Where to Eat Noma Food Without Actually Going to Noma
Get your fix of the world-renowned restaurant, even if you're thousands of miles away from Copenhagen.
Didn’t make it to Noma’s hot-ticketed pop-up in Japan this year? Has trying to score a spot at René Redzepi’s boundary-pushing restaurant in Copenhagen proved damn near impossible? Don’t fret. The chef whose business card may as well say “#1” has spawned a legion of protégées who’ve taken a more democratic approach to cities around the world: that means you can actually get a reservation on a Friday night and order the tasting menu without cashing in your 401K.
Whether preaching the New Nordic gospel from the church of Redzepi or playing with cuisines in a newfangled way, these alums are making their mark on the culinary world—now a taste of Noma is never far away.
Credit: Andrea Behrends
Trevor Moran's Catbird Seat in Nashville.
Catbird Seat, Nashville
Trevor Moran took the reins at the landmark Catbird Seat in 2014, putting his stamp on the whimsical American-inspired menu that was at the vanguard of Nashville’s culinary renaissance. That could mean a salad composed of roasted pecan butter and huckleberry jam ( “PB&J sandwich”), meant to be eaten with your hands, or a caviar-topped fermented turnip (“country-fried pickle”). A “loaded baked potato” dish foam-whipped with discarded yeast from the local Yazoo brewery? A subtle tribute to Moran’s native Ireland.
ACME, New York
Mads Refslund, one of the godfathers of the wild-food movement, co-founded Noma with Redzepi, then struck out on his own to launch the two-Michelin-starred MR Restaurant, which became an instant global hit. At ACME his sceney Noho supper club in New York, the chef’s foraging bonafides are on full display—how many Manhattan cooks hunt for ingredients in the backwoods of rural New Jersey? But beware: while the upstairs bistro is nondiscriminatory, the subterranean club is one of the hardest doors in the city.
The Willows Inn, San Juan Islands, Washington
If you’re looking for a harbinger of the San Juan Islands’ rise to gastronomic relevance, you can start with Blaine Wetzel. The locavore evangelist put tiny Lummi Island on the map when he transformed a humble eight-room inn into one of America’s most exciting places to eat. Ferry-hauled diners sojourn to Lummi Thursday through Sunday for Wetzel’s forward-thinking cooking (fried moss, anyone?) that relies on area fisherman, nearby farms, and his own foraging for ingredients.
Credit: Ian Allen
The Willows Inn, San Juan Islands, Washington
Tørst and Luksus, Brooklyn
Even the most mercurial Brooklynite will tell you that Tørst lives up to the hype. The Greenpoint bar by Canadian Daniel Burns, who did R&D for Momofuku after his time at Noma, and Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, the brainchild behind Copenhagen’s cult Evil Twin Brewing, is a beer nerd’s frothy dream. The 21 kegs on tap are controlled by a “flux capacitor” that allows bartenders to control the nitro to carbon dioxide ration and temperature. Behind the gastropub is Luksus, where Burns puts out an intricate vegetable-heavy tasting menu. (lukusnyc.com)
Credit: Signe Brick
Samuel Nutter and Victor Wågman’s Restaurant Bror in Copenhagen.
Slotskøkkenet in Lammefjorden
About 40 miles outside of Copehagen on the Odsherred peninsula, Claus Henrikesen mans the kitchen inside Dragsholm Slot, a medieval castle that now houses a restaurant, hotel, and museum. His seasonal menu is built around ingredients from the on-site garden and livestock raised on the farm, as well as fish caught in the nearby Nekselø Bay.
Restaurant Relae and Manfreds & Vin in Copenhagen
Simplicity is the theme at chef Christian Puglisi’s Michelin-starred Relae on lively Jægersborggade street. The space is a model of Scandi minimalism: wooden tables, exposed brick pillars, white walls adorned in avant-garde art, and a micro kitchen. There are two four-course tasting menus: omnivore and herbivore, each for a relatively reasonable $65. Manfreds & Vin, Puglisi’s wine bar across the street, draws a stylish night crowd with natural wines and a convivial vibe.
Restaurant Bror, Copenhagen
A wooden robot sits in the entrance at Samuel Nutter and Victor Wågman’s bi-level spot in the historic Latin Quarter. The artfully plated four-course menu strikes a familiar Nordic chord and may include skirt steak with seaweed and pumpkin, or sour milk ice cream covered in local lingonberries.
Former Noma chef de cuisine Matt Orlando had a world-class résumé even before he became Redzepi’s right-hand man, including stops at New York’s Per Se and England’s The Fat Duck. For his first solo venture, a soaring industrial space in a reclaimed Refshaleoen shipyard depot south of the city center, the San Diego-born Orlando channels his surf-and-skate roots: thumping hip-hop, graffiti-covered walls, and IPA brews imported from California.
A couple of Noma vets, cofounder Claus Meyer and sous chef Jesper Kirketerp, teamed with rising star chef Rasmus Kliim to open this vegetable-focused restaurant, which gets its name from Denmark’s venerable Radiohuset broadcasting station. Inside a boxy, wood-paneled space, they serve up a more rustic interpretation of New Nordic-style dishes with ingredients grown on the triumvirate’s private five-acre field outside the city.
The acronym’s “R” stands for Noma’s former sous chef Robert Jakobsen, who, along with Besnik Gashi (the “B”), helms the kitchen at this sustainably-minded bistro near David Hall Square. The menu nods to Jakobsen’s Nordic past (Jerusalem artichokes, salt-baked celery root) while veering into haute French territory (lemony ox marrow, garlic beef tartare with shaved lamb’s heart.) One thing you won’t find: tuna, or any other overfished species.
Oaxen Krog & Slip, Stockholm
Johan Erikson parlayed his pastry-chef gig at Noma into a head chef role at Sweden’s retooled Oaxen. Last May, the renowned restaurant moved from its peripheral setting on the southern end of the Stockholm archipelago to Djurgarden, a tiny island in the city center. At the two-Michelin-starred Krog, the upscale dining room turns out a 10-course tasting menu that may feature locally sourced grilled reindeer or smoked langoustines under giant sculls hanging from the ceiling. Slip is more casual, with a range of fish and meat-centric offerings, including the mouthwatering crispy pig head, which holds a lofty reputation among Oaxen acolytes.
Credit: Jason Lowe
James Knappett's Bubbledogs in London.
Tamka 43, Warsaw
Noma isn’t the only highly acclaimed stop on Robert Trzopek’s epicurean journey back to Poland; the homegrown chef also apprenticed under molecular wizard Ferran Adria at El Bulli. Now he’s one of the pioneers of New Polish cuisine (garlic panna cotta with carrots and peas, cottage goat cheese with blood orange and beetroot), which he serves in a narrow brick-clad den on the ground floor of the Ryderyk Chopin Museum.
Restaurant Fauna, Oslo
It only took a year from Fauna’s 2013 debut for it to collect a Michelin star, a tribute to former Noma chef-de-partie Jo Bøe Klakegg and his counterpart Björn Svensson, the Swedish chef behind Oslo’s (now shuttered) treasure Oscarsgate. The clean-lined design has a residential feel: blond wood, modern artwork, and cushy benches dotted with throw pillows. In all, it’s an ideally laid-back setting to gorge on Klakegg’s bounty of Norwegian seafood.
Bubbledogs, Kitchen Table, London
The natural evolution for a chef coming off a stint at one of the world’s most innovative and groundbreaking food Meccas? Hot dogs. In London’s central Fitzrovia neighborhood, James Knappett dresses up the humble dude-food staple with toppings like truffle mayo, pickled jalapeños, and mango chutney. Plus, his lengthy list of grower sparkling wines guarantees this will be one of the fanciest franks you ever have. But the chef hasn’t entirely abandoned his roots: At the 19-seat Kitchen Table in the back of house, a nightly 14-course tasting menu is prepared right in front of guests.
Yannick Van Aecken and Louise Bannon took the Dublin culinary scene by storm in 2014 after they turned the classic meat-and-potatoes Eden into the radically modern Nede. The atrium-like restaurant features a rare weatherproof terrace on Meeting House Square and an even rarer ethos of simplicity in a country famous for immensely hearty meals. But Bannon’s desserts—she was a pastry chef at Noma—would play in any city, especially the coffee ice cream made with locally roasted beans.
Credit: Earl Carter
Cory Campbell's Vue de Monde in Melbourne.
Paddington Arms, Sydney
After leading Momofuku Seiōbo, the first overseas branch of David Chang’s nouveau Korean empire, to vaunted status among Sydneysider foodies, English-born Benjamin Greeno recently joined local hospitality mega-group Merivale. He’ll head up the retooled pub Paddington Arms when it opens in July, before eventually switching his focus to a yet-to-be determined personal project.
The city is buzzing over Sam Miller’s forthcoming concept in Chippendale’s Old Clare Hotel, opening this summer. One of Redzepi’s closest confidants, Miller plans to bring a progressive Nordic influence to his 40-seat restaurant.
Beerkary Bakery, Brisbane
Ben Devlin made a name for himself at Esquire, widely considered the city’s best restaurant, where he masterfully executed small-portion degustation menus featuring everything from lamb tongue pastrami to wild boar lomo. Since leaving in late 2014, the chef has been teasing his new boozy “concept bakery” at pop-ups while looking for a permanent brick-and-mortar venue. What to expect? Beer-infused artisanal breads like IPA sourdough, made with hops and malts, and strawberry “beerclairs.”
Vue de Monde, Melbourne
Head chef Cory Campbell doesn’t spare the theatrics at the upmarket Vue de Monde on the 55th floor of the Rialto Tower, where the stunning panoramic views are matched by an experimental approach to Australian barbeque. Wallaby sashimi, sourced from Flinders Island off the coast of Tasmania, is seared on a heated salt rock, while Campbell will come to your table himself to grill cuts of kangaroo on hot stones.
Andrés Lara’s daring confections at Noma and El Bulli earned her a stellar reputation among the sweets-obsessed; now she’s taken her talents east to Jason Atherton’s Mediterranean-inspired Pollen Street. Among terracotta floors, living herb gardens, and gnarled olive trees, Lara makes beautiful desserts like Greek-yogurt ice cream with strands of pickled Thai orchids and dollops of housemade elderflower jelly.
Nate Storey is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Instagram at @storeys.