The beauty of staying in an air bnb is we get to kid ourselves (just for a short while) that we’re cool enough to live in a flawlessly decked out apartment in Vestebro. I listen to live jazz fluttering up from the bar downstairs while stroking our nonchalant cat and think, yep, in this pretend life that I’m living, I’ve totally made it. We also get great insider knowledge re: the best local hangouts. A hop, skip and a jump from ‘our’ apartment, past the giant leopard mural (and no, I’ve not been on the green stuff from colourful, hippie Christiana), is Dyrehaven. This is perhaps my favourite spot in Copenhagen from my short time in the city. We order at the bar and settle in to black leather and wood paneling booths, with funky psychedelic black, green and white table tops that match the dark green floor, lit with red-orange lampshades. We have open rye bread with new potatoes and smoked cheese mayo, asparagus, cucumber and crispy onions with a pink dash of radish, and a traditional ham plate with coleslaw and gherkins. Italian coffee from Pascucci is terrific and we promise to come back for cocktails…
… which is exactly what is on the menu for this evening – a Danish cocktail crawl. We start by sinking into black leather sofas at Duck and Cover, a dimly-lit basement cocktail lounge complete with, yes, more wood paneling and retro black and white tile flooring for the likes of Tanqueray gin and grenadine fizz and negroni sours. On to buzzy Foderbrættet, teaming with twentysomething girls sipping on cocktails, bubbles and ramped-up hot dogs. Raw & Roasted is a spiced smoky bacon sausage with onion, mustard and remoulade, or if you prefer spicy beef, Chilli Dog is also delicious, topped with avocado crème, chilli-bean sauce and coriander.
Next stop is a hop across busy Vesterbrogade to boho-cool Lidkoeb – down an inconspicuous alleyway, across a deserted courtyard and through what appears to be an old barn, you will find the old building that was once a pharmacy (factor in an extra 7 minutes to find the place!). If it appears that there’s no room at the inn, persevere, as we stand outside the ominous heavy door for quite sometime before a bearded Viennese man in braces comes to the rescue and provides shelter in the cocktail bar with piano and low wooden seating by an open fire. We perch at the room-length bar so we can coax out details about the cocktails and watch the mixologists combine local ingredients with well-known spirits – take, for instance, Rimfrost; Bulliet Rye whisky infused with fresh dill, St. Germain elderflower liqueur and Peychaud’s bitters topped with dry Laherte Champagne. Whisky is taken seriously here, and we get a peek into Likoeb‘s dedicated den in the attic – we can imagine it’d be all to easy for time to stand still in this parallel whisky universe of squishy leather armchairs, open fire and exposed beams.
Now, this is important: true, Copenhagen is a destination for some of the most sophisticated tasting menus in the world, but there is one fast-food joint you can’t miss out on; Isted Grill (Isteddade 92). It may be a humble kebab shop, but there’s a reason why Mr and Mrs Lee have been churning out hundreds of their legendary flæskesteg pork sandwiches a day for the last 30-or-so years – roasted slices of back pork are seared on both sides until the thick crackling is sizzling, then sandwiched in a toasted sesame bun with a dollop of sauce, braised red cabbage and pickled cucumbers. This is quite possibly the best sandwich ever to have graced my lips, and this Taiwanese couple get all the credit they deserve as some 1,000 people took to the streets to celebrate Mr Lee’s sixtieth birthday.
Our final morning sees us mooch on up to Granola, a local favourite, stopping briefly in wonderful flower emporium Blomsterskuret and trying not to spend our rent money on beautiful household knick-knacks. It’s Monday, so Granola’s weekend brunching bunch makes way for young families, smart business meetings and ladies out with their mums – a real insight into local life quietly winding up to begin the week. For us, it’s another day, another breakfast plate, and this one’s on the sweeter side – whipped chocolate moussey spread, thick golden pancakes, more skyr and muesli, a colourful glass of fruit, and a piece of sticky almond cake. A hot chocolate and a large orange juice, sundae-style, later and we hop off our wooden benches and bid Granola, and Copenhagen, adieu.
But the foodie adventure doesn’t stop there – the airport food in Copenhagen is worth getting to the terminal early for – while waiting to be called for boarding we savour the last taste of Denmark with a free-range beef tartare smørrebrød topped with tarragon emulsion, capers, pickles and potato crisps from Aamanns. Thank you, Copenhagen, you certainly are wonderful… (bursts into song…)
After note: A snail-shaped pastry is always going to go down well, and the popular cinnamon spiked, buttery snegl topped with thick chocolate from Meyer’s Bakery is one of the best pastries I’ve come across. We like the vibe at Café det Vide Hus so much that we pop in before and after lunch one day. Anywhere that calls Noma exec chef Rene Redzepi a regular is bound to use local foraged ingredients, and here they are used in homemade ice cream bars on sticks – try elderflower ice cream covered with chocolate, salt and bee pollen, or sea buckthorn sorbet dipped in white chocolate.
More pictures from the best places to eat and drink in Wonderful Copenhagen…
You may also like to see what we ate and drank in Copenhagen on Day One – think more breakfast plates, fab coffee and an excellent tasting menu…
Best places to eat and drink in Copenhagen
Best midweek breakfast: Granola
Best post night out food: Isted Grill
Best local hangout: Ipsen & Co
Best brunch: Dyrehaven
Best coffee shop: The Coffee Collective
Best cocktail bar: Lidkoeb
Best street food: Hija de Sanchez
Best craft beer: Mikeller
Best bakery: Meyer’s Bakery
Best drinking den: Duck and Cover