Welcome cool evenings without spending too much green

With summer just around the corner and long spring evenings that tempt even a Southerner like me to bundle up and stay outside a little longer, I love the idea of sitting outside either after work or on a carefree weekend afternoon, sharing a glass of wine with friends or even dining al fresco if I’m lucky enough. Although great dining in Copenhagen is easy to find, it can be challenging sometimes to find unpretentious restaurants where one can leisurely enjoy a dining experience on their terms, without sacrificing one’s desires for seasonal and fresh food to the homogeneous and overpriced café fare that is readily available around the city. Located next door to many an American expat’s first stop shop for those random yet special groceries that we find our cupboards lacking (Super Best in Østerfælled Torv), Cool and Green is just the place for an experience that strikes a comfortable balance between the expected options, and they have nice wine by the glass and a large patio to boot.

Cool and Green’s small, hidden sign could be easily overlooked, but this humble and comfortable restaurant does not only cater to your comfort-food taste buds. You can certainly satisfy them with a gourmet burger or pulled pork sandwich, but don’t be fooled by the ‘typical café’ impression that you may have upon reading the sidewalk menu chalk boards. You can also indulge your more refined yet secure taste buds in their delicious seasonal and fresh menu items, which one would typically only expect from restaurants that demand a little more commitment. 

On the evening of our visit, my first important impression was of their slightly chewy and salty homemade bread, which is the simplest way for a restaurant to set itself apart for me. The starter was Monk fish (havtaske) served with asparagus and greens. Having first appreciated this fish while dining in Denmark, I find that some restaurants overcook it, draining its flavour and tenderness; however, for this dish, the chef respected its delicate cooking requirements and served it with a light white wine sauce that accentuated the fish’s flavours and enhanced them only as much as a correctly cooked piece of fish wants. 

For the main course, taking any opportunity to try American beef-inspired dishes in Copenhagen, I was not disappointed with the tender Colorado roast. My date had their special for the week, which was the Rack of lamb cooked the ideal medium rare, served with fresh mint gravy, the secret for which I implored Ove, the owner, to divulge.  Despite my initial concern that the main courses would be too heavy and wintery, each of them was accompanied with pointed cabbage, slender Danish carrots and new potatoes. Pairing them with the chef’s recommended 2011 Ripasso Valpolicella, which they even serve by the glass, completed the perfect main course for a cool spring evening.  

Sometimes it is great to book way in advance, dress up and hit one of the hot new restaurants on the Copenhagen dining scene.  But when I am in the mood for a simple, relaxing dining experience, I want to be able to pop in without a reservation, take my time, and not feel pressured to order a specific way. With so many good dining options around town, I feel duped when I wind up at a ‘typical Copenhagen café’, paying what are still relatively high prices for what is often times mediocre food and flat-out bad wine. In my opinion, even if you are not on a tight budget, it is a waste to compromise quality just because you want to be able to enjoy a laid-back dining experience.  As a result, I take note of these unexpected ‘in between’ gems when I find them, and Cool and Green has been added to my Østerbro list.  Excelling at the basics, by serving fresh, high-quality and well prepared food that can be enjoyed in a relaxed friendly atmosphere, I would definitely recommend it for an enjoyable evening out in the neighborhood without breaking the bank. 

Check out their theatre menu options, which are available until June 20, for something quick and light before going to a show. 

Cool and Green

Østerfælled Torv 24, Cph Ø; 3542 5577, info@cool-green.dk; Open: Tue-Fri 12:00-21:00, Sat 12:00-21:00, Sun 12:00-15:00; Cuisine: Organic; Top Dish: Monkfish; Price Range: Two courses: 260kr, three: 345kr, four: 400kr; www.cool-green.dk