Travel Destinations

Monday, May 19, 2014

96 Hours of Michelin in Copenhagen

The Standard Copenhagen Denmark
The Standard, a waterfront dining location containing one of Copenhagen's newest Michelin-starred restaurants, Studio.
Copenhagen is one of the most Michelin-starred cities in the world, laying claim to 18 Michelin stars held by 15 of its restaurants. Given Copenhagen’s small size, most of its Michelin-starred restaurants are easy to get to, and many can be reached with a short walk.  What makes Copenhagen’s Michelin-starred restaurants unique is that many of them serve the New Nordic Cuisine and use ingredients exclusive to this area of the world. 

Reservations at Copenhagen’s most famous two Michelin-starred restaurant, noma, also named World’s Best Restaurant, are highly sought after and incredibly difficult to obtain.  We were fortunate enough to get a reservation at noma.  But I decided that wasn’t enough.  Dining at one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants was high on my list of things to do in Copenhagen, but why stop at one?  Thus the idea was born of 96 hours of Michelin, dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant every full day we were in Copenhagen.

I previously shared our experience dining at noma.  We also dined at Studio, Restaurant AOC, and Marchal, all of which were within easy walking distance of our hotel on Nyhavn.

Related: Noma, The World's Best Restaurant


Studio Copenhagen Denmark
Studio's open kitchen.
If you can’t get into noma, Studio should be your next choice.  Studio was awarded its first Michelin star in 2014.  Studio is located in The Standard building, which opened in October 2013.  The Standard is owned by Claus Meyer, who is also co-owner of noma.  The Standard houses three restaurants, Studio, Verandah, and Almanak, as well as a jazz club and two bars.

Studio’s chef and co-owner Torsten Vildgaard previously worked at noma from 2005 through 2012 and was involved in the development of new dishes.  Studio has an open kitchen and diners can look on as their dishes are prepared.  While Vildgaard’s noma influence is apparent in his dishes and choice of Nordic ingredients, he somehow uses those ingredients to create new dishes that you would want to have over and over again.

Our meal began with five appetizers: bark of Jerusalem artichoke and cep; biodynamic leeks with parsley; quail eggs with a white truffle sauce and salt; grilled lamb heart and sorrel; and gougères with sour cream and löjrom.  There was a playful element to these appetizers, as the grilled lamb heart was to be eaten with tweezers and the parsley sauce painted across the plate just beckoned for food drawings to be made with the leeks.  My favorite appetizer was the gougères with sour cream and löjrom.  Gougères are fantastically airy cheese puffs, which were made even better with a smear of sour cream topped with löjrom, small salmon eggs.

Jerusalem Artichoke and Cep Studio Copenhagen Denmark Biodynamic Leeks with Parsley Studio Copenhagen Denmark
Quail Eggs with White Truffle Sauce and Salt Studio Copenhagen Denmark Gougères with Sour Cream and Löjrom Studio Copenhagen Denmark
Grilled Lamb Heart Studio Copenhagen Denmark

The first of seven courses was beetroot tartar with fresh goat cheese and sorrel.  This was followed by sautéed squid with ramsons bouillon and cress.  I was fascinated with this preparation.  I watched as the chef hand placed strips of squid in the bowl, which from afar looked like long shreds of cheese or pasta.  Once plated, he took a hand torch to lightly sauté the squid, which made the strips wavy and resulted in the squid being lightly and perfectly cooked.  The next course was new potatoes glazed in truffle with västerbotten and whey sauce. 

Beetroot Tartar Goat Cheese Sorrel Studio Copenhagen Denmark Squid Ramsons Bouillon Cress Studio Copenhagen Denmark Truffle Glazed New Potatoes Västerbotten Whey Sauce Studio Copenhagen Denmark

We were next served the main courses.  The first was a dish with one of my favorite ingredients, foie gras.  The foie gras was perfectly pan-fried with rhubarb and onion bouillon and ground elder. This was followed by glazed lamb with grilled asparagus and truffle.  We decided to be extra indulgent and have truffle shaved over the top.

Foie Gras Rhubarb Studio Copenhagen Denmark Glazed Lamb Grilled Asparagus Truffle Studio Copenhagen Denmark

Dessert brought another opportunity to play with the food.  The first dessert was a ball of rhubarb sorbet encased in yogurt.  Served alongside was a plastic vial of licorice which could be squeezed over the sorbet and yogurt ball.  The Danes love their licorice, which is milder and has a better flavor than the black licorice I am used to in the States.  The final dessert was an interesting combination of crème fraiche sorbet with peas and crunchy pieces of black pudding, with parsley served in a tin along with a small pitcher of whey which could be poured over the top.

Rhubarb Sorbet Yogurt Licorice Studio Copenhagen Denmark Crème Fraiche Sorbet with Peas and Black Pudding Studio Copenhagen Denmark

Restaurant AOC

Restaurant AOC Copenhagen Denmark
The cellar dining room of Restaurant AOC.
Restaurant AOC is located in the cellar of a historic 17th century mansion.  Head chef Søren Selin is part of the New Nordic Kitchen movement and seeks to stimulate all the senses during the dining experience at his Michelin-starred restaurant. Diners are given a choice between the seven and nine course menus.  If you want to save a little money, relatively speaking, dine at Restaurant AOC on a weekday when they offer four and six course menus.

Our dinner experience started with a series of four small appetizers which included raw shrimp, seaweed salad, and sweetbreads with bone marrow.  Between the small appetizers and the beginning of our courses we received a bundle of herbs and a special tea to cleanse our palates. 

Raw Shrimp Restaurant AOC Copenhagen Denmark Seaweed Salad Restaurant AOC Copenhagen Denmark

The six course dinner started with razor clams wrapped in squid with wild cress and a frozen “snow” in the middle of the plate, followed by grilled greens with bleek roe and smoked egg yolk.  Next came the two main courses.  The first was Knuthenlund pork with morels and baked onions, and the second was South Sea lamb from Lolland with fermented parsnip and cep mushrooms. 

Razor Clams Squid Wild Cress Restaurant AOC Copenhagen Denmark Lamb Parsnip Cep Mushrooms Restaurant AOC Copenhagen Denmark

The next dish was a fun mix with parsley ice cream and sea buckthorn pot bread which looked similar to a popover but was crunchier from a glaze and sweet.  Dessert was also surprising with a roasted potato custard topped with a thin layer of burned Jerusalem artichoke, a presentation that mimicked crème brûlée. 

Update: On February 26, 2015, Restaurant AOC was awarded a second Michelin star, joining noma and Geranium as Copenhagen's two Michelin-starred restaurants.


Marchal Copenhagen Denmark
Marchal, located in the Hotel D’Angleterre, was also awarded its first Michelin star in 2014.  Chef Ronny Emborg was previously awarded a Michelin star in 2010 when he was chef at AOC Restaurant.  Marchal’s cuisine is Nordic and French inspired.  Unlike the other Michelin-starred restaurants, Marchal’s items can be ordered a la carte.

Fish Marchal Copenhagen Denmark White Asparagus Marchal Copenhagen Denmark
Baked Cod Oysters Lardo Marchal Copenhagen Denmark Glazed Pork Marchal Copenhagen Denmark

We started with four appetizers, which included two fish dishes, glazed white asparagus, and glazed pork.  All of the appetizers were exceptional, but our favorite was the baked cod with oysters and lardo.  For our main course we shared the chateaubriand, which was served with marrow, a cheesy potato puree, and truffle gravy.  

Chateaubriand Bone Marrow Potato Puree Truffle Gravy Marchal Copenhagen Denmark
Arrive at Marchal early and have a drink at the bar before dinner.  We had gin and tonics made with the bartender’s favorite spirit, Monkey 47, which is a gin from Germany’s Black Forest made with 47 botanicals and a touch of cranberry.

Unlike noma, reservations at Copenhagen’s other Michelin-starred restaurants are easier to acquire.  We made our reservations at Studio, Restaurant AOC, and Marchal on our first day in Copenhagen.  However, if you have your heart set on a specific restaurant or a particular night, it is best to make reservations prior to arriving in Copenhagen.  While 96 hours of Michelin may be a bit excessive (and painful on the wallet), you won’t regret treating yourself to at least one evening of Michelin while in Copenhagen.

Travel the World: Copenhagen is one of the most Michelin-starred cities in the world.

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Katherine Belarmino and Romeo Belarmino are the authors of Travel the World, a travel blog for the everyday working stiff. They work full-time in non-travel related jobs, but take every opportunity they can to travel the world during their limited vacation time.