No chance at Noma? 6 of Copenhagen’s other great restaurants
Sorry, the recent food poisoning scare won't be enough to free up Noma's crowded waiting list.
While 63 people reportedly fell ill after eating at the Copenhagen-based, two Michelin-starred joint, its reservations page remains a barely disguised apology for probably being too popular to accommodate you.
Voted the best place to eat in the world for three years running by the famed S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants, as well as scoring numerous other awards, Noma has become a byword for bizarre dishes and left-field Nordic cuisine.
Though it remains one impressive dining adventure, Noma’s success is not confined to within its own doors. It has helped create a vibrant food scene in Copenhagen, from fancy formal haunts to chilled breakfast hangouts.
“Thirty years ago, restaurants in Copenhagen were either cheap and bad -- or French and expensive,” says Trine Lai, a Copenhagen food blogger who covers the scene on verygoodfood.dk.
“Denmark has been through an economic upturn and that has helped Copenhagen turn into one of the world's hot spots of gastronomy. This is the golden age for Danish and Scandinavian cuisine.”
Here are six recommendations:
Run by ex-Noma sommelier Anders Selmer, this hip joint is part of Copenhagen’s regenerated meat-packing district.
The area looks like a 1960s shopping precinct somewhere in northern England, but push through the heavy glass doors, grab a seat at the bar and enjoy some of the best seafood in town.
Limfjorden mussels and an array of local oysters star.
Best of all, Fiskebar won’t leave you desperately turning out your pockets for any loose krone to pay for a cab back to your hotel. A main of the aforementioned mussels will hit you for 165kr (US$30).
Flæsketorvet 100, 1711 Copenhagen, +45 32155656, fiskebaren.dk/en/
Only got time for one blow out meal in Copenhagen? Geranium is Lai’s first choice.
“It’s a wonderful restaurant, completely different from Noma,” she says.
Chef Rasmus Kofoed has been racking up awards for his intriguing dishes. The tasting menu is de rigeur.
Billed as “a tour of our universe,” expect to nibble on pine needles, sheep’s butter, seaweed and Jerusalem artichokes. Stump up 2,900kr (US$518) and you’ll get the full tasting experience, with natural wines paired with each dish.
Then go for a lie down.
Per Henrik Lings Allé 4, 2100 Copenhagen, +45 69 96 00 20, geranium.dk
Head to Relæ and you’ll find “avant-garde creativity in full bloom and at a reasonable price,” says Lai.
The restaurant is the baby of former El Bulli and Noma chef Christian Puglisi, but while there’s definitely a unique streak to proceedings, the food is pleasingly straightforward.
The biodynamic beef with burnt cabbage and green strawberries is sensational, while the sheep’s milk yogurt with beetroot and blackcurrant will make you look at your regular pot of Danone in disgust.
After 8 p.m. you can pick seven courses for 675kr (US$120), a steal considering the background of the chef and the diversity of the ingredients on show.
Jægersborggade 41, 2200 Copenhagen, Tel +45 3696 6609, restaurant-relae.dk
Manfreds & Vin
Relæ’s sister joint, Manfreds and Vin, offers a more relaxed take on the mad scientist stylings of its sibling.
Again, shared dishes are the focus, with anchovy salad (using Lolin anchovies, billed as the world’s best), root veggies and ox tatar to spread across the table.
Alternatively, diners can order the chef’s rolling daily menu. It lets you taste new creations, with two vegetable dishes, one of meat or fish and one poached egg for 250kr (US$44).
There’s also a superb weekend brunch, with celeriac-packing eggs Benedict or the heftier “Manfreds sviner,” replete with eggs, hand-made sausages and sour dough baked on the premises.
Jægersborggade 40, 2200 Copenhagen, +45 36966593, manfreds.dk
Lai describes Radio as “one of the newer, innovative places. More classic than Relæ and Manfreds, but unique and very, very delicious.”
While you can grab larger, single lunch dishes for 100kr (US$18), swerve that option and share five eats for 400kr (US$71) instead.
Not only are the squid, potatoes with capers and thyme turbot all delicious, picking over small plates is the way to eat in Copenhagen. Think tapas, but with fewer bottles of San Miguel floating around.
Julius Thomsens Gade 12, 1632 Copenhagen, Tel +45 2510 2733, restaurantradio.dk/
This Michelin-starred Thai restaurant is at the forefront of Copenhagen’s Asian haute cuisine boom. Lai calls it “excellent with a modern touch,” and with good reason.
This is way beyond the basic pad Thai that might pass as a hurried lunch at your desk.
The tasting menu, based on Thai street food, is the only option you should consider, 495kr (US$88). The char-grilled lobster is followed by peanut ginger ice cream and delicious tom yum.
It might not be your traditional Danish dinner, but the ingredients are locally sourced, making this a Nordic take on Southeast Asia’s best food.
Guldbergsgade 21, 2200 Copenhagen, +45 35357555, kiin.dk