Copenhagen, the home of Noma – the restaurant mecca of foodies everywhere worth their salt. This Danish city has long been hailed as one of the world's haute dining hotspots, with more Michelin stars than you can shake a stick at. However, although often expensive, dining out solo in Copenhagen doesn't have to mean taking out a small loan to do so. In fact, casual, communal restaurants with slightly cut-down prices seem to be the way things are starting to go now in this gourmet capital. In fact, even Noma itself has opted to close its doors and open a hip, new down-to-earth place,"a place for families to come together for a quick dinner on a Monday night", in Christianshavn instead. As you know, I wasn't alone for the entirety of my trip to Copenhagen, but I can nevertheless vouch for the following dining spots for solos – I'd certainly return alone. So, without further ado, here are my Top 3 places to dine alone in the city of gourmands:
Highlight: brunch like a queen
So, I'm starting off my Top 3 places to eat in Copenhagen with a Swedish spot, but I don't care, because the brunch is just THAT good. Über cool Kalaset (which means 'party' in Swedish) is a melting pot of great food, cosmopolitan crowds comprising both Danes and internationals, and a cosy atmosphere. The menu is on the smaller side – which is always a great sign, because that almost always means what is on offer is fresh, homemade and delicious – and Kalaset only serves to reinforce this presumption. Sloping down the steps into this cellar cafe, you'll be met with an array of mis-matched furniture, vintage stereos on exposed brick walls and a 'jam station' (which is exactly what the name suggests, a station consisting of a variety of homemade jams to dollop enthusiastically onto your brunch plate). I swung by for brunch and it was the perfect way to start the day –the Mormor was more than satisfying. What came with it? Well: scrambled eggs, bacon, chili sausages, small oven baked potatoes. Brie, greens & fruits. Skyr with homemade roasted müsli. Bread & butter and the array of jams. It's safe to say that you'll be leaving with a small food baby and ready for a day of sightseeing. Make sure to book though – you won't be the only one sitting solo with a book and breakfast, the locals love to do that here, too.
Highlight: porridge, like you've never had it before
If you're allergic to hipster, look away now. Groed was making hipster porridge, before porridge even became a hipster thing – that's just how cool it is. Yes, that's right, this place serves only porridge – and it's pure heaven. Before you start to wonder just how exciting porridge can be, don't – get ready for your palate to be delighted by classic porridge with apple and caramel, or surprised with the gluten-free quinoa kind. There's a range of porridge-types and toppings, both savoury and sweet, making decisions even more difficult than a trip to Starbucks. Groed has quickly grown into a much-loved institution by Copenhageners and now has a stall at the food market. However, I would definitely recommend going to the little brand's birthplace instead – a cute, tiny (!) cafe spot on ever-trendy Jægersborggade.
3. MADKLUBBEN BISTRO-DE-LUXE
Highlight: almost-haute Danish dining at a reasonable price
Looking for the haute Danish dining experience on a budget? Then look no further than Madklubben Bistro-de-Luxe, which serves up mouthwatering Danish French bistro cuisine at a quarter of the price of most restaurants in the city. Madklubben Bistro-de-Luxe was the first of what has steadily become a group of 9 restaurants around the city – all of which have different concepts but the same philosophy at their heart: great food at reasonable prices. The Madklubben 'manifesto', as the restaurant so lovingly terms it, sets out their unpretentious approach to dining and emphasises their aim to keep things simple. And simple it is indeed: choose one, two, three or four courses from the menu and pay a fixed price. No hidden surprises and no bill steadily creeping up and up, stealth-style. Also, unlike most of Copenhagen's haute scene, the more than adequate portion sizes here mean that you won't leave feeling like you need to stop for a McDonalds on the way home to satisfy your lingering hunger. In summary, Madklubben has got everything to satisfy those craving a Scandinavian experience – minimalist surroundings, a high-quality menu which changes with the seasons, and an unstuffy atmosphere. Well, it has everything except the extremely high-priced menu, that is, but I'm sure that's music to your ears.