Copenhagen’s food scene is one of the global leaders of culinary innovation. The city is one of the world’s best places to visit if you’re looking for experimental deliciousness that can change your idea of food, all while being positively Danish.
While other places chase trends, Copenhagen’s unique culinary scene is more focused on experimenting with foods and trying things that have never been done before. All of the innovation is built on a traditional Danish culture influenced by local and sustainable ingredients.
Local restaurants come in quite a few different varieties, so you can find something tasty—no matter what kind of experience you’re looking for. Experimental, traditional, luxurious, budget-friendly—and just about any other kind of dining experience you can imagine—can be found here. Much like everything else in town, the food practices in Copenhagen are also notably sustainable and environmentally-friendly.
‘New Nordic’ Food
One of the most important facets of Copenhagen’s modern dining scene is New Nordic food, which is defined as a commitment to local, sustainable, and organic produce and was made famous by the city’s pioneering Michelin-starred restaurant, noma. The restaurant kick-started a food revolution in the city, with multiple off-shoots and alumni creating unique and intriguing places to eat.
Copenhagen’s setting on the coast also makes it an ideal location for seafood. Its most famous international export is probably Carlsberg, and if you want to explore the city’s beer culture, local distilleries offer nothing less than craft excellence. After dark, the city is known for its numerous cozy bars and cocktail lounges, offering a high level of service, design, and quality.
Modern Danish food takes its cues from traditional recipes. Barr, for example, works with local distilleries and brews exclusive drinks that you won’t find anywhere else. You’ll also find them experimenting in new ways with classic dishes like frikadeller, which are Danish meatballs. Finding a way to make a modern classic by reinventing a traditional meal is the aim of the game of many other chefs across town too.
Copenhagen’s commitment to sustainability isn’t just limited to its harbor and cycle paths. You’ll also find environmental practices in place when it comes to food, including it’s eco-friendly practices at restaurants or local farms. Growing locally and minimizing food waste are always priorities for restaurants, but many go even further, being conscious of energy consumption and social sustainability too. They manage to do it all without sacrificing the deliciousness that the local food scene has become known for.
Dining experiences here let you eat with peace of mind—no matter where you find yourself. For example, if you visit a local hot-dog stand, you may find that all the ingredients are sourced organically and locally. That includes not just the bread and sausage, but seasonings as well. Book in advance to try one of the local Michelin-starred restaurants, where you’ll experience world-class food in a sensational setting.
Some local restaurants don’t have to worry about sourcing from local farmers because they grow everything themselves. That’s exactly what you’ll find at Gro Spiseri, a rooftop farm located on the top of a building in the middle of the city. Not only can you see the eco-friendly powerhouse that is urban farming in action, but the restaurant here offers delicious meals that let you enjoy an authentic and creative taste of Copenhagen.
Taste Danish tradition
While Copenhagen may be known for its experimental dining options, you won’t have to look far to find something more traditional. In fact, finding a classic smørrebrød coupled with a cold beer is often as easy as rounding the next corner—no matter where you are in town—and that’s before we even mention the delights of eating a Danish pastry in Denmark. Corner bakeries offer sweet treats, dark rye bread, and opportunities for coffee on every street in the city, while specialist patisseries offer an elevated afternoon tea experience with layer cakes and more.
One of the best aspects of the local restaurant scene is that you don’t have to worry about dietary restrictions getting in the way of enjoying traditional dishes. The availability of vegan and vegetarian alternatives is fairly standard, with some classic dishes being reinterpreted to fit those restrictions that many have.
When you opt for more traditional food in town, you’ll find yourself being immersed in the history of the city. Some of Copenhagen’s best traditional restaurants are remarkably old, like Schønnemann, which dates back to 1877. Pair traditional Danish delicacies with a hint of history in Christianshavn or Nyhavn, where you can dine next to a canal with views of colourful, centuries-old buildings.