This former coffeehouse is one of the most upscale restaurants in Nyhavn, and certainly the one with the best decor. Meticulously preserved since it was installed in 1854, it's lined with murals that feature maidens in diaphanous dresses cavorting beneath trellises in a mythical garden. Dripping with Art Nouveau grace notes, they're believed to be the work of 19th-century muralist Christian Hitsch, who adorned parts of the interior of the Danish Royal Theater. Hans Christian Andersen was a regular here, and just before our arrival, novelist John Irving dropped in for lunch with a Danish journalist, discussing the European marketing for one of his novels.
Each day there's a different fixed-price menu, as well as a la carte offerings. Most dishes are well prepared, including pepper-pickled salmon served with fresh herbs and watercress; lobster soup; grilled scallops with chestnuts and a confit of tomatoes; grilled calf's liver with onion marmalade, tomatoes, and thyme; breast of chicken roasted with honey and ginger, and served with vermouth sauce; and saddle of lamb with a compote of plums and red onions. You might follow all this with black-currant sorbet with cassis. The restaurant was named, incidentally, after the nickname of the wife ("Elsa") of its founder.
- © Frommer's 2013