The Ultimate Guide to Copenhagen’s Hottest Hangouts
Next after Paris, I took the train to Copenhagen to botanize among their many trendy art spaces, cafés, restaurants and wine bars. Despite being a little behind on plant-based cuisine, while well ahead on baked goods and bio wines, the city’s offerings did in fact exceed my expectations.
Quite randomly, I ended up living in a lovely apartment hotel called STAY, just by the waterfront in the up-and-coming Nordhavn area. This was a funny, and lucky, coincidence, as these quarters are envisioned to become the future sustainable neighborhood of Copenhagen. I no doubt felt like I was in the right place, and even more so upon finding cool places like Yume – an amazing concept store for sustainable design – a stone’s throw from my door. And, if you’re into beautiful interior design, I would also recommend a co-working session at the newly opened Menu Space café and showroom (I’ve been stalking them on Instagram for quite some time).
Outside the Nordhavn area, I kept myself busy trying to check things off a very long list. Even though Copenhagen has an amazing spread of second hand stores – Studio Travel, Time’s Up, Carmen, Jérôme Vintage – my priorities were, as always, food, art and furniture. So I rode my rental bike to SMK, Glyptoteket, Etage Projects and Frama, and took the train to Louisiana. I made a quick stop at Res Res – a fantastic shop for sustainable fashion and design in Nørrebro – and viewed every object at vintage furniture space Klassik.
However, nothing beat my visit to Studio Oliver Gustav, which I had dreamed about since forever. And it was glorious. Located in a neoclassicist building at Kastelsvej 18, the stunningly beautiful locale holds the designer’s own line of made-to-order sofas and armchairs in hemp or linen, perfectly paired with unique vintage or antique objects and designs by other contemporary artists. I’m warning you – I went into a state of interior frenzy.
Of course, I wasn’t nearly finished with my list by the time I had to leave. I still have to check out the sustainably oriented Guldsmeden hotels, visit the Mater Gallery, and eat at Gro Spiseri located at rooftop farm ØsterGRO.
But now, let’s talk food: It could be that I was in the wrong ‘hip places’, but Copenhagen doesn’t seem to share my love for healthy plates, and as a vegan or gluten/lactose intolerant in this city, you may have to struggle (I sort of did). However, if looking to treat oneself (I definitely did), here follows a few of my newfound favorite hangouts.
The Ultimate Guide: Copenhagen
If you’re going to Copenhagen, first rule is to rent a bike. Not kidding. The experience will be 100 to 1 once you’ve gotten used to the traffic rytm. Then, take your rental for a spin at Refshaleøen and make a stop at La Banchina for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The tiny locale with its tarnished blue paint fasade sits right by the water with an outdoor terrace, dock and sauna, which is open every day on demand. The sustainability oriented kitchen offers a menu with seasonal, organic and biodynamic vegetables and seafood, paired with delicious natural wines, and vegetarian options are always available. I had the best weekend lunch there, and can’t wait to go back.
While riding around at Refshaleøen, you might feel like taking a break with some coffee and freshly baked pastry. Knowing that Lille Bakery is near by, this feeling might be instant. This is the place to indulge in artisan baked goods and bread dishes for breakfast, lunch or any other time of the day. I had a taste of their homemade Lemon Verbena Ice Tea with a slice of lemon cake (lemon overload) and they were both divine. Use that sugar high to pedal the short distance to Christiania and watch people experience… a different kind of high.
In search of healthy, plant-based servings, I scored high when I found this place. Souls offers exactly that, with plenty of yummy vegan dishes to choose from for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. You’ll find the essentials here – acai bowls, gluten free pancakes, avo toast, ginger shots, matcha latte – and different warm and cold veggie plates for lunch and dinner. I had their Warm Potato Salad for lunch, which I loved, and hope to try one of their burgers with a side of sweet potato fries for dinner next time, as it sounds too delish to miss. I give this place a 10.
Melchiors Plads 3
Nørre Farimagsgade 63
Nothing beats the magical combination of food and furniture. Nothing. Beau Marché offers an eclectic mix of new and vintage furniture and home decor with a sort of modern-bohemian vibe. I got a little crazy and uncharacteristically bought myself a yellow kimono, which I fully blame on the glasses of French bio wine I’d just had with my burrata on the street terrace out front. The kitchen and small restaurant space is located in the back courtyard and serves a classic French menu with morning croissants and omelets, and chèvre chaud, green salads and cheeses for lunch and dinner. Too good to miss.
Ny Østergade 32
Have you read my Paris guide, you know I’m pretty into banana breads. Well, at Sonny, I had one of the best ones so far. It was chocolaty (!), and if you wanted, you could have it toasted, with butter. Naturally I couldn’t resist a taste of that, and I’m sure no further explanations are necessary. Yum! The popular café and eatery has many other tempting offerings for breakfast, brunch and lunch of course, like matcha granola, bircher muesli, avocado toast, and salads. And, not to worry, they have the must-have matcha and turmeric lattes too (available with a base of Oatly’s iKaffe oat milk. Praised be).
Apollo Bar + Atelier September
Funny story: When I went to Apollo Bar this summer, I was first of all seated next to supermodel Helena Christensen (!), and second of all ended up at owner Frederik Bille Brahe’s bachelor party when the whole place turned into a dance floor post dinner. The restaurateur, now married to model and vintage retailer Caroline Brasch Nielsen, runs some of Copenhagen’s trendiest establishments. Apollo Bar, being one of them, is housed in the art space Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Nyhavn, and serves what I’d call modern scandinavian cuisine all day long (though a couple more vegetarian options on the menu wouldn’t hurt). Great ambiance.
The more casual Atelier September offers ‘natural food and artisan coffee’ from early morning to late afternoon. I’ve only stopped by for a matcha drink so far, but I hear their yoghurt with zucchini jam, granola and matcha is a real treat; will try it next time.
Charlottenborg, Nyhavn 2
My final three are all located in the trendy Nørrebro area. Mirabelle has a great vibe, and apparently some of the best croissants the city has to offer. Open from early morning to late night, the small bakery and restaurant is specialized in pastry and fresh pasta made on site with organic, seasonal and local produce. I went there for a Sunday lunch and had an incredible pasta that I’m still fantasizing about. However, the lunch menu is minuscule, and this might have been their only fully vegetarian dish. Looks like there are more to choose from for breakfast, brunch and dinner though, so I’ll definitely be back for another round.
If you’re into natural wines, Pompette is the place. In fact, they serve nothing else to drink, which I find equally amusing and discriminating. The newly opened wine bar and shop is a tiny, lively place just off Nørrebrogade, great for casual gatherings over wine and burrata. (Burrata, by the way, and bread, are the standard vegetarian offering in this city; the Copenhageners do like their meat unfortunately…). Nevertheless, I had a lovely time there, sipping orange wine for a reasonably 50 DDK a glass with a girlfriend. I bet you’ll love it too.
My final treat is Cicchetti – an Italian antipasti restaurant at Nørrebrogade that serves small, sharable dishes. The locale is small but chic (with floor tiles that remins me of the marble ones in the ‘old Céline’ stores – what will happen to them now?!), the staff lovely and the atmosphere leisurely. I went there for dinner with a veggie-loving friend, and we had every course listed under ‘verdure’, vegetables, which were all excellent though came with a lot of bread – sliced, fried and crumbled. For dessert: formaggio, with more bread. My gluten sensitive stomach didn’t exactly approve, but it was totally worth it.
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