Copenhagen’s foodie scene has exploded over the past decade or so, with its culinary focus shifting from traditional hearty warming and filling dishes to the more dainty and innovative ‘New Nordic’ cuisine.
Spearheaded by chef René Redzepi of world-renowned restaurant Noma, New Nordic cuisine has its roots in the use of local, seasonal ingredients, combined with traditional techniques to create exciting modern dishes.
Copenhagen is an expensive city, and New Nordic food is not cheap. Prices are high because of the highly trained chefs, quality ingredients, and long hours needed to prepare the many intricate components of each dish.
While the set menu at Noma may be beyond your budget at 2500 DKK (about 333€), we’ve rooted out some fantastic spots in Copenhagen where you can get three courses of top quality food for 400 DKK (53€) – or less.
Why miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime gastronomic experience, just because you don’t have deep pockets? Here are some of the best places to sample New Nordic cuisine without breaking the bank.
Cofoco (Copenhagen Food Collective) is a collective of ten or so innovative restaurants around Copenhagen, serving food influenced by cuisines from Italy to Japan and Latin America.
Three of the restaurants specialise in New Nordic cuisine, and all serve delicious, high quality food in stylish surroundings.
At the original Cofoco in the hip Vesterbro neighbourhood, your taste buds will tingle at dishes such as white asparagus with trout roe and smoked cheese or mussel soup with smoked haddock and pea purée.
Four courses of beautifully prepared seasonal Danish ingredients will set you back around 295 DKK, five courses cost around 345 DKK, and six courses around 395 DKK.
Høst, whose name aptly means harvest, is a romantically rustic restaurant, serving a three-course menu of Nordic seasonal dishes for 350 DKK.
At Vækst, the ingredients used in the New Nordic dishes couldn’t be fresher – the restaurant is based around a beautiful two-story greenhouse, where plants are grown for the garden-inspired Nordic menu. The three-course menu here costs 325 DKK.
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Marv & Ben
Tucked into a cellar on one of Copenhagen’s oldest streets, Marv & Ben (Marrow & Bone) has been awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand for exceptional cuisine at affordable prices.
Its Four Favourites menu (four courses for 400 DKK) features delicious dishes such as lamb with wild garlic and fermented gooseberries, and a strawberry, lemon verbena and kefir dessert.
The restaurant is also known for its excellent cocktails, plus a range of creative non-alcoholic drinks such as Black Lemon, with blackberry, lemon thyme and ginger ale, for a very reasonable 45 DKK.
Manfreds can be found on Jægersborggade, one of the Nørrebro district’s most vibrant streets, which is filled with interesting independent shops and foodie spots including the Michelin-starred Relæ.
But it’s Relæ’s ‘little brother’ across the street, the laid-back Manfreds, where diners can enjoy a taste of Nordic cuisine for a surprisingly low price.
Manfreds’ menu includes a seven or eight small plate dinner menu served family-style for 275 DKK per person, plus a five-dish lunch for 195 DKK.
More than 90% of the ingredients used are organic and, although the restaurant is famed for its beef tartare, Manfreds also focuses on flavourful vegetable-based dishes.
Mes and Meille
Jarmers Plads 1 and Sankt Peders Stræde 24A
This pair of restaurants is headed by chef Mads Rye Magnussen, who honed his craft at two of the world’s gastronomic powerhouses: Noma in Copenhagen and Spain’s El Bulli, both multiple winners of the world’s best restaurant title.
At Mes and Meille, Magnussen’s goal is to make top quality luxurious food that can be enjoyed by more than just the privileged few.
The ingredients are seasonal and sourced from local farms, with an emphasis on both sustainability and traditional methods.
Meille serves lunch and dinner, with smørrebrød open sandwiches on offer during the day and set menus in the evening (three courses for around 295 DKK; five courses for around 345 DKK).
Mes only opens at dinner, serving an elegant yet playful five-course menu for around 350 DKK.
The edgier younger brother of Michelin-starred Formel B, Uformel is sleek but unpretentious, with attentive and knowledgeable service.
The set menus here are all-inclusive, starting at 800 DKK for four courses with wine. Alternatively, diners can put together their own tasting menu with a combination of small plates.
At 125 DKK for dishes like Danish shrimp with horseradish, spring peas and tomato juice, and sorrel sorbet with white chocolate mousse and pistachio, three tasty courses will set you back about 375 DKK.
Noma’s more casual spin-off opened in 2016 and it took just seven months to be awarded a Michelin star. Overlooking Copenhagen harbour from the island of Christianshavn, 108 serves innovative dishes in a relaxed atmosphere.
While you may not be able to stretch to the eight-course tasting dinner menu for 1150 DKK, you can experience 108 on a budget if you dine at the right time of day.
Book in for lunch or for the Theatre Menu (served between 5pm and 5.30pm) and you can enjoy a three-course menu for about 395 DKK.
And if this is still too pricey, stop in at the attached coffee bar, The Corner, for breakfast, a light lunch or a Danish pastry.
Finding cheap food in Copenhagen
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For more by author Caroline Hadamitzky, check out her website lovelivetravel.co.uk
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