I’d visited Copenhagen once before, in 1998—to see Phish, of course. Given the city’s unlikely transformation into The World’s Most Important Food City™, I’d been looking to get back. The excuse came in the form of an invitation from my old friend Rufus and his partner Stephen to join them at their house north of Copenhagen in early August to celebrate Ruf’s 40th birthday. Linds and I decided to go bigger than just the party and spend four days in Copenhagen, then head up to Stockholm for a couple bonus days of vacation.
The Danes were not feeling us on our first day (or, really, any day). Check-in at our hotel, Bertrams Guldsmeden, was met with two separate lectures from management about how, by changing the schedule of nights we planned to spend at the hotel, we’d put their entire existence at risk. Then our cab driver treated us like idiots. First smile we got from anyone local was a waiter as we ate a late lunch at one of the touristy Italian joints along the Nyhavn Canal (above).
Our first night’s dinner was at Amass, a year-old restaurant that chef Matt Orlando’s former boss, Rene Redzepi, said might just be “Europe’s opening of the year.” No pressure. The restaurant’s in a remote corner of Copenhagen that resembles pre-Ikea Red Hook, and the space’s industrial feel echoes that. Walking down the stairs into Amass, the sunset view above greeted us, as did two glasses of rosé.
Amass has its own garden out back, and the staff suggested we enjoy the rosé out there to watch the sunset. Uh, yes.
The space at Amass is key to getting the food, which is worthy of a chef with Per Se and the Fat Duck on his resume, but somehow looser. And Nordic, in its way, as in the dish above, which I think is a potato preparation dressed with marigolds? (I really should take better notes. Who knew I’d start blogging again?) Matt the chef came out and chatted with us, which he seemed to do with everyone, and was just the nicest guy with the biggest dreams. This place deserves its hype.
One odd thing about Copenhagen is that, surveying friends who’d been to and lived in the city about where we should eat, there was near-unaminity about everything. Perhaps that means the city isn’t quite as vibrant as it could be, but it’s hard to complain when the tips all pay off. Thursday, our first full day in town, we spent the morning on Jægersborggade, a hip street in the hip neighborhood of Nørrebro. Coffee at Coffee Collective, which some hold to be the best coffee in the world (it was real good); pastry at Meyers Bageri across the street; jewelry shopping at a cute little shop a bit down that way; then back up the street to lunch at Manfreds (above).
Of Manfreds, a very aware food-world friend emailed us, “If you go anywhere to eat, eat here.” And sitting outside for a casual lunch in the middle of August is everything that Europe in summer is about. (Including bees. Which plagued our lunch here and subsequent outdoor lunches across Scandinavia, such that #bees became our hashtag of the trip.) But man this food delivered. Above, an exquisite tartare — which they’re big on here — and grilled cabbage. Which, if I learned anything on this trip, it is: grill everything all the time.
After Manfreds, an afternoon of sightseeing around Copenhagen. Above, Rosenborg Slot, “slot” being Dane-speak for castle.
Dinner at Thursday night was at Noma. About which, more tomorrow. Before the dinner, we met up with our man at Noma, former Eater editor Gabe Ulla, who treated us to a dock hang outside Ved Stranden, after we’d had an early cocktail at the very cool cocktail bar Ruby down the block, where we’d somehow return after Noma.
Friday, we somehow got up and checked out of the hotel, breakfasted at the nearby Granola because several friends had checked in there previously on Foursquare (good call), then picked up a rental car and headed north to the coastal town of Tisvildeleje on Gabe’s recommendation. Word from Gabe was that Copenhagen restaurant Atelier September had a pop-up going at the Tisvildeleje Strandhotel, and that’s where we lunched. Lindsey, above, on the veranda, in one of the few moments of this lunch not beset by #bees.
Okay so seriously how does Joanne do these kind of travel-photo blog posts on such a regular basis? I’ve been working on this one for way too long now, and people are beginning to notice. So in the interest of wrapping this up and hitting publish: Friday dinner, Rufus (above, holding court) took a group of friends to restaurant Geist, near the Nyhavn Canal back in Copenhagen. It was the kind of dinner where the table orders one of everything on the menu and drinks to excess. This is another place that’s on everyone’s Copenhagen to-eat list, so sure, add it to yours too.
Saturday morning, took a run up the coast of Denmark to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. That’s a sculpture by someone called Calder, above.
Saturday afternoon in Copenhagen spent table and store hopping with new friends made at Friday’s dinner, the rainstorm problematic only insofar as we had one umbrella for four people. Upside: no #bees.
Furniture browsing at Klassik, because Copenhagen. How great is that bench with the fold-down arms?
And then the 40th birthday party we’d come all this way for on Saturday night. (Linds and I dressed to impress, above.) And an evening for the ages, but not one that should or will be blogged about here. What happens in Copenhagen, stays in Copenhagen. #bees