Copenhagen has a lot going for it when it comes to brunch, from plant-based breakfast bowls and typically Danish plates of eggs or cheese on rye bread, to boozy mezcal-laced affairs over Mexican huevos. Culture Trip has picked the best breakfasts in Copenhagen to ensure you start your day right.
Oatmeal is highly popular in Denmark, so it’s no wonder that the capital is home to the world’s first porridge bar. But bread and pastries are widely eaten in the morning too, which is reflected by the sheer number of great bakeries in Copenhagen right now.
“Two or three years ago you had the burger fight, and now it’s definitely the Danish pastry fight and the bread fight, now it’s, ‘How’s the house croissant?’” says Dak Wichangoen, referring to the strong competition between bakeries in Copenhagen. Wichangeon is head chef at Kiin Kiin, known for contemporary Thai fusion fine-dining and for being the first Asian restaurant in the city to get a Michelin star.
Culture Trip asked Wichangoen, along with Copenhagen-based food writer and photographer Ditte Ingemann and Jonas Gehl, co-founder of Meatpacking District coffee spot Prolog and Danish barista champion for two years running, for their tips on where to find the best breakfasts and brunches in the city.
“When I go out for breakfast, I just want eggs. I rarely go out for a brunch buffet… I just want it simple,” says Wichangoen. “At Auto it’s very simple. You get your scrambled egg, you get your bacon and your sausage. And that’s about it. It’s comfortable and cosy – none of the chairs are the same.” Located in vibrant Nørrebro, laid-back Café Auto attracts locals in search of brunch staples like breakfast burritos and pancakes. The outdoor tables lining the pavement are a bonus in summer.
The vibe here is very much French country cooking – Les Trois Cochons is housed in a cyan-tiled former butcher’s, with brown-leather seating and big windows looking out onto Værnedamsve shopping street, where Vesterbro meets Frederiksberg. Breakfast-wise, Wichangoen recommends the waffles, which come with an array of changing toppings, often based around fruit compotes and crème fraiche. Other than that, there’s a choice between healthy options such as chia porridge and a beetroot juice or ginger shot, or more substantial sustenance such as a shakshuka.
Details such as wooden stools, plants and low-hanging lampshades decorate Gaarden and Gaden | Courtesy of Gaarden and Gaden
Another of Wichangoen’s favourite places for breakfast is Gaarden and Gaden, a wine bar and kitchen in Nørrebro that serves brunch from 10am to 3.30pm at weekends. Dishes are classic: eggs benedict and bloody marys, plus oysters and morning plates of soft-boiled eggs, cheese, meat, rye bread, butter and jam. “I go there for the croque-madame. Don’t do monsieur, because you need to have the egg on top! I never eat a croque-monsieur when there’s a croque-madame.” The decor is modern Copenhagen – industrial details with smooth light-wood stools, hanging plants and low-hanging lampshades above the bar.
There’s a great all-round breakfast menu at The Corner at 108, running the gamut from staples such as oat porridge with berry compote, Danish pastries, and granola and yoghurt, to eggs topped with Belgian caviar. Locals seek out the coffee here, too, with beans from Oslo’s Tim Wendelboe, one of Europe’s best roasters. “One of my favourite things is to grab a well-made filter coffee at The Corner and take it outside to enjoy the waterside,” says Gehl. “I would normally grab this together with a bun with butter and cheese.”
The sourdough and rye bread at Lille Bakery are worth the schlep to Refshaleøen (though do stay long enough to explore the newly buzzing ex-shipbuilding area, home to Noma 2.0, open-air bars by the water and large-scale art gallery Copenhagen Contemporary). The bakery itself is in an industrial space where you’ll find pastries, doughnuts, brioche, granola and eggs with a local and organic ethos. “Lille serves excellent oats, but all the food – including pies, salads and baked goods – are just delightful. The people behind it are bursting with creative energy,” says Gehl.
Ex-Noma chef Rosio Sanchez creates authentically Mexican food using Mexican produce and Danish ingredients at Hija de Sanchez | Courtesy of Hija de Sanchez
On former red-light district Vesterbro’s infamous Istedgade, home to porn shops, strip clubs and a multitude of hip bars and restaurants, is Sanchez. Mexican-American ex-Noma chef Rosio Sanchez creates authentically Mexican food using both responsibly sourced Mexican produce and Danish ingredients. And Saturdays and Sundays mean huevos and mezcal cocktails. “The food is spicy and, first and foremost, it’s really Mexican. The flavours are full on,” says Gehl. “One of my favourite dishes is the oyster with habanero salsa. And quesadilla and coffee is probably the best breakfast – in close combat with oats and coffee.”
“Aster is a beautiful and light space in Frederiksberg with very good service. The café is 100% plant-based, organic, free from refined sugars, peanuts, mostly free from gluten and everything is made from scratch by hand, here and now,” says Ingemann. The menu is frequently changing, but dishes can include anything from prettily served frozen nectarine bowls with activated walnuts, pumpkin seeds and edible petals or almond butter bowls with granola and hemp hearts to chickpea stew with fennel on sourdough. “The banana bread is a must-try,” adds Ingemann.
The original Grød in Nørrebro was the world’s first porridge bar when it opened in 2011 | Courtesy of Grød
Grød is proof that Danes really do love their oats. The original very tiny but mighty basement location on Jægersborggade in Nørrebro was the world’s first porridge bar when it opened in 2011. “It has been quite the success, with seven porridge bars in Denmark now,” says Ingemann. “I really like the first one – it’s a small and cosy space.” Though the menu also extends to risottos, daals and congees, Grød mainly serves colourful, oat-based breakfast bowls from 7.30am to 5pm, ranging from green options with spinach, mint, coconut and banana to açai berries. Ingemann recommends the all-in porridge with all the toppings.
Organic bakery Mirabelle is located on hip Guldbergsgade | Courtesy of Mirabelle
This organic bakery does some of Copenhagen’s best bread, serving up its sourdough and rye on typically Scandinavian breakfast plates with soft-boiled eggs, smoked trout and cheese. “You can’t visit without trying their buttery and flaky croissants,” suggests Ingemann. Booking in advance is definitely advised. “Remember to bring your camera, because the place is very Instagrammable,” she adds. Stick around in the area afterwards – Mirabelle is on hip Guldbergsgade, where you’ll find unique boutique stores and other food greats such as superlative pizza spot Bæst and Wichangoen’s restaurant, Kiin Kiin. Hans Christian Andersen is also buried in a beautifully leafy cemetery a five-minute walk away.
“If you are in the mood for something spicy and full of flavour, you should swing by this charming place, Mahalle, for some delicious Lebanese food,” says Ingemann. “There are plenty of vegetarian options on the menu. I recommend trying the breakfast meze with hummus, grilled halloumi, yoghurt, muhammara, bread and tea.” Mahalle serves authentic food with trendy touches: think pretty blue-and-white crockery, added avocado and decorative pomegranate toppings on dishes and frozen mint lemonade served in jars. There are three locations – one in central Copenhagen and two in Nørrebro.
These recommendations were updated on December 6, 2019 to keep your travel plans fresh. This article is an updated version of a story created by Clare Vooght