This is the third blog of a four-part series of our trip to Copenhagen, Denmark. Originally, I planned to write one or two on a couple adventures, but decided to break down the traveler’s common questions into individual blogs, including: Traveling in Denmark, Where to Stay, Food!, and Denmark’s Attractions. This week, I’m chatting about food and drinks in Copenhagen!
First off, these are the places we visited and loved. There is just so much that Denmark offers, and we only touched the surface in Copenhagen. Some of these I researched beforehand to visit but some were stumbled upon and others were recommendations from chatting with locals.
Affordable New Nordic Cuisine
“In an age of all you can eat, all year round, Danish chefs are leading the way in a new wave of gourmet thinking. Slow food over fast food and locally-sourced produce over food shipped from every corner of the planet. That’s the essence of New Nordic cuisine, a sustainable, healthy and delicious trend that has taken Scandinavia by storm.” – Visit Denmark
While planning our trip, I made a goal to try New Nordic cuisine. I knew we wouldn’t be able to get a table at NOMA (constantly rated the best restaurant in the world and crazy difficult to get a table or to even afford the meal), so I researched and found another Michelin rated restaurant called Marv & Ben.
Marv & Ben
This restaurant is the bee’s knees. I booked us a table that morning worried that our reservation wouldn’t be accepted, but then received a call an hour later with a confirmation. They also inquired about allergies and food preferences.
On our way there, we walked through busy, loud streets with outdoor seating and then crossed a street into an immediately quiet, peaceful block. At first glance you may think you’ve accidentally passed Marv & Ben’s, but then realize there’s a small white banner with its name and an open door with Michelin stickers.
We were immediately impressed by the glass window peeking into the kitchen the moment you walk in. You can watch the chefs make magic. Our friendly hostess greeted us to our table even though we were early (we were 20 minutes early!) and let us pick our table in the section. We chose the quiet one in the corner in front of the main window.
Once settled in, we decided to go for the whole shebang and ordered the greetings champagne (from the real Champagne, France!), the “snacks,” the six-course meal including the wine pairings. Our server was young, hip (exposed tattoo sleeves!), goofy, and knowledgeable. With each snack and meal, he educated us on what we were served and where our wine came from and tasted like. At one point, Jeremy and I started to sing rugby songs (a common occurrence when you order wine-pairings…), and he walked up to our table singing along. It was a fabulous, truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The price is what you’d expect (a few hundred *ahem*), but we felt like it was amazing and well worth it. Something to budget for definitely… but worth it.
The food was out of this world. Like, you may actually think it was out of this world by the way it was decorated. For instance, we had fresh cucumber and sea salt piled on top of sea shells, mushrooms speckled with dried flowers, a cheese bomb (not sure what else to call it) that when poked into it you would find crispy potatoes hidden inside. I didn’t take many pictures of the food (honestly, I was really enjoying my time with Jeremy and forgot to take some!), but here are a few I pulled from Marv & Ben’s Instagram for your inspiration:
For Vegetarians: VeVe
My cousin and aunt went to VeVe on the same night we went to Marv & Ben. Their experience was just as exciting as ours. They had a staging room, very casual, where they had their own vegetarian “snacks” and were then moved to a table for their meals. Honestly acknowledging that vegetarian food can sometimes be bland, they admitted that VeVe’s food was fresh and interesting! It was well worth the cost to them for the delicious food and experience. Here are a few pictures from Veve’s Instagram, as well:
Eat Like a Local
The Best Lunch
Our top favorite place to visit: Torvehallerne. A food market conveniently located in Norreport, they offer so many delicious, made-to-order options from French to Mexican to classic Danish, etc. We went to Torvehallerne four times for lunch during our 10-day trip (that’s 40% of our lunches!). You can also buy deli, fresh fruit and veggies, as well as, flowers, chocolates, and homegoods. Honestly, Torvehallerne had so much to offer and we didn’t have enough time to try them all, but here are a few of our favorites to help you:
- Hija de Sanchez
You want amazing tacos? Please, oh please, visit Hija de Sanchez. Located in the square in between the two glass markets, is this lovely place. Jeremy ate tacos here two days in a row. I loved the cheese taco and Jeremy loved the meat tacos. UGH. We still dream about these fresh lovelies. The co-owner is actually from New York and his wife is Danish. Together, it’s a cool fushion of taco-ness.
- Ma Poule
The duck sandwich hands down. I read about this sandwich before our trip and our Best Friend Bartender from Danhostel recommended it (without me prompting her). Jammed pack in a baguette, the pulled duck and mustard practically melt in your mouth. So good!
- Le Petit Vinbar
I frequented this stall often for a good glass of red wine. My bartender gave me a fabulous recommendation that caused me to go back often for more. On their website, it looks like they offer promotional events for discounted drinks. Such as Sparking Wednesdays for a lovely glass of champagne! Not sure if it’s because I’m getting older, but champagne has been making me very happy. Perhaps it’s the bubbles?
- Hallernes Smørrebrød
For a crazy large portion of fresh ingredients, Hallernes Smørrebrød is where I had tried two kinds of Denmark’s open faced sandwich. I had a salmon and a meatball smørrebrød. Meatball was decent but the salmon was amaaaazing. Maybe because it’s Denmark, but all their salmon is just perfect?
For groceries, Denmark has Netto, Fakta, and Aldi as popular chains. To save on time and costs, we shopped our local Fakta often for breakfast items, like fresh eggs, veggies, Greek yogurt, Jacobsen honey (and of course we paid a little extra for honey with our last name “Jacobsen.” Hehe!).
But the item that we all loved very much was Danish rye bread (or rugbrød). This dense loaf is filled with good wholesome ingredients (Ours had sunflower seeds! So good!), and one slice is hearty enough to get your day started. This is also what we used to make our own homemade smørrebrød.
Wienerbrød Are Danish Pastries (Not Weiners)
Fun fact! The Danish don’t actually call their famous pastries “danishes.” Americans call them that because we tasted their pastries and named them after the Danish. The funny thing is, the Danish learned how to make these from the Austrians, and so that’s why they call these tasty wonders “Viennese bread” or wienerbrød.
These flaky, buttery babies are ridiculously delicious. My recommendation to you: Order when the store just opens. The best pastry I had was early Saturday morning when the Meyers Bageri (a pastries chain in Denmark) opened. Like, literally opened their doors to the public. Funny story: Jeremy and I were on our morning run when I saw the store. Eating a true Danish wienerbrød was on my bucket list, and so I picked up a chocolaty goodness mid-run and ran the remaining 1.5 miles back with it in my hand.
I had several pastries during the trip (one was from 7-11 and surprisingly my second favorite of the trip!), but that first wienerbrød – still warm from that morning’s baking – was perfect.
Need Something Convenient?
There’s plenty of food options, but depending on where you go, these were the two options we found pretty convenient (and somewhat affordable) on our trip:
Insider Fun Fact: If you order food from the Tivoli Food Hall at night, you can get a table outside and enjoy the Tivoli lights without needing a ticket to the park. Sometimes, you can even enjoy hearing their live music!
- Tivoli Food Hall
There’s something for everyone. My family and I would split up, order what we wanted, and then regroup at a table outside. My favorite place (I literally ordered the same thing three times from here) was Letz Sushi. I ordered the Signature Roll – made with lightly-fried salmon, avocado, and more – and a side of spicy seaweed.
- Hot Dog Stands
They’re everywhere downtown! For a quick, affordable, hearty meal, check these guys out.
Less about the food and more about late-night drinks and experience, here are a few of our favorites in Copenhagen from our trip:
- Sam’s Karaoke
A karaoke bar located at Strøget and sometimes overlooked due to the Chinese takeout by the door. This bar offers Danish and American songs at karaoke. Don’t expect the most polite bar service, but they still offer plenty of liquid courage to help get you on stage.
- Musen & Elefanten
A cigar lounge and casual, local bar located on a side street of Copenhagen. We stumbled upon this gem on a Sunday night when many other bars are closed. Jeremy and I had such a good time here catching up with my sister, and drinking some pretty decently priced beers. The locals were playing dice games at the bar, and at one point, the bartender started playing Disney songs in Danish. For a cigar lounge, it was pretty magical.
- Cafe Guldhornene
Our first bar on our first Friday there, Jeremy and I also discovered this place. It’s in the same area as Musen & Elefanten, but FYI it was not open on Sunday night. Full of locals, a young bartender dressed dapperly, and a spinning wheel where you can win two drinks or shots for the price of one. This is where we won our Thor beer and decided to name our first son “Thor.” (Yes, it was a drunken decision. But sober now, I still think it’s a great name!)
- Library Bar
Set inside the hotel Copenhagen Plaza, this cocktail bar is snazzy. We sat in the back and had some very yummy drinks. A bit more on the expensive side, but this place was a neat experience. On some Saturday nights, they play jazz.
We ate at so many awesome places. Here are some more pictures from our food and drink adventures. Let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions or questions on where we went. We can’t wait to go back for our favorites!
Also, I’ve been given many compliments for my purse in the image above and several have asked where it’s from. Honestly, it was a steal I found on Amazon!