Monday, 24 June 2013

Ten great places to eat in Copenhagen

Porridge with rhubarb and 'skyr' an Icelandic sour cream, from Grød.
Flying into Copenhagen

Thanks to Noma, Copenhagen is on every food lovers' map but... most of us who visit will neither be able to afford it or get a reservation. 

There is still plenty of interesting food to be tasted and food places to be visited in Copenhagen. I had the privilege of a food tour from Mia Kristensen, a food anthropologist and chef living in Copenhagen. Mia often comes to London to talk about and demonstrate 'New Nordic' cuisine(more info here). 
Copenhagen is a young city, I doubt I saw anyone over the age of 35. Once people have had kids, they move out. This hipster demographic means that the men are very handsome, often blond and frequently with fashionable facial foliage. I confess, I found myself being distracted from the food and on a 'hot Danish man' safari. 
1) The world's only porridge restaurant 'Grød' (pronounced something like 'gruel'). There is a version of porridge in every world cuisine and it's not only eaten for breakfast. Think of polenta, rissoto, farroto, congee, these are all variations upon porridge. The girl behind the counter told me that people do go there three times a day! Two branches: one in Jaegersborggade and the other in the market mentioned below. 

2) Torvehallernekbh, the main food market:  located in a large square near Norreport station. You can spend most of a day wandering around and eating. Here are my picks:

Salty Liquorice! I'm passionate about this stuff but it is a Marmite thing, you'll love it or hate it. Bornholmerbutikken sells artisanal liquorice, made by young entrepeneur Johan Bulow, in different strengths plus syrup which you can use in cooking. (Heston uses liquorice to baste salmon, and I love it with meringues, available from Totally Swedish in London)

Herbs! C.O Torveplads: unusual herbs such as pineapple mint. 
Chocolate marshmallows and blue cheese chocolates at Anton Berg, Copenhagen
Chocolate marshmallows at Anton Berg. These are a retro fetish, invented by the Danes, which were previously, in less respectful times, called 'Negro kisses'. Apparently each Dane consumes at least 45 per annum. 

One stall Krydderiet sold various fruit powders (dehydrating a big trend here). I bought a bunch of these.
Danish wine is now being produced. I've heard it's good but rather expensive at almost £40 a bottle. This will be a relief for Noma's sommelier who can now include local wines on his list.
Food stalls: great for a quick lunch

Gorm's: make delicious 'pizza wraps', cooked on a wood burning oven. Do try the Brigitte 'Stallone' Nielsen with cured salmon, mozzarella, cream cheese and watercress. I've read they also do a horse meat pizza.

Danish open sandwiches from Hallernes in the market. They are little works of art really and lower carb than your usual sarnie!
There are also excellent Danish open sandwiches 'smørrebrød' at Aamanns in Copenhagen.
Traditional fishcakes served with dark bread and remoulade, a sauce of mustard mayonnaise with piccalilli
Danish fishcakes called Fiskefrikadeller can be bought at Boutique Fisk. These are traditional heavy Danish cuisine. fiskefrikadeller s
Cupcakes and baked goods at Cafe Rosa. This is run by a kooky Japanese-Danish girl Maya, who looks like a cartoon and has little animals on the counter. It's stylish but she is slightly scary and unfriendly. Don't let that put you off, the food is great. 
3) A supper club: Silver Spoon
This one I found on the supper club lists on my site Find a supper club, where, on joining, you can peruse the UK list or the worldwide one. Silver Spoon is a Copenhagen based pop up/supper club, run by ex-pat American Tiffany who has lived in Denmark for five years. 
The theme was 'The Refined ghetto' an interpretation of the soul/R&B movement and 80s ghetto scene from LA. It was held in an atmospheric abandoned warehouse, covered in graffiti, next to the river, further along from Christiania, the squatted village. San Francisco chef, Jordan Grosser, who has worked with several supper clubs in the States, flew over especially to create a deconstructed Southern style menu. There was street dance, cocktails, and of course, a chance to meet Copenhagen people for we all sat at a long table.
Supper clubs in Copenhagen appear to be very expensive, around £100 to £150 per head but I believe Silver Spoon also does some cheaper events. 
Another supper club recommendation, also expensive, is 1th, a supper club style part-time restaurant. 
4) Sømods Bolcher, a sweet shop:
We visited a shop that made old fashioned sweets, with a workroom at the back where the public can watch the process of folding and twisting sugar.
Sømods Bolcher
Nørregade 24 og 36b, 1165 KBH.K

5) Street Food:  A hot dog stall: the Danes love their hot dogs. This is a very trendy hot dog stall which even does a veggie one! Near the Round Tower and Church of the Holy Ghost. 
Købmagergade ved Rundetårn
1150 København K
6) Christiania, a 40 year old squat in the centre of Copenhagen: yes this is not strictly foodie, but it's a must visit, the third most popular tourist destination in Denmark. In fact, dear reader, the most interesting things you can consume, I wasn't allowed to take a photo of... I've never seen so different shades, textures, smells and shapes of hash in my life. An open air market, known as Pusher Street, has tens of stalls with blocks of khaki and heaps of weed. You can also visit a few reasonably priced cafés and restaurants inside Christiania as well as listen to music. Many of the original inhabitants have beautiful beach houses in the Scandinavian style, along the river. 

7) Restaurant suggestions:

I did not eat at Kiin Kiin, there was no room, but, according to restaurant critic Andy Hayler, this is the best Thai restaurant anywhere in the world. 
Fortunen was recommended to me, but I didn't get a chance to visit.

Further reading:

8) Places to drink: 

Manfreds also has good food, I'm told on Twitter.
Mikkeller, which brews it's own beer.
1005 Cocktail bar. Possibly the best cocktails in Copenhagen.

9) Bakeries and delicatessens: 

Danish ryebread is the basis of the celebrated open sandwich: it's dark, full of protein and seeds, mostly sourdough. 
Claus Meyer is René Redzepi's partner at Noma, but, while a celebrity TV chef and prolific cookbook author in Denmark, outside he is hardly known. He has a bakery/deli worth visiting.
Foodshop no26
Fougaz: The Bread Station

Ann-Sofie the hostess, was very creative and made the lamps out of vintage vacuum cleaners. Top left: I love a place with cookbooks: the word for food in danish is Mad...GOD MAD means good food.
10) Finally, not a place to eat but a place to stay 
Copenhagen is expensive so I stayed, for the first time, at an Airbnb apartment, costing around £50 a night as opposed to £200-£300 in a hotel. This turned out to be a good idea; the apartment was Scandinavian in style, bright, tidy, spare, uncluttered, colourful, well-designed containing an actual Danish couple with similar qualities but also wheaten blonde, good-looking, helpful and fluent in English. Just like supper clubs, when you stay with locals, you are instantly immersed in the culture, in tiny subtle ways, an experience that you would not get at a standard restaurant or in a hotel.
I stayed in the vibrant Norreport station district, with many immigrants, which is both trendy and fairly cheap. The only disadvantage was the ten flights of stairs to reach the top floor apartment. Once I went out for the day, I tried not to return! A couple of weeks living there, I'd be very fit. I looked for the bathroom, could not find it, but noticed that there was a shower attachment hanging on the wall in front of the toilet.
Later the hostess remarked "One of the reasons we bought this apartment was for it's spacious bathroom". 
I was nonplussed, was this the Danish sense of humour? "Spacious?..." I quizzed.
I prodded further... "Is the shower in the toilet?"
She smiled "Yes and there is SO much room! Normally in Copenhagen apartments you have to actually sit on the toilet to have a shower."
It's little things like this, the sense of living in Copenhagen, you would never discover in a hotel.


  1. Love it, some great suggestions there! I lived in Copenhagen for two years and it was fabulous to "revisit" lots of great places that we loved. I was gutted that they only opened Torvhallerne a couple of months before we left it was so good. Emma

  2. How annoying Emma! You'll just have to go back ;)
    I remember you mentioning that you spent time there... I'd like to go back.

  3. Wow - that shower/toilet bit is crazy! We are going to try airbnb for Paris sometime this summer, glad it seemed to work well for you. Will add Copenhagen to our future holiday wish list now - thanks for sharing! xoxo

  4. Bake: yeah it was fine, but a little strange. A classic Copenhagen apartment apparently.
    I looked at the air bnb apartments for Paris, but they all looked a bit dirty and cramped. I hope you find a good one!
    Copenhagen well worth the visit...

  5. Danish people don't have a concept of bathtub... They don't even go for showering every day lol

    Have been living in this city for a year and experienced a lot. Rent is high (becoz a lot of renters cheated the system). I eat out not more than ten times becoz that is very pricey to do so.

    "Lack of tastes" is my general impression on Danish food, if compared to Italian, French and Chinese food... Well, if you don't believe in me, you can try Danish Camembert, Danish brie, Danish blue cheese and Danish Greek cheese (yea they still call it Greek salad, blah)...

    And as a film lover, you will be so disappointed as most of movies come 3 to 6 months later than the premier and it is really hard to find an English cinema (except for film institute, which shows classic movies, will have some screenings with English subtitles).

    1. Hi Alienia,
      Really? They all seemed squeaky clean to me. I thought it was the Parisians that hardly washed.

      How did renters cheat the system?

      I visited some dairies in Aarhus and was very impressed by the cheeses. That's in my next post....

    2. Excuse me? I know this post is old, but Alienia... Your post offended me a little.

      First of all: Almost ALL Danes take daily baths, some even twice.

      Cheating the system? Listen, Danes in general are some the most trustworthy populations in the world. They do not cheat the system at all. The high rent - and prices overall - are because of the high taxes that we pay to our government, so that we can get free doctor, hospital, library, school, kindergarten, some money if we do not have a job, and the teenagers do get paid when studying so that they can get a got education without having to focus on money.

      Last, but not least... Our dairy products are some of the best in the world. Not to mention Arla milk, Lurpak butter etc.

      Denmark have many faults, so does every country in the world, BUT these are hilarious?

  6. Great piece Kirsten, feel like I've visited it with you on reading this. Mind you the last time I went to Copenhagen was for a work's do when I worked for Thomas Cook's Marketing Department back in the day - Lordy, was that a trip!

    1. Lovely to meet you at Brit mums live last weekend....x

  7. Beautiful photos (and fascinating article) - have visited briefly, was slightly put off by our tour guide's insistence at every other sentence that 'although you British may do x, y or z, we Danish did it better/sooner/more stylishly' ... and must confess the prices did put me off planning to go back, but certainly didn't see anything like this delicious food in our brief time there, I'd have a different perception of the city if I had!

    1. I loved Denmark but something about their tone can sound a bit arrogant at times I agree. I was sitting next to one such woman at the supper club, she was like 22 and acted like she knew it all. Felt incredibly irritated but I think it's a cultural misunderstanding.
      The prices!! Bloody ridiculous. But most of the suggestions above are fairly reasonable. Copenhagen is absolutely beautiful though.

  8. Now I want to go to Copenhagen!

  9. My goodness you are always flitting off somewhere and eating great food and look at interesting stuff! I am going to have to savour this blog a couple of times to take it all in.

    1. Yes a bit of flitting off over the last 5 weeks. I now have to stay in the same place for a bit, to write a book!

  10. Thanks for resolving my confusion. i was a little bit confused about what to do ,where to stay what will you suggest?? i am looking for Discounted rates on internet
    .Great post keep writing for the travelers.


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