Despite being the home of noma, one of the best restaurants in the world, I never though of Copenhagen as a foodie destination per se. One goes to Tokio for phenomenal sushi, Italy for the yummiest carbs… but what does Copenhagen have to offer? High quality ingredients, heart-eyes-emoji presentation (instagrammers, you’re in for a treat), and incredible flavours, it turns out. What Disneyland is to kids, Copenhagen is to adults who love their food. Once you get on board with the Scandinavian prices – they’ll have you with your first bite, fear not – I warn you, you’ll never want to leave. I would quite happily munch my way through the Danish capital for life. Unfortunately, my munch affair only went on for five days this time, so I can’t possibly give you the list of ALL places and dishes worth trying just yet, but here’s some I would highly recommend.
Let’s start with a local specialty – smørrebrød, an open sandwich with buttered rye bread and plethora of overflowing toppings. If you’re miss indecisive like me, you’ll have a hard time picking just one, because they all look SO good. ‘Shrimp salad’ and ‘chicken salad’ with mushrooms and bacon were the ones that eventually ended up on my lunch plate, but I wish I only picked one. Don’t get me wrong, both were 10/10, but so rich and filling I felt like I was pregnant with triplets until midnight. You can find smørrebrød all over Copenhagen, however, I do recommend you go to Torvehallerne. The Hallernes Smørrebrød stall at this a chic covered (street) food market has plenty of fresh options; you can sit and eat right by the stall, observing how sandwiches are being made; and if you still have some space in your belly, check out the rest of the stalls too.
Speaking of local staples, did you know hot dogs are a big thing in Denmark? Again, it’s all about the toppings. The classic normally comes with remoulade, mustard, ketchup, raw onions, fried onions and pickled cucumber. There’s a few different hot dog stands around the city to choose from, but DØP got recommended to me the most. They pride themselves on all-organic ingredients, and while the hot dog I tried was a great afternoon pick-me-up, I wouldn’t say it was the best I’ve ever tried – I found it slightly dry and awkward to eat in the middle of the street. Let’s just say the pickles were flying everywhere… If you’re in the area and looking for a quick bite, do give it a go, but I wouldn’t go out of the way to try it.
Brunch is my favourite meal of the day, and boy, do they know how to do brunch in Copenhagen! Mad & Kaffe was my favourite spot. You basically decide for the number of items you’d like to order and then mix and match from the menu as you please. I had blueberry soy yoghurt with müsli and berries, scrambled eggs with chives and fried champignons, smoked salmon with smoked cheese mayo, rye and sourdough bread with organic butter, and a cinnamon bun to top it all off. Oh, and one of the best homemade ice teas – peach flavoured with fresh mint. It all tasted as good as it sounds, and I walked out feeling pregnant with triplets again – it was a reoccurring theme all week.
If I had to pick one meal to order for brunch every single time until the day I die, Eggs Benedict would be it. The Eggs Benedict I had at Granola to be specific. While my friends’ meals weren’t anything special (I think they ordered pancakes and the breakfast platter), mine passed with flying colours! I mean, just look at the bucket of smoked salmon below. Perfection! Note: could easily be shared between two people. Yup, you guessed it, another food baby…
If I had to choose the top five dinners I’ve had in my life, three of them would be from my trip to Copenhagen. I knew I was onto something good the moment food was laid in front of me at the first restaurant we went to, but I didn’t expect things to only go up from there. We started our dinner adventures with Spisestedet FEED’s tasting platter featuring a crabcake; tomato bruschetta; seared scallops with smoked cauliflower puree, bacon and watercress; beetroot cured tuna; and prawn tartar with dijon, apple, trout roe, creme fraiche and rye bread crostinis. The presentation, which is the detail I always appreciate, was A+, and so was the taste! The main didn’t disappoint either – I went for a beyond generous portion of cannelloni with salmon and scallops. Another thumbs up goes to our lovely waiter, who was attentive throughout, and kindly prepared another table for us when requested. On that note, if by any chance you’re visiting Copenhagen during the heatwave like we did, I recommend you to go for the open window seat, as the restaurant has no air con.
Madklubben Vesterbro was a dinner spot we discovered completely by chance, as the restaurant we initially wanted to go to (Cofoco) was all booked out. It’s truly massive, so no need to worry about making a reservation with this one, and has a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere – they even bring you pork cracklings to munch on while you’re waiting for your food. Similarly to the brunch place I mentioned above, you choose to pay for the number of items you order from the menu, rather than individual dishes themselves. I opted for three – caprese salad to start things off, grilled chicken with veggies for the main, and brownie with ice-cream for dessert. The portions were just right, and you could really taste the high quality of food with every bite. I can’t decide what my favourite part of the meal was, but I liked how the chicken was incredibly tender, while the side gave it an interesting sour kick.
Last but not least is Barabba, another unplanned pit stop that actually got recommended to us by the staff at Barr, the restaurant we had on our to-do list before finding out the kitchen was already closed upon our arrival (normal people don’t eat their dinner at midnight, I guess). At Barabba the orders are accepted until 2 am, so perfect for us late birds, and it’s apparently where the chefs go after work, which is always a good sign. Whether it’s actually true or not, I quite frankly don’t care, because it exceeded my expectations. The atmosphere is really low key and quirky, from staff to interior design, which is totally up my alley, and the Italian style food is in-cre-di-ble. I really wish my photos did it justice, but it was close to pitch dark inside (great for the vibe, not so great for photography), so that’s the best I could do in post to show you what was actually on my plate. Speaking of which, I had spaghetti with scampi and – surprise, surprise – grilled octopus. It was so soft it melted in my mouth! Oh, you know what I loved as well? The head chef coming out to our table to explain every dish – it’s a simple gesture that makes you feel extra special.
More often than not, the mains made me too full to try the restaurants’ sweet offerings, however I do need to mention a mid-day pick-me-up that was the perfect refreshment in the mids of the heatwave and so delicious I came back for more. Vaffelbageren in Copenhagen’s picturesque district Nyhavn is where you have to stop at, no matter the season. Their gelato is one of the best I’ve tried, with many classic as well as unique flavours to choose from! They also do soft serve ice-cream with different toppings and apparently very delicious waffles, if that’s what you fancy more.