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The World’s Culinary Capital: Copenhagen

relæ restaurant, copenhagen 2011

An Insider Guide to Copenhagen

Copenhagen is a restless hub of creativity and new ideas. Now, a once unassuming small side street has come to encompass everything that the city stands for. That street is Jægersborggade and it is almost a microcosm of the Danish capital: haute cuisine, great coffee, design, art and sustainable culture are all present and correct here. Urban travelers would do well to check it out.

Which Way Jægersborggade_Sean Ganann_1

‘Which Way Jægersborggade?’ Image: © Sean Ganann via Flickr.

That Copenhagen is the world’s culinary capital isn’t news. Since Noma topped the world’s Best Restaurants List, restaurants in the Danish capital have become one the city’s biggest draws. For residents this has come as no surprise. They may seem reluctant to talk much about it though, partly because the cool, calm and altogether collected veneer of Danish personality almost makes you think this was something they’d been expecting anyway. Together with design and fashion, the people of Copenhagen today enjoy the world’s connoisseurs’ attention.

Located in Nørrebro, the achingly hip district just north of the city center, Jægersborggade looks like any other street in this traditionally multicultural, working class district. Wide and bordered by Copenhagen’s distinctive 19th century residential blocks, it leads to Assistens Cemetery, the resting place of Søren Kierkegaard and Hans Christian Andersen.

At its top end lies Relæ Restaurant (pictured), one of the key figure’s in the city’s proud and still emerging food culture. Voted Copenhagen’s best restaurant for 2011, it now almost stands as a byword for Jægersborggade’s culinary offering, presenting high gastronomical creations in a simple and cozy environment.

A few doors down sits the Nørrebro branch of Copenhagen Japanese joint Green Sushi, which even has its own app. Not surprisingly, the place blends technology and organic cooking in a rather stylish and Zen way. ROD at number 35 is an all-organic and ecological food boutique where you can enjoy the freshest juices and shop local. Continuing their culinary influence over the street, the team behind Relæ, including chef Christian Puglisi, have opened Manfreds at number 40. With a select wine list, the place fosters a more casual, laid-back vibe to enjoy great Danish cooking (and there’s no stigma attached in simply taking their dishes home either).

Coffee Collective_Ton Zijlstra_1

Forward-thinking coffee, Jægersborggade’s Coffee Collective. Image: Ton Zijlstra via Flickr.

Jægersbroggade also has bragging rights over being, arguably, the center of Danish coffee culture. Famous, pioneering cafés and delicious sweet shops and bakeries like Coffee Collective, the sustainable coffee house known all over the city and in cafés around the world, call this neighborhood their home. Coffee Collective were one of the original pioneers of the bean’s current ‘third wave’, working together with coffee producers from all around the world to offer the best coffee experience they can. Meanwhile, the neighboring Grød is a cute little alternative specializing in great teas and herbal drinks.

If you haven’t managed to secure a table at Noma on the Christianshavn waterfront, try the next best thing and visit Claus Meyer’s bakery. Exquisite bread, fresh pastries and delicious sweets are all on offer from the famous and multi-talented entrepreneur behind the twice-voted best restaurant in the world. Meanwhile, Ro Chokolade is probably the sweetest spot on the street where all kinds of state-of-the-art chocolate creations, jams and ice creams are sold. Down to number 43 of Jægerbroggade and you’ll find Musiksmag, a space specifically dedicated to promoting the local underground scene. It also serves coffee and drinks and received the iBYEN “Café of the Year” award barely three months after opening… but it goes way beyond that. Selling vinyls from local artists and labels, they also hold small concerts and various cultural nights and events.

Our choice of fashion boutiques is Damernes Magasin for vintage and retro clothes and accessories ‘Copenhagen-style’ and Klædefabrikken for stylish moms and fashion-forward little ones. Lady Fingers is a designers’ collective that runs their own space, where everything is made by the designers themselves, including custom-made jewelry (creations, we can guarantee, you won’t find anywhere else). Amimono, a brand created by designer Helga Isager, is known for specializing in knitwear using innovative techniques and the latest technology. They’ve also recently launched their own home collection with handcrafted designs.

Ruben og Bobby_via Facebook_© Ruben of Bobby_1

Image: © Ruben of Bobby

For home wares and various design items more broadly, Jægerbroggade offers a number of smaller, independent boutique galleries and emporiums for those who seek to combine utility and aesthetics in their household objects (don’t we all?). You’ll find a curious collection of ceramics and furniture sitting alongside clothes and accessories in To Trin Ned at number 37, while Keramiker Inge Vincents at number 27 specializes in making the everyday object as idiosyncratic as possible. Working exclusively in white ceramic, remarkably each piece is unique in color and shape having been hand-crafted by Vincents herself. A final stop at number 48 is Gågrøn!, where you can expect a greater variety of household objects and utensils, all of the highest quality and marked by great Danish design.

To complete the Jægerbroggade picture, two rather unusual hair salons add to the peculiarity of the street. At Ruben og Bobby, two talented and visionary guys have set up an unconventional hair salon, which also sells vintage video games, retro toys and all kinds of eclectic pop-cultural memorabilia. If you’re just wanting a haircut in more… tranquil surroundings, but you’re still full of Jægerbroggade wanderlust, then try Jargon Salon, an ecological hair salon that uses only organic and environmental friendly dyes and products.

By Andreas Dimopoulos

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Featured image: © Per-Anders Jörgensen.