For over 40 years, the building at Istedgade 34-36 in Vesterbro was home to a gay sauna, cinema and sex shop. But nowadays, it has new owners, who have converted the place into a burger restaurant.
When you walk up the stairs to the first floor, you will find a cosy, low-profile place. “Nothing fancy,” is the way the restaurant’s co-owner and manager Christian Hammerum describes it. He and his uncle have retained much of the old building that has been there since 1875, including the timber that is prevalent throughout the entire restaurant in the shape of some charming old wooden beams in the walls. Nothing reminds you of the activities that once happened here behind closed doors.
“Me and my uncle had been looking for the right place for years,” Hammerum explains. “Just by luck we walked past this wonderful place and saw it was for sale.”
On the menu you will find ten different burgers, ranging from original to more experimental ones. At The Copenhagen Post, we had the privilege of tasting a few of the burgers for lunch, and all of us agreed that it was pretty fantastic food and exceptional value for money.
The original burger for example – with cheddar cheese and bacon, which consists of beautifully seasoned meat that is juicy and cooked medium rare – is the perfect burger to eat on the go. Most burgers these days in Denmark are made to eat with a knife and fork, but this one won’t slop out of your grasp all over Istedgade.
You will also find more experimental burgers on the menu, like ‘Snaskede’ (chewy), which includes mozzarella and cucumber – which turned out to be a surprisingly good combination. The cool cucumber of the Greek tzatziki provided a tasty contrast to the juicy burger.
Also in great demand at the office was the chicken burger. The chicken breast is usually a tricky piece of meat to cook as it can easily dry out, but it was succulent and tender. It ticked all the right boxes.
And there’s no need to worry if you don’t eat meat. The vegetarian burger is a great alternative – and unlike many versions out there, it doesn’t try to pretend that it is meat. The burger is kind of hummus-y, making it a tasty and solid vegetarian offering.
Everything is homemade – not only the burgers, but also the fries (the regular one were the favourite in the office) and dips (has to be the aioli). The side-orders are varied. There are onion rings, really creamy coleslaw, and lots of different salads with a selection of sauces and garnishes. The fries are big – one option includes some of the biggest wedges we’ve ever seen – perfect for adding vinegar if you’re looking for that soggy served-in-England effect. And best of all, every burger is moderately priced under 99kr.
Below the restaurant, you will find an aptly-named cocktail bar: Die StrafBar. It’s the perfect place to have a drink or two before hitting one of the clubs in the Meatpacking District. During the weekends, DJs will spice things up, and with deals like two cocktails for 100kr, you might want to have a few.
Along with his uncle, Dan Holst, Hammerum has many years of experience in the restaurant business. Besides Vesterbros Originale Burgerrestaurant, they run Søpromenaden and Den Franske Café in Østerbro.
The restaurant and bar have been open for one and a half months now and has already had an impressive five star rating from Politiken – a newspaper that never usually gives inexpensive eateries more than four. “We are extremely satisfied,” Hammerum said. “The customers are happy and especially in the last week, the restaurant has been full every day.”
Booking two days in advance, therefore, is a comfortable and secure way to ensure a table. However, Vesterbros Originale Burgerrestaurant offers takeaway, if you’re really set on getting that burger.
Vesterbros Originale Burgerrestaurant
Istedgade 34-36, 1650 Cph V; 3311 3303
Open: 17:00-22:00 every day
Top Dish: The original
Price Range: 85-99kr per burger