Savory Morsels

The Culinary Adventures of a California Girl

Monday, November 06, 2006

***November 2-5, 2006: Copenhagen***

Nyhavn 17
Nyhavn 17
By the time we’d arrived and checked into our hotel it was already 9:30pm and neither of us had eaten since lunch. I’d been to Copenhagen four years earlier, but I didn’t remember it well enough to know where we should go eat. The two of us set off in search of a restaurant; not quite sure where we were, not having had the chance to peak in windows to check out the scene, indecisive, hungry, and pressed for time. The famous Nyhavn street was just a couple blocks from our hotel so we decided to eat there even though it looked pretty touristy. We settled on Nyhavn 17 mostly because the crowd looked like fun, there was some decent live music, and the menu offered pretty straight forward selections (which is what is always appealing to me after traveling all day!). Nyhavn 17 is essentially a pub – the focus is on drinking and the décor is simple and laid back with wooden furniture and candles on all of the tables. The food took forever to come, but was quite adequate and my friend actually really enjoyed his burger. My chicken cesar salad was okay – the chicken was nicely grilled and juicy but the cesar dressing lacked the zing that I’m used to and was pretty bland. But the servers were very friendly and for the location the prices were reasonable, so all together we were quite happy. In fact we were happy enough to return on our last night to have a couple drinks before heading off to pack.
Stroget (around 22?)
The first morning I was insistent on getting a Danish pastry and coffee for breakfast. However, my guide book was really lacking in bakery recommendations and once again we hadn’t had time yet to look around for ourselves. We found a busy one on Stroget somewhere in the 20s (I didn’t take down the name or address sadly but it was a long Danish name). Everyone was speaking Danish, and there seemed to be regulars coming in, so we decided it was probably a safe bet. Both of our pastries were great! Flakey dough, sweet gooey fillings, perfectly balanced almond paste. It appears that the traditional Danish filling isn’t pastry cream and jam but rather a clear sweet filling and almond slivers, which I like even better. My only complaint was the icing that was drizzled on top of some of the pastries was a little bit too sweet – but there were plenty with out the icing for people like me. In fact after trying another couple of places, this is the bakery I returned to on my last day for a snack!
Ny Ostergade 9
After getting our pastries, I decided that I wanted to go somewhere to sit down and drink a coffee. After wandering around in an ally way off of Stroget (turn down the path way next the Gant), we found bustling Kransekagehuset, hid our previously bought pastries, and walked in. We ordered our coffees and looked around while we waited for them to come (which took FOREVER). Everyone else in the place was eating their brunch offering which came with pastries, rolls, jam, butter, salami, and cheese. Enviously watching them eat I think we both regretted buying pastries earlier. It wasn’t until after I got home that I looked in a different guide book and realized that this café was connected with a great bakery. If I’d known that before I would have gone ahead and had two breakfasts! The décor was cute and sort of Parisian, and I would definitely return to try the brunch, but our drinks took way too long for this place to be a reasonable coffee stop. So go with an empty stomach and plan on staying a while!
Café Wilder
Wildersgade 56
For lunch we wandered over to Christianshavn on our way to see the old Free State of Christiania. My guide book highly recommended Café Wilder and I’d read about it in a couple of chowhound posts, so I decided to drag my friend to find it. I was happy to find that it was quite lively (and small!) but that there were a couple of available tables. The lunch menu is sandwiches and salads (pick 2-3 from the display case and have them with or without meat on the side) both served with bread. We both decided to go with two salads and turkey. I had the tomato and olive salad tossed in a simple vinaigrette and the pesto tortellini salad. My friend had the potato salad and I think a penne pasta with red sauce. All of our salads were great! The ingredients were fresh, were prepared in a straight forward manner, were cooked perfectly, and tasted fantastic. My absolute favorite was the yellow pickled sauce that came with the turkey. I’m not exactly sure what was in it, but it was so good spooned onto the bread or spread on top of the turkey slices. I could have eaten cups of it! I also heard that Café Wilder does a great weekend brunch – If we had been in Copenhagen for longer I definitely would have returned to try it and come back for lunch. This was one of my top two favorites of the trip and I’ll for sure remember it the next time I’m in town!
Café Dan Turell
Store Regnegade 3-5
For the most part Copenhagen wasn’t too crowded which wasn’t surprising since November isn’t a big tourist time for the city. So Friday night we figured that since we just wanted a casual, lively café we didn’t need to worry about making a reservation. We were sadly mistaken. Everywhere was packed! Seriously I don’t know where all these people came from. We wandered around going from restaurant to restaurant trying to find a table. At some restaurants we were blatantly turned down, at others we were told the wait was 90 minutes to 2 hours and it was already after 8pm. Finally we found a restaurant on Store Regnegade that said we would only have to wait 30 minutes for a table and had a couple seats at the bar for us to wait in. We happily put our names down and started to try and decide what we wanted to drink. We were even happier when I realized that this was one of the cafés I had starred in my guide book and when they actually had a table for us within 5 minutes! The décor was cool – kind of French bistro style with retro posters on the walls and had fun music playing although you could barely hear it since the noise of everyone talking was so loud. Service was slow but I expected it because the café was quickly getting packed and things were quite hectic (there was barely standing room by the time we left). Furthermore, the servers were extremely friendly and accommodating so I really had no complaints (the sweet waitress translated the entire menu for us). Most importantly, the food was great! The menu was pretty adventuresome, but we weren’t really that night so we both had the $20 hamburger – and it was worth every penny. It was gigantic and came with cheese and bacon (which we weren’t expecting), a huge pile of perfectly crisped steak fries, and best of all a dish of guacamole. I was stuffed by the time I finished but it was so good that I couldn’t stop eating. I was quite pleased with the quality of the food since the emphasis seemed to be on the chic bar scene. This is definitely a safe bet for a good time and good food.
Bakery and Patisserie
Store Kongensgade at Fredericiagade (near Amalienborg)
While checking out the sites on Friday we passed a couple of delicious looking bakeries across the street from each other on Store Kongensgade and decided to return to them the next morning for breakfast. After finding out that one was more of a patisserie, we ventured across the street to the Golm (I think that was the name) bakery to get a Danish and a croissant. Since Golm didn’t have seating we brought our pastries back to the first place and ordered coffee and a couple of treats and sat down. My friend’s Danish was great but the croissant was pretty mediocre (oily, not very flakey, needed more of something) so I was happy to have the cheddar, tomato, and jalapeño scone from the patisserie. The scone was HUGE and I had to pull out a few of the jalapeños, but it was quite good. My friend had what they called a snickers which was like a rice crispy treat made with cornflakes and peanut butter and half dipped in chocolate. A bit much at 10am in my opinion, but my friend loved it and that’s what’s important! I’d come here again for an afternoon treat (they also do sandwiches at lunch), but keep in mind it’s not really a bakery.
Polser Stand
Kongens Nytorv (near the corner of Nyhavn and Bredgade)
Since it was already 4pm by the time we got back from Hamlet’s castle and had finished some necessary shopping - we decided to just grab a Danish hot dog from one of the many stands for lunch. We both ordered a kebab dog with mustard and ketchup pushed into the traditional bun. I know the kebab dog isn’t the typical Danish hot dog, but it was really good and had a bit of extra spice. I was actually really happy that we ended up just eating this simple lunch because 1) it helped us have room for dinner and 2) it was one of the more traditional meals we had!
Café Oscar
Bredgade 58
For our last night we learned from our previous mistake and decided to make reservations. Café Oscar was listed in my guide book – but they had described it as a “refreshment stop” with the “usual beverages and sandwiches”. After walking past it to see if it was a lunch possibility, I found that Café Oscar is much fancier and of a much higher quality than the guide book’s description suggested. Once again the servers were very friendly and the décor was French bistro (the menu even included crepes). I was happy that we had it, but we ended up not needing our reservation since there were a number of open tables. My guess is that since this place is a bit out of the city center not as many people happen upon it, because the food was definitely superior to anything we had the previous nights. We gladly accepted the English menu and ordered a goat cheese salad to share for a starter and then we each had the grilled salmon. Everything was delicious and the portions were quite ample! I would recommend splitting a salad – while it was good enough to eat a large portion, it was really main course size and way too big for a first course. The grilled salmon was well done, a little too crispy on the top for me, but still perfectly juicy and didn’t have the slightest fish taste. It came with potatoes, tomatoes, mushrooms, and some creamy orange sauce that they called. We both devoured our meals and wished we’d found this place earlier in the trip! Even though our neighbors’ desserts had looked tempting, we were ultimately too full for dessert… which happily gives me an excuse to return! In the end, Café Oscar tied for my favorite Copenhagen spot with Café Wilder.
Kongens Nytorv 16 (the Gothersgade side)
Since it was our last night we decided to go for a final drink at Quote – a chic looking bar/café/restaurant on Kongens Nytorv that we had passed and looked in numerous times a day. At first the staff was quite short with us and almost rude, but our waiter got friendlier after we had ordered. My friend got the Turborg Christmas beer (it was the first weekend of the year that they were available and we were happy to get to try them) and I had a fuzzy navel. The scene was a little more subdued then it had looked from the outside, and I’m not sure how much alcohol my drink had in it since it basically just tasted like pineapple juice, but I was glad we ended somewhere a little more upscale but where we could still sit down and hear each other. If I was back in Copenhagen with someone older I’d suggest this convenient spot for after dinner drinks.
Store Strandstraede 21
I stopped in Emmery’s while I was just wandering around wasting time until I had to go to the airport. It was basically a high end deli that sold sandwiches, pastries, bread, some fruit, dairy products, and fancy grocery items. The décor was modern and minimalist, the bread has been referred to as the best in town, and the sandwiches looked great (simple ones like cream cheese and lox) but it was sadly too early for lunch. They had out tasters of their chocolate-chip hazelnut cookie which was absolutely amazing. I can’t figure out why hazelnuts aren’t used more often, they have such a yummy, distinctive flavor and I always love dishes that include them. After having a about three tasters, I decided to actually buy one of the cookies and also get a spelt biscotti. The spelt biscotti had a slightly unusual taste to it which I wasn’t sure if I liked at first. But by the time the biscotti had disappeared the taste had definitely grown on me and I enjoyed the unusual texture.
Kafe Kys
Loederstroede 7
For lunch on my last day I was on my own and wanted somewhere that I could eat by myself comfortably. I had looked into Café Victor and Café Norden – but they both contained dinners who I wasn’t sure would approve of my post card writing during lunch. Instead I decided to go to Kafe Kys where you order at the counter and which I had read offers great sandwiches and salads. Since I’d eaten so many pastries over the weekend, I tried to cut back on carbs and ordered the Parma ham salad. It was quite large but I really really enjoyed it. There was a little too much dressing for my taste, but I usually feel that way about restaurant salads and I was willing to over look it since the other ingredients were so good. The Parma ham was thinly sliced and soft just like it should be with very little fat on the sides and nicely salted. The salad also came with artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, arugula, nicoise olives, and parmesan. I wish there had been more artichoke hearts- they were my favorite part! Also sadly for my carb counting, the salad came with some delicious organic bread and butter. Oh well – I don’t get to Copenhagen too often!


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