Breakfast is quite the affair for the Danes and not to be missed! Head to Lyst in the trendy Nørrebro neighborhood to experience the Danish version of brunch. There are two options, meat or vegetarian. Whichever you choose, the meals are served on wooden cutting boards with a variety of little bits and bites to enjoy. From tiny pancakes to scrambled eggs and parsnip chips to rye bread (rugbrød), each component is uniquely delicious and completely Danish.
The Scandinavians consume the most coffee per capita annually, so they must know something about the brew. Stop by The Coffee Collective, with several locations throughout the city, to try it for yourself. The interior is minimally decorated, with only a few seats, putting all the focus on the coffee. If it’s a nice day, drink your coffee on the benches outside and soak up the atmosphere. Espresso-based drinks and drip coffee are equally good.
Go to Torvehallerne market and wander the stalls to work up an appetite. For a traditional lunch, opt for the smørrebrød from Hallernes — an open-faced sandwich that is described as Denmark’s national meal. The toppings for smørrebrød are seemingly endless and always look like a work of art. Choose the herring sampler to sample two Danish specialities at once. If herring isn’t your thing, you can find smørrebrød topped with cheese, eggs, beef and smoked salmon as well.
For those of us who can’t get a Noma reservation, a traditional Danish meal in a biergarten is the next best thing. Head to Hansens Familiehave in well-heeled Frederiksberg to enjoy an authentic Danish food with the denizens of Copenhagen. Opt for a Carlsberg on tap and make sure your meal comes with some potatoes and lingonberry jam (yes, like they sell at IKEA). As for mains, the fish is fantastic, the meat is prepared in a traditional manner and there are a couple of vegetarian options if you’re so moved.
Danish pastries may be well known, but there’s more to the country’s desserts than danishes and butter cookies. Lagkagehuset has several locations across the city and for good reason. Try a slice of lagekage — layer cake and the bakery’s namesake — or a two-layered cookie filled with jam that tastes like an improved Danish version of a pop tart. You’re sure to be wishing Danish desserts were easier to find in America!