Where to Eat in Copenhagen Now That Noma Is Closing

Where to Eat in Copenhagen Now That Noma Is Closing
Photographer: Laura L.P.

(Bloomberg) -- Noma's Rene Redzepi put Copenhagen on the global dining map. 

A decade ago, you wouldn’t have heard too many people brag about traveling to Copenhagen for the food unless they were on stage doing stand-up. Now, of course, the game has changed. The unofficial statistic around the city is that one in three tourists is there to eat. The restaurant at the top of everyone’s wish list is Noma, an almost impossible dream. (Even before it announced that it was closing at the end of the year, Noma averaged 20,000 calls on the one day each month that it takes reservations.)

Still, if you visited Copenhagen in the past few years, you know that the worldwide obsession with Noma and the New Nordic cooking style it helped champion—hyper-seasonal simple (if sometimes off-beat) ingredients, foraging, etc.—has had a downside. Especially if you were eating in the city for more than a few days and had only a limited appetite for pickled vegetable tops and burnt grains. Food that’s delicious and intriguing for a couple of meals becomes very one note after a while, and you start badly wishing that someone would open up a good Szechuan spot or even a hot sauce stand. And when even bath soaps start using the "New Nordic" label, well, that's a trend that's run its course.

Where to Eat in Copenhagen Now That Noma Is Closing
Photographer: Laura L.P.

A Noma classic: chocolate-coated mushrooms alongside chocolate-covered moss.

Which is why a September visit to Copenhagen yielded some pleasant surprises. More diverse cuisine is around town now, from elaborate Japanese breakfasts to incredible late-night pizzas topped with just-made mozzarella. Noma itself is evolving. When it reopens in its new location in 2017, in a hippy district with a farm, chef and owner Rene Redzepi promises a different focus. His mantra is hyper-seasonality: He’s dividing the year into three distinct food seasons, not the four we’ve all been brought up to believe in and shop for. Instead, there will be a seafood-focused winter; produce for spring and summer; and a hunting menu for fall.

Here are eight terrific places to eat and drink around Copenhagen now.

 

Kadeau Copenhagen

Where to Eat in Copenhagen Now That Noma Is Closing
Photographer: Kate Krader/Bloomberg

The world's prettiest vegetable terrine, at Kadeau Copenhagen.

The original location of this astonishing restaurant is on Denmark's Bornholm island, a little hotspot near Sweden frequently described as the Montauk of Scandinavia. (“You have to visit,” locals will scream at you if you mention Bornholm.) Here at the recently relocated, five-year-old Copenhagen outpost, a battery of chefs work in the wide-open kitchen and take turns delivering such dishes as a side of salmon that's been both cold- and hot-smoked, served with pickled figs and cherry blossom vinaigrette. King crab comes with fresh walnuts and fruit juice made with “all the berries we can find,” finished with a butter sauce.

The 18-course prix fixe menu is about $350; the wine pairings are an extra $200. You can choose juice pairings for about $100, or, best of all, have them interspersed with wine and beer throughout the meal.

 

Admiralgade 26

Where to Eat in Copenhagen Now That Noma Is Closing
Photographer: Kate Krader/Bloomberg

The savory Japanese breakfast at Admiralgade.

Wine drinkers around the world adore Ved Stranden 10. The place has no wine list; instead the staff will help you figure out what wine(s) you want to be drinking and set an open bottle down in front of you. Recently, the owners opened a restaurant around the corner that looks like a groovy, uncrowded Scandinavian furniture shop. At dinner, the menu features non-Scandi staples such as bouillabaisse and steak with smoked bone marrow vinaigrette. In the morning there’s a savory Japanese breakfast with enough little plates and bowls to fill the table, including miso soup, cured mackerel and rice, and chawanmushi egg custard, plus fortifying green juice and coffee.  

 

Bronnum

Where to Eat in Copenhagen Now That Noma Is Closing
Photographer: Kate Krader/Bloomberg

The grand bar Bronnum is made up of six rooms; one is the Cloudscape.

Copenhagen has one of the best cocktail bars in Europe; it's called Ruby. (If you’re looking for Noma cooks after hours, you might well find them here.) Bronnum is the brand new spot from the Ruby team, and it's even grander, a series of six distinct rooms set in a building across from the Royal Theatre that was once a restaurant frequented by Hans Christian Anderson. Bronnum's ambitious 24-drink menu includes the "3 Martini Lunch," a flight of drinks that shows the evolution of the classic from sweet to bone dry, and the aquavit-based Memories of Aalborg, served with a nugget of cheese and hazelnuts that complement its flavors. There’s also a cellar full of Champagne, with Dom Perignon 2006 poured by the glass.

 

Baest

Instagram: Instagram photo by VisitCopenhagen

 

Former Noma chef Christian Puglisi has built a mini restaurant empire in Copenhagen starting with the intimate, elegant Relae. (Its design, featuring silverware hidden in drawers in the dining tables, has influenced such restaurants as Manhattan's acclaimed Wildair.) Though he’s a Scandi food star, Puglisi was born in Sicily, and his latest place, Baest, has a big wood-burning oven front and center. He uses fermented flour for his doughy, blistered pizzas topped with mozzarella that’s made several times a day. There’s a list of charcuterie and cheeses produced from the milk of cows that graze 30 miles from Baest. It’s one of the few places that Noma’s pastry chef Malcolm Livingston II goes out to in his limited time off. “I love the vibes, and the pizza is banging,” he says. 

 

Amass

Where to Eat in Copenhagen Now That Noma Is Closing
Photographer: Mikkel Heriba

The spacious, graffiti-decorated dining room at Amass.

One of the hardest reservations to get in Copenhagen is, perhaps unsurprisingly, at a place run by another ex-Noma chef, Matt Orlando. In a graffiti-covered building, Orlando cooks with ingredients from his huge garden. His epitome-of-late-summer dish is tomatoes—an unconventional ingredient in Denmark—made more unconventional with raspberry, wild rose, and burnt pine wood oil (because this is Copenhagen, after all). The chef is terrifically eco-minded: Amass is one Denmark’s most sustainable restaurants, with a new gold organic certification, one of only two fine-dining places in the country to earn that achievement. Likewise, Orlando is launching a food rescue program with the Danish ministry of environment to cut down on food waste.  

 

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Where to Eat in Copenhagen Now That Noma Is Closing