My visit to the Faroe Islands comprised of flying in and out of the Danish capital (also known as the world’s food capital), so I decided it was wise to stay for a couple of nights and see the city because it’s not every day you’re in that part of the world as well as to sample some of the best restaurants in Copenhagen. I stayed in an Airbnb in the Fredericksburg quarter, which was very convenient, and I made it around town quite comfortably.
Here are some of the best restaurants in Copenhagen where I got my nosh on:
Noma: Yes, I did manage to get a reservation at (what at the time was) the world’s best restaurant, and I was completely blown away by the entire experience, the thoughtful and profound service not excluded. Since there are only a finite amount of people on the books each night, I guess it’s easy for them to ascertain who is who, so when our cab pulled up and the manager came outside to open the door for me, I thanked him, and he said, “Jackie?” I was like, that’s me! My dinner at Noma came just after the Tokyo pop-up so the food featured some influences from their time in Japan. I honestly went into the dinner thinking it would be a once in a lifetime experience, but I would go back in a heartbeat to try a different iteration of the ever-evolving 20-course dinner menu. The restaurant will close at the end of this year and re-open as an urban farm serving vegetarian fare, so I’ll have to make a trip to Copenhagen to re-experience it.
Have to say, I was truly blown away by the service system; there is no designated dining room staff, but rather the kitchen staff–comprised of people from all over the world–serves the food! There was a table of Japanese businessmen next to us, and a Japanese employee attended to them the entire night, which only must have enhanced their experience. When I everyone heard that I was going/went there, I got asked about the ants. The signature ants and steak tartare were not on the menu, but the insects were part of a black garlic origami leaf inspired by a dish from the Tokyo pop-up.
Highlights of my meal include pumpkin, caviar, kelp and beechnuts; a rose-shaped beet; egg with the season’s last potatoes. I also tried the virgin butter, made by Patrik Johannson of Butter Viking. The butter isn’t churned all the way–it’s stopped before there’s buttermilk–so the super creamy end result even more acidic than regular butter. Also, this type of butter is never touched by one’s hands, so it’s pure and unadulterated, or virginal. Was easy to see why it’s not only one of the best restaurants in Copenhagen, but also in the world.
Amass: While Noma is arguably the best restaurant in Copenhagen, I remember the Noma staff commenting that Amass was the best so I was thrilled that I had managed to find a table there. I’m the type of traveler that can spend all day walking. However, Amass wasn’t so easily walkable; I had to hop on a ferry, but the schlep was well worth it. The massive modern industrial space boasts a huge backyard that is used for bonfires and outdoor events during the warm weather months. The menu is super straightforward; lunch is four courses, but you can extend to six, and dinner follows the same template: a six-course menu with a choice to extend to nine. Wine pairings for lunch comprise two glasses while at dinner it’s three or four depending on the menu you selected.
Chef Matt Orlando is a Brooklyn native who was the executive chef at Noma before opening Amass. The food was ridiculously inventive with close attention to texture, and the dishes included egg yolk with fermented grains in monkfish head broth and amazing crispy chicken skin with winter pickles. The staff was kind and accommodating…they even suggested I pay ten extra kroner so they can give me ten kroner cash for the ferry in case the ticket taker on the way back wasn’t as understanding as the guy who let me slide the first time. (I didn’t know it was cash only on board.) Noma reservations are hard to come by so if you can go only visit one restaurant in Copenhagen, make it Amass.
Manfreds – The less-than-48-hour time bracket was not enough to experience all the gastronomic wonders Copenhagen offers, so I had to pick and choose. For my last “major” meal, I opted for Manfreds, operated by the team from chef Christian Puglise’s restaurant Relæ just across the street, an informal wine bar–the first in Copenhagen dedicated to natural wines. I had some small bites here accompanied by a glass of wine before catching the metro to the airport. I can’t wait to come back and sample everything else!.