Copenhagen is emerging as the go-to spot for a relaxing gastronomic city break. The sincerity and positive local attitude to life means it’s no surprise that it is a place for modernisers, strong independents and regarded as one of the happiest cities in the world. The Danes have a word for the cosiness of the soul – ‘Hygge’ – and there are plenty of places to fulfil this in the Danish capital.
This year Copenhagen set its own record of 26 Michelin stars, as well as its first three Michelin starred restaurant in Geranium (Per Henrik Lings Allé 4). NOMA (Strandgade 93), named the ‘world’s best restaurant’ four years in a row is widely renowned for the reinvention of Nordic cuisine. The experience is extraordinary, the teams clever exuberant use of forage, proteins and seafood throughout the journey means even after a 16-course tasting menu, you will be left feeling satisfied, fulfilled and even sprightly. I was fortunate enough to get a reservation, a day off work may be required though to persevere through the online booking process! This year sees NOMA closing its doors in its current venue but fear not its evolving with Owner René Redzepi planning NOMA 2.0 in a nearby location with plans which incorporate an urban farm.
It’s not all about stars and white linen, for a more lenient evening, try the aptly named Meatpacking District in Vesterbro. Still in parts used for its original function, it is now revitalized into a cool mecca of independent restaurants and bars. It is arguably the city’s most interesting and lively culinary area. There are options for every stipulation, for pizza devotees check out the authentic wood fired pizzeria Mother (Høkerboderne 9). Warpigs Brewpub (Flæsketorvet 25) a popular all day micro-brewery for the craft beer and the smoked meats lover, everything here is brewed or smoked on site. One of the best seafood joints in the city and décor to match, sits Kødbyens Fiskebar (Flæsketorvet 100), which also towards the summer months outside becomes awash with deckchairs and chilled drinking atmosphere in the districts central atrium.
Beast (Guldbergsgade 29) is a buzzing neighbour- hood restaurant located in the trendy Norrebro, from the same stable as popular organic Michelin restaurant Relæ (Jægersborggade 41). Minimalist organic Scandi design, sharing tables, coupled with some show-stopping meat hanging cabinets. It ambassadors social eating with its in-house charcuterie, pizzas, specialist cheese and organic wine. All the baking for Bæst is prepared next door in popular corner bakery Mirabelle (Guldbergsgade 29), perfect morning spot at the window for fresh croissant and coffee.
Take a pit stop at Gasoline Grill (Landgreven 10). Housed in a former petrol station, another reminder of the native’s ability to reinvent, is now one the best burger spots in town. Since its opening last year, it is already gaining a largescale reputation for its patty. Get there early to fuel your desire as they frequently sell out.
Copenhagen is a wonderfully accessible city, the most desirable way to see it is by ‘biking’, around half of the city’s population commute this way and there are more bikes than inhabitants.
Home to around a thousand residents explore Christiania Freetown an old ‘hippie commune’ and self-proclaimed autonomous region inside a modern city. The area also includes some distinctively eco made architecture from its inhabitants. For the most affordable beer you will experience in Copenhagen, stop for a home-made brew down the notorious Pusher Street.
A few minutes’ bike ride takes you back onto Copenhagen’s water front. On one side the picture famous Nylavn harbour and on the adjacent waterway is Copenhagen’s Street Food Market (Flæsketorvet 3), with a diverse mix of local and foreign cultural influences.
Situated next to the main train station Tivoli Gardens (Vesterbrogade 3) the fourth most visited theme park of its kind in Europe is home to one of the world’s oldest operating wooden rollercoaster. Amongst it a hub of award-winning rides, the new Nimb Hotel (Bernstorffsgade 5), honest restaurants and well maintained romantic gardens for an evening stroll.
My favourite area Norrebro, has a youthful grass roots vibe and some of the most vibrant streets the city offers. Five years ago, Jægersborgade was a dubious location, now even on its short 150 metre stretch it’s a buzzing cultural hub with an interesting gastronomy profile. A specialist porridge cafe, homemade ice cream maker, coffee roasters, wine bars as well as 40 art galleries make this an essential part of your journey. Nearby, Elmegade a popular and vibrant side street to Nørrebrogade, the street buzzes with activity and is known for its small creative shopping boutiques.
Ruby’s (Nybrogade 10) is housed in a 1740 townhouse in the old part of the city, like many great bars the décor is externally understated yet internally exuberant. The layout has the effect of being inside someone’s apartment which adds to its distinctively homely atmosphere. This bar has set the standards for the the cities rising cocktail culture. The Barking Dog (Sankt Hans Gade 19) interestingly markets itself as a cocktail pub but it’s a touch more than that. The basement bar has wacky décor and is a crossbreed of Mexico, tiki and Hawaiian influences. A cocktail menu with tales to tell and some abundant agave based drinks couples with a fun relaxed environment.
Hidden off a bustling main street Lidkoeb (Vesterbrogade 72b), is housed over three floors in an old pharmacy building. Dominated by a long oak top bar the main bar is classic and cosy with fire place and adjacent booths. The bar is also the younger sibling to Ruby’s and the atmosphere can be slightly more rebellious than its elder. Also, if you’re a whisky enthusiast then their latest addition is a third-floor whisky hideout open at weekends.
Craft beers are a popular past time in Europe these days Mikkeller and Friends (Stefansgade 35), sister to its smaller and somewhat cosier counterpart Mikkeller Bar (Viktoriagade 8), collaborates with other local bars for a varied selection of 40 local ales for your enjoyment.
Sleep on the water in Hotel CPL Living (Langebrogade 1) or for a full hygge experience then Axel Guldsmelden Hotel (Helgolandsgade 11) is attractively situated only a few minutes’ stroll from the meatpacking restaurants, including a vegan restaurant and an attractive basement spa to rest your weary backside. Staff are enormously welcoming like many in Copenhagen and if I have missed anything out I am sure they will fill you in!
(E)ats (A)ctivity (T)ipple (S)tay – by Matt Farrell
…aims to provide an informative quality food and drink information travel piece for the discerning traveller looking for the local spots and hangouts.
Follow Matt on Instagram: @fazmangoes