Taste trends in Copenhagen

Copenhagen is an alluring mix of continental flair and Nordic cool.

© Shutterstock

copenhagen

Copenhagen is an alluring mix of continental flair and Nordic cool.

© Shutterstock

When it comes to counting the number of restaurants with at least one Michelin star, Copenhagen punches above its weight – this year 15 addresses have been awarded a total of 24 stars. This would have been difficult to imagine even 20 years ago when Scandinavia was considered a culinary wasteland by critics. A year after jointly founding Noma, chefs Claus Meyer and René Redzepi almost defiantly convened a conference in Copenhagen in 2004 where twelve pioneers from Northern Europe developed a "Manifesto for New Nordic Cuisine" with ten resolutions. One of them was to use products that are particularly delicious due to the climate, landscape and waters of the North. This was the birth of a regional and seasonal movement that has moved Europe's northern edge to the centre of the culinary world map. The resulting New Nordic Cuisine puts ingredients in the spotlight and lingers in the memory instead of on the hips. 

In its approaching anniversary year, the 42 seats at Noma will be even more sought-after than usual. This is to be the last cycle of the current concept, which provides three menus each year, each with a different focus­ – a fundamental revamp is planned for 2024. It is much easier to make a reservation at the restaurant Radio, founded by Claus Meyer, at the design-oriented Høst and the literally informal Uformel.

Refreshing design: in the Skt. Petri hotel, splashes of colour create an informal atmosphere.

Photos provided

Sweet temptations

Culinary pleasures are by no means limited to the evening hours. The irresistible Danish pastry is an excellent choice for coffee in the morning or an afternoon slump after an intensive museum visit. These are made of up to 27 layers of puff pastry, the preparation of which the Danes originally copied from Austria. When local journeymen bakers went on strike in the 19th century because of wage disputes, the masters recruited employees from Vienna. They not only kept the day-to-day business running, but also enriched the bakeries with their expertise. Even today, the Danes (as well as the Swedes) speak of "Wienerbrød" (Viennese bread) when referring to Danish pastry. Since then, local specialities such as the vanilla cream-filled Spandauer variety have also been developed. 

Good cafés have been around in Copenhagen for a long time, but for the past few years the city has been experiencing a real baking boom. First came sourdough, and with it the rediscovery of the craft, and then the post-pandemic desire for sweets. Four former Noma chefs are now manning the ovens in the bakeries Benji, Alice, Hart Bageri and Juno the Bakery. Sometimes you even have to queue up to enjoy the perfectly layered, buttery works of art.

Every course is literally an eye-catcher at Alchemist.

© Søren Gammelmark

Active discovery 

Don't be modest with your appetite: you need a lot of energy to explore Copenhagen, because most of the time you go everywhere on foot. Strøget and the other shopping streets are too inviting and the distances too short to switch to another means of transport. And yet, six or seven kilometres add up if you walk from Indre By in the city centre to Rosenborg Castle, from there pay a visit to the Little Mermaid, stroll along the water to the photogenic Nyhavn waterfront with its colourful houses and cross the car-free Inderhavnsbroen bridge to the alternative district of Christiania.

The water is a reminder that Copenhagen's history as a port and trading city goes back more than 850 years. The ships brought not only goods but new ideas. Whether adopted like Viennese pastries or newly conceived like Nordic cuisine, the Danish capital is a good breeding ground for trends, which makes it an exciting destination time and again.

Chef Rasmus Kofoed creates menus at Geranium in the rhythm of the seasons from around 16 lovingly arranged works of art.

© Bech-Poulsen

Hotels

Admiral Hotel ****
The waterfront hotel is housed in a former warehouse built in 1787. The original wooden beams can still be seen in some of the 366 renovated rooms. The famous statue of the Little Mermaid can be reached on foot in 15 minutes. Rental bikes allow guests to feel like real Copenhageners. Double rooms from approx. €270.
Toldbodgade 24–28, 1253 Copenhagen
T: +45 3374 1414, admiralhotel.dk

Skt. Petri *****
A former department store now houses this relaxed, luxury five-star hotel that has its finger on the pulse. Around it, the lively Latinerkvarteret (Latin District) with shops, cafés and nightlife is equally stylish. The old town with the Strøget pedestrian zone is also just around the corner. Access to sauna and steam bath is included. Double rooms from approx. €350. 
Krystalgade 22, 1172 Copenhagen
T: +45 33 459100, sktpetri.com

Sanders *****
Elegant boutique hotel with 54 rooms in a homely retro style with wooden furniture and muted colours. In fine weather you can sit on the roof terrace and enjoy wine and cocktails while admiring the surroundings. The central Nyhavn harbour is only 200 metres away. Double rooms from approx. €400. 
Tordenskjoldsgade 15, 1055 Copenhagen
T: +45 46 400040, hotelsanders.com

Restaurants

Noma ***
The icon of new Nordic cuisine continues to draw foodies from all over the world. René Redzepi divides the year into three phases, each celebrated with its own tasting menu. In spring, the focus is on seafood; in summer, vegetables take centre stage; in winter, it's all about woods and game. The menu is served at lunch and dinner (approx. €400 plus wine or juice pairings).
Refshalevej 96, 1432 Copenhagen
T: +45 32 963297, noma.dk

Geranium ***
In 2016, it became Denmark's first restaurant to earn three Michelin stars. This year it tops the list of the World's 50 best restaurants, replacing Noma, which took first place in 2021. The restaurant on the 8th floor has a panoramic view over Fælledparken, the city's largest park. Menu approx. €430, wine pairings from approx. €270. 
Per Henrik Lings Allé 4, 2100 Copenhagen
T: +45 6996 0020, geranium.dk

Alchemist **
In a former warehouse of the Danish Theatre, behind four-metre-high bronze doors, chef Rasmus Munk redefines the term "experience gastronomy". A menu of 50 (!) courses is served at five locations and in five acts. One of the venues is under a spectacular dome with video effects. Menu approx. €600, drink pairings from approx. €215.
Refshalevej 173C, 1432 Copenhagen
T: +45 31 716161, alchemist.dk

Bjørnekælderen
The 'Bear's Basement' has been serving good food for 130 years: Smørrebrød is served at lunchtime and a mixture of classic and modern Danish cuisine in the evening. Nevertheless, the historic inn has only recently received an award, namely the Guide Michelin's Bib Gourmand for high-quality, good value food. 
Frederiksberg Allé 55, 1820 Frederiksberg
T: +45 47 477747, bjoernekaelderen.dk

Gasoline Grill
A stay abroad in the US at the age of 16 later inspired Klaus Wittrup to found his successful burger chain. The first branch opened in 2016 in a former petrol station – hence the name. Now eight branches provide Copenhageners and holidaymakers alike with hearty burgers. Most open around 11am and close as soon as the limited number of burgers is sold out.
Landgreven 10, 1300 Copenhagen
gasolinegrill.com

Cafés

Bageriet Benji
The pandemic-induced sourdough hype has given Nørrebro several bakeries not even a kilometre apart. This address belongs to Noma graduate Rasmus Kristensen. Spandauer, filled with vanilla cream and also available with a pumpkin flavour in autumn, is a cult favourite. Nearby is the equally recommendable café Andersen & Maillard (Nørrebrogade 62).
Fælledvej 23, 2200 Copenhagen
instagram.com/bageriet_benji

Hart Bageri
Behind this first-class sourdough bakery are Richard Hart (formerly of Tartine Bakery in San Francisco) and Noma chef René Redzepi. Cardamom muffins, croissants and almond buns, among other things, are made here.
Gammel Kongevej 109, 1850 Frederiksberg
T: +45 31 111850, hartbageri.com

Østerberg Ice Cream
In an inconspicuous little ice cream parlour five minutes' walk from the Hart bakery, owner Cathrine Østerberg serves handmade quality ice cream. As the daughter of a family that built a global fruit processing company, she knows where to get the best berries and fruits for her gelato. There is also a second branch in Østerbro district (Rosenvængets Allé 7C).
Tullinsgade 25, 1618 Copenhagen
T: +45 61 423289, osterberg-ice.dk


FIND OUT MORE

  • News
    27.07.2022
    A Long Weekend in Nice: The Place to Be for Gourmets
    The port city at the Côte d'Azur is both, a sophisticated cosmopolitan town and a cosy village at the same time. The beach stretches for...
  • Long Weekend: Welcome to Miami
    Florida's most important metropolis is vibrant and glamorous, delighting with its sophisticated cuisine. Culinary influences from all over the world mingle together here.
  • Long Weekend: Best of Paris
    Between the Louvre, Île Saint-Louis and Jardin du Luxembourg lies the nucleus of France's capital. Stroll along both sides of the Seine and discover the cultural highlights.
  • Long Weekend in Helsinki
    The 'White City' is a melting pot of cappuccino and cinnamon snails, champagne and reindeer, strawberries and cloudberry liqueur.
  • Long Weekend in Franciacorta, Italy
    The wine region south of Lake Iseo is rich in scenic beauty and culinary offerings. The density of excellent restaurants and trattorias is unique.