The leaves are falling in Music City and it’s time to wrap up this Copenhagen series from August. What better way to end my writing on Denmark (for now, at least), than with a Copenhagen vegan guide?
We were in town for just two days, so these five spots are worth the time on a short trip. No foodie wants to waste precious meals in a new city, especially if you don’t know when you’ll return.
Before you’re wheels-up and moving on, you must try Danish pastries and eat at a food hall, just as locals do! Find it all at these five vegan and veg-friendly spots in Copenhagen.
HappyCow’s top entry in Copenhagen is Kaf, a tiny restaurant with ample outdoor seating that serves impeccable spandauer. If you’re unfamiliar with Danish pastry culture, spandauer are the inspiration for what Americans call a “danish.”
When the kind barista translated the day’s flavor offerings for me, my eyes got big and there was no question. Almond it is.
If I close my eyes and think back two months, I can still taste that spandauer. It is one of the best pastries I’ve ever put in my mouth, which is why I said this in my Copenhagen Travel Guide:
“There was a time when I would tell you to eat your weight in pastries when in Paris. After visiting Copenhagen, my answer is different now…Paris does not begin and end the story when it comes to pastry. If you’re a culinary or foodie traveler like I am, you simply must go to Copenhagen.”
My even more specific advice is to go to Kaf. Order a spandauer. And pray they have almond the day you visit.
I also got a breakfast sandwich that came on a croissant, as well as an oat milk latte. All were delicious, but the spandauer is the star of the show!
On the list of pastries I wanted to try in Copenhagen was flødeboller. I was unclear about what exactly they are, but in my opinion, this is the best way to try a new dish.
So in I went to one of Copenhagen’s ubiquitous food halls, in search of pastry. This place was the exact vibe people on HGTV reference when they mean not just any minimalism, but the Scandinavian kind. After snaking through rows of vendors, from florists to potters to food, I saw it. Glean.
What I got was one of these:
Flødeboller are cylindrical marshmallow treats covered in dark chocolate. A thin, buttery shortbread cookie is a surprise at the bottom. I got one to start, but late the next day, we came back for more. I got raspberry twice, because wow. In my opinion, berry flavors worked best with these.
The citrus flavors have curd inside as well as the marshmallow filling, which made them a tad too sweet. But maybe that’s my nostalgia talking—after all, raspberry was my first flødeboller, and I had a strong attachment to it for being such a pleasant surprise.
Naturbageriet (aka Landbageriet)
This bakery has two names, which frustrates some travelers that have trouble finding it. It’s an allergen-friendly bakery less than five-minutes walking distance from Kongens Nyrtov metro station. I have no idea how to pronounce Kongens Nyrtov, but I can give you a link to the right directions.
At this point on my self-directed Copenhagen pastry tour, it was time for a frøsnapper. Flaky dough is brushed with a sweet paste-like filling, then braided, baked, and dusted with savory seeds. It was the perfect balance of flavors, texture, and portion.
Atlas Bar (My Favorite Meal in Copenhagen!)
Our first night in Copenhagen, we ate two dinners. The second was the lasagne and a chocolate hazelnut cake from Atlas Bar, this spot that looks and acts like a pub with a bistro-esque menu.
Between things getting back to normal and the 8pm golden sunlight in the breezy evening, the air was humming with anticipation. It was happy, hopeful, back to something lost.
The meal we ordered was my favorite in Copenhagen. My one piece of advice, if given even just a long layover in this place, is to make your first stop Atlas Bar. You won’t regret it.
And if you make it, hope with everything you’ve got that the cake that night is the chocolate hazelnut. Fluffy dark chocolate cake layers are filled with a—get this— crunchy hazelnut paste. This place surpassed the Selva Negra from Hierba Dulce in Oaxaca for my favorite chocolate cake.
From this dessert, to the amazing lentil lasagne, I’d go back to Copenhagen just to eat at Atlas Bar. This place makes my top 10 in the world after 24 countries and 7 years of traveling.
Regardless of where you’re from, it’s highly unlikely you’ve ever been to a place like Morgenstedet. Not the restaurant itself, I mean, but its location. There is ample info out there on Freetown Christiania, also known as Christianshavn. I wrote about my experience there in this issue of From the Aisle Seat. There are also ample opinions about this place, which I don’t really need to share.
The bottom line is this: I’d choose Morgenstedet again and again. Photos aren’t allowed in Freetown aside from its museum, so I don’t have any pictures to share here.
Morgenstedet is a place serving food that I can best describe as cozy. The place itself is an old house, with a yard where people eat their meals. The strong aroma of their food can be experienced past the threshold and into the walkway. As soon as you enter, the place feels like it’s nurturing you. This house itself is almost like a living being in its warmth.
It is an experience. For me, it was an experience of the best kind. The food was a very close second to Atlas Bar and I took soup to go for later. Make sure you have some kroner in cash, enough time to get lost (God knows we did), and a healthy appetite.
From its oh-so-chic food halls, to charming cafés in pre-war pastel buildings, Copenhagen offers the vegan foodie a multitude of delights. Just two full days in this city and I ate some of the best food in my life.
This world, this beautiful world, offers the curious traveler a myriad of tastes. Copenhagen’s are some of the best. But don’t take my word for it. The best part of this life is finding out for yourself.