If you want to dine like royalty, consider ascending the tower at Christianborg Palace for a spectacular meal at Tårnet (King’s Gate, Tel: +45-3337-3100. www.taarnet.dk). Located in central Copenhagen and completed in 1928 after 20 years of construction, the palace serves as home to the Danish Parliament and is also used by Queen Margrethe for receptions and other official engagements. Restaurateur Rasmus Bo Bojesen opened Tårnet in the summer of 2014 under the most challenging of circumstances—because of past fires (this is palace number three) there are strict restrictions on the kitchen infrastructure. Most preparation is done off-site, with the final touches completed under the watchful eye of Chef Mikkel Laursen. The menu honors Denmark’s culinary roots with sourced ingredients from throughout the country. An array of dishes from two ($55) to five courses ($85) honors the land, sea, and sky. Grilled langoustines are served with a variety of cauliflower, radishes, and buttermilk vinaigrette, while roasted gurnard (a mild Atlantic whitefish) is paired with leeks and blackcurrant foam. While Danish cheeses such as Northern Lights, Halland Heaven, and Maltost from Arla Unika may satisfy the savory palette, Bojesen’s commitment to sustainable sweets has resulted in Oilla—wild, organic chocolates made from Bolivian cacao beans. The “chocoholic’s satisfaction” pairs three varieties with ice cream, crème, and crisps. Be sure to allow time for the viewing platform at the top of the tower. At a height of 144 feet, the platform offers stunning photo opps of the city skyline.
You can also enjoy a taste of Copenhagen without the commitment of a multi-course meal. TorvehallerneKBH (Frederiksborggade 21. www.torvehallernekbh.dk) is the city’s largest food market, housing 60 different stalls and the chance to taste both regional as well as international specialties. Though it attracts more than 60,000 visitors per week, it’s also a place where locals come to meet for a coffee or shop from the vendors overflowing with fresh produce, locally sourced meats, and specialty items.
Here you’ll find The Coffee Collective, a micro-roastery that sources sustainable beans and is staffed with baristas that are well-trained to craft the perfect cup. For edible souvenirs (that might require some sneaky packing), Bornholmer Butikken sells delicacies from the Bornholm—one of Denmark’s 407 islands. For a funkier, more bohemian experience, head to Copenhagen Street Food (Papirøen, Trangravsvej 14, hal 7 & 8. www.copenhagenstreetfood.dk). Located on Papirøen (Paper Island), it is currently the city’s only street food market. While there are dozens of global offerings ranging from Mexican tacos to Shawarma, best bets include personal takes on Danish classics such as artisanal sausages and hot dogs and frikadeller (Danish meatballs).
Because of Denmark’s northern European location, it feels like the sun is always on the verge of setting or rising in extreme increments. These drastic seasonal changes can be most enjoyed in the company of others at one of the city’s craft cocktail bars, which have become more prominent in recent years. Holmens Kanal (Holmens Kanal 7. Tel: +45-8230-3088. www.holmenskanal.com) took the city by storm when it opened in November 2013 by offering classic craft cocktails with attentive table service (reservations are suggested) and a swanky setting. Housed in an historical building that was once Denmark’s first department store, owners Peter Altenburg, Thomas Raa Rasmussen, and Kasper Georg Jensen are implicit in their ingredients as well as their staff. “Gin is by far the most popular spirit in all cocktail bars,” says Altenburg of what is trending these days, also indicating that “the Nordic Cocktail has become an inevitable part of the modern Scandinavian bartender, which calls for sustainable cocktail ingredients.” Not-to-miss gin cocktails include Mother’s Ruin (Bombay Saphire, basil, and lemon) and Gin Lane (Old English Gin, Benedectine, and Peychaud’s Bitters).
For a family affair, be sure to seek out Lidkoeb (Vesterbrogade 72B. Tel: +45 3311 2010. www.lidkoeb.dk), a charming off-the-beaten-path cocktail lounge opened by Rasmus Shepherd-Lomborg and his wife Adeline. Originally built as a chemist’s laboratory in 1815, the bar still has many of the original features including a “pill-cooker,” which has been converted into an open fireplace. The couple opened Ruby (Nybrogade 10. Tel: +45-3393-1203. www.rby.dk) eight years ago and had been on the hunt for new location to showcase craft beer and wine (in addition to cocktails) ever since. Lidkoeb makes the majority of their mixers in house, including orgeat grenadine and marmalades for their fruit daiquiris. Forgo the expected and consider the quince and apple. Aquavit can also be found in some of the bar’s signature cocktails, but Lomborg is quick to point out that the passion for great Nordic food and spirits comes from the people as much as the natural surroundings. “We’ve had great fortune in finding an amazing group of staff who live and breathe the service industry just like we do, and they deserve all the credit. I cannot emphasize the importance of our devoted team,” he says. “The impact of the Nordic cuisine has not gone unnoticed in Copenhagen cocktail bars, so expect to find very inventive cocktails, lots of herbs, and a frequent focus on local produce when drinking in Copenhagen. It’s well worth a visit!”