Eat Like a Local at the Best Danish Restaurants in Copenhagen

Colorful buildings and boats line the Nyhavn canal in Copenhagen, Denmark, illuminated at dusk with vibrant reflections on the water. A small Danish flag is at the bottom left corner.

Copenhagen is a food lover’s paradise, brimming with cozy spots to savor the best of Danish cooking. From hearty stews to delectable pastries, these are the best Danish restaurants in Copenhagen.

This article is part of my Wander Like a Local series, where guest writers reveal the best-kept secrets, must-see spots, and unique experiences that only locals know. Discover hidden gems and authentic tips from those who call it home.

Danish food is a fun blend of unique flavors and comforting, hearty dishes. If you know where to go, you’re in for a tasty adventure beyond the classic smørrebrød and famous pickled herring. I’ve had the joy of living in the Danish capital for ten wonderful years, soaking in its vibrant culture and savoring the city’s best traditional eats. 

As a Dane who knows the ins and outs of this beautiful capital, I’m excited to share my top picks for traditional restaurants in Copenhagen where you can truly enjoy the authentic taste of Denmark. Let’s get started!

A plate with open-faced sandwiches topped with fish, onions, and capers features in a promotional image for "10 Must-Try Copenhagen Restaurants for Danish Food Lovers" by


Do You Have a Favorite Danish Restaurant?

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What is Danish Food Like?

Danish food has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Traditionally, it was a bit on the plain side, often featuring hearty ingredients like potatoes, pork, and creamy sauces. These simple, comforting dishes were a staple for many Danes, providing a hearty meal to get through cold winters. However, Danish cuisine has undergone a remarkable transformation over the years.

Today, Denmark is world-famous for its food scene, boasting some of the best restaurants on the planet. This evolution is primarily thanks to the rise of New Nordic cuisine, which emphasizes fresh, locally sourced ingredients and innovative cooking techniques. 

Copenhagen, Denmark is an up and coming travel destination in Europe
Smørrebrød is a traditional, open-faced sandwich popular in Denmark. Photo Credit: Sage Scott.

Restaurants like Noma have put Denmark on the global food map, offering creative dishes that are as beautiful as they are delicious. Despite these modern influences, traditional Danish dishes remain popular. 

Smørrebrød, the famous open-faced sandwiches, are a must-try. They come in countless varieties, each one a little work of art.  And let’s not forget the pastries! Danish bakeries are legendary, offering treats like wienerbrød and kanelsnegle that are impossible to resist.

My Favorite Danish Restaurants in Copenhagen

Let’s dive into the heart of this guide and explore the ten best traditional Danish restaurants in Copenhagen. Whether you’re craving classic dishes or looking to experience the modern twist on Danish cuisine, these spots will give you an authentic taste of what makes Danish food so special.

A plate with two open-faced smorresbrod sandwiches on rye bread, one topped with smoked salmon and the other with a poached egg, cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, and microgreens.
Photo Credit: Canva.

1. Restaurant Puk

Restaurant Puk is a charming Danish eatery nestled in one of Copenhagen’s oldest buildings. It offers a cozy escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. At Restaurant Puk, you can relax and enjoy life with their delicious homemade smørrebrød, Denmark’s famous open-faced sandwiches. The restaurant takes pride in its traditional Danish kitchen, crafting dishes with love and care using only the finest ingredients. 

What sets Restaurant Puk apart is its commitment to tradition. Here, you’ll find freshly made smørrebrød and hearty Danish meals prepared with a dedication to quality and taste. They also offer outdoor seating, allowing you to enjoy your meal while basking in the sun and listening to the soothing sounds of the nearby historic fountain. 

It’s the perfect spot to experience the true essence of Danish food right in the heart of Copenhagen.

The entrance to Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark, featuring an ornate archway with flags flying and a clear sky in the background.
Entrance to Tivoli Gardens. Photo Credit: Canva.

2. Grøften (Tivoli)

Grøften, located in the heart of Tivoli Gardens, is one of Copenhagen’s most beloved traditional restaurants. It is known for its classic Danish smørrebrød and warm dishes. Established in 1874, originally as the Teatercaféen, it quickly became known as Grøften due to its low-lying location within the park.

The restaurant exudes a nostalgic charm reminiscent of an old-fashioned garden party with its red checkered tablecloths and colorful lamps. This cozy ambiance makes it a favorite spot for many, bringing back fond memories of childhood visits to Tivoli. 

Grøften offers a delightful menu filled with Danish classics, perfect for those seeking a taste of tradition in a truly unique setting. Whether you’re in the mood for hearty smørrebrød or a comforting hot meal, Grøften provides an authentic and memorable Danish experience in the enchanting surroundings of one of the world’s oldest amusement parks.

A line of guards in uniform stands at attention outside a building with large windows. One guard holds a red flag. The ground is lightly covered in snow. A Danish flag is in the lower left corner.
Royal guards at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen. Photo Credit: Photo by Bjørn Nielsen via Pexels.

3. Nyboders Køkken

Nyboders Køkken, established in 1997, is a beloved spot for traditional Danish cuisine. Located on Borgergade, a short walk from Amalienborg Palace, the restaurant has earned a reputation for its crispy pork, cozy atmosphere, and classic Danish music. Each dish is crafted from quality local ingredients and served with a generous helping of love. 

The old-school decor and warm, welcoming service add to the charm of this centrally located gem, housed in beautiful historic rooms in the heart of the city.

An aerial view of the Inderhavnsbroen Bridge that connects urban areas with contemporary and historical building in Copenhagen.
The Inderhavnsbroen Bridge in Copenhagen. Photo Credit: YayImages.

4. Christianshavns Færgecafé

Christianshavns Færgecafé is a unique gem among Copenhagen’s traditional Danish restaurants. Nestled in the charming Copenhagen area of Christianshavn, just a short distance from the impressive Inderbavnsbroen Bridge, this café stands out for its authentic atmosphere and a delightful menu that celebrates classic Danish dishes. 

Unlike typical smørrebrød restaurants, it not only serves delicious, freshly made open-faced sandwiches using seasonal ingredients but also offers a unique twist with over 30 different homemade schnapps.

The café’s waterfront setting, complete with traditional decor and a cozy ambiance, offers a perfect backdrop for enjoying the tasty food. Adding to its uniqueness, the restaurant includes a ferry that serves as an additional dining and event space, embodying the spirit of Copenhagen’s maritime history.

5. Øens Have

Øens Have, located on Refshaleøen, is a delightful urban farm and restaurant that offers a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. This green oasis is teeming with life, featuring a variety of vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers, bees, chickens, and wild birds.

At the heart of this lush setting, you’ll find their charming restaurant, serving the very best seasonal produce. The menu celebrates vegetables, with dishes crafted from freshly harvested ingredients from their garden and local organic farms, as well as sustainably caught fish from nearby fishermen. 

Meals are served family-style in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, either inside beautiful yurt tents or outside under the open sky. The food is cooked over an open fire, adding a rustic touch to the dining experience. 

A plate featuring a beef patty topped with an egg yolk, served on toast alongside greens, diced beets, capers, grated horseradish, and a scrambled egg mix. A Danish flag icon is displayed in the corner.
Pariserbof is an open-faced beef sandwich topped with an egg yolk. Photo Credit: Thomas Angermann via Wikimedia Commons.

6. Skindbuksen

Located in the heart of Copenhagen, Skindbuksen is a historic gem that has been serving traditional food and “hygge” since 1728. Originally established as a tavern for Grand Café, it was affectionately nicknamed “Skindbuksen” by local cab drivers who wore leather trousers, a name that became official in 1930.

Skindbuksen offers a delightful menu of Danish specialties with a modern twist — all served in the cozy, old-world charm of its 18th-century interiors. A must-try is their pariserbøf, a classic Danish open-faced sandwich topped with minced beef and traditionally garnished with pickled beets, onions, capers, horseradish, and a raw egg yolk. 

A plate featuring two potatoes with white sauce and herbs, crispy bacon strips, and caramelized onions. A small Danish flag is displayed at the bottom left corner.
Stegt flæsk is Denmark’s national dish. Photo Credit: Unsplash.

7. Restaurant Vita

Restaurant Vita in Copenhagen is a haven for lovers of traditional Danish cuisine, serving up delicious dishes made from scratch with plenty of love. Here, you can enjoy comforting, classic Danish meals like duck roast with prunes or stegt flæsk, Denmark’s national dish, featuring pork topped with parsley sauce that’s traditionally served with potatoes.

You’ll find the historical restaurant in a charming old building on Store Kongensgade, a location that has welcomed notable figures from Denmark’s political and cultural circles over the decades. If you’re looking for a dining experience that takes you back in time to savor the best of Danish culinary traditions, Restaurant Vita is a must-visit.

An open-faced sandwich with herring, boiled egg slices, red onion, capers, and dill on a slice of seeded bread with a Danish flag in the corner.
Smorrebrod with herring, onion and eggs. Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

8. Schønnemann

Schønnemann is an iconic restaurant in Copenhagen. It’s one of the city’s oldest and most cherished eateries, serving up traditional Danish delights since 1877. This charming lunch-only spot is famous for its delicious smørrebrød, herring, and strong, chilled schnapps. The restaurant’s classic atmosphere, with its dark wood paneling, green walls, crisp white table linens, and fustian-covered chairs, evokes a timeless charm that is hard to resist. 

At Schønnemann, you can indulge in a variety of freshly made smørrebrød, long-term matured herring, smoked eel with scrambled eggs, and crispy, freshly-breaded fried plaice fillets. It’s the perfect place to savor an authentic Danish lunch that will surely be the highlight of your day.

Two small pastry tarts filled with a creamy white sauce and topped with chopped tomatoes and parsley, served on a patterned rectangular plate with one fork on the side. Danish flag in bottom left corner.
Tarteletter are savory Danish tartlets filled with chicken and asparagus. Photo Credit: YayImages.

9. Københavnercaféen

Københavner Caféen is a cozy, authentic Danish restaurant tucked away in one of Copenhagen’s charming, narrow streets. At lunchtime, Københavnercaféen’s menu is dominated by a wide selection of smørrebrød. Each piece is freshly prepared with love and dedication, ensuring a delicious and authentic taste of Denmark in every bite.

In the evening, the restaurant transforms into a warm and inviting place to enjoy classic Danish dinners. The menu includes hearty dishes like tarteletter, savory tartlets filled with chicken and asparagus, and whole roasted plaice served with lemon, potatoes, and a rich sauce.

10. Kadeau

Last on our list, but certainly not least, is Kadeau, a celebrated beacon of New Nordic cuisine that brings a taste of Bornholm to the heart of Copenhagen. This two-Michelin-starred restaurant is a culinary gem known for its exquisite focus on ingredients and its intimate dining experience. Kadeau first earned its Michelin star in 2013, and by 2018, it had secured its second star, a testament to its consistent excellence.

The restaurant, situated in Christianshavn, underwent a major renovation in 2016. Its number of seats was reduced to provide an even more personalized dining experience. Here, the menu changes with the seasons, reflecting the freshness and diversity of local produce. This attention to detail and dedication to quality makes Kadeau a must-visit for anyone looking to experience New Nordic cuisine at its absolute finest.

Best Danish Restaurant in Copenhagen FAQs

Do you have questions about the best Danish restaurants in Copenhagen? Good, because I have answers!

What is a typical lunch in Copenhagen?

A typical lunch in Copenhagen often includes Danish smørrebrød sandwiches, served open-face and topped with a variety of ingredients such as pickled herring, roast beef, or shrimp. They are a staple of Danish cuisine and are usually enjoyed with a fork and knife.

A plate with three meatballs garnished with herbs, steamed broccoli, and boiled potatoes topped with brown gravy. A fork and knife are placed behind the plate. Danish flag icon in the lower-left corner.
Danish meatballs are called frikadeller. Photo Credit: Canva.

What are traditional Danish foods?

Traditional Danish foods include smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches), frikadeller (meatballs), stegt flæsk (crispy pork with parsley sauce), and røde pølser (red sausages). Danish pastries, known as wienerbrød, and hearty dishes like flæskesteg (roast pork) are also beloved traditional dishes.

Do you tip waiters in Copenhagen?

Tipping is not expected in Denmark, as a service charge is usually included in the bill. However, if you receive exceptional service, leaving a small tip of 5-10% is appreciated but unnecessary. Danes generally round up the bill as a polite gesture.

What time do they eat dinner in Copenhagen?

In Copenhagen, dinner is typically eaten between 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM. While some restaurants offer earlier or later dining options, this timeframe is standard for most locals who prefer to enjoy their evening meal at a relaxed pace.

Final Thoughts on Restaurants in Copenhagen

My hometown truly is a mecca for food enthusiasts, and it would be a huge mistake not to prioritize eating some amazing local treats while visiting. From the old-world charm of Schønnemann to the innovative flavors of Kadeau, each of these establishments offers a unique and unforgettable dining experience. Exploring Danish food can be a great adventure, whether you choose to discover these culinary gems on your own or join one of the many fantastic food tours available in Copenhagen

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Josephine Remo

Josephine Remo is a Danish travel blogger with a background as a flight attendant, turning her passion for exploration into a lifestyle. For the past ten years, she's traveled extensively, spending the last three years living as a digital nomad. Josephine loves sharing her adventures and tips on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, inspiring others to embark on their journeys.

Thank you for sharing!

6 thoughts on “Eat Like a Local at the Best Danish Restaurants in Copenhagen”

  1. Last time I was in Copenhagen my now-husband and I were teenagers with no money and didn’t get to enjoy the food, after reading this I need a re-do!!

  2. I went to Copenhagen many years ago after my family hosted a danish exchange student. Denmark has amazing food!! The food memories that I have was the best pastries, Grandma’s creamy parsley gravy, and pizza with stinky cheese!

  3. This was so helpful! I have added all of the restaurants to my list and especially look forward to visiting Grøften. Yum! Now I can’t wait for our trip!

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