Traditional to Modern: Nordic Cuisine in Copenhagen
Nordic cuisine is making a modern day comeback and there is no city where this is more apparent than the charming Danish capital. The city delivers on its past to present promise where traditional Danish fare mixes with some of the world’s most modern, innovative and successful chefs.
8, Per Henrik Lings Allé 4, 2100 København, Denmark
Geranium has the distinction of having been awarded two Michelin stars for 2014. The restaurant is situated on the 8th floor in the heart of Fælledparken and provides wonderful views out over Copenhagen‘s skyline. For these guys nature is food, and food is art. Photo: Geranium
The rainy or cold weather can make walking down the famous Strøget in Copenhagen, Denmark in the off-season a little tiring. There’s a little bit of magic just off the main walking street in the form of the Royal Cafe. The high pink walls and large windows let in a lot of light, which reflects off the artfully placed mirrors and display glasses. Rest on funky-patterned seats at small or large community tables and order a coffee or a custom smørrebrød known as a “Smushie” to warm up.
Snaregade 4, 1205 København, Denmark
Marv & Ben has become famous within Copenhagen for its focus on simple classics served in an artistic way while still remaining packed with flavor. As with most New Nordic restaurants, the menu is highly seasonal and draws heavily from what is available in Denmark. The restaurant states that everything used on the menu is Danish and that they make an effort to source things from as close to Copenhagen as possible. This includes growing a lot of what they use in their own garden. The wines served are biodynamic and organic. Marv & Ben aims for a relaxed feel which has, at times, been described as a gastro-pub ambience.
Store Kongensgade 70, 1264 København, Denmark
This shop is run by a 4th generation smørrebrød cook. Ida’s family has been preparing and selling smørrebrød since 1888 with a reputation for having one of the most extensive smørrebrød menus in Denmark. Not only is it worth trying her smørrebrød, but her family story is also well worth a read.
Foodies, rejoice. Torvehallerne is a one-stop shop for several meals, snacks, and gourmet groceries or gastronomical gifts. It’s an airy, light-filled building with all kinds of purveyors, from fantastic coffee shops, chefs cooking fresh pasta and serving it hot to you at the counter, a farmers market outside, a tapas bar, you name it. If you’ve ever been to Florence, think of Mercato Centrale, but in a nicer setting and housing more variety. Ride your bike there to grab a bite or to spend the day enjoying its bounty.
Toldbodgade 2, 1253 København, Denmark
These guys take a lot of pride in the food they prepare. Things are made from scratch daily, and they focus on sourcing high-quality ingredients based on taste and what’s in season. Beyond just smørrebrød and the usual Danish lunch menu, Told and Snaps is a fully functional restaurant. They also have an assortment of traditional snaps, both purchased and homemade variations. As this is a traditional Danish lunch restaurant, it’s not typically open for dinner.
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.
Jægersborggade 9, 2200 København N, Denmark
Forget Paris. I’m convinced the best bread in the world comes from Copenhagen. Deeply flavored from specially-milled grains and kneaded when wet so the texture comes out satisfyingly chewy, this fantastic stuff threatens to ruin appetites at all of the city’s great restaurants, including Noma and Relae. But there’s perhaps no place better to try a loaf than warm out of the oven at Meyers Bageri.