Copenhagen may be the birthplace of New Nordic cuisine – the culinary movement that champions hyperlocal, seasonal ingredients – but its foodie credentials go well beyond fermenting, foraging and farm-to-table cooking. Here you’ll encounter one of the world’s most exciting and diverse food scenes, and so our pick of the very best restaurants in Copenhagen offers something for pretty much every taste.
Thanks to a new metro line, it’s never been easier to explore the Danish capital. The tricky part is choosing what to eat. If you’re after some traditional grub, look out for endless varieties of smørrebrød, Denmark’s traditional open-faced sandwich. For a cheap and cheerful lunch, catch the harbour ferry to Reffen, an eclectic street food market in the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Refshaleøen. (A trip there is one of our absolute favourite things to do in Copenhagen.) Or head to Nørrebro, the city’s most multicultural district, where you’ll find an abundance of budget-friendly cafés and kebab joints. Upmarket food market Torvehallerne, in the city centre, is well worth exploring, too. And not even to mention this city’s abundance of blowout Michelin-starred restaurants. As the Danes say: Velbekomme!
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Best restaurants in Copenhagen
René Redzepi’s celebrated restaurant will forever be synonymous with Copenhagen’s culinary revolution – and almost two years after its radical relaunch in a former ammunition depot near Christiania, the city’s infamous commune, it remains the hottest ticket in town. The dishes are as dazzling as ever, with Redzepi’s team rebooting the menu three times a year to showcase the season’s finest ingredients: game in autumn, seafood in winter and spring, and vegetables in summer. Book many months ahead via the website.
You know you’ve arrived at this bakery in upmarket Østerbro when you spot the queue winding out the door. That’s if you haven’t already caught the heavenly scent of Juno’s cardamom buns. Made by Swedish baker and Noma alumnus Emil Glaser, they’re well worth the wait, as are Juno’s other outstanding pastries and bread rolls. Seating’s extremely limited – and Juno only serves filter coffee – but its well-stocked and larger sister café, At the Counter, lies just around the corner.
Sustainability’s the watchword at former Noma head chef Matt Orlando’s graffiti-walled fine-diner. The menu champions seasonal ingredients sourced locally – berries, herbs and greens come straight from Amass’s delightful kitchen garden – while the kitchen’s unrelenting ‘zero-waste’ ethos helps it concoct clever dishes like chewy beetroots with walnut pulp custard and salted blackberries. Perched on the post-industrial peninsula of Refshaleøen, also home to Orlando’s buzzy brewpub Broaden and Build, Amass is best reached by harbour ferry. Book ahead.
Locals queued for more than an hour when British baker Richard Hart opened this bakery in upmarket Frederiksberg in 2018. And with good reason. Their reward was a complimentary loaf of sourdough bread – hands down the best in town. Hart, who previously worked at San Francisco’s celebrated Tartine, has also won a loyal following for his outstanding pastries, like double-baked almond croissants. Look out, too, for Hart’s take on much-loved British classics like hot cross buns or Jaffa cakes.
Located in sister restaurant Noma’s old digs – a former whaling warehouse dating to the 16th century – this casual bar and restaurant boasts picture-perfect harbour views and specialises in dishes inspired by northern European culinary traditions. Highlights include Belgian waffles with bleak roe and sour cream, and grilled bone marrow with thyme, toasted rye and beer vinegar. Reservations are recommended, but the bar accepts walk-ins and serves most of the dishes on the menu – including Barr’s standout dish, Wiener schnitzel.
The Michelin guide made culinary history last year when it awarded Selma a Bib Gourmand (for ‘exceptionally good food at moderate prices’). It was the first smørrebrød joint to receive the accolade – and the man responsible for taking the traditional Danish lunch to the next level was a Swedish chef. Nationalist feathers were ruffled, but open sandwich fans cheered: Selma puts a contemporary twist on the classic, using creative toppings such as elderflower herring with crème fraîche and buckwheat.
This low-key fine-diner won a Michelin star in its first year – and it’s easy to see why. American chefs Nick Curtin and Andrew Valenzuela create seasonal dishes with global influences, like mackerel with fermented cucumber beurre blanc or charred pumpkin with caviar and mulberries. Located in an old factory in the post-industrial neighbourhood of Islands Brygge, Alouette is accessed via a graffiti-covered service elevator – a striking contrast to the restaurant’s glamorous décor and intimate vibe. Book ahead.
From Ethiopian injera to Surinamese peanut soup, global cuisine is all the rage in Copenhagen today. But our favourite spot is this 16-seat, family-run Taiwanese restaurant. Almost everything is homemade, with crowd-pleasers including pillow-soft pork belly bao (‘Taiwanese hamburger’) and classic ‘potstickers’ – fried dumplings that are steamed on the inside, crispy on the outside. If you’re lucky, owner Lishiang will have made two off-menu bao – one filled with minced pork, the other with red bean paste.
You’ll find plenty of decent restaurants in Kødbyen (aka the meatpacking district) – from Southern-style barbecue at Warpigs to sourdough pizza at Mother – but we recommend this informal cafeteria, which opened in an old freight hall in 2018. Faintly boho, thanks to its dialled-down décor and mix of creative locals and clued-in foodies, H15 offers delicious food at democratic prices. Breakfast dishes include granola with rhubarb and rose hip, while seasonal vegetables dominate the lunch and evening menus.
Ever since it opened in 2016, this Christianshavn corner restaurant has stuck to a simple, successful recipe: take a generous amount of Italian comfort food, add a pinch of hygge – the Danish concept of cosiness – and serve it in a homespun setting (open kitchen, sharing tables). But honesty is the key ingredient. Rufino’s menu changes daily and celebrates Roman-influenced dishes made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The handmade pasta is always excellent, but be sure to leave room for tiramisu.
For years, the humble hotdog was the go-to snack for peckish Danes. While you’ll still spot pølse vans around town, for a truly authentic experience, belly up to the bar at Harry’s Place. Founded in 1965 and located in a cabin in Nørrebro, it remains as popular as ever despite the culinary revolution that has swept Copenhagen. To feel like a local, order a Børge – a thick, juicy sausage – and wash it down with a bottle of chocolate milk.
This Nørrebro newcomer was named after a funk song – an apt choice, as it turns out. Fermented ingredients dominate its ‘next-level brunch’ menu, from the smashed avocado pepped up with a house-fermented hot sauce, to the eggs benedict with homemade apple cider vinegar and miso hollandaise, to the probiotic coconut yoghurt. Arguably the best brunch spot in town, it’s a fine place to refuel when you’re done checking out the shops and boutiques of cobblestoned Jægersborggade.
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