Each time we sat down to eat in Copenhagen, just one glance down at our plates revealed dishes that were made with a sincere attention to detail. It wasn’t just the focus on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. It was also having the finest of ingredients on offer, enjoying house-made cheeses and breads (Oh, the bread! The bread was insanely good all over Copenhagen.), and sitting down to the most beautifully presented plates of food — even in casual settings. Each time I found myself with food in front of me, I was hesitant to stick my fork in it because it would mean messing up the beautiful scene before me.
To be fair, I shouldn’t have been so surprised to find myself so impressed by everything we ate in two short days in Cophenhagen. We had intentionally made it a “Noma weekend.” In 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014, chef René Redzepi’s Noma (Strandgade 93, 1401 København) was ranked Best Restaurant in the World on Restaurant Magazine’s list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Unsurprisingly, it’s incredibly difficult to get a reservation at a 4-time world’s best restaurant. And once you’ve scored a table, there is a hefty price tag to swallow: 1700 DKK per person (254 USD or 167 GBP). I had read about a number of different restaurants opened by former Noma chefs so we decided to make it an all-Noma weekend (without ever going to Noma). Best idea ever. The skill and passion poured into everything we ate meant that each meal was an exciting experience from start to finish.
Our first stop was Coffee Collective (Vendersgade 6D, 1363 København K) (because: 4:30 am!). Coffee Collective is more than just its three coffee shops; it is also a roaster, wholesaler and coffee training program. During our visit, baristas swiftly and cordially handled an endless stream of customers without batting an eye or breaking a sweat. We paired our lattes with a delicious pastry from Laura’s Bakery (Linnésgade u/f 17 1361 København K).
Once we were done with dessert, we figured we should eat lunch. I have yet to find decent tacos (or any other Mexican food) in London. So, I was thrilled to learn that one Noma alumnus, Rosio Sanchez, is of Mexican descent and uses corn from Oaxaca in the tortillas at her taqueria, Hija de Sanchez (Frederiksborggade 21, 1360 København K). The rest of the ingredients (other than aged chilies from Mexico) are locally sourced. On the day of our visit, tiny Danish fjord shrimp were being served whole and unpeeled, adding crunch to each spicy bite of taco.
On our way to dinner we happened upon a “liquid nitrogen ice cream” shop and knew we’d have to come back for dessert. The recent opening of Istid (Jægersborggade 13, 2200 København N) was backed via a Kickstarter campaign and liquid nitrogen ice cream is exactly what it sounds like. If you find yourself in Copenhagen, seek out this shop so you too can giggle with anticipation when the fog rises up from the stand mixer each time a new batch is made. I highly recommend the salty caramel topped with chocolate fudge sauce and almond crunch with rosemary and sea salt.
The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Gl Strandvej 13, 3050 Humlebæk) sits strategically and beautifully on the shore of the Øresund Sound in Humlebæk (a 45-minute train ride from the city center). Walking on the grounds of the museum is as much a part of the visitor experience as walking through the galleries inside. We were lucky enough to experience Gleaming Lights of the Souls by Yayoi Kusama before it was temporarily closed (reopening September 17) for the installation of a larger exhibition of the artist’s work. The viewer stands in a darkened room, on a small platform in the middle of a pool of water, surrounded by mirrors and a hundred colorful lights hanging from the ceiling. Gaze out into the mirror before you and you may feel like you’re viewing a nighttime cityscape.
· Juniper smoked salmon from Nordhavn with horseradish & onion flowers
· Soft boiled egg, Rømø shrimps & chicken skin
· Tatar of roe deer, chives mayo, crispy onions & pickled mushrooms
We had been excited for our reservation at Restaurant Bror (Sankt Peders Stræde 24A, 1453 København). It was opened by two Noma sous chefs, of course, and was awarded a Bib Gourmand in Guide Michelin Nordic Cities 2015. Alas, we were too full — from our delicious late lunch — for another tasting menu. Instead, we set off for Bæst for some pizza.
The pizza at Bæst (Guldbergsgade 29, 2200 København N) is now on my list of my favorite pizzas ever. This is from a Brooklyn girl for whom a summer is not complete without a visit (okay, multiple visits) to L&B Spumoni Gardens. (Also on that list is Lucali in Carroll Gardens and Di Fara in Midwood.) The magic was all in the ingredients at Bæst, where almost all the cheeses are made on-site and the wood-fired oven was built in Naples. We arrived not a moment too soon to beat waves of hungry patrons looking for a table. We shared the Bæst burrata, fresh herbs and leeks pie, followed by the nettles, oyster mushroom, Bæst ricotta and crispy pork fat pie. Mind blown.