What the locals are eating in Copenhagen

New Nordic cuisine has spread around the world, yet in the Danish capital the classics are making a comeback. We take a look at what people are eating in Copenhagen right now

By James Clasper
Published 16 May 2018, 19:00 BST, Updated 14 Jul 2021, 13:00 BST
Avocado smørrebrød

Avocado smørrebrød

Photograph by Columbus Leth

Tartare at Manfreds
Danes love steak tartare and in Copenhagen you'll find numerous takes on the dish — from the classic (served with onions, capers and raw egg) to the modish (seasoned with redcurrants and mustard vinaigrette). For the city's best, head to Manfreds. It mainly specialises in local and seasonal vegetable dishes, but it's renowned for its beef tartare, which comes with cress and rye-bread croutons. Forget raw egg, though — here you get to shave black truffle onto your tartare instead.

Schnitzel at Barr
Copenhagen may be synonymous with new Nordic cuisine, but one of the hottest tables in town is more, well, old Nordic. Since it opened last summer, locals have flocked to Barr for its take on traditional dishes, especially the moreish pork schnitzel. The crust is crisp, the cutlet juicy, and it comes with a caper-and-anchovy sauce drizzled over at the table.

Fried Cod Skin at Sánchez
Ex-Noma pastry chef Rosio Sánchez has wowed Danes with her take on Mexican cuisine ever since she launched a taco stand at Torvehallerne in 2015. She opened a second taqueria the following year, and in late 2017 launched Sánchez, a Mexican cantina in Vesterbro. Here, the Chicago native creates everything from scratch, such as fish chicharron (fried cod skin served with mussel gooseberry salsa) and tortillas made using corn imported from Oaxaca.

Pork Jowl Carbonara at Rufino Osteria
It's never a bad idea to suss out where local chefs like to eat after hours. Pose that question in Copenhagen and one name tends to come up: Rufino Osteria — a low-key basement joint with an open kitchen, specialising in rustic Roman comfort food. Athough the seasonal menu changes daily, the dish that off-duty chefs drop in for is rigatoni alla carbonara. It's made with guanciale — cured pork jowl — imported from Italy.

Smørrebrød at Aamanns 1921
About a decade ago, Denmark's open-faced sandwich (pictured) was seen as passé, a dish served only at tourist traps. Then chef Adam Aamann decided to rethink it using fresh produce and modern design. At his latest restaurant, in the historic centre, the smørrebrød showcases top-notch ingredients like beech-smoked salmon and rye bread made with flour ground in Aamann's own stone mill.

Published in Issue 1 of National Geographic Traveller Food


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