Kongens Nytorv 8, Indre By
Geist is the place to kick off a night out: It has an energetic, friendly vibe and a menu that serves the plant-based crowd as well as those interested in heavier fare. Chef Bo Bech’s curiosity and creativity comes across in elegantly plated dishes that are easily shared, and the chef encourages diners to order what speaks to them—and then order more. It’s a familial dining experience, built on ingredients sourced from around the globe. The modern, design-forward interior is a visual palate cleanser in shades of cool grey, and you can also dine in the courtyard, surrounded by greenery.
Bernstorffsgade 5, Indre By
French classics all day, with a focus on seasonality and sustainability—and a view of Tivoli Gardens. Located in the beautiful and bustling Hotel Nimb, this is the place for the escargot or steak-frites with a side of history: The entrance to the hotel is the original 1909 Moorish façade. The Brasserie serves breakfast, brunch (overvactioned? Green juice served here), lunch, and dinner and has a children’s menu. If you’re visiting in the warmer months, grab a table on the balcony on for the Friday Rock dinners, a menu that starts with bubbles and serves dinner while musical acts perform in the garden below.
Refshalevej 96, København
At this point—several documentaries, World’s Best Restaurant awards, and multiple cookbooks later—chef Rene Redzepi of Noma fame is a cult figure in the food world. Despite several residencies from Oaxaca to Tokyo and a new restaurant with greenhouses, a roof garden, and a fermentation lab, Redzepi is still steadfast in his dedication to the New Nordic. The culinary practice is resolute when it comes to seasonality and indigenous ingredients which, given Denmark’s frigid winters, is no small feat. The new Noma splits the year into three menus—game in autumn, seafood in the winter, and vegetables in the summer. A table in the farm-style, nearly all-glass space is one of the most impossible seats to snag anywhere in the world. A few tips: Plan months ahead. Consider the number of food-obsessed friends you might have who will get on an international flight to eat with you. And stay at the design-forward SP34 hotel. Then prepare to eat the most creative, delicious (and expensive) meal of your life—with wine pairings, of course.
Strandgade 93, Christianshavn
This just-opened restaurant—occupying the former Noma space right on the waterfront—is the brainchild of chef Thorsten Schmidt in collaboration with Rene Redzepi.
Admiralgade 26, Indre By
Best described as Nordic-Japanese fusion, Admiralgade breaks Copenhagen's carb-loading breakfast tradition with a full Japanese spread (pickled fish, rice, miso soup). Open all day, the kitchen formally closes at 10 pm, but in the laid-back spirit of the city, the cooks rustle up sensational late-night snacks for the barflies. Aside from the food, the decor is another reason to make a reservation. The building dates as far back as 1796 but the interior is all washed stone walls, mismatched chairs, and bleached wood. Owned by the same people as the always full Ved Standen 10 wine bar, the wine list does not disappoint with a stellar selection available by the glass.
Nyhavn 2, Indre By
Chef Frederik Bille Brahe's (of Atelier September fame) latest food and wine venture has one of the most beautiful settings in Copenhagen—the modern art-filled Charlottenborg gallery. The restaurant space employs Mondrian-esque color blocking with navy velvet seats, white walls, and a red bar. No matter where you sit you'll catch glimpses of the marble busts and modern artworks housed in the adjacent gallery. An added bonus in the warmer months is the picturesque courtyard, ideal for a pre-dinner drink.
Guldbergsgade 29, Nørrebro
If you've overloaded on Nordic cuisine and are craving something familiar, head to Italian-centric Baest. With their own in-house charcuterie operation, wood-fired pizza oven, and mozzarella hand-made by the kitchen's chefs, you'll struggle to find better Italian food outside of Italy. Baest uses only stone-ground flour to make their signature sourdough crust pizzas, charred to perfection and cooked to order. The interior is mom-and-pop style red brick walls, wooden tables, and simple polished stone floors. Reservations recommended.
Skt. Peders Stræde 24A, Indre By
Bror is Danish for brother; while not blood related, the restaurant was started by two friends and former Noma alums wanting to put their own spin on New Nordic cuisine. The concept at Bror may be simple (tasting menus with wine pairings), but the food is challenging and comforting all at the same time, featuring under-utilized parts of the animal (bull testicles, monkfish liver) cooked to perfection and elevated to fine-dining status. Small plates are served in advance of the tasting menu courses and can be anything from cod cheeks to mackerel heads. The wine list features only natural and organic wines reflecting the back-to-basics attitude that characterizes the food. Bror's founders wanted to show guests that the less desirable parts of the animal are no less delicious and for those of us concerned with sustainability, using the whole animal is paramount. If you're an adventurous eater, dinner at Bror is a no-brainer, but for the more squeamish among us there are plenty of vegetarian options and food intolerances are happily accommodated.
Flæsketorvet 100, Kødbyen
Fiskebaren is fish bar contrarily located in an old butcher's shop with a few butcher worthy relics hanging around, like a cutting block by the entrance and toilets in what was the cold room where the carcasses were hung.
Slagterboderne 7, Kødbyen
The concept of a butcher-and-bar restaurant is fitting given Fleisch's meatpacking district location. If you want to try a traditional Danish smørrebrød, Fleisch does especially good versions with plenty of traditional pickled and smoked fish alongside the meat choices for lunch. The dinner menu is admittedly meat-heavy (it is a butchery after all), but dishes are lightened up with fresh and preserved fruit like gooseberries and redcurrants. The cocktail list is thoughtful and inventive with infusions like bacon-flavored bourbon and duck-fat infused whiskey.