In the early 2000s, Copenhagen wasn’t exactly the go-to city for its cuisine. In fact, the Danish capital had nothing to show against culinary giants like French, Italian, or Japanese cuisine. However, Copenhagen has amazed the international culinary scene over the last decade with the rise of the “New Nordic” cuisine. The cuisine made waves in 2004 when 12 visionary chefs from the Scandinavian nations put together the New Nordic Food Manifesto, a ten-point manifesto to be used as their guide for cooking.
New Nordic cuisine has grown and become an international sensation. The cuisine isn’t as complicated as it sounds – it simply refers to pure and authentic Nordic food that’s created using the latest and most innovative techniques. In this cuisine, Nordic ingredients that were once overlooked are highlighted, such as wild plants, local fish, foraged mushrooms, rye bread, sea buckthorn, and the like.
If this cuisine is something that piques your curiosity, you’ve come to the right place. Copenhagen is home to some of the best New Nordic restaurants on the entire planet. Here, we’ve listed the top 10 located within the Danish capital. (Pro tip: Leave your heavy bags or backpacks at a Copenhagen luggage storage locker for a trouble-free dining experience.)
The most renowned restaurant in Copenhagen (and maybe even the world), noma is the pinnacle of New Nordic cuisine and is responsible for putting Copenhagen on the culinary map. Established in 2003, the restaurant has been awarded the “World’s Best Restaurant” four times (2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014) and currently ranks second on the World’s 50 Best list.
Chef Rene Redzepi, the brains behind the restaurant, is one of Scandinavia’s most prominent chefs and this can easily be seen through noma’s menu. Because of the spot’s extreme popularity, you need to book a table months in advance if you want to get a chance to try the world-class meals served at noma.
Set in a brick-clad spot in Nørrebro, Relæ is one of Copenhagen’s most recognized restaurants. Headed by legendary restaurateur Christian Puglisi, the Michelin-starred dining spot has won multiple awards and is widely regarded as one of the world’s most sustainable restaurants. It’s easy to see why – almost 100% of the ingredients used at Relæ are organic, with most of the vegetables handpicked from Puglisi’s personal farm.
Found behind an inconspicuous door in Christianshavn, right in the heart of Copenhagen, is the two Michelin-starred Kadeau. The restaurant takes the New Nordic concept up a notch; Kadeau focuses on the local produce of Bornholm, an island located just off the coast of Sweden.
The interior is styled with a Scandinavian design and the open kitchen allows patrons to watch the chefs prepare Kadeau’s famed 17-course tasting menu that changes daily.
If you’re looking for high-quality New Nordic cuisine without breaking the bank, Höst is one of the places to go to in Copenhagen. Found in the neighborhood of Nansensgade, the restaurant serves an interesting selection of dishes made from Nordic kitchen ingredients. Aside from its regular menu, Höst also has a dedicated vegetarian menu and a fine wine selection.
Located in Copenhagen’s Østerbro district, Geranium is an award-winning New Nordic restaurant ran by acclaimed chef Rasmus Kofoed, who won the prestigious Bocuse d’Or cooking competition in 2011. Geranium has the distinction of being the only restaurant in the Danish capital to have three Michelin stars and is ranked fifth in the World’s 50 Best list. The 17-course tasting menu is made up of artistic dishes that are made using local and sustainable ingredients.
Established in 2014 by former noma chef Matt Orlando, Amass has made a name for itself as one of the best places in Copenhagen to get New Nordic fare. Awarded “Most Sustainable Restaurant of the Year” in 2017, Amass truly aims to be as sustainable as possible; the tasting menu is made from ingredients that are sourced from the restaurant’s own greenhouse and garden as well as local forests, waters, and farms.
PONY is the “little brother” of acclaimed restaurant Kadeau that has recently soared in popularity with its New Nordic offerings, available in both a la carte and a four-course tasting menu. Located in Kadeau’s former location in Vesterbro, PONY prides itself on using local and seasonal produce from their own garden and from Bornholm. If you’re looking for a great introduction to New Nordic cuisine without spending too much, PONY is a great option for you.
Found in the basement of a brick building near the Nyhavn harbor, AOC is a restaurant that offers some of the finest haute cuisine in Copenhagen. Owned and ran by chef Søren Selin, the restaurant has two Michelin stars and offers four- to seven-course menus with an aim to give customers the ultimate sensory experience. Each dish is carefully crafted using only the freshest Nordic ingredients, making for a satisfying dining experience.
9. no. 2
Riding the waves of success of AOC, Søren Selin and his team decided to open a second restaurant that provides fine New Nordic food in the Danish capital. Simply named no. 2, the dining spot is known for serving no-frills and unpretentious dishes made with the best raw materials.
Chef Selin is the brains behind the no. 2’s seasonal menus while the kitchen is run by resident chef Nikolaj Køster. Its proximity to the harbor is a contributing factor to the restaurant’s focus on the use of locally-sourced seafood.
Situated in the trendy Jægersborggade in Nørrebro, Manfreds is a quaint wine bar and restaurant and is the brainchild of the same minds behind Relæ (which is located just across the street). Unlike its sibling restaurant, Manfreds has a focus on serving everyday food made from high-quality raw ingredients – the lamb is sourced from Havervadgaard, the pig from Hindsholm, the ox from Mineslund, vegetables from Birkemosgård and Kiselgården, and herbs from the Danish forest.
The casual, laid-back restaurant also has an impressive selection of natural wines that pair perfectly with their seasonal dishes. Servings here are meant for sharing so bring a friend or loved one when you dine in!