Eating and drinking in Denmark

Traditional Danish food is often characterized by rather stodgy meat or fish and veg combos, although the quality of ingredients is invariably excellent, especially with many chefs espousing the farm-to-plate or organic cooking ethos. Specialities worth seeking out include stegt flæsk med persille sovs (thinly sliced fried pork with boiled potatoes and parsley sauce) and the classic røget sild (smoked herring). Breakfast (morgenmad) is a treat, with almost all hotels and hostels offering a spread of cereals, freshly made bread, cheese, ham, fruit juice, milk, coffee and tea, for around 60kr (if not included in room prices). Brunch, served in most cafés from 11am until mid-afternoon, is a popular, filling option for late starters and costs 80–100kr. The traditional lunch (frokost) is smørrebrød – slices of rye bread heaped with meat, fish or cheese, and assorted trimmings – sold for 40–80kr a piece and very filling. An excellent-value set lunch can usually be found at restaurants and bodegas (bars selling no-frills food). Tilbud is the “special”, dagens ret the “dish of the day”; expect to pay around 80kr for one of these, or 120–180kr for a three-course set lunch. The latest craze is smushi, the Danish take on sushi (about 50kr per piece).

For daytime snacks, there are hot-dog stands (pølsevogn) on all main streets and at train stations, serving hot dogs (pølser), toasted ham-and-cheese sandwiches (parisertoast) and chips (pommes frites) for around 25kr. Bakeries and cafés sell Danish pastries (wienerbrød), tastier and much less sweet than the imitations sold abroad, and rundstykker (literally “round pieces”), a type of crispy bread roll. Restaurants are pretty expensive for dinner (reckon on 130–200kr), but you can usually find a Middle Eastern or Thai place offering buffets for around 80–100kr. Kebab shops are also very common and often serve pizza slices from around 30kr. If you plan on self-catering, head for the good-value Netto or Fakta supermarkets.


The most sociable places to drink are pubs (variously known as a værtshus, bar or bodega) and cafés, where the emphasis is on beer. The cheapest is bottled lager – the so-called gold beer (Guldøl or Elefantøl; 25–35kr/bottle) is strongest. Draught lager (Fadøl) is more expensive and a touch weaker, but tastes fresher. The most common brands are Carlsberg and Tuborg, although microbreweries are now thankfully much more common, with many pubs making their own beer on the premises. Most international wines (from 40kr) and spirits (20–40kr) are widely available. There are many varieties of schnapps, including the potent Aalborg-made Aquavit.

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