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The Foodie Capitals of Europe

Copenhagen

Dinner + Drinks

Your most important reservation: Noma (93 Strandgade; 45/3296-3297; noma.dk; lunch for two $725), considered by many to be the best restaurant in the world. New Nordic Cuisine star René Redzepi romances local ingredients in tour-de-force presentations such as caramelized salsify with Gotland truffle purée, milk skin, and rapeseed oil. For dessert: biodynamic barley and birch-tree sap. Expensive? Yes, but it’s the foodie’s holy grail. A savvy wine list—rich in French, Italian, and Austrian offerings—and a dashing neo–Midcentury Modern interior are just two of the draws at Ved Stranden 10 (10 Ved Stranden; 45/3542-4040; vedstranden10.dk; wine for two $24), an oenophiles’ hangout housed in a former tea shop that dates back to 1796. In good weather, sip a glass outside at a canal-front table. Over in the Vesterbro district, Kødbyens Fiskebar (100 Flaesketorvet; 45/3215-5656; fiskebaren.dk; dinner for two $155) opened to raves inside a now-trendy renovated slaughterhouse complex. The brainchild of Anders Selmer, former wine director at Noma, Kødbyens mixes industrial chic—tile walls; meat hooks used for coat hangers—with a party vibe. But the kitchen is serious about seafood, putting an artful Scandinavian twist on dishes such as razor clams dressed in fennel and ramson cream, or Bering Sea king crab with horseradish and celery. Throw back some briny Lim Fjord oysters at the raw bar while watching jellyfish float by in a giant aquarium. Last call isn’t until 2 a.m. (midnight on Sunday) at Ruby (10 Nybrogade; 45/3393-1203; rby.dk; cocktails for two $36), a high-ceilinged space located near the Gammel Strand. Make your nightcap a Pisco Smash (pisco with grapefruit juice, pineapple syrup, mint, and sage).

Coffee + Snacks

When touting Copenhagen’s serious java cred, connoisseurs usually cite the Coffee Collective (10 Jaegersborggade; 45/6015-1525; coffeecollective.dk; coffee for two $9), in the scruffy-cool Nørrebro district. The four founders include the 2006 World Barista Champion and the 2008 World Cup Tasting Champion. After catching a whiff of the bergamot notes in your Hacienda La Esmeralda special, stroll over to sweet-smelling Karamelleriet (36 Jaegersborggade; 45/7023-7777; karamelleriet.dk) to admire candies being made with vintage equipment. The store’s co-owner Charlotte Vigel—a.k.a. the bubblegum pop singer Tiggy—is as much an attraction as her butterscotch dainties.

Smørrebrød

From classic to cutting-edge, here are three restaurants that offer up Denmark’s signature open-face sandwich.

Aamanns Etablissement: Try toppings such as cold-smoked seasonal herring with potatoes, capers, and lovage dressed in elderberry vinaigrette. 10-12 Øster Farimagsgade; 45/3555-3310; aamanns.dk; lunch for two $65.

Restaurant Schønnemann: Book a week ahead at the 1877 institution and order the halibut with truffled-omelette sandwiches. To drink: a selection of four dozen aquavits. 16 Hauser Plads; 45/3312-0785; restaurantschonnemann.dk; lunch for two $50.

Royal Café: What happens when you cross sushi with smørrebrød? “Smushi,” at this neo-Baroque space. Try the smoked mackerel with boiled egg and tomato jelly. 6 Amagertorv; 45/3312-1122; theroyalcafe.dk; lunch for two $58.

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