Who would think a country that cold and gloomy would produce countless fantastic restaurants and such fame in design creativity? I went to Copenhagen twice in 6 weeks in exploration of food and design. The result is; I was surprised that the eating and shopping experience was even better than my high expectation, and I returned home being one of the happiest people in the world.
I am making a list here of my fantastic Copenhagen immersion.
No need to say much about this restaurant that was ranked the best in the world for many years. Booking 3 months in advance does not guarantee a table for you. The quality of food is definitely deserves its reputation and 2 Michelin stars. The service is 3 stars. But the real deal is the uniqueness of the food concept. It is not based on French nouvelle cuisine like other Michelin-starred restaurants, but it positions as Nordic and rustic culinary. Imagine roasted moss and … It is the food like nowhere I have ever tasted and tried – very creative and beyond imagination. But the consequence of being consistently Nordic and rustic is flavors and presentation are all the same throughout the meal. After 7 or 8 dishes we were no longer surprised (well, in fact we were still, but with diminishing return.) And now I understand why some people do not like it there. Imagine eating 20 dishes of wild herbs and vegetables and Nordic seafood all pickled or roasted burnt. I say, though, that it qualifies for once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Tips: Book for lunch. It is easier to get a table and the menu is not different from dinner.
Address: Strandgade 93, 1401 Copenhagen K
Its reputation is unfairly shadowed by Noma but it also has 2 Michelin stars. If you ask me, this is THE best Michelin star restaurant I have been, even better than some 3 stars in France. Throughout 25 dishes, we were constantly surprised and none of the 25 dishes fails to give us ooh aah and unforgettable impression of sensation in the mouth. It was just delicious. This is what I call the real thing. Chef Rasmus Kofoed knows how to make food pretty but does not get carried away and forget it has to be delicious. And shhh…I think he must be a wizard. How can a man know how to create and combine flavors and textures like that?
Address: Per Henrik Lings Allé 4, 2100 Copenhagen Ø
A 1-star Michelin restaurant that everything used there is organic, even dishwashing soap. The look is very plain and simple, like a modern gastropub rather than fine cuisine. I went for lunch, so set-menu is compact with 2 options; vegetarian or non-veg. Everything seems simple at the beginning, but the food is not! The look, maybe, but flavor is definitely not simple. It is marvelous how simple ingredients can work together to create a memorable palate. Courgette slided thin marinated in olive oil gives heavenly texture and flavor. Pearl onions with buttermilk foam. Danish enoki mushroom in onion sauce and chive. The killer is milk ice cream topped with blueberries and generous parmesan. It is so simple that I think the only reason for such marvelous taste is due to the organic grade and freshness of the ingredients. I would go back any time. Impossible to miss.
Address: Jægersborggade 41, 2200 Copenhagen V
Such a cute and cozy restaurant in an industrial-cum-rustic ambience. We were so excited with the décor that we could not stop taking pictures. It is a perfect place for girlfriend night out or a casual romantic date. Food is also impressive with natural flavor and aroma like salmon gravlax with fresh herb piled on top, seared scallops with marinated carrot strings and smoked pine, and steak with sumptuous sauce and fresh garden on top feels healthy in the mouth rather than heavy. Love it.
Address: Nørre Farigmagsgade 41, 1364 Copenhagen
Everybody knows Ida Davidsen, so why listing such a touristy place? Some Danish also say her Smorrebrod is not even authentic. Too bad that I just love her food. And I would say Ida is an institution. Her restaurant is known to have the longest menu in the world (yes, it is in Guinness book) which means you can create an endless combination of Smorrebrod. But the taste is what really gets me. The day I was there Ida was preparing for a press event to launch her book at the restaurant in the afternoon. At the age of maybe 70+ she still oversees the kitchen and the restaurant herself every day; her staff says she peels shrimps by herself in the kitchen. But she loves to walk around and greets her guests, especially taking photos. I had a good chat with her and when I asked her staff to pack the super delicious herrings for me (which is not normally for sale), later Ida walked out to give me herrings packed in a jar herself and didn’t charge me for it! I already prepared to pay any price for that most delicious herrings I have ever had.
Address: Kongensgade 70, 1264 Copenhagen K
After seeing many, I concluded that Normann is my favorite concept store in Copenhagen. It has a wide range of merchandises from notecards to kitchenware to furniture, in their own brand and others. Everything looks Scandinavian, of course. I lost a few hours there and had to return to lose more the next day. Don’t let the look fool you. The shop looks small from the road but it grows deep and wide inside.
Address: Østerbrogade 70, 2100 Copenhagen Ø
If you love design and modern Scandinavian furniture, you have definitely come across Hay products as their products are distributed in many countries and featured often in magazines. The product is mainly furniture, but there are a good amount of well-thought design decorative items like modular trays, etc.
Address: Niels Hemmingsensgade3, 1153 Copenhagen K
A nice concept store in an old building stocked with decorative items, kitchenware, clothes, and jewelry. Enjoyable and inspiring if you love to decorate your place.
Address: Vesterbrogade 137, 1620 Copenhagen V
Another very nice concept store full of exciting design items just off the main shopping street. You will find whatever you look for – candles, candle holders, ceramic ware, furniture, lamps, decorative pieces, jewelry, beddings, Christmas decoration, baby items, art work, etc. I bet even if you don’t know it’s on my list, you would be tempted to walk in when passing it anyway.
Address: Niels Hemmingsensgade 3, 1153 Copenhagen K
A furniture shop right downtown. Not many pieces despite the size of 2 floors but fun to browse through.
Address: Regnegade 2, 1110 Copenhagen K
Well, it is a big department store that everyone in town shops, but the Home Store which is separated from a general department store does really have a vast and good stock of key Danish and Scandinavian brands and designers. If you don’t have time to hop at many individual stores, you can do one stop shopping here and will find most of the same brands in those concept stores.
Address: 10, Amagertorv, DK-1160 Copenhagen K