Copenhagen and the noma legacy
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 Red...
Grab a hotdog or sink your teeth in delicious pastries and crispy chicken sandwiches and experience the Copenhagen canals. Follow The Bear’s admiration for the experimenting and gastronomic capital.
The TV series The Bear quickly became popular when it premiered three years ago. Since then, the show about the restaurant industry has received 13 Emmy nominations.
While the first season is about the young and talented chef Carmy, who tries to transform a sandwich shop alongside a rough-around-the-edges kitchen crew, the ambitions are turned up in the second season. With the goal to re-open as a fine dining restaurant in a month, a strong dessert profile is needed for the opening. This means that the bread-baker-turned-pastry-baker Marcus has to be sent to what they believe is the capital of experimental gastronomy – Copenhagen in the fourth episode of the second season.
Copenhagen and Denmark are mentioned and referred to regularly in the series as the capital of gastronomy. The series especially has a fondness for the restaurant noma - the world’s best restaurant in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2021.
In the list below, you can walk in the footsteps of The Bear’s pastry baker, Marcus and find your own gastronomic inspiration and ideas from Copenhagen.
When arriving in Copenhagen, Marcus goes on a classic touristic exploration. Here, he takes the metro (the circle line) to Kongens Nytorv (King’s Square), a famous and picturesque square in Copenhagen. Kongens Nytorv is a prominent address that houses buildings such as The Royal Theatre, d’Angleterre and Magasin Du Nord.
Kongens Nytorv gives you straight access to Nyhavn and its colourful houses, which becomes a regular hang-out spot for Marcus in the episode. Copenhagen is rich in canals and harbours, why the Christianshavn Canal also is an ideal place to go for a walk, as it is also filled with colourful houses and boats along the canal. If you want to discover a more modern architectural harbour neighbourhood, there is also the possibility to visit the new Nordhavn District. Nordhavn offers the opportunity to jump in the water, new dining options and great architecture.
The circle line is a part of Copenhagen’s public transportation system and has 17 stations and connects the city centre, Østerbro, Nørrebro, Vesterbro and Frederiksberg. The circle line can be accessed with the Copenhagen Card and is a very easy way to get around in Copenhagen to explore the different neighborhoods.
Photo:Jón Bjarni Hjartason
You won’t be more local until you have tried the most Danish and treasured street food there is: a hotdog at a pølsevogn (a hot dog stand). Do like Marcus and grab the famous Danish hotdog at Joan’s Pølser at Kongens Nytorv and enjoy one of the few locations where Danes actually eat alone.
The popular Danish hotdog dates back to 1920 and has become a widespread eat that is synonymous with fast food. Today the hotdog vendors can be found all around Copenhagen, and new concepts have come along, such as DØP (Den Økologiske Pølsemand), which serves organic hotdogs in sourdough bread.
Learn more about the Danish hotdogs here.
Getting the full Copenhagen experience, Marcus lodges on a houseboat situated in the Copenhagen Canals, specifically Frederiksholms Kanal, right by BLOX.
The clean harbour sets the stage for many different activities. Explore the harbour and canals of Copenhagen from the water side by renting a Go Boat or board on the Hey Captain tours or the classic Canal tours to experience Copenhagen from the water side.
Stay at the Kaj Hotel, Hotel Cph Living or the Blue Raft if you like Marcus also would like to try to sleep and live on the water. Kaj Hotel is a 16 m2 houseboat built with recycled materials, which has room for 4. Hotel Cph Living is a floating boutique hotel with a rooftop and a great view of the harbour, whereas Blue Raft is a floating shelter with an additional deck for activities.
Read more about the Copenhagen harbour here.
After learning in the first season that Marcus has a picture hanging of Richard Hart, the creator of Hart Bageri, hinting towards his fascination for Danish pastry, Marcus, of course, makes his way past Hart Bageri at Holmen during his Copenhagen stay. Marcus indulges in the great pastries of Hart Bakery, buying several kinds to spur his inspiration.
Hart Bageri was started by Richard Hart, the former baker at noma, at Gl. Kongevej in Frederiksberg back in 2018. The bakery has since opened in several locations around Copenhagen, including Holmen, as featured in The Bear, in addition to Refshaleøen and Vesterbro.
Hart Holmen is located in a historic building previously used by the Danish navy. The bakery serves delicious pastries and bread and their location by Holmen gives you a front-row view of the Copenhagen harbour, The Opera House and a glance at Amalienborg and the iconic roof of the Marble church.
The Fried Chicken sandwich joint Poulette on Møllegade in Nørrebro was opened by the natural wine bar Pompette back in 2021 in adjacent premises. The preparation of the famous fried chicken sandwiches is also part of the show, followed by Marcus sinking his teeth into one.
Besides serving spicy fried chicken sandwiches, Poulette also serves a vegan fried mapo tofu sandwich as well as french fries. You can enjoy the sandwich with a glass of natural wine from the sister bar Pompette and discover, why natural wine is a popular trend in Copenhagen.
Poulette also has pop-up locations in Pumpehusets Byhave and Broens Gadekøkken during the summer period.
The former world’s best restaurant noma - now in the category "The Best of the Best" - plays a big part of the series’ storyline. The main character Carmy took an internship at noma before kickstarting his chef’s career, and noma is often referred to in the series, when the characters make a point about the best gastronomic fine dining experiences. Additionally, Marcus religiously also reads and follows the ‘noma Guide to Fermentation’, while he is experimenting with his own fermentation projects in The Beef’s kitchen.
During his inspirational tour Marcus also visits the garden of noma located in Refshaleøen to soak in ideas. While it is not possible to experience the Noma garden as depicted in the TV series, the restaurant is still open - if you can manage to get a table - and visitors can also see the garden from outside while strolling or biking from the city center towards Refshaleøen.
Noma is going to change by the end of 2024 and it's still uncertain what their new concept will be, but the restaurant and the people behind it have already left a strong legacy around Copenhagen and an imprint on how the Copenhagen gastronomic scene looks today.
Do as Marcus and take a break in the middle of Copenhagen’s city centre and go for a walk in Kongens Have (King’s Garden).
Kongens Have is the oldest royal garden in Denmark and was laid out in the early 1600s during the reign of King Christian as an extension of Rosenborg Castle. For around 100 years the garden was restricted for royal use only, but today the garden serves as a great breathing hole for a lot of Copenhageners. Here you can wander along tree-lined paths, under rose-bound arches and to the Hercules Pavillion and the statue of Hans Christian Andersen among a multitude of different sculptures. The Kings Gardens includes herbaceous borders, a rose garden and several fountains.