COPENHAGEN: TOP PICKS
Insiders reveal their top picks in Copenhagen
Denmark’s capital is an easy sell in the northern summer. Locals swim in urban harbours such as Brygge or Fisketorvet islands, or picnic near the seemingly boundless flower beds in the Renaissance-era King’s Garden.
But as winter insinuates its way into the city, Copenhagen displays another strength. It embraces the cold in elegant Nordic style.
In the darker months, candles wedged into wine bottles gleam in restaurant windows, the candy colours of the canalside buildings pop against the muted skies and a twinkly-lit skating rink draws visitors to the edge of Frederiksberg Gardens. Residents still ride their bicycles through the 100ha Dyrehaven Park, but they just do it wrapped in heavy, Danish-designed jackets.
Foodie pilgrimage site Noma has just closed and is reopening as an urban farm but a few of its alumni have opened restaurants around the city where the cold and peckish can warm up with a bite or a glass of natural wine. “The winter, I find, is more intimate,” says Line Clausen Pedersen, curator at the Glyptoteket Museum. “More true to the soul of the city.”
Here are a few tips from the city’s leading identities:
Susanne Bier, director of The Night Manager winning Danish film In a Better World. INTO THE WOODS: Dyrehaven is a cross between a forest and a park, very lush. You can see deer there, and in the middle is a castle, where it’s rumoured the kings took their mistresses. When I go running there in the early morning, I feel like I own the forest. AIN’T SHE SWEET: Conditori La Glace is an old patisserie from the end of the 19th century; it has a special pastry with cream inside and pink or yellow icing on top, just like any girl’s dream of a cake; Skoubogade 3; laglace.dk. CASA COPENHAGEN: I love Hos Fischer, a super-cosy restaurant where they specialise in Italian food with Danish ingredients. The chef does an amazing steak with tomatoes and vegetables on top; Victor Borges Plads 12; hosfischer.dk. STATE OF ART: Statens Museum for Kunst has amazing exhibitions and an architecturally interesting modern wing. Opposite the museum is a beautiful little park with another castle; Solvgade 48-50; smk.dk.
Rene Redzepi, chef and co-owner of Noma. NORDIC CARNITAS: A sous-chef of ours has opened a mind-blowing taqueria, Hija de Sanchez. Tortillas are made to order and the meats have been simmering all night. Order the off-menu Dirty Carnita — pork cooked in fat over crispy Mexican cheese; Slagterboderne 8, hijadesanchez.dk. STREET APPEAL: The area around Jaegersborggade Street is on fire at the moment with spots such as Manfred’s restaurant and Coffee Collective and small ceramics stores. VARIETY IS THE SPICE: The space in the organic restaurant Amass is spectacular. They serve one menu, and it changes all the time. One of the simplest, best things I’ve had was a rosemary-spiced pumpkin cooked so slowly the texture was like toffee; Refshalevej 153; amassrestaurant.com. WINE O’CLOCK: Copenhagen has been at the forefront of natural wine for more than a decade, and Ved Stranden 10 does it really well; vedstranden10.dk.
Line Clausen Pedersen, curator, Glyptoteket Museum DINE & DESIGN: The restaurant Admiralgade 26 is pleasing to the eye as well as the palate, with Danish and European decor from the 20s onward; admiralgade26.dk. HIGH SPIRITS: Right next to the Royal Danish Theatre, Bronnum is a classy cocktail bar with food and the place to meet beautiful creatures after dark. The building is historic, and the high ceilings make everything feel so much more important; August Bournonvilles Passage 1; bronnumcph.dk. CAST OF THOUSANDS: Thorvaldsens Museum is worth visiting for the roof decorations and the floor mosaics alone; this 19th-century sculpture museum is like a little pocket of luxury, ornament and colour; 2 Bertel Thorvaldsens Plads; thorvaldsensmuseum.dk/en. RESTING ON LAURELS: Assistens Cemetery, a parkmeets-graveyard, is beautiful in every season. Take a picnic and eat near the tombs of Hans Christian Andersen and other famous Danes; Kapelvej 4.
Mette Hay, co-founder of Danish furniture design company HAY SECRET GARDEN: Step into Glyptoteket Museum with its fabulous art collection and a winter garden, and you completely forget you are in the middle of the city centre. We often bring guests here; Dantes Plads 7; glyptoteket.com. STYLE MUSE: The owner of fashion store Holly Golightly is very good at combining colours and patterns and vintage alongside high-end brands such as Dries Van Noten and Proenza Schouler; Gammel Mønt 2; hollygolightly.dk. CURATED CAFE: In Gothersgade, Atelier September cafe serves very simple food for breakfast and lunch, such as yoghurt with granola and zucchini. Everything from the chairs to the cups has been hand-picked; Gothersgade 30; atelierseptember.dk. IN LIVING COLOUR: The Apartment exhibition space and store sells vintage and contemporary furniture in a charming apartment at Christianshavn.
It’s a colourful place, where the walls are repainted several times a year; Overgaden Neden Vandet 33; theapartment.dk.
PLUS, DON’T MISS …
LOUISIANA MUSEUM OF MODERN ART: On a bluff 45 minutes by train outside the city centre, this eyecatching museum hosts an outdoor sculpture park and a first-class Giacometti collection; Gl Strandvej 13, Humlebaek; en.louisiana.dk. NIMB HOTEL: This luxury hotel features 17 guestrooms, most with antique furnishings, open fireplaces and views over the Tivoli Gardens. From about $US425 ($552); nimb.dk. NATUR POTOKET: Stock up on Nordic beauty essentials, like Sunpati facial oil, at this small, natural health store; Torvegade 36; naturpoteket.dk. 108: Salt-baked celeriac and braised oxtail are standouts at Noma alumnus Kristian Baumann’s new restaurant on Christianshavn harbour. Dishes emphasise ingredients foraged and pickled throughout the year; Strandgade 108; 108.dk.
Ice skating on the edge of Frederiksberg Gardens, top; lively Jaegersborggade, above left; Manfreds restaurant, above centre; Amass organic restaurant, above right; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, below