Copenhagen - any tips?
I'm heading to Copenhagen for 4 nights next week, and know virtually nothing about the city's dining scene? Anyone have some tips for some good quality casual bistros or restaurants?
Well, there is plenty to explore: Noma, The Paul, Paustian, etc. Amazing modern nordic cuisine...
For a very delightful lunch try Ida Davidsen. They serve a huge variety of open face sandwiches that are both wonderful to eat and to look at. The people there are very freindly, speak excellent English, and provide first rate service. The prices, for Copenhagen, are not bad. The sole vegetarian in my group loved the cheese based sandwiches and told me that the waiter clearly pointed out the many vegatarian ones that they had. Be sure to make reservations as we saw a lot of people without reservations being turned away at the door.
Restaurant Ida Davidsen
Store Kongensgade 70
Tel: 453391 3655
Noma is one of the hottest places in europe to eat right now. Formel B and Geranium are also meant to be good
Have just returned, and can report that Ida Davidsen is very much still open. I had a lunch there which wasn't too bad, but the real finds of my trip were:
* Les Trois Cochons
* Den Anden
* Luns Restaurant
Copenhagen can be a terrifying expensive place to eat, but the above restaurants all offered outstanding meals at tolerable prices - compared to some of the more renowned places like Noma, Paustian, Geranium or Formel B. I'm sure those places are amazing, but you'll need to take out a bank loan to pay the bill.
I just returned from a weekend trip to Copenhagen and on the recommendation of a Danish friend went to Les Trois Cochons. We had a great meal with each dish being very well executed. I don't think it's particularly somewhere you'd go to for food that is new and innovative but the flavors and quality were all spot on. Just an fyi, it's a prix-fixe menu (about 280kr pp). You don't have a choice of starter or dessert (chef's choice) but you choose your main. Each main required a 2 person minimum which meant that my partner and I had to order the same thing. A bit ridiculous, especially since none of the mains (salmon, duck confit and entrecote) were complicated enough to neccessitate a 2 order minimum.
We also went to Cafe Gavlen (Ryesgade 1, 2200 Kgh N, tel: 35 37 02 37) for brunch. Brunch was a simple affair: rye bread topped with cheese, fried eggs and bacon with a salad. However, it was excellent. The bacon was to die for and a thousand times better than the Niman's Ranch bacon I've had (which I also think is fantastic.) Definitely worth a stop for brunch (they are not open in the evenings.)
One last mention, Temple Bar (Nørrebrogade 48) was a perfect spot for a late night drink. Cool, laid back, slightly edgy with a very friendly staff. We stopped by for a quiet cup of tea in the afternoon too. Super chill, it's on my list for the next time I go back!
I'd skip Ida Davidsen and go to Kanal Cafeen instead. It's cheaper and full of Danish people having lots of fun. The sandwiches were fantastic, much better than at ID's. It's much less touristy and more traditional. I think it's only open for lunch. Overall I found the food in Copenhagen to be good, fresh, and a little bland and overcooked by American standards. But Kanal Cafeen was a gem.
Ida's is not a tourist trap, but it is touristy because it appears in so many guidebooks (I have a 1953 Fielding's Guide to Europe that recommends it (it was called Oscar Davidsen's then)). That's unfortunate, because Ida Davidsen's makes excellent smørrebrød, and their servers are very good at introducing tourists to the Danish lunch.
That said, Kanal Kafeen and Slotskælderen (also known as Gitte Kik's) are as good on any day, better on most days, unknown to tourists, and packed every day. When I have out of town guests to lunch, I almost always choose one of these.
Food: Traditional Danish lunch. Herring is excellent at both, though the fried herring (stegte sild) is somewhat plumper at Kanal Kafeen. I prefer Kanal Kafeen's pork roast, but Gitte Kiks is better at roast duck, fried fish and shrimp. I don't think you can go wrong with either.
Service, atmosphere, etc: Again, very traditional Danish. Dark decor, lots of nautical paintings and photos and (in KK) photos of early 20th century Danish amateur boxers (no, I don't know why). Servers have been there for years... and, yes, they are more attentive to the cabinet minister or judge sitting at the next table than they are to you. That said, they seem to sense exactly when your mild "want" is crossing over into impatience... not a bad feat when the guest/server ratio is about 60/1.
Just back from Copenhagen. Ida Davidsen and many others closed in July & August.
As others have written Kanal Kafeen is a great find for a traditional smorrebrod lunch with all the trimmings. Excellent food, old Danish interior, outside tables by quiet canal. Near museums too. Four smorrebrod one beer $58. We arrived at 12.10 but all the outdoor tables were already booked. Inside pretty full later. Hours 11.30 - 4pm. Closed Sunday.
KANAL CAFEEN, Frederiksholms Kanal 18. 1220 Copenhagen K. Telephone (45)33 11 57 70.
We also had good smorrebrod at M a one room modern place with a cheese and sausage shop section underneath. Their warm home made chicken liver pate was even better than Kanal Cafeen's. Four smorrobrod, 1 beer &1 aquavit $48 On a corner same street as Ida Davidsen. Open 11.30 to 4. Closed Sunday.
RESTAURANT M, Store Konensgade 56. Telephone (45 )33 15 85 77
We also had lunch at Restaurant Kanalen which is in the Michelin guide and more expensive. We had a so so chicken salad and very good but small herring "three ways". $84 with 4 drinks that cost more than our two dishes. Almost no one there for a Saturday lunch. It's generally praised and is a lovely place on a quiet canal with boats. Open 11.30 to midnight. Closed Sunday.
RESTAURANT KANALEN, Wilders plads 2, 1403 Copenhagen K. Telephone (45) 32 95 13 30
Because they were near our apartment we had supper at Cafe Boheme on Esplanaden ($116 for three dishes and 2 aquavits) and Le Somelier (in Michelin, $110 for two dishes and two glasses of wine). Good French cooking but I have no idea how they compare with other Copenhagen restaurants mentioned on this thread..
Don't miss Danish rye bread which is quite different from American. Dark, moist, seeded and utterly delicious. We bought at superior chain (good for Danish pastries too)RvH (Reinh van Hauen) in same Ida Davidsen Street - St Kongensgade 45 (as well as other places).
Copenhagen is a beautiful city full of friendly English speaking Danes BUT we were pick pocketed. So beware - as always I suppose.