Skagen, often known in English as Scaw, is Denmark‘s main fishing port, as well as its northernmost town. A great tourist attraction, Skagen has a lively and exciting restaurant scene, offering some of the best traditional Danish and New Nordic Cuisine restaurants in the country. Fresh fish and seafood, as well as seasonal, and often organic, vegetables and herbs are the staple on almost every restaurant’s menu, ensuring an authentic Nordic meal. Here’s our favorite to visit when in town.
Originally a farmhouse, the famous Brøndums Hotel is situated in the heart of Skagen city. Remembered as the meeting place for the artist colony The Skagen Painters at the end of 19th century, which included renowned painters such as Michael and Anna Anchers and P.S. Krøyers, the former guesthouse now houses a lovely hotel and exquisite restaurant featuring traditional Danish cuisine. The restaurant specializes in the broadest selection of fresh local fish such as salmon, herring and plaice, and regularly changes its menu according to market availability of seasonal produce. The Brøndums restaurant also offers a great selection of wines from the ‘old world’ of France, Italy, Spain and Germany.
Only few steps away from the Grenen Kuntsmuseum, De 2 Have restaurant is a perfect spot for a relaxed gourmet lunch. After a busy morning of exploring the museum’s sculpture collection or paintings by Skagen painter Axel Lind, the restaurant provides a welcomed break, offering a stunning view of the shore and the meeting point of two seas, Kattegat and Skagerrak. The food easily equals the view. The restaurant prides itself on offering only fresh produce and seafood from local farms, including fresh and organic vegetables from restaurant’s own garden in the South of Skagen. Calling it a ‘Cool Climate Kitchen’, the restaurant offers contemporary Danish cuisine with a twist of tradition.
Situated in one of the old fish warehouses, Pakhuset is a cozy fish and seafood restaurant with a fine view over Skagen’s harbor. Designed by Thorvald Bindesbøll, the bright and airy restaurant houses over 42 different wooden figureheads and ornaments which are hand carved from solid mahogany and painted according to traditional methods (the largest pieces can weigh up to 400kg). Pakhuset is divided into a fine dining restaurant and café with an open terrace. Both restaurant and café features traditional Danish seafood and fish dishes, including hot and hefty fish soups, fish sandwiches and mussels. Throughout the summer, the restaurant offers local live music every night.
Situated on the quay with a great view of the yachts in the harbor, Skagen Fiskerestaurant inhabits a former fish warehouse; its two floors including an outdoor cafe and cozy bar on the ground floor, and an intimate restaurant on the first floor. The interior design of the restaurant is charmingly Nordic; simple and rustic wooden walls and ceilings are home to several eye catching Russian artworks. The restaurant serves traditional Danish seafood and fish dishes, such as pan fried fish cakes, smoked salmon with dill and herbs, seafood salad with red onion, and traditional fish pie.
Kokkenes is a lovely spot for a cozy and warm romantic dinner or simply a well deserved treat. The restaurant features New Nordic Cuisine, with an occasional reference to traditional Danish meals, which can be teamed with one of a good selection of European wines. Whilst Kokkenes restaurant changes its menu regularly according to the availability of seasonal produce, fresh fish and seafood constitutes a large part of the menu year round; from mussels and shrimps to mackerel, herring and salmon. Booking in advance, especially during the summer months, is advised.
Centrally located in the middle of Skagen city, Jakob’s Cafe & Bar is a lively and vibrant meeting place. The restaurant features traditional Danish cuisine ranging from light bites such as scrambled eggs, fish sandwiches and salads, to more filling meals including steak, fish and seafood. However, the restaurant’s specialty is its exotic cocktails juxtaposed with specialty beers from local breweries. During the summer months, Jakob’s Cafe & Bar opens its summer terrace and at weekends turns into a small nightclub after 10 pm with live music provided by a local DJ or a band. The restaurant also owns a sister-branch of Jakob’s Bed and Breakfast across the street.
Ruth’s Gourmet is part of stylish Ruth’s Hotel, located on the beachfront 5km away from Skagen’s city center. Led by the internationally renowned master chef Thorsten Schmidt from Malling&Schmidt in Aarhus, Ruth’s Gourmet restaurant is considered one of the top restaurants in the country outside Copenhagen. The restaurant features New Nordic Cuisine based on fresh, local ingredients as Thorsten Schmidt has a passion for regional cuisine and the sustainability of the food and use of natural seasonal produce. Considered to be one of the ‘pioneers within Nordic regional cooking’, Ruth’s Gourmet is famous for making delicious ice cream out of oak bark.
Open only during the summer months, the charming Skagens Museums Cafe is situated in one of the oldest houses in the whole of Skagen. Once serving as a studio for Michael and Anna Anchers, as well as a summer residence for visiting artists at the time, the old Garden House now contains a lovely café. Opened in 2009 after refurbishment, the café, surrounded by green and lush garden, provides a lovely place for a well-deserved break after visiting the museum. The café offers a small range of homemade Danish cakes, sandwiches and light fish and seafood lunches, as well as refreshing cups of strong coffee and good tea.
Nordens Folkekokken in Skagen specializes in modern Nordic cuisine using fresh local ingredients. The restaurant changes its menu every three weeks, allowing the chef to experiment with Nordic cuisine and interpret the classic Danish dishes, paying particular attention to the purity of taste and visual expression. The interior design follows the same concept of purity and simplicity, with the dark wooden floors providing a stark contrast to the white walls and minimalist décor; allowing the guests to concentrate fully on the food. In order to truly appreciate Nordic cuisine, guests are encouraged to order three to five courses, all for affordable prices.
Situated off the beaten track, Hyttefadet is well worth the search. A short walk from the seaside, the restaurant features modern, light Danish fish and seafood dishes, which can be accompanied by a great selection of wines. The dinner menu specials include mouth-watering, yet healthy, dishes such as smoked salmon cannelloni with avocado and apple; mussels in white wine and root vegetables; and Black Angus steak with baked red onions and green asparagus. For the desserts or after-meal snack, the restaurant offers classics such as vanilla creme brûlée and Hyttefadet’s cheese platter. In order to fully explore and savor the fabulous cuisine, a three course meal is often advised, yet ordering à la carte is equally good.