Chasing down Copenhagen’s best smørrebrød

Finding good smørrebrød in Copenhagen can be a lot harder than you think. We give you a helping hand and guide you to some of our favourite smørrebrød restaurants in Copenhagen

A selection of smørrebrød from Aamann's

A selection of smørrebrød from Aamann's ©Columbus Leth

Category Cities

Date 15th September 2016

Denmark’s finest gastronomic invention is the unpronounceable “smørrebrød.” A smørrebrød is an open-faced rye bread sandwich containing an assortment of toppings, especially meat or fish, and often decorated with a small mountain of pickles. Wash this down with beer and aquavit (flavored spirit, not for the faint-hearted)

In recent years this Danish specialty has experienced a renaissance and Copenhagen’s smørrebrød restaurants are seriously busy at lunchtime (smørrebrød is considered lunch fare). A visit to Copenhagen isn’t complete without having tried this delicacy. Hunt down these 8 restaurants in Copenhagen specializing in smørrebrød and immerse yourself in Danish cuisine.

Some of the places are picked from our free city guide for Copenhagen, momondo places, available for iPhones. Download it and get access to over 200 recommendations on what to do in Copenhagen.

Slotskælderen hos Gitte Kik

Gitte Kik's marinated herring with onions and capers. A smørrebrød classic!
Gitte Kik’s marinated herring with onions and capers. A smørrebrød classic!

Tradition is everything at Slotskælderen hos Gitte Kik. This restaurant is basically an institution when it comes to smørrebrød.

The selection of smørrebrød is displayed on a desk by the bar counter. Feast your eyes on herring delicacies, eel and egg sandwiches as well as “the veterinarian’s night snack” – rye bread with liver pâté, aspic and salt beef. Once you’ve taken it all in, pick your favorites and they’ll be served at your table.

Where: Fortunstræde 4
Tel: +45 33 11  15 37
Nearest station: Nørreport St.

Restaurant Schønnemann

Entering a heaven of smørrebrød
Entering a heaven of smørrebrød

This traditional lunch restaurant has lured locals into its warm embrace since 1877. Back then the farmers tied up their horses in the neighboring square, while winding down in the company of beer, schnapps and smørrebrød in this informal basement restaurant.

Today, the courses are much the same, albeit with a wider selection and traditional fare that has been exquisitely refined to modern standards. The lure of Restaurant Schønnemann also remains as appealing today as it was in the eighteenth century. You can choose from a variety of meat, seafood or cheese toppings – all made from the finest produce and meticulously arranged on homemade rye bread.

Where: Hauser Plads 16
Tel: +45 33 12  07 85
Nearest station: Nørreport St.

Aamann’s Deli

Innovation meets tradition at Aamann's
Innovation meets tradition at Aamann’s ©Columbus Leth

Chef Adam Aamann does what few dare: he successfully reinterprets smørrebrød. The results of his courage can be enjoyed at Aamann’s Deli, which has become a major hit among lunch-seeking Copenhageners.

Both smørrebrød diehards and food critics have given into Aamann’s sophisticated versions and so will you. Treat yourself to the old-fashioned marinated herring in strawberries and served with rose hip, junket, long pepper, buckwheat and sorrel.

Next door is Aamaan’s Etablissement that, in addition to its signature smørrebrød, serves modern Danish bistro food in the evening, all prepared with seasonal and local produce.

Where: Øster Farimagsgade 10
Tel:+45 35 55 33 44
Nearest station: Østerport St.

Cafe Gl. Torv

Enjoy the traditional Danish cuisine at Cafe Gl. Torv
Enjoy the traditional Danish cuisine at Cafe Gl. Torv

Cafe Gl. Torv has been around for more than 100 years and is an excellent place to indulge in the smørrebrød classics. No innovation here, but lots of quality offerings.

Don’t get confused if locals call this place Huset Med Det Grønne Træ (The House With The Green Tree) instead of Cafe Gl. Torv. This name comes from a popular novel from 1942, which was written in the restaurant and takes place in the apartment above it.

Add it to your ‘to-do list’ and taste some of the best smørrebrød in town.

Where: Gammeltorv 20
Tel: +45 33 12 87 86
Nearest station: Nørreport St.

Kanalcafeen

At Kanalcafeen tradition is hot, innovation is not
At Kanalcafeen tradition is hot, innovation is not

In an ever-changing world Kanalcafeen is a bastion of constancy. Allegedly serving smørrebrød since 1852, innovation is not on the menu.

Located next to Frederiksholms Canal, guests enjoy their food on the canal front during the summer. However, a visit inside the restaurant is a must: take in the old-fashioned interior featuring some interesting maritime pictures donated by restaurant guests throughout the years.

Where: Frederiksholms Kanal 18
Tel: +45 33 11 57 70
Nearest station: Kongens Nytorv St.

 Restaurant Told & Snaps

Lunch at Told & Snaps is a good choice when visiting Copenhagen
Lunch at Told & Snaps is a good choice when visiting Copenhagen

Restaurant Told & Snaps can’t boast a long history – it opened in 2000 – but it can be proud of what’s on its plates.

Unlike the majority of the restaurants in the nearby Nyhavn (New Harbour), this restaurant has gastronomic ambitions. With its 40 odd smørrebrød offerings, including the traditional smoked herring, Portuguese sardines, tartare and organic Danish brie, it established itself as one of the best smørrebrød joints in town.

Make sure to call ahead since everyone in Copenhagen has got wind of the high-quality lunch fare served here.

Where: Toldbodgade 2
Tel: +45 33 93 83 85
Nearest station: Kongens Nytorv St.

Restaurant Sankt Annæ

Enjoy lobster salad and discreet charm at Restaurant Sankt Annæ
Enjoy lobster salad and discreet charm at Restaurant Sankt Annæ

While most smørrebrød restaurants are housed in rather humble interiors, Restaurant Sankt Annæ is in a class of its own.

Located a stone’s throw away from the royal palace, this restaurant dates back to 1894.  Featuring a tip-top interior, mint green walls, perfectly ironed tablecloths, fine China porcelain and elegant cloth napkins, lunch here is a rather luxurious affair.

Go for their speciality: the lobster salad prepared with freshly boiled lobsters.

Where: Sankt Annæ Plads 12
Tel: +45 33 12 54 97
Nearest station: Kongens Nytorv St.

Øl & Brød

Øl & Brød is the new kid on the block
Øl & Brød is the new kid on the block

Some years ago Copenhagen’s Mikkeller Beer empire opened Øl & Brød. Literally meaning beer and bread, this is a place where delicious smørrebrød is carefully paired with selected beers from Mikkeller and other top breweries. Their interpretation of smørrebrød builds on traditional flavors using seasonal ingredients. Somewhat on the pricey end of the scale, expect high-quality Danish cuisine.

No other restaurant in Copenhagen mixes beer and food as perfectly as Øl & Brød. Book a table here and celebrate the rebirth of the smørrebrød!

Where: Victoriagade 6
Tel: +45 33 31 44 22
Nearest station: København H St.

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Originally published

15th September 2016