Copenhagen restaurants

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The Paul

Price guide: Expensive
expert-rated restaurants in Copenhagen
Expert overall rating:4.3 (out of 5)

Unstuffy but seriously exciting Michelin-starred food in Tivoli Gardens.

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Well done for picking Copenhagen. You should be in for a treat, this is a great city to dine in, although it must be said it's not cheap.

Some general things to bear in mind include the relatively early closing times of many kitchens - 9pm in many cases. Don't leave it too late or you'll be forced to resort to late night fast food places. In August some kitchens close for a few weeks so check ahead during this time.

Tips for value

Copenhagen is an expensive city, so to get the most from your funds I suggest:

  • Dining in the high-end places at lunchtime when there are some great deals.
  • In the evening go for the set menu type places, you can dine tremendously well for relatively little if you're prepared to accept less choice.
  • Wine in the supermarkets here is very affordable - phone ahead to find out about the possibility of corkage charges or pack a picnic for some al fresco dining and enjoy good wine for very little (weather permitting).
  • Don't ignore the city's many excellent cafes, which serve above average brasserie fare most of the day.

Tips for sampling the best of the best

  • Top places such as Restaurant Geranium and especially Noma get booked up weeks or months ahead, so plan your trip and your time around these places if food is a big reason for your visit.
  • There's an ever better wine scene here, so wine lovers can expect great choice and high standards

Tips for beer and wine lovers

  • There are some excellent wine bars and brewpubs/artisanal ale joints in town, many of them serving simple fare to accompany the main liquid event. See the Copenhagen nightlife section for details of these.
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Picking a top 20 or so places in Copenhagen wasn't hard a decade ago. Happily it's now a much tougher prospect - the dining scene has improved vastly and the options are far greater both in terms of places and cuisines.

My criteria are first and foremost that I look for kitchens that use fresh ingredients to make dishes themselves as fresh as possible. Having reviewed restaurants from the high to the low end all over the world for a variety of guidebooks, it's something I soon come to crave on the road. I've also been an assistant chef and washer upper in a few places in my youth and I know the difference between kitchens that work hard to create flavourful dishes and those that rely on wholesale caterers and whose only contact with food is during its brief transit from the freezer to the fryer.

This doesn't mean I always pick pricier or fancy-pants places with wine waiters and elaborate menus, although I do think you tend to get what you pay for. There's nothing wrong with down to earth food, in fact it's often my favourite option. You can usually smell a good restaurant as soon as you open the door. Fresh herbs, or fresh bread or perhaps a whiff of the cheese trolley are always things that get my juices going.

This is an expensive city and there are quite a few high end places on the list. My reasoning is that you've come to the Michelin star centre of Scandinavia and the home to the world best restuaurant so why not sample some of the best? That said there is, I hope, a decent selection of good honest places offering value for money and bags of flavour to go with it.