Urban farming in Copenhagen
The concrete, the cobblestones, and the blue canals are making space for the greens in Copenhagen, as urban farms take over rooftops, backyards, sidew...
From comfort food to fine dining, Copenhagen is the city with the largest number of gastro offshoots of famed restaurant noma and Danish chef René Redzepi, who helped launch the pioneering New Nordic Cuisine in the'00s and changed the face of the Nordics' food scene forever.
With noma (short for “nordisk mad” that is Nordic food) a uniquely Nordic food legacy was born. One that is still in full vigour on the Copenhagen gastro scene, and which kickstarted a re-invention of gastronomy to fit local latitudes. It had foodies from across the world go mad about the Copenhagen food scene - as they still do to this day.
Today Copenhagen has become a gastro-destination like never seen before and noma’s worldwide success helped foster a new generation of dedicated and innovative alumni. Alumni who without hesitation have embraced and cultivated the manifesto of the New Nordic cuisine. And alumni who local and seasonal as well as foraging and fermentation, are lifelike watchwords. As a result, the food scene in Copenhagen boasts more eateries, bars, breweries and bakeries than ever before and is thriving in the legacy of noma and its peers.
The latest openings by former noma chefs in 2021-2022.
The much-hyped Restaurant JATAK opened in Nørrebro in January 2022, and the restaurant has instantly become a popular dining venue. Especially after noma-founder René Redzepi published a video of its wobbly egg tart and recommended that his one million followers booked a table there. JATAK is founded by Canadian-born chef Jonathan Tam. Inspired by his roots, he grew up with Chinese and Vietnamese flavours, and his journey toward Nordic cuisine began in 2007 when Tam started as an intern at noma. Here, he met the chef Christian Puglisi, and after a few years at noma, he went with Puglisi to work at Restaurant Relæ, where he stayed for over a decade becoming the head chef until its closure in 2020. At JATAK he combines Asian flavours with Nordic techniques and ingredients, and about six months after opening, the restaurant received its first Michelin star in July 2022.
In November 2021, the former sous chef at noma, Claus Henriksen, opened the doors to Restaurant MOTA in Anneberg Cultural Park. In July 2022, less than eight months after opening, the restaurant received its first Michelin star. Restaurant MOTA has been defined as one of the best-kept secrets in Denmark by local food critics and in October 2022, one of the most important guides within the Danish food scene, Den Danske Spiseguide, awarded Restaurant MOTA "Restaurant of the year" 2022. MOTA is placed in the heart of Odsherred, a UNESCO-protected landscape only 1-hour away from Copenhagen. Here, Henriksen has continued his well-known style and focus on Nordic cuisine and locally sourced produce, which he became known for at Dragsholm Castle, where he was head chef for 13 years, also securing the restaurant a Michelin star. On the current menu at MOTA is local seaweed and vegetables, fish, and Danish wine by local producers such as Ørnberg Vin.
In chronological order, from the newest to the earliest openings.
Get the popular noma burger at POPL on Christianshavn by René Redzepi, chef, founder and co-owner of noma. A few of the people running POPL are also trained noma veterans – Andrea Lasàgna is the restaurant manager, and Stuart Stalker, formerly the youngest sous chef at noma, runs the kitchen as head chef and continues to serve the much-loved noma burgers over the counter at POPL. What started as a pop-up burger restaurant and bar in the summer of 2020 has seemingly come to stay! POPL has also recently opened its own bottle shop next door, serving natural wines from small producers like noma.
In Nordhavn, the newest neighbourhood of Copenhagen and a place thoroughly designed with Scandinavian precision and sustainable directions, Hija de Sanchez has since 2020 spiced up the new hood with some of the best Mexican tacos in town. Here, head chef Rosio Sanchez, a former dessert chef of noma, and her team, work with great love and respect for the traditions of the taco, and it shows. Some of their main ingredients are imported from Mexico, supporting small local farmers, and making it a case of sustainable cooking too.
Opening back in 2019 and just a few hundred meters from Juno the Bakery, signless café At the Counter serves high-quality coffee along with hyped pastries by former noma chef Emil Glaser. Its name reflects the venue's philosophy well too, encouraging dialogue between the locals and its baristas.
Former head baker at Tartine and noma as well as the founder of Hart Bakery in 2018, Richard Hart is, in collaboration with René Redzepi, behind one of Copenhagen’s most popular and innovative bakeries; Hart Bakery Frederiksberg. With Hart Holmen, Hart has opened a second place in the capital moving away from the traditional bakery concept to a café serving sourdough bread by day - and a wine bar by night offering an extensive wine list curated by noma.
In 2018, Australian chef Beau Clugston opened Restaurant Iluka in downtown Copenhagen. He brings along many years of experience from the international restaurant scene, working with the likes of Gordon Ramsay in London, and René Redzepi at noma. Iluka means “near the sea” and focuses on all the ocean has to offer without too many disturbing details. An almost minimalistic take on seafood allows fish and shellfish to be the absolute stars with beautiful fresh dishes and fish from some of the best suppliers in the world.
Going back in time to discover the future of Nordic gastronomy and beer, Restaurant Barr is an old Irish word for crops, and Old Norse for barley, one of the foundations of beer. Founded by chef Thorsten Schmidt in 2017 and located in the former premises of noma on Christianshavn's waterfront, this venue offers new takes on the region’s cold-country cooking and classic dishes like Danish frikadeller. Local distilleries also give their contributions to the menu e.g. the Barr beer made in collaboration with Amager Bryghus.
One of the most hyped bakeries in town, Juno the Bakery is known for its cardamom rolls and crispy sourdough bread sold in one of Østerbro's cosy residential streets. The bakery was created by the Swede Emil Glaser in 2017, a former noma chef, and his girlfriend Nina Schmie-gelow and is one of the most hyped bakeries in town, with constant long queues outside its premises in Århusgade and locals looking at the hard-working bakers through the window.
From aperitif to after dinner, RUDO is a vermouth bar with an intimate and relaxed atmosphere located right above Bæst, an Italian restaurant and pizzeria. Like Bæst, RUDO is founded by former sous chef at noma Christian Puglisi in 2017, and besides vermouth, it serves cocktails, offers a very in-depth wine list, and snacks from charcuterie to truffle toast, accompanied by great tunes in the city’s hip Nørrebro hood.
Located on Istedgade in the neighbourhood of Vesterbro, Restaurant Sanchez’s menu is constantly changing. Tasty cocktails, Mexican craft beers, non-alcoholic aguas frescas, and natural wines are created by the chef behind it all, former desert chef at noma, Rosio Sanchez. In 2015, she opened a taco shop, Hija de Sanchez, in Torvehallerne. In 2017, she followed with Hija de Sanchez Cantina in Nordhavn being the very latest shoot of the trunk.
Brace Restaurant first opened its doors in 2017 serving modern Italian cuisine widely inspired by the Nordic kitchen. Shortly after arriving in Copenhagen, the Italian head-chef Nicola Fanetti began his journey as an intern at noma, eager to learn about their acknowledged methods and ways of thinking nature and its different seasons in its cooking. His time at noma left a huge impact on him as a chef, later making him want to open a place of his own. Nicola's cooking at Brace is a modern fusion of Nordic and Italian cuisine, embracing the best seasonal, local, organic, and wild ingredients mainly from small Nordic suppliers who work sustainably and share their vision and values of dedication, simplicity, and respect.
10km north of Copenhagen you’ll find the newest entry to the World's 50 Best 2022 list and two Michelin-starred Restaurant Jordnær inside the renovated Gentofte Hotel with a history dating back to the 16h century. The name of Restaurant Jordnær means ‘down to earth’ and their focus is on sustainability using local ingredients with an emphasis on fish and shellfish in their tasting menu. The head chef Eric Vildgaard has three years of experience from noma, where his brother Torsten Vildgaard also worked for a decade. In 2017 Eric Vildgaard founded Jordnær with his wife Tina, who oversees the service. 10 months after opening they received their first star, and in 2020 they received their second star, which they still hold to this day.
Rosio Sanchez former head of pastry at noma; head chef and owner of Hija de Sanchez makes top-class tacos and has been ranked Europe's best street food at her taco street stall placed at Torvehallerne. Rosio’s tacos come with the best meat and quality local ingredients and everything is made from scratch since the stall opened in 2015. In 2018, a panel of 73 food experts, put together by the EasyJet Traveller magazine, went on a mission to find the best street food Europe has to offer and named Hija de Sanchez the winner. A sister taco joint is found in the city’s hip Meatpacking District, as is the Restaurant Sanchez in nearby Istedgade, while the latest Sanchez addition is found in new local hood Nordhavn: Hija de Sanchez Cantina.
At Bæst, which literally means "beast", ambitions of creating an authentic Italian restaurant are set aside to create a unique Italian-style Copenhagen restaurant, where great Italian produce, such as extra virgin olive oil and sun-ripened tomatoes, co-star along with the best local produce sourced from talented organic farmers in Denmark. The venue is founded by Christian Puglisi in 2014, former sous chef at noma, and includes a next-door dairy-producing mozzarella cheese for what is said to be one of the best pizzas in the world.
In 2014, Mirabelle opened as a hip neighbourhood hang-out for dedicated coffee drinkers and where the locals pick up their freshly baked bread, signature croissants and Mirabelle’s ‘Italian Smørrebrød’; a Roman pizza/focaccia/open-faced sandwich kind of hybrid. The bakery is connected to Bæst, also owned by noma alumi Christian Puglisi and comes with a cheese factory on the top floor. Its head baker, Carol Choi, also makes Bæst’s praised pizza dough.
Amass Restaurant has permanently closed from the 30th of November 2022.
Restaurant Radio, situated in 2011 next to the beautiful old broadcasting house and the city lakes, serves organic and Nordic food created by among others Jesper Kirketerp, a former sous chef of noma, and one of the founding fathers of the New Nordic Cuisine, Claus Meyer. The venue sources its vegetables just outside Copenhagen from organically cultivated fields offering over 80 different crops, its fruit from the island of Lilleø, some meat from hunters on nearby Lolland, and fish caught by local fishermen. For a fine taste of Nordic cuisine, Radio is, therefore, a restaurant beyond the usual.
Fiskebaren is all about fresh, healthy, and delicious fish and seafood and good wines. The venue has a Bib Gourmand in Guide Michelin Nordic Cities 2019 and comes with traces of the old meat halls, due to its location in Copenhagen’s hip meatpacking district. Eat at the bar, relax in the sofas, or dine at the tables or, weather permitting, eat outside. Anders Selmer, former restaurant manager and sommelier at noma and founder/co-owner of Fiskebaren, has since 2019 created a noteworthy wine list and excellent drinks menu to go.
Download a selection of pictures related to gastronomy in Copenhagen. Press photos - Copenhagen and the noma legacy. The photographer must be credited.