Looking for the best cheap restaurants in Copenhagen? A weekend foodie break in the Danish capital can be affordable. Copenhagen is renowned for its Michelin-starred restaurants and clever Nordic cuisine, but we have wandered the city’s trendy neighbourhoods of Vesterbro and Norrebro to create our guide to the best value foodie spots.
Find out where locals eat and drink in Copenhagen – where they grab coffee on their morning commute, the affordable street food stalls from which they get their lunchtime fix, where they enjoy leisurely brunch at the weekends, and their favourite secret drinking dens.
The weekend is when locals flock to popular café Granola on Værnedamsvej, a street packed with little independent stores in northern Vestebro. Go on a weekday and perch by a marble-topped table or slouch into a wooden bench to watch Copenhagen’s arty freelancers and young families start the day.
This is a great place to try one of Denmark’s famous breakfast plates – whipped chocolate spread, thick golden pancakes, creamy Icelandic skyr with homemade muesli, a glass of freshly chopped fruit and a little slice of sticky almond cake.
It also does a fab freshly squeezed orange juice and rich, dark Valrhona hot chocolate. Buy coffee, teas and chocolates from the old grocery counter on your way out before stopping at tiny plant oasis Blomsterskuret, down the road, to admire the blooms.
No one should leave Copenhagen without tasting a snegl – a cinnamon-spiked, buttery, snail-shaped pastry coated with a thick swirl of chocolate. Buy one to take away at Meyer’s Bageri and pootle along Jaegersborggade dipping in and out of hip Norrebro’s trendiest food shops (Karamelleriet), boutiques (My favourite Things) and coffee shops (The Coffee Collective has a spot here). If you want a Danish pastry fix at home, try this cinnamon bun recipe from Danish bakery The Bread Station.
With black leather booths, patterned tabletops lit by sunset-coloured lampshades and a wood-panelled bar this hip hangout has a distinctly retro vibe. On weekend nights the DJs come out and cocktails are served but head to this Vestebro café during the day and you’ll be rewarded with generous smorrebrods, the Danish open sandwich.
Try homemade rye bread piled high with new potatoes and smoked cheese mayo, crunchy asparagus, cucumber and mountains of crisp onions with peppery radish to garnish. Dyrehaven also does an epic Flaeskesteg – roast pork (complete with crackling) served with red cabbage, red onion and pickled gherkins on a toasted sesame-topped burger bun.
Or, pop in for breakfast and start the day with a red grapefruit laced with ginger syrup and mint, or one of Denmark’s breakfast plates – avocado on malt bread with lime, olive, radish and fresh chilli, eggs Benedict and Icelandic skyr.
Hija de Sanchez
Rosio Sanchez is a Mexican, Noma-trained chef who’s now running a taco stand. This popular street food spot in Copenhagen’s Torvehallerne covered market does wonders with corn tortilla tacos – think spit-roast pork with little chunks of pineapple and onion topped with coriander, roast chicken in a rich chocolaty mole sauce, or grilled two month-aged, Mexican-style grilled cheese (albeit made from organic Danish milk) served with punchy guacamole and spicy morita chilli salsa.
For dessert try Mexican ‘paletas’ – ice pops that combine Danish and Mexican ingredients (frozen avocado with freeze-dried raspberries, hibiscus tea with mezcal and oialla chocolate with Lakrids liqourice), or sip on a silky Aztec hot chocolate.
Café det Vide Hus
A favourite of Noma chef Rene Redzepi, Café det Vide Hus is a tiny spot with a view of fairytale Rosenborg castle and a penchant for locally foraged finds. Such special ingredients are used to compliment homemade ice creams – go for sea buckthorn sorbet dipped in white chocolate or elderflower ice cream dipped in chocolate and bee pollen. On cooler days, climb up the spiral staircase and find a seat in the snug lounge to sip on coffee from Copenhagen’s renowned roaster, The Coffee Collective.
Grød is Danish for porridge, which is the speciality at this pared-back succession of rooms in Norrebro. Go for breakfast and choose between oat porridge with caramel sauce, fresh apples and roast almonds or gluten-free acai-chia porridge made with almond milk and topped with strawberries, roast nuts, banana slices, peanut butter and organic skyr yoghurt.
In the evening its custom-made ceramic bowls are filled with comforting risotto. Our favourite is dyed red with beetroot, thickened with parmesan and served with finely sliced rainbow beetroot, whipped ricotta and fresh thyme. If it’s a nice day, sit outside on wooden picnic-style benches.
When maths and physics teacher Mikkel Borg Bjergso taught two of his students to brew they ended up taking the lesson so strongly to heart that they opened this seriously cool bar, with a staggering 40 micro-brewed beers on tap, along with over 200 bottled beers from Mikkeller, To Ol and other small-batch breweries.
Shiny turquoise floors reflect onto bespoke pale wooden structures that create intimate corners and cubbyholes in the otherwise clean-lined canvas of this Norrebro bar. Being the only bar outside the US to serve Three Floyds draught beer and boasting 40 taps makes this a must for beer geeks.
Here are more craft beer bars in Copenhagen to check out.
For great-value dining from Michelin-starred chefs Manfreds wine bar and restaurant is our pick. Sit at the bar, at tables facing the open kitchen, or in one of the alcoves in the back and enjoy a tasting menu paired with natural wines.
Chefs at Manfreds use local, seasonal ingredients in simple and inventive dishes. Think tiny green strawberries with charred onions, grated cheese and crisp toasted buckwheat, poached eggs on fluffy cauliflower rice, and baby cucumber with an umami-packed seaweed emulsion. Their beef tartare is legendary, silky pieces of raw beef topped with fine breadcrumbs.
Cool ‘cocktail house’ Lidkoeb is set back from busy Vestebrogade (factor in time to find it!). Work your way up this three-storey building (previously a pharmacy) to the whisky den beneath the exposed beams of the attic, or stick to the lounge downstairs to watch mixologists create cocktails at a bar that spans the whole of one wall.
Sink into a low, stylish (we’re in the Danish design capital, after all) chair by the fire to watch Nordic ingredients and local spirits being shaken into superb cocktails.
To create Rimfrost, the braces-clad barman infuses Bulliet Rye whiskey with fresh dill and combines it with St. Germain elderflower liqueur and bitters then tops with Champagne.
Kiin Kiin Bao Bao
Danish chef Henrik Yde has recently opened a wallet-friendly alternative to his restaurant Guldbergsgade Kiin Kiin (the first Thai restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star). This more laid-back venture is a shimmering room that blends Thai and Danish design: soft grey walls, sleek tables and chairs, rounded sofas, globe lanterns and intricate teak panelling.
The menu is tapas-style and there are over 25 small plate options – try the classic milky, fluffy bao with braised pork, peanuts and sweet hoisin sauce; a bowl of crispy kale chips with vibrant miso and pea mayo; fat, creamy Norwegian scallops in a mild ginger broth; and the 62 degrees egg, so silky and soft, with XO sauce and dried shrimp.
Here is our full guide to Kiin Kiin Bao Bao and Tivoli Gardens
Written and photographed by Alex Crossley; header image courtesy of Lonely Planet via Getty
First published January 2017
Here are some more photos from our trip to Copenhagen…
Danish hot dog, available from every street corner in Copenhagen
HAY House Copenhagen
Coffee break outside Coffee Collective Jægersborggade
olive magazine podcast ep74 – coffee and Swedish baking and breakfasts
We embrace hygge for autumn with a chat about Nordic breakfasts, Swedish baking and cooking over fire with chef Niklas Ekstedt.