Folks, there was once a time when I would return from a holiday brimming with the excitement of sharing all my wonderful vegan eats with the world. Photos sorted and edited within tens of minutes, blog post banged out within hours. But you see, I am old now and I require a holiday in order to recover from a holiday. Sadly such a thing is not possible, and instead I’ve been back to business as usual.
My wonderful beirdo and I returned from Copenhagen around midnight Sunday after a splendid, if busy, few days soaking up that Scandinavian vibe. In between all the food, we attended two gigs (one local dive type venue, another in a 16k seater arena), visited the Design Museum and Geological Museum (so many rocks) and pootled around the city on hire bikes in various states of repair. We hired e-bikes on the last day and both crashed them on a wet and slippery wooden bridge like utter chumps and therefore spent the last few hours watching the only English language film available at 4pm on a Sunday (which was pretty terrible, really).
Despite this, I do heartily recommend hire bikes for getting around the city; you’ll need to get used to the (in this cynic’s view, rather ridiculous) Euro-style Pedal-Back-To-Brake system, but the city’s cycling infrastructure/provision is possibly the best on planet Earth and so there’s really no worry of falling off in the middle of traffic. The city e-bikes are absolutely splendid (so long as you don’t go barrelling across wet bridges like we did) and have a tablet mounted onto the handlebars for route-plotting. We never paid more than ~£14 for a 24 hour hire, and even that was on the steeper end.
Fancy seeing the full photo album? It’s here.
If you don’t fancy cycling, the metro and train are (of course) affordable and convenient, and the Rejseplanen app will help you figure out your journey. We struggled slightly with figuring out trains and platforms, but everyone is super helpful and speaks perfect English so you can always ask for help.
We did spend one day in Malmö, as it seemed rather rude not to pop across to another Scandinavian country while we had the chance. It’s less than an hour’s train ride from Copenhagen and a lovely little city (if a bit small, and expensive). Just remember to bring your passport for the border police if you decide to take this day trip.
In any case, what about the grub? Copenhagen is a delight for vegans with plenty of choice available pretty much wherever you end up. We used good ol’ Happy Cow quite a few times, as well as marking a number of reportedly ‘must eat’ locations on a paper map which we picked up for free at the airport.
I feel like the most important mention here will be the rather amazing Naturbageriet, a mostly-vegan traditional Danish bakery selling wonderful pastries and some basic grocery items. We went here twice to stock up on chocolate croissants, cremebols, cinnamon rolls, and bread. It also sells a number of gluten free items too.
Naturbageriet is at Frederiksborggade 29. It is open 7 days, and the nearest stations (Metro, bus, train) are at Nørreport.
The South Indian
Our first evening’s dinner was at nearby restaurant The South Indian. I was drawn in by the promise of dosas and wasn’t disappointed. We were rather gluttonous and ordered a four-course menu, beginning with a vegetable soup and crispy onion bhaji ‘bits’, followed by a masala dosa, vegetable korma with rice and bread, and a curious doughy dessert drizzled with a sweet syrup. The waitress didn’t seem too au-fait with what was (and wasn’t) vegan, but the options are labelled clearly on the menu so I wasn’t overly concerned. The restaurant was wonderfully cosy and the food tasty, hearty, and satisfying. It was slightly on the pricey side, but for the volume of food and beer we demolished, probably not unreasonable!
The South Indian has two locations in Copenhagen, at Godthåbsvej 12 and Vesterbrogade 38.
Our second night’s dinner was located on a super-cool parade of shops and bars that reminded me of Paris’s latin quartier. There are a few vegan or vegan-friendly eateries in this area, including GAO Dumpling and Kate’s Joint. We opted for Café N, which has an all-vegan menu. It’s a cosy wee place with a bit of a DIY vibe in that you’re expected to take your seat, make your choice from the menu board, and order at the counter. The staff was a little distracted, but the food was delicious. Various plates feature tofu, seitan, tempeh, Dutch-style kroket balls, and other goodies.
Café N is at Blågårdsgade 17. You can reserve a table at thefork.dk
High on my ‘to scoff’ list for this trip was Souls, a super trendy all-vegan breakfast & brunch place I’ve been following on Instagram ever since we booked our trip. After our previous night’s experience in the slightly cramped Café N, Souls was refreshingly spacious and a lovely location for a chilled out lunch. I went for a huge salad complete with smoked tofu, plenty of houmous, and some vegan parmesan. Though rather pricey, I couldn’t resist chasing it up with (gluten free) pancakes with fruit and maple syrup.
Souls is at Melchiors Pl. 3.
Our last day in the city saw us hobbling around after our unfortunate eBike experience. We took the metro to Nørreport and almost directly opposite the station was Greenburger, an all-vegan burger joint offering just the kind of stuff you’d expect from a junk food outlet. I went for a regular beefy style burger with fake-bacon and pickles, along with fries and onion rings (which were super). Mr J-M went for a Mexican burger with sweet potato fries. It was a reliably tasty burger ‘n’ fries experience.
Greenburger is at Frederiksborggade 26.
There are plenty of supermarket chain Irma outlets in the city of Copenhagen. We visited a fairly typical branch on our last day and found some delicious faux meat slices, sausages, and ‘kebab’ bits. If you’re self catering or fancy making a picnic, definitely check out the local Irma for options.
7-eleven is another supermarket chain, possibly more akin to Spar, with the central station branch even stocking a labelled vegan salad. Falafel and salad is also a pretty common occurence, so you should be able to find some easy sustenance most of the time.
AB Småland (Malmö)
Our vegan eats in Malmö were entirely unplanned, though Happy Cow does list plenty of locations to eat. While wandering about the city, we dropped into AB Småland, an achingly Scandi lifestyle store meets vegan-friendly cafe. I had a huge sandwich labelled as vegan, with avocado, chickpeas, and shoots. After eating you can browse the homewares and possibly even spend £7.29 on a small wooden coffee spoon…
AB Småland is at Södra Förstadsgatan 25-27 (Malmö/Sweden).
Malmö Brewing Co (Malmö)
Mr J-M found our second-lunch spot, a local brewery and taphouse serving burgers with a labelled vegan option. By this point we’d given up translating Swedish krona into Danish kroner into GBP, but I do think it was a rather expensive affair. The barman also seemed awfully impressed that we’d found our way from Manchester (via Copenhagen) to this indie brewery’s bar.
Malmö Brewing Co & Taproom is at Bergsgatan, Möllevångsgatan 33 (Malmö/Sweden).
There were countless further options for lunch and dinner that we didn’t have the time to check out during our 4-night stay in Copenhagen. We ran across eateries offering vegan options without even trying, which is certainly the sign of a particularly vegan-friendly city. Though the rain fell and it was a little cloudy and grey, it was a far greater experience than the equivalent back in Manchester. There’s something appealing about that European city vibe, something that the UK seems to lack, perhaps more so now it seems to be distancing itself from the EU. A tremendously sad state of affairs, in my opinion. But for a few days of clean air, good food, and that elusive hygge-ishness, Copenhagen is an excellent choice.
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