Eating out in Copenhagen

The Danes love to eat and eat well. They have done the most with the sandwich idea. There are over 200 varieties of delicious open sandwiches available, the so-called smørrebrød’, which are the uniquely Danish variety of smorgasbord. The Danish dairy products, especially cheeses, are among the most outstanding in the world. The milk is marvellous. Seafood is a national speciality. Here, Danish pastries are deliciously different with an infinite variety. Boiled cod, fried eel (stegt aal) and a delicious soup made of rye bread and beer are Danish national dishes too. The open sandwich, of which 200 varieties are in general use, is basic food in Denmark. Made of rye bread, it is a meal in itself: popular spreads are liver paste, smoked eel, cod roe, and marinaded herring. Otherwise, Danish cooking is rich and based on creamy sauces. Its marathon is the koldt bord, or running buffet, with up to fifty dishes or even more.

Beer and aquavit (a liqueur flavoured with aniseed) are the national drinks. Licensing is liberal, most alcoholic drinks are available from grocers, supermarkets, and tobacconists.

Eating being one of the Danish national pastimes, it’s hard to find a poor restaurant in Copenhagen. You’ll seldom go wrong just walking into the first place that appeals to you. However no one in Copenhagen should miss a lunch-time visit to Ida Davidsen’s, the world’s greatest sandwich emporium. They serve so many different varieties of Danish open sandwiches that the menu is two metres long! They are all delicious and all reasonably priced. Go too, to the other great sandwich restaurant, Slotskælderen hos Gitte Kik, which is close to the Parliament and where you are quite likely to be sitting next to Danish MPs. For seafood try the Den Gyldne Fortun which is in a beautiful location close to Christianborg Castle.

Also good for fish is the Gammel Strand, which means ‘old beach’. Excellent restaurants are located in the Tivoli Park area, ranging from fast food to 5 star gourmet. After dark the garden is illuminated with thousands of little lights making it a fairy tale place for a romantic dinner. Excellent French food prevails at the up-market restaurant Kong Hans Kælder. The restaurant is in one of the oldest buildings in Copenhagen with Gothic arches constructed over 500 years ago giving it a beautiful medieval atmosphere. Another good French restaurant is Ensemble, a small restaurant in the centre of Copenhagen. Era Ora is known for its delicious, authentic Italian cuisine. For traditional Danish cuisine, Noma at the North Atlantic House Cultural Centre, in Christianshavn is excellent. Finish your experience of Danish eating by visiting one of the wonderful cafe patisseries for a scrumptious Danish pastry.