At the beginning of February I visited Copenhagen in collaboration with The Money Shop, in order to take part in their £200 challenge. £200 was the total amount of money I had to spend on a weekend in the city, including two nights accommodation.
Once I had my accommodation nailed (a hostel in the trendy Vesterbro neighbourhood), and had researched a selection of free sights and activities to keep me occupied for a couple of days, my next task was to find the best cheap eats and street eats in Copenhagen.
I ended up spending just 374 DKK (£43.34) on food and drink during my time in the city. That was two breakfasts, three lunches, and two dinners.
Want to know how I did it?
Here are a few of the places I chose to eat at, as well as some that I’d planned to visit but factors such time constraints/opening hours/hunger levels/distance from other sights in the area dictated that I didn’t.
Breakfast in Copenhagen
Now I don’t have a huge appetite for breakfast. I struggle to get my money’s worth at buffet breakfasts and the thought of eating a full English (the veggie version in my case) terrifies me. But I do like to have something in my belly to set me up for the day, accompanied by a large mug of strong coffee – something there is no shortage of in Copenhagen.
Urban House, Vesterbro
As well as being a trendy self-service hostel just a few minutes walk from Copenhagen’s Central Station, Urban House also has an on-site cafe/bar and restaurant. It’s a great place to pick up some cheap, tasty and filling food at any time of the day, but as I was staying here I also chose to grab breakfast here before I set out for a day of sightseeing in the city.
A coffee will cost just 25 DKK (the cheapest I found in Copenhagen) and you can get a croissant to go with that for an extra 15 DKK.
There’s a Lidl just around the corner so you if you want to spice things up a bit (or simply feed your cheese addiction), you can always pick up some sliced cheese to go inside your croissant.
I love the laid-back atmosphere in Urban House’s cafe. You can be as sociable or as inconspicuous as you like, and if you want to get some work done, there are plenty of charging points scattered around and the wifi is some of the best I found in the city.
Cafe Bang and Jensen, Vesterbro
I didn’t make it here, but Bang & Jensen was one of the places I earmarked for breakfast in the neighbourhood I was staying in. This former pharmacy located at the western end of Istegade houses a cosy and relaxed cafe that’s incredibly popular with Vesterbro’s locals – always a good sign. You can enjoy poached eggs on toast or a croissant for under 30 DKK.
Photo by Alpha via Flickr
Cafe Bevars, Nørrebro
Opened in 2012, Bevar’s had been written about very favourably across several different platforms, and it was one of the cafes I was most eager to check out in the vibrant Nørrebro neighbourhood.
There are a number of different breakfast options for 40 DKK, and if you’re not a coffee fan their chai lattes are apparently amazing!
Cafe Bevars is not just a great spot for breakfast; they serve a fantastic choice smørrebrød, salads, and cakes for lunch, and host live music events in the evenings too.
I literally walked into this place and walked out again a couple of minutes later simply because it’s that popular there were no seats left, and it was a little cold to sit outside!
But if you do manage to snag a seat at Cafe Dyrehaven then you’ll be treated to an inviting choice of breakfast and brunch items from 18DKK. I love their original twists on standard menu items, such as pink grapefruit with honey and ginger, toasted cheese sandwich with fresh herbs, yoghurt with muesli, pomegranate, pomegranate syrup and mint, and roasted malt bread with avocado, lime, fresh chilli and nuts.
Lunch in Copenhagen
Copenhagen Street Food, Papirøen (Paper Island), Christianshavn
This was my absolute favourite place to come for budget-priced food and drink in Copenhagen. The former newspaper storage facility is a hanger-style food market packed with artisan food trucks and hipster bars, and is seriously cool!
There’s a wide selection of international street food available, and the menus will vary from day-to-day depending on what kind of fresh produce the stall holders can source from the market that morning.
Copenhagen Street Food has received several awards already, namely Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence 2016, and Danish Meetings and Events Award 2016 for “Best Venue” and “Best Integrated Support”.
Meals are available from 40DKK, although I can thoroughly recommend splashing out an additional 30DKK for this smørrebrød (open sandwich), which had so much smoked salmon on it you couldn’t even see the rye bread!
Although I’ve put this under the ‘lunch’ heading, it’s actually a great place to hang out in the evenings too, with a large choice of craft beers, wines and cocktails available, plenty of seating, and frequent live music events (keep an eye on their events page).
Lagkagehuset, branches throughout the city
Widely recognised as one of the best bakeries in Copenhagen by locals and tourists alike, Lagkagehuset have around five or six stores/cafes scattered around the city, including one inside Central Station.
They have a beautiful and delicious selection of cakes and pastries at very reasonable prices, as well as a small choice of sandwiches. I picked up an Americano and a Kanelsnegl (literal translation = “cinnamon snail”) for 45DKK from their Frederiksberggade branch, and it was just enough to fill me up for lunch.
Incidentally it was probably the tastiest cinnamon bun I’ve ever eaten – fresh, moist and really cinnamony (is that even a word? It is now!).
7-11, stores throughout the city
I don’t know what I expected when I walked into the 7-11 store in Copenhagen’s Central Station, but it certainly wasn’t to find an overwhelming selection of healthy food.
I picked up a Paleo (short for Paleolithic; a diet low in carbs, rich in lean protein and plant foods) salad and cheese sandwich for just 46DKK. With ‘bread’ made from a number of different grains, ground and tightly packed together, it was possibly the healthiest cheese sandwich I’ve ever eaten.
Aamanns Takeaway, Nørreport
I’m including this in the ‘lunch’ section as it closes at 5:30pm. Recommended in my Lonely Planet guidebook as one of THE places to come to sample the city’s famous smørrebrød, Aamanns serve their smørrebrød loaded with fresh, seasonal toppings on their own organic sourdough bread.
Get here before 1pm to avoid queuing; this place gets busy, and with good reason.
Photo by lesleyk via Flickr
Rita’s Smørrebrød, Nørrebro
Another great (and cheap) place to sample Copenhagen’s famous smørrebrød, Ritas Smørrebrød is standing room only, aside from a few stools at the bar. But the food is really good and the staff are incredibly helpful at explaining what everything is.
One portion of smørrebrød starts from as little as 12DKK, and although you’ll probably need two to fill you up, that’s still only 24DKK (£2.75) for lunch in one of Europe’s most expensive cities.
Please note: Rita’s closes at 2pm on a Friday and doesn’t open at all at the weekend.
Photo by Alex Berger via Flickr
Dinner in Copenhagen
You’ll need to get here relatively early (the restaurant closes at 8pm Mon-Thu, at 7pm Fri, and 5pm Sunday), but it will be thoroughly worthwhile; the chef behind the food here at Paleo is Michelin-starred Thomas Rode Andersen.
Inspired by the Paleo diet, the food is low in carbs, and rich in lean protein and plant foods. So it’s healthy, and it won’t break the bank; meals start from 59DKK.
Laundromat Cafe, Nørrebro
While The Laundromat Cafe is a great place to come at any time of day, it’s open until midnight so is a completely feasible, and very reasonably-priced (mains start from 59DKK) spot at which to grab some dinner. It’s a cafe, bookstore and laundrette all in one, so as you can imagine the style is retro and the atmosphere is relaxed.
A sucker for anything quirky, this was one place I was really excited about visiting, but unfortunately is also one place I never made it to.
Nightlife in Copenhagen
Although I haven’t personally visited any of the following (my budget wouldn’t stretch to the drinking of alcohol), they all come highly recommended (I’ve done the research so you don’t have to) as great spots to while away the evening with a few good friends.
- Mesteren and Lærlingen, Vesterbro. One of the oldest bodegas in the city’s Meatpacking district, Mesteren and Lærlingen has a cosy and informal pub-style atmosphere, with good music to boot.
- Lidkoeb, Vesterbro. Offering “an inventive cocktail bar at the ground floor, and a cosy log-cabin style whisky bar at the top” (Bridges and Balloons)
- Dia’legd, a cozy welcoming place with a friendly bartender that serves an interesting selection of beers brewed on a small Danish island. You can try wheat beer flavored with thyme or a porter with mango and chilli.
Coffee in Copenhagen
Whilst pretty much everywhere serves decent coffee in Copenhagen, one of the best places to try is The Coffee Collective, a micro roastery with two coffee shops (one in Torvehallerne market; also a great place to pick up some budget eats) and a coffee school. They cooperate with farmers from countries like Kenya and Bolivia to develop sustainable production and to improve the quality of their coffee.
Photo by CIDSE via Flickr
Have you visited Copenhagen? Any more cheap eats or street eats that you’d add to my list? Or any tips for finding cheap eats and street eats?
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