Lady Eats in Copenhagen

Nordic cuisine is taking the culinary world by storm. Denmark’s Noma is the world’s best restaurant according to many, and the concepts of foraging, eating local, and focusing on fresh, seasonal ingredients are all the rage. Never one to miss a chance to travel for food, I spent last weekend in Denmark exploring the best restaurants in Copenhagen and the city’s great foodie finds.

Nimb Louise restaurant in Copenhagen Denmark

On Friday morning I traveled to Copenhagen with VisitDenmark to get a firsthand look at the Scandinavian culinary scene at the Copenhagen Cooking food festival. My weekend was a whirlwind of meat, vegetables, greens, wine, beer, coffee, and all things delicious.

Food from Fiskebar restaurant in Copenhagen Denmark

But before the eating started, my group attended the opening of the festival. The event was all in Danish, but it wasn’t difficult to decipher the highlights. The entrance of Danish Princess Marie drew a lot of attention, as did the presentation of an award to an animated Rene Redzepi from Noma.

Rene Redzepi at Copenhagen Cooking

The opening was followed by wine and canapes from the team at Fiskebar, another of the best restaurants in Copenhagen. Everything from vacuum pickled celeriac to potato and beetroot chips with tarragon mayonnaise was presented beautifully and devoured immediately.

Food from Fiskebar restaurant in Copenhagen Denmark

There was also a special Danish sparkling wine from Lilleo on offer. A blend of Pinot Gris, Chenin Blanc, and Riesling, it was co-produced by Anders Selmer from Fiskebar and Rene Redzepi from Noma. I never knew that Denmark produced wines, but apparently there is a budding industry. Watch this space.

Danish Lilleo sparkling wine

But new culinary feats aren’t all that Denmark is known for. After the opening of Copenhagen Cooking, culinary highlights old and new came one after another.

Nimb Louise restaurant in Copenhagen Denmark

First there was a trip to La Glace, the oldest confectionery in the city. There we indulged in thick, decadent hot chocolate with heaping spoonfuls of Chantilly cream. We also sampled cakes from chocolate sponge to raspberry mousse. They were amazing.

Cake at La Glace in Copenhagen Denmark

La Glace was followed by another historic Copenhagen landmark, Tivoli Gardens. The amusement park dates back to 1843, but one of its restaurants is new. Nimb Louise, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Tivoli Gardens, is a formidable addition to the Copenhagen culinary scene.

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen Denmark

We dined there that night, enjoying eight amuse bouches and an eight-course dinner with a wine pairing. Needless to say, I didn’t go home hungry. But I didn’t go home as uncomfortably full as I feared, either.

Restaurant Nimb Louise in Copenhagen Denmark

Due to it being summer, Allan Poulsen, the head chef at Nimb Louise, put together a light fish-and-poultry focused menu for us. From the first course of razor clams to the final one of raspberries and woodruff, the meal was as nimble and refreshing as the summer evening. While some courses were better than others, it was a very enjoyable dinner overall.

Dessert at Nimb Louise in Copenhagen Denmark

Afterwards we met with Chef Allan in the beautiful lounge bar upstairs before sneaking a peek at one of the 14 guest rooms in the gorgeous Nimb boutique hotel, antique furniture and all.

Nimb Hotel in Copenhagen Denmark

The next day our Copenhagen culinary tour continued with a visit to Torvehallerne, a new food market down the street from our accommodation, the newly refurbished Ibsens Hotel. Torvehallerne reminded me a bit of the Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid, what with its market stalls selling everything from meat and cheese to coffee and traditional smorrebrod, or open-face sandwiches.

Smorrebrod at Torvehallerne in Copenhagen Denmark

We stopped for a latte at the Coffee Collective on our first day, and on our last I went back for a delicious duck sandwich at Ma Poule. Both were divine, and the great food and lively atmosphere made me want to move in.

Coffee making at Torvehallerne in Copenhagen Denmark

After Torvehallerne, we continued our Copenhagen food tour with a stop at Dop, an organic hot dog stand in the middle of the old town. Run by Claus Christensen, a proponent of the healthy fast food movement, the stand offered hot dogs with heaping helpings of fresh pickles, mustard, and other toppings. They were every bit as good as they looked.

Hot dog at Dop in Copenhagen Denmark

Leaving Dop, we made a quick stop at a wine bar called Bar’Vin. There we met the passionate proprietors and learned about their menus, which offered everything from charcuterie platters to full meals.

Bar'Vin in Copenhagen Denmark

Our next stop was a bit further afield: the Carlsberg beer warehouse. While there, we learned about the company’s microbrew, Jacobsen, which is still produced on-site. We even got to sample a few of the offerings.

Horse cart at Jacobsen brewhouse in Copenhagen Denmark

Next door to the brew house was Nordic Taste, a Taste of London-style food festival that featured small bites from the best restaurants in Copenhagen and southern Sweden. Started in 2005, the annual festival not only showcased Nordic cuisine, but also Copenhagen as a culinary destination.

Nordic Taste in Copenhagen Denmark

We walked from stall to stall, sampling everything from chicken liver pate to venison, smoked salmon, and greens from the sea. Restaurants like Gustavs Bistro, Kokkeriet, Ro og Smag, Salt, Meyers, and Nimb Louise were all present and accounted for. Out of all the food I sampled at Nordic Taste, I liked Myers’ crab bisque and seafood-topped crostini the best.

Smoked salmon at Nordic Taste in Copenhagen Denmark

That evening our culinary adventures continued with a trip to one of the city’s most famous foodie streets: Jaegersborggade. Located in the Norrebro area, the street is home to some of the best restaurants in Copenhagen.

Interior of Grod restaurant in Copenhagen Denmark

There was everything from Meyers Bakery to Terroiristen wine bar, a Coffee Collective and a caramel shop called Karamelleriet. Nearby was Grod, a chic hole-in-the-wall porridge and risotto cafe, where I had a great lunch on my last day in town.

Grod restaurant in Copenhagen Denmark

Also present on Jaegersborggade were Relae and Manfreds, sister restaurants run by former Noma chefs that benefited from a test kitchen right on the same street. The former was Michelin-starred, and the latter was a more casual restaurant.

Manfields restaurant in Copenhagen Denmark

We got a chance to meet some of the chefs in the test kitchen before dinner at Relae. As they told us about the restaurant, we ate bouquets of greens, herbs, edible flowers, pistachio paste, and pear vinegar. The beautiful bundles were not only pleasing to the eye, but also some of the most delicious things I ate during my entire trip.

Food from Relae restaurant in Copenhagen Denmark

We dined that night at Relae, where we enjoyed a four-course meal with a natural wine pairing (the restaurant only serves natural wines). From lamb carpaccio with dried shrimp and dill to tiny potato noodles with hazelnuts and bergamot, the menu was one of the most inventive I’ve ever encountered.

Dinner at Relae restaurant in Copenhagen Denmark

Even the sweet corn ice cream with breadcrumbs and marjoram was different from any dessert I have tried. Overall it was an excellent meal, although the natural wines weren’t my favorite.

Relae restaurant in Copenhagen Denmark

After dinner we made a quick stop at the Mikkeller bar in Vesterbro to taste gypsy brewer Mikkel Borg Bjergso’s beers. He had created Copenhagen Cooking’s signature brew, Salty Ocean Weed, and the 19 other draft beers we tried were equally good.

Mikkeller bar in Copenhagen Denmark

The next day I had free time to explore the city, and I didn’t miss the chance to visit the Royal Cafe. Known for its creative smushi—classic Danish smorrebrod in sushi form—the cafe was also known for its stylish, feminine decor and great use of porcelain dishes from the royal shop next door.

Royal Cafe in Copenhagen Denmark

The Royal Cafe didn’t serve smushi on Sundays—indeed, the only thing I didn’t like about Copenhagen was that seemingly everything shut down at 4pm on Saturday and didn’t reopen until Monday morning—but I still managed to enjoy a croissant and latte at one of the sunny outdoor tables in the courtyard.

Breakfast at the Royal Cafe in Copenhagen Denmark

It’s probably best that they weren’t serving smushi that day anyway, though. My jeans were barely buttoning after all of the amazing food I had consumed over the past three days.

Cafe tables in Copenhagen Denmark

Eating and drinking my way through the best restaurants in Copenhagen was incredibly enjoyable, though, and I will miss the inventive Danish culinary scene and its great restaurants now that I’m back in London. Nordic cuisine. So hot right now.

6 Comments on Lady Eats in Copenhagen

  1. Uncle Jim
    August 30, 2012 at 3:34 am (2 years ago)

    Dear Julie, You made Birte’s and my day. Perhaps you should have disclosed your Danish connections. Love, Uncle Jim

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      August 30, 2012 at 8:47 am (2 years ago)

      Thanks Uncle Jim! I’m glad you liked it. There’s another post about Copenhagen coming up tomorrow that will cover my Danish connections, so stay tuned :).

      Reply
  2. Martine
    August 30, 2012 at 8:15 pm (2 years ago)

    Beautiful and tasty report of the week end
    and nice photos … (I even see nails I know… )

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      August 31, 2012 at 10:03 am (2 years ago)

      Thanks Martine! :)

      Reply
  3. Birte Falconer
    September 2, 2012 at 10:39 pm (2 years ago)

    Dear Julie,

    I saved the visual treat of your photos like one would save the last bite of a great dessert. The food experience sounds amazing. I am glad you were treated to the very best. Recent NYT travel articles have emphasized the cost of dining out. Your descriptions make it all sound worth the cost.
    I have carefully noted your list of venues for my next trip home! Tusind tak.

    Aunt Birte

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      September 3, 2012 at 9:25 am (2 years ago)

      Thanks Aunt Birte! I hope you will be able to visit some of the restaurants and markets on your next trip to Copenhagen!

      Reply

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