the foodie’s guide to denmark

September 12, 2019

I visited Denmark in May of 2019. Here’s a recap of what foods I ate in Demark, what restaurants we went to, and my favorite foods from Aarhus and Copenhagen! You can read the recaps of my time in Aarhus here, and my time in Copenhagen here.

Ah! So this post has been looming over me as a beast to write. I knew that I wanted to make it as thorough as possible, and when I spent 8 days eating and drinking in Demark, I had a lot of different foods and opinions. I didn’t get photos of everrrrything, especially when we were eating with family or even the siiiick Aarhus hotel buffet, but I will try to supplement where I can.

SO! I didn’t know much about Danish cuisine, other than I could expect pork, seafood, and lots of butter and mayo. Along with open faced sandwiches. I didn’t really research any restaurants or places to eat other than food halls, because I didn’t know our plans day to day. We ate dinner and breakfast on the plane to Copenhagen, but it was nothing to write home about. My stomach gets queasy when I fly anyway, so I was just hoping for the best.

We arrived and went straight to our relative’s house. There they served us tea, coffee and sparkling water, along with sandwiches and cookies. I noticed this as a theme, in Denmark everyone takes a little time out of their day to have coffee, tea and water with a little snack. We repeated this several times throughout the trip (even after my bike tour!) and I loved this little tradition.

That night as we got settled into the hotel we ordered some fish and chips to split, but all of us were so tired we just kinda crashed, and woke up the next morning ready for the day.

Photo courtesy of Trip Advisor
foodie's guide to Denmark: coffee by the sea
My daily Espresso Chocolat

The Helnan Marselis hotel buffet was LIT. Basically a full continental breakfast + sliced deli meats, a full table of breads and pastries, and the BEST coffee machine EVER. I mean this thing was great. You could get a cortado, an espresso chocolat, and basically anything you wanted coffee wise. I got at least two every morning. I also gravitated towards toast, jam, and jammy eggs. I went through a serious soft-boiled egg phase there afterwards for a few months.

On one of the first days we were in Aarhus, we visited a traditional Danish Inn. These were built with the intention of Danish royalty to be able to travel around and have places to have a good night’s rest and some traditional Danish food. They’ve been around forever. We had a late lunch and it was SO GOOD.

One of the most traditional dishes in Demark is smørrebrød. It’s an open faced sandwich with rye bread, and a variety of toppings. I will get to the premium smørrebrød content a little later in the post, but this meal is where I got to experience it for the first time. I had smørrebrød and my relatives shared an egg and bacon bake, aeggkage. I think my dad may have had porkchops. And my cousin had pickled herring, which I tried and did not love.

foodie's guide to Denmark: danish inn
Kind of out of a fairy tale.
foodie's guide to Denmark: danish inn
The most lovely interiors.
foodie's guide to Denmark: open faced sandwich
Smørrebrød with shrimps, mayo, poached cod, fried cod, and smoked salmon.
foodie's guide to Denmark: egg bake
Aeggkage
foodie's guide to Denmark: danish map
A map of all the Royal Inns in Denmark

This was the first of very good meals that day. We went back to the hotel after our outing, and was told to meet all of our extended family for dinner. I didn’t even know the name of the restaurant so to my surprise when I showed up to Restaurant GÄST and saw the Michelin-recognized stickers on the window my jaw dropped.

We were then treated to a 5-course meal that lasted around 6 hours – including wine pairings, and a round of cognac with our dessert at the end. GÄST is located in the lobby of a hotel in the middle of Aarhus city center. It’s a mix of Danish-Italian and we were set up with our whole family to get the prix fix menu. Everything we ate was SO GOOD but I particularly loved the cacio e pepe, and the dessert which was blood orange sorbet, panna cotta and glazed walnuts.

I know you’re just waiting for the photos – so here they are!

foodie's guide to Denmark: gast
Lumpfish roe, cod cheeks, wild garlic & sour cream.
foodie's guide to Denmark: gast
Celery, smoked egg yolk, roasted nuts & gooseberry.
foodie's guide to Denmark: gast
Cacio e Pepe
foodie's guide to Denmark: gast
Witch flounder, leeks, carrots & sauce nage.
foodie's guide to Denmark: gast
Blood orange, white chocolate & pecan

After that meal, I was basically like, I can go home. But there was MORE! I do have to say I kept up with the family, drinking wise, but I was sooo tired that night and the next day. Luckily no hangover, since we had an early start the next day.

The next restaurant of note was when we got into Copenhagen. My relative, Alan, loves fine dining and was the one that picked GÄST. (It was also his birthday) So when he told us he’d be taking us to lunch in Copenhagen, I was so pumped.

We ended up going to Ida Davidsen, a 5th generation family restaurant that is a pioneer in smørrebrød. They have tons of different types of smørrebrød that you have a few courses of. We drank large beers and each had a snaps glass with our meal as well. It was later in the day so the restaurant had mostly emptied out, and it was the besssst meal. The chef even came out and posed for a photo with our group. It was spectacular!

foodie's guide to Denmark: Ida Davidsen
foodie's guide to Denmark: Ida Davidsen
Smoked eel on home baked rye bread served with scrambled egg and chives
foodie's guide to Denmark: Ida Davidsen
Fried filet of plaice on rye bread with remoulade sauce, shrimps, smoked salmon, black caviart, green asparagus and lemon
foodie's guide to Denmark: Ida Davidsen
Gorgonzola cheese with egg yolk, onion and radish it is served on white bread and we sprinkle the cheese with oak aqvavit
foodie's guide to Denmark: Ida Davidsen
Fried Camembert served with blackcurrant jam, radish, toasted bread and butter.
foodie's guide to Denmark: Ida Davidsen
That latte finish.

Honestly, after that meal I would have died a happy woman. We checked into our hotel after a day of traveling and took naps. After that, I went off the explore the city! I think I had a caramel gelato at some point, but I was so full from the Ida Davidsen meal that I didn’t really need dinner.

The next morning we tried the hotel buffet for breakfast, and it wasn’t great. The rest of the time we walked over to 7-11 for cheap croissants and coffee. I had a few great meal experiences still ahead of me!

One of the days I spent a few hours at Torvehallerne, which is a food hall in Copenhagen. I hit up the empanada stand, the cute little wine stall, and gawked at the beautiful produce. It was the perfect place, honestly.

foodie's guide to Denmark: Ida Davidsen
foodie's guide to Denmark: Ida Davidsen
Microbrewery that was playing American 70’s music
foodie's guide to Denmark: Ida Davidsen

One night, at the recommendation of Alan, I treated myself to some sushi. I made my way around town, and ended up at Sticks ‘n’ Sushi. My plate consisted of sushi, yakatori, and a gin and tonic. My happy place.

foodie's guide to Denmark: sticks 'n' sushi
foodie's guide to Denmark: sticks 'n' sushi
foodie's guide to Denmark: sticks 'n' sushi

This meal had a great value as well. I think I got out of there under $40 for all that food and also a drink + tip!

Another spot that made me fall in love with Denmark was Bolten’s Food Court. A large food hall with beer vendors, a champagne and wine bar, and loads of outdoor seating. I actually stumbled upon this location and went back a second time to eat lunch before my bike tour. I loved the vibe of this place, a little oasis in the middle of the city,

foodie's guide to Denmark: bolten's food court
foodie's guide to Denmark: bolten's food court
foodie's guide to Denmark: bolten's food court
foodie's guide to Denmark: bolten's food court

And last but not least – the street food! I had a traditional danish hot dog one afternoon when I needed a snack. This was around $4 and it was SO GOOD.

foodie's guide to Denmark: danish street dog
Notice ALL THE BIKES

Props to you if you made it this far in my post! I had the most memorable experience eating and drinking in Denmark, and hardly had a bad meal. It gave me a little taste of traveling abroad and trying the local cuisine, and I’d love to do it more.

Have you ever been to Denmark? What was your favorite dish? Did you try a Danish street hot dog?

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