Copenhagen’s Top Restaurants and Bars

This is a city that covers cuisine from high to low, from some of the world’s most celebrated and innovative chefs to the humble—but delicious—hot dog. And before, or after, your meal, the city abounds in bars serving the best Danish beers and craft cocktails. Here is where to eat and drink in Denmark’s capital.

Hal 7 & 8, Papirøen, Trangravsvej 14, 7/8, 1436 København, Denmark
Don’t be confused by the name: This isn’t street food so much as dockside warehouse food. Walk over Inderhavnsbroen, one of the city’s newer bridges (opened in 2016), and you’ll cross from the heart of Copenhagen to a former industrial area that is now a foodie paradise. It is to the city what Borough Market is to London—a hugely popular attraction where people flock to eat great food off paper plates. Chinese, Korean, Italian, Moroccan . . . It’s all here and so inviting that it’s hard to know where to start. The only note of caution: Copenhagen Street Food is so popular that the weekend crowds can be intimidating.
Sortedam Dossering 9, st, th, 2200 København N, Denmark
This group of more than 30 cafés across Denmark are open early, so they’re great for breakfast. The tea, coffee, and sandwiches are all very nice, but what really sets Lagkagehuset apart is the quality of the cakes. It would take an iron will to resist one of their strawberry tarts or a slice of Christianshavnerkage, a hazelnut torte topped with strawberry-vanilla cream and berries. The café in Copenhagen overlooks the lakes, and when the water glitters on a sunny day, there are few places more pleasant for an impromptu afternoon tea.
5 Kronprinsensgade
This tea shop looks like the sort of place you’d find in a Harry Potter film. Opened in 1835, it’s the oldest in Europe and has changed very little over the decades. The wonderful scent of green, white, and black tea that fills the air adds to the magical atmosphere. In contrast, just around the corner is a door that leads up to a café that feels like something you might see in a Miss Marple film. This modern addition to the shop is an ideal place for afternoon tea, serving tea-time favorites like scones with fresh berries or lemon curd, finger sandwiches, and blini with salmon.
1 Tullinsgade
This is one of the smallest cafés in the city, which is appropriate as it’s downstairs from the smallest hotel, with just one room. The café is equally tiny and appealing, created by a man who’s worked as a set designer with Danish TV and thus knows a thing or two about atmosphere and pleasant, inviting spaces. Central Café may be small, but it’s impossible to miss: Look for the huge sign on top of the roof. It feels more like a little corner of Paris than Copenhagen—just the place for a café au lait if you can squeeze in, as well as sandwiches, croissants and pastries, and their signature banana split.
Vestergade 13, 1456 København, Denmark
You’ll find branches of Emmerys, a popular bakery and café, throughout the city—there are more than 30 of them in Denmark, and the majority are in or around the capital. These bright, friendly places are perfect to pop into when you’re feeling peckish, and because they use 100 percent organic ingredients, you can have a hearty sandwich or salad—or indulge in one of their exceptionally tasty hazelnut chocolate croissants or brownies—with a clear conscience. The arabica coffee beans are also organic.
Øster Farimagsgade 10, 2100 København Ø, Denmark
When it comes to the greatest Danish invention of all time, it’s a toss-up between Legos and the open-faced sandwich. The latter is given the respect it deserves at Aamanns, which has elevated sandwich making to an art form. The lunch menu includes sandwiches made with smoked Icelandic salmon, beef tartare, or pickled herring, and, underneath it all, a slice of organic sourdough bread. Aamanns has a deli and takeout service, but it’s better to visit their restaurant, Aamanns Etablissement. Failing that, stop by the branch at the airport for your last meal in Denmark before you head home.
Værnedamsvej 5, 1819 Frederiksberg, Denmark
Sitting in Copenhagen’s prettiest café, you could almost think you’re on the Left Bank in Paris. However, the menu has many delicious Nordic dishes, from Icelandic yogurt with honey to dense Danish rye bread and oatmeal with lots of healthy extras. The only problem with Granola is that, because it’s so charming and inviting, it’s always packed. Try to avoid the weekend crush by coming midweek instead.
Sankt Peders Stræde 24A, 1453 København, Denmark
Noma, consistently ranked as one of the world’s best restaurants, closed in 2016, but its impact on dining in Copenhagen has been profound. Many chefs who worked there have since launched their own restaurants, including two who opened Bror. It’s a small space with big ambitions—expect astonishing food made from the best local produce. The five-course menu costs 625 kroner ($100), with wine pairings an additional 450 kroner ($72). There are also some memorable snacks. Don’t miss the bull testicles with tartar sauce or the cod head with cabbage wrap.
Nybrogade 10, 1203 København, Denmark
Copenhagen is one of the world’s most sophisticated cocktail cities. Bars as far afield as Tokyo and New York keep a close eye on what is shaking—and stirring—here. Ruby, among the more elegant of Copenhagen’s bars, opened in 2007 with a focus on classic cocktails. It can be hard to find, but look for the flag of Georgia to guide you there, as it’s in the same building as that country’s embassy.
Flæsketorvet 100, 1711 København, Denmark
New York isn’t the only city with a Meatpacking District that’s been transformed into one of the hottest spots in town. Copenhagen’s Kødbyen (which translates as “Meat Town”) is home to several leading art galleries worth exploring by day, including V1 Gallery and Gallery Poulsen, but once the sun goes down it really bursts into life thanks to its many excellent restaurant and bars. You can have seafood at Kødbyens Fiskebar, Indian/Pakstani food at BollyFood, or just bounce around the various bars and have a bite here and there with your beer or cocktails.
Store Kongensgade 66, 1264 København, Denmark
On Madklubben’s website is a manifesto that sums up its philosophy: “to offer excellent food and drink for an unusually reasonable price.” That’s not an idle boast. You can get one course for 100 kroner ($16), two courses for 150 ($24), or three for 200 ($32), featuring dishes such as mushroom pie, veal with pickled beets, and cured cod with horseradish cream – a great deal in a notably expensive city (with well-priced wine on the menu, to boot). The original venue, Madklubben Bistro-de-Luxe, is still going strong in central Copenhagen near the Queen’s Palace, and there are now several other locations scattered around town.
Knippelsbrogade 10, 1409 København K, Denmark
Any discussion of food in Copenhagen invariably includes Noma. It’s hard to overstate the impact of this eatery. For four years, it was declared the world’s best restaurant. Not only did it transform dining in the Danish capital but it made New Nordic gastronomy a force to be reckoned with worldwide. What’s more, a generation of former Noma chefs have launched their own places in the city and abroad that echo the Noma philosophy. Opened in 2003, the original restaurant closed its doors in 2016. There’s a temporary location under the Knippelsbro Bridge for now, and a new permanent location is due to open as part of an urban farm in the Christiania area of Copenhagen. Keep an eye on the website for details.
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