Copenhagen’s reputation as the foodie destination of Northern Europe has developed rapidly since Claus Meyer and Rene Redzepi opened a small, modest restaurant in an old warehouse in Christianshavn in 2003. Coining the phrase, ‘New Nordic Cuisine’, the pair’s daring suggestion that Scandinavian cuisine could compete with French and Italian cooking earned the restaurant, noma, its first Michelin star in 2005.
You don’t have to go to Christianshavn to enjoy good food in Copenhagen; nor do you have to confine yourself to Nordic cuisine. The city boasts a number of remarkable streets that excel in all things gastronomic, from delis and grocers to takeaways and restaurants. There is also a new market, Torvehallerne, and a culinary festival, Copenhagen Cooking, every August.
Noma is not the only gourmet restaurant in this upmarket area centered around the city’s canals. The tiny Christianshavn district is also home to luxurious Italian Era Ora (and its less pricey trattoria sister L’Altro), smart Argentinean Asador and Danish eateries like Restaurant Kanalen and Bastionen & Løven, housed in an old excise building and windmill respectively. Remember to reserve, and be prepared to spend.
This gourmet market on Israels Plads, not far from busy Nørreport Station, reopened in September this year on the site of Copenhagen’s old produce market that moved to suburbia in the ‘50s. Torvehallerne comprises two covered halls and a number of outdoor stands and offers not only fresh fish, prime meat cuts and fruit and vegetables, but also takeout meals, coffee and sandwiches. With stalls from food specialists like Aalbæk cured meats and Cofoco’s Supermarché, it’s worth noting that prices tend to be on the steep side.
This lively street is located on the border of two districts, Vesterbro and Frederiksberg, and easily reached from either Gammel Kongevej or Vesterbrogade. Værnedamsvej is known locally as ‘Little Paris’ for its delis, cafes, patisseries and food shops, many of which have more than a hint of France about them, like Le Gourmand at no.3. The street also has a charming old world feel about it, making it the ideal location for nostalgic cafe Granola.
Copenhagen’s most offbeat food street can be found in the multicultural Nørrebro neighborhood, and the district’s gritty vibe continues to keep this street real despite its culinary success. Its gastronomic attractions include the world’s first porridge bar Grød; Takeout and wine boutique Manfreds; Slovenian wine bar Terroiristen; Relaxed and hip Cafe Lyst; Gourmet restaurant Relæ; and organic Japanese at Onigiri and Green Sushi. In the summer, the street often hosts a popular farmer’s market, and has managed to maintain a refreshingly local customer base.
Copenhagen’s tiny but vibrant Chinese district encompasses no more than a couple of blocks directly west of the Central Station. In addition to a number of cheap, authentic Chinese and Thai restaurants, it’s also possible to buy all the ingredients you need to cook your own spicy dishes at home from the various Asian supermarkets and Pakistani grocers in the area. If you don’t have access to a stove, check out Vietnamese restaurant Lê Lê’s newly-opened Street Kitchen, located a short walk from here near the Hotel Alexandra.
Image courtesy of Torvehallerne Kbh.