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Edible Copenhagen

Danish Bakeries
Edible Copenhagen
One of the best ways to understand Copenhagen is through its food. It is a city where the cuisine allows you to explore how Denmark blends new and old, exotic and domestic, relaxed and formal all into a distinctly flavored Copenhagen experience.
By Alex Berger, AFAR Local Expert
Photo courtesy of Lagkagehuset
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    Danish Bakeries
    Danish Bakeries
    Copenhagen is full of bakeries specializing in the treats which originally put Denmark on the pastry map—just don't ask for a "Danish pastry." When visiting Danish bakeries, remember that experimentation is key and don't be afraid to ask for recommendations. You can pair shopping with baked goods at Illum's in-house bakery, which is located just off of Strøget. Lagkagehuset, a café/bakery with reliably delicous items, has 30 locations throughout Denmark; the one in Copenhagen overlooks the city's lakes. Emmerys is another popular chain, serving baked treats as well as sandwiches and salads.
    Photo courtesy of Lagkagehuset
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    Smørrebrød
    Smørrebrød
    Perhaps the most traditional of Danish foods and a staple of the Danish diet, smørrebrød typically consists of a piece of rich rye bread (rugbrød), a layer of butter, and savory toppings. Ingredients vary widely but often include veggies, boiled eggs, shrimp, fish roe, fried fish, smoked salmon, pickled herring, and potatoes. A meal usually consists of between three and six different items while the price per piece can range from around $2 to $15. Try Rita's in Nørrebro for budget smørrebrød, and you'll also find them, along with other snacks from around the globe, at Copenhagen Street Food. Schønnemann and Aamanns serve luxury renditions of this humble dish. Many cafés have build-your-own smørrebrød bars.
    Photo Courtesy of Columbus Leth/Copenhagen Media Center
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    New Nordic
    New Nordic
    Famous for its locally sourced ingredients and creative, nature-inspired presentation, Copenhagen's iconic Noma restaurant led the emergence of New Nordic cuisine. While the original Noma closed in 2016, a new location is scheduled to open in 2018. With a nod to Denmark's past, New Nordic restaurants draw on more traditional ways of sourcing and preparing food, including foraging for ingredients and brining, smoking, and artfully curing meats. The result is elegant and refined, yet often surprisingly complex, with rich flavors and unusual smells that excite your taste buds and curiosity. There are numerous takes on New Nordic, and no two are quite the same. Good options to consider visiting include Noma (named The World's Best Restaurant in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014) if its new location has opened by the time you visit, as well as Relæ, Geist, Manfreds & Vin, and Restaurant Bror.
    Photo by Chris Tonnesen
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    Floating Cafés
    Floating Cafés
    During the summer months, one of the best places to spend an afternoon or early evening in Copenhagen is at a floating café along the canals. These coffee shops combine the city's clean waters with soothing natural sounds and views, making it easy to forget that you're sitting in the midst of a nation's capital. In addition to tables, Kaffesalonen in Nørrebro offers pillows and paddleboat rentals, while Christianshavn's Bådudlejning & Café, located right next to Christianshavn metro, offers a view of one of Copenhagen's most beautiful canals. Another popular spot is Kayak Bar, just around the corner from the Danish Parliament, which offers kayak rentals, grilled fare, and has a floating sand beach.
    Photo by Egmont Strigl/age fotostock
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    Pop-Up Restaurants
    Pop-Up Restaurants
    If you want to add a touch of adventure to your culinary experience, check out one of Copenhagen's pop-up restaurants. These pop-ups take over a funky location—a garage, warehouse, park, or even another restaurant—and briefly convert it into a restaurant serving high quality meals. The events often sell out quickly, and can take some research to find, so make sure to plan ahead; two to watch are Silver.Spoon and Rødder. Another option for a local experience is to try one of the folkekøkken, such as Folkekøkken Vesterbro. While sometimes called soup kitchens, these are actually better translated as people's kitchens. They are open to all and usually offer a basic vegetarian meal at a budget price.
    Photo courtesy of Aleksander Thuesen/Silver.Spoon
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    Nordic Sushi
    Nordic Sushi
    Sushi is an immensely popular part of the Nordic diet. Given Denmark's historical relationship to the sea, this should not be as big a surprise as it might seem at first. Situated on a large island, Copenhagen has a vibrant sushi scene consisting of a mixture of takeout and high-end sushi restaurants. For quality sushi and an excellent view, try Sticks 'n Sushi. While they have multiple locations, the view from their Tivoli Hotel restaurant is particularly notable. Another popular option is Damindra, located within walking distance of Nyhavn.
    Photo courtesy of Xavier Bougouin/Damindra
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    Cozy Cafés
    Cozy Cafés
    In Copenhagen the concept of hygge—a kind of comfortable, low-key camaraderie—reigns supreme. It revolves around cozy time spent with friends, often in spaces reminiscent of traditional reading rooms and lit by candles. For a great hygge café experience, seek out the intimate and welcoming cafés scattered across the city. Nørrebro and Vesterbro in particular are famous for tiny restaurants and coffee shops that have tightly packed tables and lots of character. For something slightly larger but equally cozy, try spaces such as Paludan Bog & Café, with its book-lined walls, or The Living Room.
    Photo by Alex Berger
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    Fine Dining
    Fine Dining
    Copenhagen boasts an impressive assortment of fine dining options in addition to its New Nordic cuisine. While many establishments highlight Danish influences, you can find everything from gourmet French to Southeast Asian. You'll see the same commitment to quality and excellence that has made Danes famous as craftsmen, but be warned that this excellence comes with a hefty price tag—meals in Copenhagen reflect Denmark's high cost of living. Try Brasserie Degas or Søllerød Kro for French, Kiin Kiin for Thai, Kokkeriet for seasonal Danish, and Krebsegaarden for a menu based on their current gallery exhibition. For an excellent view and a fun vibe, try Søren K—named for the philosopher Kierkegaard—located in the Black Diamond.
    Photo courtesy of Søren K