The popularity of Copenhagen as a foodie destination seems to be ever increasing. This is a city whose food scene is vibrant, exciting, and innovative, and is a delight to experience.
Copenhagen is also closer to the UK than many people think, with a flight time of around 90 minutes from London airports, making it an easily accessible destination for a weekend break.
This summer, I returned to Copenhagen to see what’s hot on the food scene, and to bring together my favourite recommendations for you.
Where to eat and drink
For a traditional Danish lunch, I recommend Sankt Annæ restaurant. It’s a totally charming traditional restaurant serving excellent food just a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of touristy Nyhavn. The speciality at Sankt Annæ is smørrebrød, or open sandwiches, which are still a staple of the Danish kitchen. This is an unfussy, discreet restaurant that produces superb quality food using the best Danish produce. It’s only open from 10am-4pm and gets very busy, so do book in advance.
For coffee and a delicious Danish sweet bun or pastry, I have not found anywhere better than Claus Meyer on Gammel Kongevej. Although it is very popular, there are a fair few tables both inside and out. The kanelsnurre is my favourite bun of all, but the kanelsnegl also has many fans. If you’re staying for lunch, then I’d recommend the fiskefrikadeller or the pork sandwich; both are excellent.
Coffee purists will like Coffee Collective. Having expanded to a number of coffee shops based around Copenhagen. There’s nothing else on the menu here, and don’t ask for soya milk or decaf. But the coffee is superb, made by real connoisseurs with skill, care and precision.
For dinner, if you are planning to push the boat out, I’d recommend Geranium. This is an utterly exquisite restaurant, and many would say this is Copenhagen’s best restaurant. A meal here is a complete experience. You’ll need to book well in advance.
For something clean, simple and a little less formal, I suggest Radio. This is uncomplicated but delicious seasonal food, with a focus on great ingredients. At 400 krone for 5 courses, it’s very good value, too.
If a cheap, cheerful and fun evening is what you’re after, then Papirøen is where you need to head. I visited last year and liked it, but I think a year of continual improvement shows, and it is now bigger and better than ever. Situated at the far end of Christianshavn, near to Noma, it is an indoor food market selling good quality street food from quality, quirky independent traders. There is a wide selection of food available, from noodles, to pizza, to Danish hot dogs, to cassoulet and craft beer, you’ll find it all here. Generally, the quality is good, and the informal atmosphere is fun and convivial. There is often a DJ playing at night, too.
Where to stay
My hotel for this visit was the Absalon hotel. It’s been newly decorated using Designers Guild accessories, and is a modern, bright and fresh base in the city. Rooms are quite small, as is the case with many city centre hotels, but they are clean and comfortable. It is a colourful, lively and busy hotel, which is clearly a popular place to stay as it was packed out the weekend we visited. It has a very nice seating area in the lobby, and a cocktail bar for guests in the main entrance. Breakfast is taken downstairs, and was also packed out each day. There is a buffet on offer to guests – it’s all very informal – you just choose a table and help yourself. The breakfast choices are fairly limited to breads, eggs, Danish cheese, and pastries, with a small choice of tinned fruit and yoghurt. It is simple, no frills food, but fills you up for the day exploring Copenhagen.
One of the main attractions of the Absalon is its location. It is in the Vesterbro neighbourhood, which is very close to the railway station, making it very easy to navigate the city by foot. You are just 5 minutes walk from the central shopping area, and also the Meatpacking district where there are plenty of interesting places for foodies to discover. Take a walk down Viktoriagade to try some craft beers and some interesting restaurants.
Book your flights as far in advance as you can, as they do get expensive. I have used SAS from Heathrow and Norwegian Air from Gatwick, and both have been very good.
As an alternative to a taxi, take the train into Copenhagen Central Station (København H), which is roughly a 10-15 minute journey and super, cheap, too.
These are just a small selection of my favourite recommendations for a visit to Copenhagen. You’ll find many recommendations for places to visit online, but I have tried to bring you some suggestions that you might not have read about elsewhere, and were introduced to me by some of Denmark’s top foodies. For more recommendations for places to visit, do take a look at the excellent Visit Copenhagen and Visit Denmark websites.