The world’s foodies are fascinated by Copenhagen and its avant-garde chefs, who experiment with unconventional ingredients. For more great restaurants, check out our guide to the world’s best places to eat.
Photo courtesy of Thomas Herman.
Nimb, a 13-room hotel on the edge of Tivoli Gardens, has become a foodie destination for its in-house dairy, food shop and high-end hot dog stand, as well as for its haute restaurant, Herman. Chef Thomas Herman transforms traditional Danish dishes into elegant creations, like the prosaic bacon-and-mashed-potato combination known as Burning Love, which he reinvents as a potato-and-brown-butter sabayon.
We loved: Chestnut bisque with scallops and caviar.
Insider tip: Have after-dinner drinks upstairs in the hotel’s baronial bar.
Chef-owners Jakob Mielcke and Jan Hurtigkarl have converted an 18th-century building into a quirky fantasyland, with murals of vibrant-green ivy and ferns and a sound track of raindrops and insects scuttling in the forest. The restaurant closes from January through March, when the chefs travel to find inspiration for global dishes like scallops with hibiscus and Jerusalem artichokes.
We loved: Hare with beets, elderberry and pear.
Insider tip: Check out the outlandish bathrooms—one has a ceramic bull’s head that appears to be bleeding red crystals.
The only Copenhagen restaurant with two Michelin stars, Noma is a showcase for Danish-Macedonian chef René Redzepi’s radical New Nordic cuisine—think edible “soil” made from malted grains and cheese served with the ashes of burnt hay (much more delicious than it sounds).
We loved: Musk ox with Gotland truffles, milk skin and salsify.
Rasmus Kofoed and Soren Ledet belong to the next generation of chefs who are looking beyond molecular gastronomy for their hypercreativity. For instance, they smoke salmon tableside inside a bell jar that releases a white puff of smoke when the waiter lifts the top.
We loved: Cod cheeks with cabbage, lumpfish roe and smoked fresh cheese.
Co-owner Gromit Eduardsen, one of Scandinavia’s top mixologists, combines a terrific cocktail menu and a roster of talented DJs to make this eight-month-old bar—named for its hip inner-city zip code—one of the coolest hangouts in town.
We loved: The Number 4, with gin, pepper and cardamom.
Hot Food Zone Vesterbro
Once Copenhagen’s red-light and meatpacking district (why is it the two always seem to exist in the same neighborhood?), Vesterbro has become a chic place to eat and shop. Herman at the Nimb hotel is around the corner from Vesterbrogade, a restaurant row that’s home to The Paul. There, British chef Paul Cunningham serves pan-European dishes like roasted Scottish scallops with braised oxtail and Iberico ham. The formal, French-influenced Formel B offers such dishes as foie gras with watercress, apple, celeriac and foie gras ice cream. Other venues take advantage of the hodgepodge nature of the neighborhood to experiment. Karriere is a slaughterhouse-turned-art-and-performance-space with a bar, restaurant and café
Smushi Stop: The Royal Café
Next to both the Royal Copenhagen and Georg Jensen flagship stores, the Royal Café specializes in a delicious culinary mash-up it calls smushi: open-face Danish sandwiches, or smorrebrod, reinvented in sushi-like portions. There are a dozen toppings, from egg-and-shrimp to fried Camembert. Insider tip: The basement of Royal Copenhagen sells marked-down seconds of the café’s china.