Ever since René Redzepi’s influential Noma restaurant put Copenhagen on the fine- dining map – winning best restaurant in the world four times in the San Pellegrino awards between 2010 and 2014 – the Nordic city has been dubbed Europe’s gastronomic capital. But it’s the evolution of the food scene since then that has turned it into a true culinary destination.
Some call the latest cooking style post-Nordic: a more relaxed version of the New Nordic food revolution that Redzepi inspired. There is still a focus on seasonal local produce and originality, but post-Nordic embraces difference as well. The city has grown up and there’s a camaraderie and openness that has emboldened chefs and others to test boundaries. Californian Matt Orlando, a former Noma head chef, says this attitude is why he chose to stay in town and opened his own restaurant, Amass, with its idiosyncratic blend of super-high-end dishes coupled with a super-casual attitude.
Copenhagen’s tourist office trumpets the city’s 18 Michelin stars across 15 restaurants, but what gets people like Orlando excited is what’s happening at the other end of the dining spectrum. Collaborations, pop-ups, street food, even a taco stand where some of the world’s best chefs (Orlando included) do guest gigs. There’s artisan beer, bread, coffee, organic everything and extremely talented people applying their skills and knowledge to simpler offerings, be it the perfect avocado bread or reinvented classics including hotdogs and smørrebrod (open sandwiches). There are hotspots all around this compact city: in Kødbyen (the meatpacking district), in the centre around the Torvehallerne food halls, or to the north in Nørrebro, where the first burst of creativity helped transform the streetscape.