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11 Dishes to Eat When You Are in Copenhagen

Picture of Aliki Seferou
Updated: 24 August 2017
Denmark has become known for bringing the New Nordic Cuisine on the foreground with Copenhagen hosting a great number of high-end and restaurants with Michelin stars, but the city’s gastronomy scene has also another side that is quite popular among locals and includes hot-dog stands, burger restaurants, and delicacies from the Middle East. These 11 dishes are some of Copenhageners’ favorite delicacies.

Rød pølse

With so many hot dog stands all over Copenhagen, it’s not hard to notice locals’ love for sausages. Not only they are super tasty but also a cheap solution to fill hunger while roaming around the city. The most renowned sausage in Denmark is the rød pølse (red sausage) and is usually served inside a fresh bun with ketchup and mustard on top. Aside from the classic hot-dog recipe, stands around Copenhagen now serve many types of sausages, buns, and plenty of ingredients that customers can combine in order create their own hot dog.

Smørrebrød

What initially was a Danish farmers’ lunch is now Denmark’s traditional dish, a local favorite delicacy, and served in high-end restaurants. The open-face sandwich consists of a slice of rye bread, fish or meat, vegetables, and sauce on top. Almost every restaurant in Copenhagen serves a variety of Danes’ beloved meal throughout the day. Check out Selma in Vesterbro and Frederik VI in Frederiksberg.

Selma, Vesterbrogade, 97A, Copenhagen, Denmark

Frederik VI, Frederiksberg Allé 42A, Copenhagen, Denmark, +45 33 31 33 38

Smørrebrød
Smørrebrød | © Aliki Seferou

Durum shawarma

A few decades ago, Denmark’s immigration policy wasn’t as strict as it is nowadays so many refugees seeking asylum managed to make a new start in the small Scandinavian country. Particularly, during the 1960s and early 1970s, the country accepted a great number of Turkish and Pakistan refugees. Many of them opened their own restaurants and brought a taste of Middle East to Copenhagen. Therefore, nowadays durum shawarma (chicken beef or lamb) is one of the most popular dishes in Denmark. In most cases, it is made based on the original recipe and with fresh ingredients. Nørrebrogade, Nørrebro’s main street brims with durum restaurants with Beyti and Konyali being among the best.

Beyti Restaurant, Blågårdsgade 1, Copenhagen, Denmark, +45 32 17 00 03

Konyali Restaurant, Nørrebrogade 22, Copenhagen, Denmark, +45 72 14 11 42

Falafel

Another famous plate in Denmark is falafel. Probably for the same reasons as durum, the traditional Egyptian dish can be found everywhere around Copenhagen. It’s usually served with lettuce, tomato, and garlic sauce, but many restaurants combine Middle Eastern cuisine with Scandinavian cuisine to create numerous combinations. Falafel Factory in Nørrebro and Fala Fala in Copenhagen Street Food (Papirøen) are two of the most popular restaurants in town.

Falafel Factory, Nørrebrogade 63, Copenhagen, Denmark, +45 52 40 63 63

Fala Fala, Trangravsvej 13, Copenhagen, Denmark

Flæskesteg

Flæskesteg is a plate strongly connected with Christmas in Denmark as it’s never missing from the dinner table or the Christmas markets’ stands. It’s actually roast pork baked with spices, bay leaves, and cloves, and it is usually served with boiled and/or caramelized potatoes. It’s certainly one of the locals’ favorite dishes. Those visiting Copenhagen during Christmas will most likely see a great number of Copenhageners holding their beloved Flæskesteg sandwich while rummaging in the city’s Christmas markets.

Frikadeller

The Danish meatballs known as frikadeller is one of the most popular traditional dishes. There isn’t any special recipe or secret ingredient for the Danish meatballs, but they somehow have their own unique taste. Maybe it’s because they’re usually fried with butter. Eat them with boiled potatoes or on top of a smørrebrød like a proper local.

Kyllingefrikadeller
Kyllingefrikadeller | ©cyclonebill/Flickr

Fiskefrikadeller

If there’s one food that Danes like even more than meatballs is fish cakes, known as fiskefrikadeller. A mix of white fish, onion, parsley lemon, salt, and pepper, it is usually served with cucumber and the Danish sauce remoulade. Even if fish isn’t a personal favorite, at least try fiskefrikadeller while traveling in Copenhagen.

Fiskefrikadeller
Fiskefrikadeller | © cyclonebill / Flickr
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Marinated or Pickled Herring

Marinated and pickled herring has been holding a place in the Danish food menu since the Viking Era. Surrounded by sea, Denmark has a long list of fish dishes with herring being among the most popular. Whether on top of rye bread or accompanied with bay leaves, onion salad, and eggs, find out why this dish has survived throughout the years and is still served all over Copenhagen. For high-quality seafood, stop by Musling Bistro just a stone’s through from Nørreport Station in the city center.

Musling Bistro, Linnésgade 14, Copenhagen, Denmark, +45 34 10 56 56

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Salmon

Another fish that is frequently found in Copenhagen’s restaurants’ menus is salmon. Though cooked in various ways, Danes usually prefer to add a slice of cold-smoked salmon on the top of a slice of rye bread. Check out Restaurant Kronborg and indulge in a dish of salmon fish balls or its renowned salmon smørrebrod.

Restaurant Kronborg, Brolæggerstræde 12, Copenhagen, Denmark, +45 33 13 07 08

Salmon Smørrebrød at Restaurant Kronborg | Courtesy of Restaurant Kronborg

Salmon Smørrebrød at Restaurant Kronborg | Courtesy of Restaurant Kronborg

Pizza

Wondering why is pizza included in an article that features Copenhagen’s best dishes? Walk around the city and find out. The capital of Denmark has many pizza restaurants often owned by Italians who make sure to bring the best ingredients from their country in order to create an authentic taste. NonSolo in Nørrebro, mother restaurant in the Meatpacking District, and gorm’s and La Fiorita in the city center are among the top choices to take a break from Scandinavian cuisine and savor into a warm slice of original Italian pizza.

Non Solo Pizza, Nørrebrogade 18F, Copenhagen, Denmark, +45 35 36 60 80

mother restaurant, Høkerboderne 9, Copenhagen, Denmark, +45 22 27 58 98

gorm’s in Magstræde, Magstræde 16, Copenhagen, Denmark, +45 60 40 12 01

Pizzeria La Fiorita, Charlotte Ammundsens Plads 2, Kld., Copenhagen, Denmark, +45 33 33 99 60

Burgers

Those visiting Copenhagen and not feeling like experimenting with new tastes can rely on the city’s burger scene. With options ranging from original American-style to vegetarian with gluten free bread and organic vegetables, the city’s burger scene has it all. Halifax, Haché Gourmet Burgers, Gasoline Grill, and Sporvejen are the places to look for to indulge burger cravings.

Halifax, Larsbjørnsstræde 9, Copenhagen, Denmark, +45 82 30 43 01

Haché Gourmet Burgers, Rømersgade 20, Copenhagen, Denmark, +45 33 12 21 16

Gasoline Grill, Landgreven 10, Copenhagen, Denmark

Sporvejen, Gråbrødretorv 17, Copenhagen, Denmark, +45 33 13 31 01