Even before Bishop Absalon started governing Denmark in 1158 and transformed it into a vital city, Copenhagen, a small village at the time, was trading herring on a small scale. But Absalon’s determination, and the fact that Øresund was rich in this particular type of fish, made Copenhagen one of the most significant trading centers in Scandinavia.
Fishing has been one of the main occupations for Danes since Medieval times, and a significant source of income, but the country’s fishing industry only started developing since 1849, when the so-called ‘Danish seine’ was used for the first time, and dozens of fish were caught in fishermens’ nets all at once. Even today, this method is still considered one of the best fishing techniques in the world.
With such a great tradition in fishing, seafood dishes couldn’t be missing from the Danish cuisine. Aforementioned Øresund Strait is rich in herring, so Scandinavians cook this delicious fish in many different ways. In Copenhagen, you’ll find it fried in butter, or with curry and other spices. Pickled herring is one of the most common Danish dishes and is traditionally served for Easter lunch, accompanied with snaps and beer. Another common seafood recipe is fiskefrikadeller – fish balls made of codfish and mixed with lemon juice, onions, dill and parsley. Finally, salmon and shrimp are among locals’ favorite ingredients for topping a smørrebrød.
Around the city you’ll find several restaurants and stalls serving fresh seafood. Among our favorites is Kødbyens Fiskebar in the Meatpacking District, and Krogs, one of the oldest fish restaurants in Copenhagen. This guide will help you discover more seafood and sushi spots. If you’re looking for something less fancy but equally delicious, visit Banzai Street Sushi or Fisch Art at Copenhagen’s Street Food (Papirøen) or Torvehallerne food market close to Nørreport Station. There you’ll find more than 60 stalls filled with foods of all kind, including fresh and high-quality fish.
If you are a fishing enthusiast, navigate the Øresund Strait or the Baltic Sea while you’re visiting Copenhagen. It’s a great way to spend some hours of relaxation and explore Denmark’s stunning landscapes at the same time – plus, you get to keep the fish you catch. There are various operators offering different kinds of excursions, so choose the one that fits you best and tight lines!