1. Lille Bakery
The city’s ex-shipbuilding peninsula Refshaleøen is abuzz with new openings, from an organic street food market to cutting-edge gallery Copenhagen Contemporary and the refreshed noma‘s site. Lille is the area’s quality artisan bakery – housed in a large-windowed former industrial building, it’s the product of a crowdfunding campaign by its founders. Its name means “little” in Danish, but in contrast, it has a big reputation in the city for its dough-based lunches that strike out from the norm. Drop by to sample their croissant dough with Italian sausage or salted cod, chickpeas and egg on toast.
2. Central Café
Sandwiched between two larger buildings in the Vesterbro area, this tiny neighbourhood café is cuter than the cortados it brews; that’s if you’re lucky enough to bag one of its five indoor seats. The terracotta walls, string lights, dark-wood bar, black-and-white photography and vintage travel signs amp up the cosiness in this former shoemaker’s shop, which dates back to 1897. Known as the city’s smallest café, it’s also part of one of the world’s smallest hotels – with just one double room upstairs. The café also serves organic ice cream and milkshakes for those who may be in the mood for a cold treat.
3. Hart Bageri
After attaining sourdough success at San Francisco’s Tartine (world famous for its bread), British chef and baker Richard Hart relocated to the Danish capital to set up a neighbourhood outfit in leafy, residential Frederiksberg. It was destined to be a hit: thanks in no small part to René Redzepi’s (of noma) backing – this is where noma sources its impeccable sourdough. In addition to sturdy loaves, Hart also serves Danish pastries, doughy-meets-crispy cardamom buns and baked cheesecake. The Scandi-grey and light-wood surrounds – plus the scent of freshly baked goods wafting from the kitchen – make a compelling case to hunker down for a while.
More than just a gallery café, this outfit at the Statens Museum for Kunst (SMK) was modelled as a space where food and art collide, and where visitors can reflect on SMK’s cultural offerings. The interiors – which mix Scandinavian, Japanese and Italian design philosophies – are by conceptual Danish artist Danh Vo. Enzo Mari’s light-wood DIY chairs sit beside classic Danish furniture, while Japanese artist Isamu Noguchi’s soft lantern lamps hang in the elongated, high-ceilinged space. The menu features contemporary Danish cuisine: house-baked sourdough and cakes; strong coffee; and fresh, seasonal takes on smørrebrød (open-faced rye sandwiches) featuring different spreads and cold cuts.
Looking for somewhere to while away the hours with a good novel and some soothing jazz as a backing track? Here, brunch comes alongside tall shelves of books in the café’s atmospheric environs. Located on Fiolstræde, a narrow street in the former Jewish quarter close to the University of Copenhagen, Paludan has been serving the city’s literati for almost two decades. You’ll find a plethora of fine leather-bound tomes, as well as newer titles in Danish, English and other languages. The menu features a selection of hearty grub (think burgers, American pancakes and huge breakfast plates) and the coffee isn’t half bad either.
Copenhagen has been in the throes of an artisan baked goods craze for a while now, but this particular establishment takes it to another level by making Michelin-grade pastries with an experimental twist. For instance, knotted croissant dough is baked in unconventional shapes which come with glazes such as coffee kombucha, blackcurrant and fermented beef. These next-level treats – along with crisp salads and offerings such as lamb tartare with smoked egg yolk – allow an accessible and affordable taster of what’s on offer at their Michelin-starred big sister Restaurant 108 next door, while the natural wines and sour beers keep locals happy through drizzly weekend afternoons.
In need of a caffeine jolt? Enjoy the aroma of gently roasting beans at this laid-back Frederiksberg café that’s known for its quality coffee. Their design aesthetic is minimalist – with white walls, wooden tables and strategic foliage – and open, with the roastery and coffee shop operating as one space. Their beans are bought directly from farmers at a fair price, and they also run workshops on-site: the tasting sessions explore the factors determining the taste of your brew, such as variety, production method, roasting and brewing.
This café is really about the people: owners Skyler and Klaus are members of the neighbourhood and live just next door (hence the name). Skyler used to work in a café in Copenhagen’s designated anything-goes hippie commune Freetown Christiania before deciding to branch out, and friends from the area helped decorate their café when it first opened. The resulting aesthetic is a mix of underground club and homely front room – with purple walls, a disco ball, mismatched mirrors, fresh-cut flowers and notes and pictures from guests slotted under the glass on the tables. All the delicious cakes, including classics like chocolate brownies, are home-baked.
Where to find indoor fun in Copenhagen this spring
CPH:DOX (18–29 March)
One of world’s biggest documentary film festivals, its programme covers a diverse range of topics – from feminism to climate change and the nature of consciousness. The festival has gone digital this year, and its films can be seen in the festival’s virtual online cinema during the planned festival period until 29 March.
Carsten Höller: Reproduction (Until 13 April)
At Copenhagen Contemporary, visitors are encouraged to touch and even climb on the art. Do so at an immersive playground created by German-Belgian artist Carsten Höller, complete with a merry-go-round. *Copenhagen Contemporary will be closed from 12 March for two weeks.
Night Fever (Until 27 September)
The avant-garde has thrived in nightclubs for more than a century. This exhibition at Design Museum Denmark explores the history of club culture through vintage posters, photography and light and sound installations. *The museum is temporarily closed, check here for updates.
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