OUR COPENHAGEN ESSENTIALS
We had high hopes for our discovery trip to Copenhagen and wow did we ever fall in the love! The design and culture inspiration blew us away. Oliver Guides featured our trip and here's mostly the same information and a few extras. #neverstopexploring
WHERE WE STAYED
We booked the most fabulous AirBnB in Vesterbro, a newly up and coming neighborhood close to City Center. We were at the complete opposite end of the area still known as the Red Light District. There's low crime in Copenhagen but you want to avoid the top end of Istedgade near the Central Station. Where we stayed was a hip part of Vesterbro, near Enghave Plads, with amazing coffee shops, boutiques, restaurants and cafes, bars and hangout spots and parks. It was totally safe and our block was incredibly quiet. The Danes love their design and our apartment had inspiration in every room and every corner.
From basic to Michelin stars (15 restaurants = a total of 18 stars), you will find an incredible respect for local, seasonal ingredients, a celebration of the garden and seriously inventive options. The New Nordic Cuisine takes it all up a notch and highly recommend at least 1 meal-as-experience at the high end.
* Coffee Collective
* Enghave Smørrebrød in Vesterbro for Havregrød (porridge/oatmeal). This comes with roasted hazelnuts, dried apple and a Danish version of caramel sauce that is unlike anything we think of as caramel in the states. It's creamy, not cloyingly sweet. We had asked for it "light" because we didn't know. Now you know. Get it. The way they want to serve it. You won't regret it!
* Grød on Jaegersborrgade (super inspiring and diverse shopping street) or in Torvehallerne (a marketplace of food, beverage, fish mongers, cheese mongers, cafes, sweet shops and famer's market stalls) for morning porridge or lunch/dinner bowls. Our savory favorites were the tomato and Parmesan risotto and the pea shoot barley-otto
* Granola in Frederiksberg (on lively shopping street Vaernadamsvej) delivers on comfort food and a cosy atmosphere. We had delicious smørrebrød--not the super fancy and inventive kind you'll read about just below, but really good and satisfying.
* Blue Taco in Nørrebro delivers some of the best vegetarian, vegan and seafood (and meat) tacos we’ve ever had, all in handmade blue corn tortillas. The food is inspired by north and central America and the location with communal tables in the alley and fun vibe of the neighborhood make it feel like a small Latin America street scene.
* Granny’s House also in Torvehallerne (like Grød above; but other locations around Denmark) has the most amazing Viking bread and tea jam (marmalade). We’ve been baking our own version since we’re home because we’re still craving theirs. Ask us for the recipe!
* Paperion (Paper Island/Copenhagen Street Food) has around 40 food stalls, containers, food trucks, bars and DJs right on the water near Nyhavn and Christianshavn with views to the Opera House (you can also shop designer Henrik Vibskov and check out art installations at Copenhagen Contemporary)
* Ruffino Osteria in Christianshavn was a lucky find. It's on a corner downstairs and could have been easily missed. Once you enter, you are transported to Rome. The staff seem like best friends or siblings and their enthusiasm translates to incredibly fresh Italian food you won't regret!
We didn’t make it here, but so wish we had the time:
* Amass is north of Christianshavn in a more industrial part of Copenhagen and which makes the restaurant and their gardens that much more mysterious. This is a chef (formerly of Noma and originally from San Diego) and team that pay attention to and respects the garden, local ingredients and the inspiration they get from both. We had a 5 hour meal. Can’t say enough good things. Each dish was unique, presented with lovely explanation and even with instructions… e.g. please eat with your fingers. The indoor space is spacious and while urban and industrial, it’s not cold—well chosen furnishings, dishware and art (take particular note of the portrait that looks like Freddy Mercury but is in fact the chef’s father) warm it all up. Spend time in the garden, too. You’ll notice chefs picking items throughout the evening.
* Selma is located in WestMarket a food marketplace with many different options. That said, this had to be the most exceptional and modern smørrebrød we ate. Each dish was meticulously crafted and we learned about unique ingredients and impeccable plating.
We didn’t eat at these restaurants but they came highly recommended:108
Noma (of course, but was closed while we were there)
* Kødbyensis ice cream is insanely good, creamy handmade gelato on a stick that can be found at the Admiral Hotel Salt Bar outside near Copenhagen Opera House and Ofelia Plads as well as other locations around, We had the intense pistachio and dark chocolate covered strawberry sorbet.
* We did a bunch of research and put a spreadsheet together neighborhood-by-neighborhood of designer-y shopping (home decor, art, fashion, artist collaboratives and more) in Vesterbro, Frederiksberg Alle, Norrebrø, Nyhavn and City Center. Too many to list. But we will share that one of our favorite blocks was Jagersborrgade in Norrebro. An incredibly exciting part of our trip was to discover a few new designers for the shop. Many cool shops are just below street level.
* Flea Markets (called: loppemarked) are many. We did hours of research and asked our AirBnB host and friends who have a summer house to help us cull the list. It was so fun to "pick" in various parts of the city, riding our bikes with our treasures. If you make it to Dragør, a charming harbor town, you'll hit one of the best markets we were taken to. Some of the flea markets and antique stores were closed in summer so do your homework before you venture.
We also were privileged to see Ai Weiwei’s new installation, produced specifically for Kunsthal Charlottenborg Copenhagen, which opened on United Nations International Refugee Day (June 20 2017) and continues through October 1, 2017. Named Soleil Levant, the installation barricades the windows of Kunsthal Charlottenborg with more than 3500 salvaged life jackets collected from refugees arriving at the Greek Island of Lesbos.
~ Happy travels,
Bonnie & Jeffrey