The 8 Best Sustainable Restaurants in Copenhagen

Gro Spiseri is one of Copenhagens restaurants pushing sustainability to new limits
Gro Spiseri is one of Copenhagen's restaurants pushing sustainability to new limits | Courtesy of Gro Spiseri
Sorcha McCrory

In Copenhagen, organic has become the standard. But when it comes to running a restaurant, it takes more than natural fertiliser to cut it as sustainable. From vegan burger joints to zero-waste concept restaurants, this guide will introduce you to the best restaurants in the city pushing sustainability to new limits.

Copenhagen’s green reputation is well-deserved. From compost-powered buses to organic hot dog stands, almost everything new to the city has been created with sustainability in mind. It wasn’t always this way, but the last decade has witnessed Copenhagen rebuild and reconfigure, with an impressive goal to reach carbon-neutral status by 2025.

The city’s efforts were mirrored by two Noma head chefs who, in 2004, penned a manifesto detailing a new Nordic cooperation, summarised in 10 points on purity, season, ethics, health, sustainability and quality.

Since the success of this New Nordic movement – which champions hyper-local and seasonal produce – Copenhagen has become the go-to destination for hungry, sustainably minded travellers. Now, a second generation of chefs influenced by this ethos are setting up shop around the city, meaning there are more plates to try than ever.

1. Amass Restaurant, Copenhagen

Restaurant, Vegetarian, Vegan, Contemporary

Courtesy of AMASS
Former Noma head chef Matt Orlando has always been an ambassador for sustainability. With his zero-waste restaurant, Amass, he’s taken things one step further. The concept is simple enough: work responsibly and stop waste. The results manifest in inventive dishes created from by-products, like a miso made from lemon skins or vegan hazelnut ice cream with coffee grounds. This zero-tolerance to waste also means that Amass has a “carbon footprint that is equal to half of what a normal restaurant operates at,” according to Orlando. Based in the former industrial outskirts of Copenhagen, the restaurant and micro-farm sits in a lofty warehouse space, decorated with graffiti art and sleek Scandinavian interiors. Diners can choose from a tasting menu of 12-14 courses for 1095kr (£128), or a “chef’s selection” for 695kr (£81). Lunch is also available for 495kr (£58).

2. Broaden and Build

Bar, Craft Ale Bar, Beer

Located in the former industrial district of Refshaleøen, Broaden & Build is an ingredients-driven brewery and sister restaurant to Amass. This casual beer hall is a cost-friendly way to sample some of the ingenuity of its sibling, as the two spaces work in close synergy. The zero-waste processes extend to the on-site brewed beers, as head chef Orlando dreams up uses for vegetable peelings by turning them into American-style IPAs. Situated in a converted warehouse, this spot is ideal for large groups and day drinking. Stay for a while, graze your way through a menu of bar snacks and soak up the beer with the famous Amass Fried Chicken.

3. Restaurant Lola

Restaurant, Danish

Courtesy of Restaurant Lola

Extending sustainability beyond the remits of food, Lola puts a heavy focus on social responsibility. Since opening in 2019, it doesn’t “compromise the health of our employees, physically or mentally” – while also providing work and training for people on the brink of working society. In other words, Lola “takes care of her loved ones”. Located near Copenhagen’s famous free town, Christiania, Lola is a neighbourhood restaurant, so prices are affordable and the atmosphere is inclusive. Head chef Kamilla Seidler prepares seasonal and locally sourced dishes that draw inspiration from her international team. “We have a chef from Bolivia, India and France. We have this nomadic brigade, but we’re working with Danish products, cooking versions of favourites that we’ve discovered around the globe.”

4. Bæst

Restaurant, Danish, European, Vegan, Vegetarian

Courtesy of Bæst

As part of the Relæ Community – a restaurant group with a commitment to sustainability – Noma-alumni Christian Puglisi serves up some of the best Neapolitan-style pizza in Europe at this relaxed Nørrebro-based restaurant. Cheese is made fresh that day at the micro-dairy upstairs, while charcuterie from the on-site butchery hangs in fridges around the open-plan kitchen. All produce is 100 percent organic and grown by the chefs themselves at the Farm of Ideas – Puglisi’s farm located an hour from Copenhagen. Although the kitchen is constantly turning out new dishes with produce harvested that day, the classic tomato and stracciatella pizza is hard to beat. It’s an opinion shared by 50 Top Pizza, who awarded it third place on its 50 Top Europe list in 2019.

5. Gro Spiseri

Restaurant, Contemporary

Gro Spiseri
Courtesy of Gro Spiseri
Nestled within Copenhagen’s first urban rooftop farm, ØsterGRO, Gro Spiseri offers guests the chance to see the community-run farm and taste the best of what’s in season. Served within the rooftop’s greenhouse, organic food is prepared by the small team of chefs behind ØsterGRO, who are present throughout the meal – serving and answering questions. Diners book in for one seating time and eat shoulder to shoulder, sharing plates and getting to know one another. Prices are fair, with six courses coming in at 495kr (£58) from March to November.

6. Alouette

Restaurant, Danish

© Alison Vagnini / Courtesy of Visit Copenhagen

Perhaps Copenhagen’s most cost-effective Michelin-star experience, Alouette boasts an ever-changing five-course menu. One of Copenhagen’s most beautiful restaurants, it’s also one of the hardest to find. “Our space is a little insane,” says head chef Nick Curtain. “It’s like walking through the wardrobe into Narnia.” Through graffiti-covered corridors and accessible only via a freight lift, Alouette is nestled in the back streets of Islands Brygge – a once-neglected industrial and dockland area. The seasonal and locally sourced menu is playful while classic, with cooking techniques that make great use of the open fire situated in the middle of the open-plan kitchen.

7. Souls

Restaurant, Vegan

© Visit Copengahen

Souls, established by an Australian duo, offers price-conscious diners the chance to eat delicious and sustainably sourced vegan dishes – winning the Byens Bedste Best Vegan Restaurant and Most Sustainable Restaurant awards in 2018. The 100 percent plant-based menu aims to be the “solution for people who want worry-free food, on-the-go, of the highest quality,” featuring plenty of comfort food favourites with a vegan twist. Choose from chilli bowls, pizza or their famous “beyond meat” burger with golden fries for around 150kr (£17.50). There are two locations in the city, making it the perfect place to grab lunch during a day of shopping.

8. La Banchina

Wine Bar, Wine, Seafood

© Martin Heiberg / Courtesy of Visit Copenhagen

Although favoured by Copenhagen residents for its harbour-side swimming and sauna, this natural wine bar is the place to go morning, noon or night for freshly baked croissants, vegetarian small plates and responsibly caught fish. Space is limited, as the converted shed seats only 16 guests. But you can always wait with a bottle of wine by the waterfront, watching the sun set and snacking on bowls of sourdough drizzled in oil and sea salt. The restaurant also offers a 12-course vegetable and seafood tasting menu from October to March, but note that booking is recommended.

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