When you can boast about being the host of the world’s best restaurant four times, you know something good is cooking in Copenhagen. As the home of New Nordic cuisine, the Danish capital is a culinary hotbed of innovative restaurants and creative chefs.
In 2004, Danish entrepreneur and food activist Claus Meyer worked with rising star René Redzepi and other Nordic chefs to define a new direction for cuisine in this region. The resultant New Nordic Manifesto respects local food traditions while prioritising fresh, sustainably sourced and seasonal ingredients. These are some of the best restaurants in Copenhagen that embody those values.
When in Copenhagen, you must try smørrebrød. Denmark’s classic open-faced sandwiches have traditional roots, but the contemporary take on this Danish lunch staple at Aamanns 1921 is truly a thing of beauty. Step inside the bright and modern design space, which is set in the half-timbered old town, for a guided lunchtime tour of the iconic Danish dish. Staff will help you manoeuvre the menu via marinated herring, smoked salmon or delicate Danish new potatoes served with gooseberries, geranium, crispy onions, chive mayo and cress. Wash it all down with local beers on tap or try one of Aamanns’ famous house-cured snaps.
Every day in Copenhagen, you can rub elbows with local workers taking their lunch break at this old-school spot in the middle of the city. Restaurant Kronborg is a perfect place to stop if you want to taste the Danish classics, such as marinated herrings served with dense and dark rye bread or crisply fried plaice. Do as the Danes and sip the house-flavoured snaps. Step down below the street level to the small dining room, which is perfectly cosy, especially as the fire roars when the weather turns colder. The service here is friendly and efficient, and dishes are perfectly presented on Royal Copenhagen plates.
Copenhagen’s 2019 newcomer is Restaurant Tolv in the vibrant Vesterbro neighbourhood. With its serious commitment to procuring the freshest and most sustainable raw ingredients, seasonality dictates what dishes you’ll find on the menu. At once classy and casual inside, it’s the food that takes centre stage here. The owners are self-proclaimed food and wine nerds, and Tolv, which means 12 in Danish, offers simple comfort food with elevated flavours. Moderately priced, the highly regarded restaurant is ideally situated in a pretty plum-coloured building on popular Enghave Plads.
Directly translated, La Banchina means ‘the dock’ and, fittingly, this laid-back spot sits at a little corner of the Copenhagen canals in the ever-developing Refshaleøen area. Sit outside or even take a dip in the clean canal and then warm up in their on-site sauna before sampling a selection of natural wines and organic, biodynamic food. The menu may be small but focuses on fresh vegetables and locally sourced seafood served in creative flavour combinations for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Dishes include cabbage, carrots, pumpkin purée and buckwheat in brown butter hollandaise or halibut, braised fennel and roasted potato with mussel sauce.
This article is an updated version of a story originally created by Andrew Kingsford-Smith.