Great Danes and dines

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It’s rated one of the world’s top culinary hot spots, but why is Copenhagen such a foodie paradise? Catherine Wylie finds out.

Copenhagen has always been a popular winter city break destination. But thanks to a dynamic food scene and the opening of several world-class restaurants and cafes, there’s now even more reason to head to the Danish capital.

Much of the buzz surrounding Copenhagen’s food scene stems from world-famous restaurant Noma, which has topped Restaurant magazine’s highly regarded World’s Best 50 Restaurants list three times (this year it was knocked off the top spot by Spanish restaurant El Celler de Can Roca).

The restaurant’s co-founder Claus Meyer could be described as Denmark’s Jamie Oliver, and Noma has done a great deal to bring people back to the basics of Danish cooking.

The new Nordic kitchen’s buzzwords are freshness, organic, purity, simplicity and ethics, with much importance placed on food provenance. But, although Noma continues to attract crowds, locals are keen to inform the world that Copenhagen is not just a one-trick pony, and has much more for the eager foodie to get their teeth into.

In search of more standout restaurants in the city, I visit Michelin-starred Kadeau in Christianshavn – a spacious restaurant set in an old office building.

I can still taste the wonderful starter. A beautiful bright green, the bowl of blue mussels, beans, beach herbs and green strawberry wine renders me unable to focus on what is happening around me. Chicken feet and rooster hearts are also served – because at the Nordic table there is always a talking point.

Copenhagen has welcomed the trend of pop-up restaurants, many of which go on to set up permanent spaces. One such place is Stedsans, a successful summer pop-up with plans to open as a fully fledged restaurant. Run by husband and wife Mette Helbak and Flemming S Hansen, the Stedsans motto is “clean, simple, local”. Hansen is among the 25 per cent of people in Copenhagen who buy organic and everything Stedsans serves is made with ingredients he just got in that day.

The city is full of great food stores and markets, including the halls of Torvehallerne where shoppers can buy cheese, beer, cold cuts... and porridge.

Lasse Andersen runs GROD, the world’s first porridge restaurant, an example of an unpretentious and hearty Danish staple. “Porridge is a big part of our cultural identity in Denmark,” he tells me. His venture attracts a young hipster crowd, families and foodies, who are all keen to get a taste of what they refer to as granny food.

Meanwhile, over on Jaegersborggade – an up-and-coming trendy street, which was previously a haven for drug dealers – the locals relax with coffee in cafes and restaurants. Relæ basks in its fashionable status as one of the hot eating spots in the city – and is the world’s first certified organic Michelin-starred restaurant.

Christian Puglisi, one of its founders, feels privileged to be a part of Copenhagen’s modern food movement. Pondering his restaurant’s success, he says: “You can just sit down, close your eyes, and hopefully be brought somewhere.”

It’s true, the dishes that are served at Relæ can transport you to a million different places, but at its heart, the food in Copenhagen is distinctly Danish and something you won’t find anywhere else.

Getting there

Catherine Wylie was a guest of VisitDenmark. For more information on the destination, visit

Scandinavian Airlines ( fly from London Heathrow to Copenhagen from £78 one way.