Copenhagen has always been on my list of obvious city break destinations. Despite being relatively small by London standards, it is creative, eco-conscious, incredibly trendy and vibrant. Not only that, it is surrounded by nature and hosts a number of festivals throughout the summer that incorporate up-and-coming bands with delicious scandi food and off beat culture.
I headed to Copenhagen with a group of friends at the end of May over the bank holiday. We stayed in Vesterbro, once the city’s red light district, which couldn’t have been a better location to make the most of the city’s café culture.
At the heart of Vesterbro is Værnedamsvej, a small but lively shopping street situated between Vesterbro and Frederiksberg. It hosts a number of restaurants and boutiques including the famous Granola (known as a local it-brunch spot), Les Trois Cochons (a classy French bistro with must-try casseroles) and boutiques such as samsøe & samsøe ( a great shop for basics and more high-end brands such as Acne).
Over my five-day stay, I visited a number of restaurants, bars and cafés. Below are my favourite to make the best out of an extended summer weekend in Copenhagen.
Brunch and lunch
Ol & Brød: Specialising in smørrebrød (the traditional danish topped rye bread) and craft beers, it is a perfect spot for a sunny lunch in a quiet street of Viktoriagade. During lunch they offer a simple á la carte menu of about 10 different dishes, with optional beer pairings.
Viktoriagade 6, 1655 København
Mad & Kaffe: Another local brunch spot, it is situated in a quiet square 10 minutes from central Verstero. They offer traditional brunch options such as eggs and salmon, as well as smørrebrød. The drinks servings come in huge mason jars and the food portions are copious.
Sønder Blvd. 68, 1720 København
Café Høegs: Hoegs is understated but superbly pleasant. Its outside patio is cosy and shaded. I had the salmon salad and fresh juice but they have a selection of ales and coffees.
Enghavevej 20, 1674 København
Craft Café: My favorite coffee spot, not only because of the amazing iced lattes, but also its built-in ceramic studio and shop, which you can observe through a glass wall. I sat outside on a sunny afternoon enjoying watching passers-by (mostly on bicycles).
Gammel Kongevej 86A, 1850 København
Café Victor: A sophisticated Paris-meets-Copenhagen institution for drinks and classic Danish or French dishes, Café Victor is actually perfect for a visit at any time of day. It becomes lively in the evenings but my favorite time was mid-afternoon for a pre-dinner drink on the patio. They Pinot Noir Rose is especially tasty.
Ny Østergade 8, 1101 København
Osteria 16: Originally recommended by a friend, I couldn’t have been more happy to try this restaurant out. It was arguably my favourite meal of the trip. The concept consists of an Italian menu made up of eight sharing antipasti, starting with seafood and ending with hot dishes. The menu changes daily and every dish was versatile and delicious.
Haderslevgade 16, 1671 København
Kødbyens Fiskebar: A Michelin-listed, industrial-style restaurant serving simple, fresh seafood dishes. It houses a 1000-litre aquarium and is in the middle of the former meatpacking district. The meat-packing district is a must-go for early evening outdoor drinks, with a vast selection of restaurants and bars.
Flæsketorvet 100, 1711 København
Pastis: A French seafood bistro just a stone’s throw away from Café Victor, I had delicious langoustines, lobster and mussels.
Gothersgade 52, 1123 København
Sticks and Sushi: A well-known restaurant in London, Sticks and Sushi originated in Denmark with a sushi/yakori skewer concept. We had platters of skewers and rolls, paired with the sashimi salad and sake.
Istedgade 62, 1650 København
While Copenhagen has a lot of underground music and gigs, we experienced the more upmarket venues. One that stood out was the newly opened Arch club which has a very cool interior, with wall covered in lightbulbs and mirrors. Similar clubs included Sunday and Lusso, which operate on a table basis and play hip hop and more commercial music.
My extended weekend was filled with amazing food and fun nights out. Best of all, the weather was sunny and warm, perfect to enjoy outdoor dining and drinking. Sadly, we just missed Distortion Festival on the 1-5 June 2016, a city-wide party with concerts and DJs. With so much to do and so much more to discover, though, I’ve already made up my mind to visit again next year.