As an American who has lived in Copenhagen for nearly five years, I no longer feel like a tourist here.
I have not integrated completely, but when it comes to the dining scene, I know my way around.
The agony of choice
And quite frequently I am asked by visitors where they should dine to get an authentic Danish experience.
This is always a hard question for me to answer confidently as I am not sure if I should direct them to Nyhavn for a platter of herring and schnapps or to Manfreds for a unique but straightforward celebration of Nordic simplicity.
Normally the ones who come to Copenhagen specifically for its world-famous Michelin dining scene already have their lists prepared, but what about the ones who want something in between tourist cliches and elite gourmet cuisine?
And the agony of waste
This city has so much to offer that I hate to imagine how many poor tourists end up paying too much for the mediocrity available at many mid-priced cafes.
So I was inspired by the discovery that the new owners of the historic restaurant Krogs on Gammel Strand plan to uphold the establishment’s rich seafood tradition by offering consistent, delicious, classic seafood in a relaxed yet refined brasserie setting.
At Krogs, the tourist can delight in the novelty of enjoying fresh Danish seafood in the historic setting that was once the centre of the city’s harbour-side fish market without forgoing the opportunity for a Copenhagen-worthy gastronomic experience right in the heart of the city.
Worth the visit
The catch of the day – which on the evening we dined there was cod from the Kattegat sea – was prepared elegantly with a cauliflower, hazelnut and mussel sauce.
The flavours were a rich and creative combination that I could enjoy on a regular occasion, as they were not overly experimental, but were unique enough to be noteworthy for a one-time diner seeking a meal with a little Scandinavian pizzazz.
For the Copenhagener, it would warrant many return visits, allowing the opportunity to splurge more regularly.
The servers catered to our every need, carefully recommending the best wines for each course while sharing a friendly smile and a story.
This was a refreshing contrast to many dining settings in Copenhagen, which attempt to make up for timelessness in quality by serving a small portion of smugness with your experience.
A royal endorsement
At Krogs, where you dine in the presence of a baboon statue that surprisingly fits in with the chandeliers and white table-linens, you feel like part of the ‘in the know’ old town Copenhagen socialite crowd, empowered to let loose a little, as King Frederik IX used to do (for which he gave the restaurant the statue as a symbol of appreciation for his jovial evenings spent there).
Comfortable, delicious, classic and elegant dining is the experience found in this landmark gem, and I am happy to not only have it to recommend to tourists, but to enjoy myself when I want to unwind in a sophisticated yet relaxing way.
Gammel Strand 38, Cph K
Open daily 11:30-15:00 & 18:00-24:00
3315 8915, firstname.lastname@example.org, krogs.dk