been the epicenter of one of the most important culinary movement during the last twenty years. It’s the cradle of the New Nordic Cuisine. In 2004, René Redzepi and Claus Meyer published “The New Nordic Food Manifesto”. They defined a new way to think about food and dishes, based on the concept of purity, ethics, and seasonality. Their restaurant, NOMA, quickly became a protagonist in the world of fine dining, gathering two Michelin stars in the following years and being awarded the title of Best Restaurant in the World for four years.
Now NOMA has closed, but the cultural environment it defined is well alive. Copenhagen is a delicious sequence of lovely restaurants and fantastic coffee shops, serving high-quality food with a strong focus on healthiness and simplicity. We never fell short of options around the city. It’s a paradise for food lovers. If you enjoy pure, raw flavors, this will become one of your favorite cities in the world. As it became one of ours!
Delicious Food Spots
We preferred to focus on street food and try several of the fantastic coffee shops and bakeries this town has to offer, where Danish people gather together and celebrate this wonderful city. So here are our top spots you have to try to eat as a Danish!
Danish national food? Easy, it’s smørrebrød! There is no shame in not knowing how to spell it, it sounds a bit like “small bowl”, but every danish will understand what you mean! It’s an open sandwich made from rye bread with a series of ingredients on top. It’s usually composed of a protein, some (usually) acid vegetable, and a sauce. If you, like us, love this kind of bread you will go crazy for it, especially the fish-based ones!
There are several Smørrebrød sellers spread around the city, with a wide variation of prices. If you want to treat yourself, Amalie next to Amalienborg is probably the best place in town, but it’s absurdly overpriced. Head to Torvehallerne, an excellent food market next to Nørreport, for some more reasonable prices. Here you can find Hallernes, our personal go-to spot for this kind of food. Finally, the cheapest option, with much simpler filling but some delicious meat, is Slagteren ved Kultorvet, a butcher shop that also sells Smørrebrød at lunchtime. If you set for the last one, try some of their biltong too, it’s amazing!
The best cappuccino and pastries combination? Jægersborggade, in Nørrebro
This city is famous for its coffee shops. At every corner, you will find a charming café selling delicious coffee and pastries. After trying several shops spread around town, we decided our top combination. Head to Nørrebro, a young, dynamic neighborhood on the western side of Copenhagen. Specifically, our destination is Jægersborggade, a picture perfect street with several restaurants, vintage stores, and coffee shops.
First stop is Meyers Bageri, a small takeaway-only bakery selling bread and pastries. After buying a mandatory cinnamon roll (try the danish cake too!), keep going to reach the end of the road. At the corner with Stefansgade, you can find The Coffee Collective original store. Nowadays they have several bars around Copenhagen, but this was the first one, with the best atmosphere. A relaxing, Nordic coffee shop serving delicious cappuccinos, the best one in town and one of the best we ever tasted. If the weather allows, sit outside, and enjoy the best break you can get in the city!
A hot dog in the park
If Smørrebrød is the typical national lunch, the hot dog is the Danish street food. Food stalls serving this dish, called “pølsevogn”, are spread everywhere in the city. There are two main options. The traditional Danish sausage, red-colored, is boiled and served on a small paper dish with your choice of dressing and a piece of white bread. While this may be traditional, it’s proven to be very uncomfortable to eat. A better option is the “french hotdog”, which is a grilled sausage in a baguette-shape bread (nothing to do with the actual baguette though!).
We tried this last version, choosing all the dressing and toppings available. That includes mustard, ketchup, Danish remoulade, roasted onions, and pickles. It bursts in flavors, and we were utterly satisfied. It’s a great way to have a snack while walking around the city, especially when paired with a Danish beer!
Delicious tip: beers in Copenhagen may be quite expensive, especially in touristic places like Nyhavn. Most Danish young people buy some beers at a supermarket, sit on the border of the canal and watch the boats passing by!
Torvehallerne: Ideal for Lunch
We already spoke about this place, as here we found one of the best Smørrebrød in town, but Torvehallerne is much more than that. Two pavilions host several small restaurants, offering different types of food. Here we found a good Greek restaurant, a Spanish tapas bar, and a sushi place. We recommend in particular the sushi, the quality of the fish was high, and the sushi was carefully prepared. We are not speaking about the excellence of Japanese cuisine, but it has an excellent value for money.
Torvehallerne is a great place where to have a quick lunch, eating a couple of dishes directly at the counter or even jumping from one place to the other to try all of them!
The best food market in the city, Papirøen
We love street food. It’s a beautiful way to eat as locals do, understanding the culinary panorama of a city. And Papirøen, the primary central food market of Copenhagen, is the place to go here. Differently from the food market at Nørreport, this location is open only at night, and it has a younger, more dynamic atmosphere. We could find dishes from all over the world, as well as several types of beer to quench our thirst!
We loved Copenhagen; it’s one of the cutest capital cities in Europe and a place that looks like coming straight out from a fairy tale. Plus, it’s a foodie paradise. Do you need any other reason to come here!?!