Bristol vs the world

A travel (and sometimes fashion) blog about exploring Bristol and the rest of the world, one post at a time.

Category: Western Europe

Where to stay Wednesday: Casa dos Lóios, Porto

 

Things have been a bit quiet around here as of late – for which I apologies. Again. This time I blame the sun, making me want to be outside and get out and about and stuff. Anyway, I’m here now and that’s what matters!

Casa dos Loios

Casa dos Loios

I’ve stayed in – probably – more than my fair share of hotels for a 26-year-old. I’ve been lucky enough to sleep in beds wider than my 6″1 boyfriend is long. A wooden-floored duplex under canvas. Ones themed on chocolate, or the Wild West, or New Mexico – the latter coming complete with crash-landed alien spaceships and half buried, rusting cars. Old and new, big and small, grand and understated.

But none of these buildings were as immediately, incredibly breathtaking as Casa dos Loios.

It’s a good thing one of team members was carrying my suitcase, because I’m pretty sure I would have dropped it in shock. Which probably wouldn’t have been great for either the suitcase, or their beautiful, wooden floors.

Casa dos Loios

Formerly home to the Ferraz Mello family, Casa dos Loios occupies a 16th/17th-century townhouse in central Porto, resplendent with wide, high-ceilinged staircases, large windows with decorative frames and beautiful plasterwork on the ceilings. (Actually, it slightly resembled (a smaller version of) some of the Trust properties I’ve visited (/worked on the Guidebooks for and seen pictures of)). Complementary furniture, such as an old wireless, is found throughout the two floors – named ‘Ruby’ and ‘Tawny’ after the two red types of the drink for which this city is famous. (Did you know you can get white (‘Branco’) Port? Very nice it is, too.)

Although our room wasn’t quite as amazing, this was because we booked the smallest possible option on a special deal through booking.com – the rack rate of just over £60 wasn’t even advertised on the list in our room, as I think there’s only two of these rooms in the whole hotel. And for the price we paid, it was perfectly adequate, just a touch on the small side and without any of the building features you might find in some of the more expensive rooms. You still get all the other benefits of staying here though, from complimentary toiletries to the amazing breakfast (more on that below). 

For example, if you fancy shelling out a bit more (a not-that-expensive-really £120 a night, especially as it sleeps four) then you could stay in this:

Casa dos Loios

For those looking for something in the middle, here’s a typical double:

Casa dos Loios

 

Sometimes I find hotels that look so fancy a little intimidating, like the staff and other guests are looking at your like ‘why are you here exactly’? Casa dos Loios is the exact opposite of this. Other guests included a young family, a young group of friends and couples young and old – and all of us were given service as exceptional as the building (and just as impressive too – we heard one person switch languages, seemingly effortlessly, about four times in the course of us eating our breakfast). Casa dos Loios is part of the small ‘Shiado’ chain of guesthouses, and the first one outside of Lisbon. (I like discovering new places, but we were so impressed with Casa do Bairro when we last went to Lisbon in 2011 that we decided to stay there again, and also felt that their Porto venture should be a safe bet.) The ethos is to provide a comfortable, homely place to relax with friendly customer service – and Casa dos Loios definitely achieves that. In fact, I’d even argue that the staff here were even better than those in Casa do Bairro – high praise indeed.

We were sat down, offered a drink and then our host went over the map of Lisbon, recommending places to see, eat and drink based on the amount of time we had and – seemingly – our age (one recommendation – a bar – was prefixed with ‘because you’re young’). They included key tourist sites, but also harder to find miradouros (viewpoints) and some of his personal favourites. In case that’s not enough to keep you occupied, the hotel information binder in the bedrooms also includes tips on places to eat, and a cork board in the dining room features cards brought back from previous guests from places they’d recommend. Both restaurants we went to during our stay were recommended, and neither disappointed (more on those in a Food Friday soon).

Casa dos Loios

The friendly nature of the staff continued throughout our stay – if you popped into the kitchen to grab a tea/coffee/cake (all complimentary) they would chat to you about your day, your plans – but never to the point of being intrusive. There’s also plenty of places to relax outside of your hotel room, either in the dining room or outside in the sun-soaked patio area. There’s no bar, but there is an ‘honesty fridge’ from which you can take wine, beer or soft drinks (though (shh) you’d be better off popping to the supermarket next door).

And then there’s the breakfast. I get the impression that the Portuguese have something of a sweet tooth, because breakfast foods here seem to consist of a lot of home-made cakes and donut-type things. A perfect start to the day in my books. If you’re not into starting your day on a sugar high (why on earth not?!), you could choose from a selection of continental savoury items, fruit or cereal. But I highly recommend going for the cake. Especially the donuts. And then have them again later in the day as an afternoon snack.

Casa dos Loios

The location is excellent too. It’s right on the Rua das Flores, which is full of lovely little cafes, restaurants and specialist boutiques (we particularly liked the one selling products made of cork). You can walk to pretty much all the main tourist attractions in Porto within 25 minutes, and most are much closer – practically on your doorstep. (Though, admittedly, Porto isn’t particularly huge.)

The only minor negative of the hotel might be that the walls didn’t seem particularly thick, and we could hear people in the corridor. However we weren’t kept awake or woken up at any point, so while very light sleepers may have a problem, I have no complaints.

Another thing that didn’t affect us, but might others, is that the entire guesthouse is situated up a – quite long – flight of stairs. I don’t know if there was a lift, so this is something worth enquiring about if you have mobility issues.

If you don’t mind missing a few components of bigger hotels – a bar, restaurant, paid-for movies, nothing I wished we had access to, especially considering you’re in the heart of Porto – then you can’t go wrong with Casa dos Loios. A friendly and relaxing retreat, set in a stunning period building, this is the perfect base for exploring Porto.

Casa dos Loios

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Food Friday: Lisbon eats part II (3 years later)

We visited Lisbon three years ago, and, as I wrote about our visit then (well, on another blog and I kind of just brought the post over here), another city-overview post might be a bit of overkill. But I can assure you that we weren’t disappointed with our decision to spend a few days revisiting the city at the beginning of our recent Portugal adventure.

We did have a few new discoveries on our trip though: firstly nearby Sintra, and also lots of lovely restaurants. More on the former soon, but as it’s Friday today, I make it Food Friday! So here’s Lisbon Eats: Part 2!

Fumeiro de Santa Catarina Fumeiro This little restaurant is tucked away on the corner of two quiet streets in the Santa Catarina area (near Bairro Alto); we were staying five minutes away, yet if it wasn’t for Tripadvisor’s ‘best nearby’ feature, I doubt we’d have discovered it.

Each dish at Fumeiro de Santa Catarina is contains a smoked element (smoking meat is an Iberian tradition – but it might not be the meat that gets smoked here). It’s not quite tapas, but plates are small – our waitress recommended we ordered three between the two of us, which was enough, but we probably could have fit more in if we wanted to gorge – or couldn’t make up our minds (which looked to be the case for some of our fellow diners).

We went for the roasted vegetables with mozerella, broad beans with ham, and octopus in a barbeque vinegarette. They were all delicious; the smokeyness really added something to all the dishes (I particularly enjoyed the flavour it gave to the aubergine), without being overpowering. However the octopus was definitely the star of the show.

Mozerella and vegetables Fumeiro Santa CatarinaOctopus at Fumeiro de Santa Catarina, LisbonBroad beans fumeiro

Service was friendly and prices were good; two (small) alcoholic drinks, three mains and olives came to under €30. (As with many European restaurants, the extras they place on the table aren’t free, but the olives were worth it. We resisted the very nice looking cheeses, so I’m not sure how much they would have cost, but the olives were just €1 so don’t worry too much about tucking into them.) Even on a Wednesday night, the restaurant was full by 8:30/8:45ish (still on English-eating time, we turned up at 7:30 when it was just us and one other couple – the Portuguese eat much later than us Brits). So it’s probably worth a reservation if you want to guarantee yourself a spot past 8. Also worth noting is that they can’t take overseas bank cards and the nearest cash machine is just under ten minutes away, so make sure you’re stocked up on Euros before visiting.

Great food and an interesting experience in a relaxed atmosphere, Fumeiro de Santa Catarina is a must-visit if you’re in the Bairro Alto or Santa Catarina area – and well worth making a trip for even if you’re not.

The Details

Fumeiro de Santa Catarina
Travessa do alcaide, 4C
Open Tuesday – Saturday, 19:00 – 00:30
Telephone: 92 640 9775 – 213471002
Website: https://www.facebook.com/fumeirosantacatarina/info

Mercado-da-Ribeira_Time-Out

Mercada da Ribeiro
The one change we did notice about Lisbon was that the area we were staying in – particularly Rua Boavista – seemed to be at the beginning of a process of gentification. Among the old ginja bars and pastelerias was a furniture store full of ‘hip’ furniture, an electric car shop and a shabby-chic style bar complete with table football which seemed to attract a younger crowd than the surrounding places. The older, more traditional outlets still far outnumber the ‘cool’ ones, but I couldn’t help wondering if this was the next ‘cool’ Lisbon neighbourhood (if it’s not already).

The nearby Mercado da Ribeira development has certainly helped add kudos to the surrounding area. The 19th-century building itself isn’t new; it has been home to the traditional market for many years. But the new Time Out development in another part of the building only opened a few months ago and it’s clearly already a popular hangout. The Mercado is like a massive, upmarket food court, hosting a number of stalls from well-known Portuguese restaurants, and five with food by their top chefs. You grab your food and sit down on a stool at one of the communal benches – although it looked pretty busy both times we visited (3pm for lunch, and 9pm for dinner. Yes, on the same day), we managed to grab two seats together both times – though it was much easier at lunch.

I say grab your food, but there’s a bit more waiting involved than in your typical food stand. It’s made fresh to order in front of you, leaving your mouth watering. But if there’s likely to be a long wait (in the evening, our meals took 20/25 minutes or so) they’ll hand out a buzzer that’ll go off when the food is ready, so you can relax in your seat and take in the atmosphere instead of hanging around at the stand.

Most of the stands also serve drinks, but there’s also a bar in the centre of the room – with ‘self-service’ beer!

Cozinha de Felicidade

At lunchtime, we sampled Cozinha da Felicidade. I had the scrambled eggs on bread with sausage, which was amazing. The sausage was really meaty and gamey and the bread was gorgeous. John’s meal trumped it though – a meaty ‘pie’, but with mashed potato instead of pastry – very fuzzy photo above (apologies). (Though the Portuguese menu I’ve found describes it as a ‘Rosti de batata’ – potato rosti – which is probably a more accurate description.). My food was great, but I still had food envy. In the evening we went for Cafe de Sao Bento, the outpost of a well-known restaurant in the city once voted the best steak in Lisbon. John went for the steak sandwich, whereas I decided I had to sample the ‘steak sao bento’, which came in a creamy sauce that was almost like a less-rich bearnaise. (I plumped for the rib eye as it was by far the cheapest cut on the menu, but other options were available). We both thought our meals were on the well done side of medium, so if you prefer more pink to your meat then do ask for it medium-rare or rare. Otherwise both dishes were excellent; I definitely wasn’t trying to spoon the remainder of my sauce into my mouth at the end (and by spoon, I mean try and get a substantial amount onto a fork)…

Cafe Sao Bento Mercado RibeiraCafe Sao Bento Mercado Ribeira

If you fancy a more traditional restaurant experience, there’s a couple of outlets on the outside with terraces and tables. There’s also a gelataria and pastelaria for dessert and a cocktail bar if you don’t fancy the self-service beer.

On a Thursday night, the room seemed full of a huge mix of people from families to young and old groups of friends catching up, to couples to tourists. It was lively, loud and a great way to sample some of the local restaurants and chefs in an informal atmosphere – and ideal if you and your party are at odds about what you fancy for dinner that evening.

The details
Mercado da Ribeira
Avenida 24 de Julho, Cais do Sodré

Opening Hours
Sun-Weds: 10am-12midnight
Thurs-Sat: 10am-2am

View from Ibo, Lisbon

Ibo
We ummed and ahed about Ibo. It had good reviews and plenty of very positive blogposts about it. We love curries. It overlooked the water. But it was expensive, especially for Portugal. Eventually we decided to spoil ourselves. This turned out to be the best food-related decision of the holiday.

Sat in a former warehouse on the waterfront behind Cais do Sodre station, Ibo’s menu is inspired by Mozambican and Portuguese dishes: think seafood curries, fish dishes and steaks. I had the prawn curry, which came with rice and two condiments (some of the best chutney and lime pickle I have ever tasted). John went for the octopus fillet with beans and coriander rice. Both dishes were amazing – fresh and full of flavour, and mine had a hint of spice without it being overpowering.

wpid-img_20140627_195501.jpg
wpid-img_20140627_195519.jpg

And then there were the desserts. I tried the caramelized banana with cream ice-cream and sesame seed brittle, while John plumped for wild berry cheesecake. There aren’t enough adjectives to do justice to these meals so let’s just say that they tasted even better than they looked.

Ibo dessert

Ibo dessert

Coming in at around €60 for poppadoms, two mains, two desserts and a glass of wine (they ask you what you like, whether you’re happy with house white or more, bring out a suggestion and check whether you like it), Ibo’s not exactly a budget option. But considering the quality of the food and the location (we watched the sun begin to set over the river as we ate, the area relatively quiet save for the occasional passing cyclist, runner or walker), I certainly wouldn’t say it’s overpriced. The perfect place if you’re a curry and/or seafood fan after a slightly more ‘special’ meal in Lisbon.

Ibo

The details
Ibo
Cais do Sodre (behind the train station)
Website: http://www.ibo-restaurante.pt/
Opening Hours:
Tues-Thurs: 12:30pm-15:30pm; 19.30pm-11pm
Fri-Sat: 12:30pm-17:30pm; 19:30pm-01:00am
Sunday: 12.30pm-15.30pm
Closed Sunday evenings, Mondays

Park bar Lisbon

Where to drink
We loved Park, situated on top of a multistory carpark in the area where Santa Catarina meets Bairro Alto. We initially went to watch Portugal’s last world cup group game, but the television was in a covered area and we couldn’t resist the lure of the terrace overlooking the streets below and the river and 25th of April bridge beyond. Complemented by table service and a soothing soundtrack, Park is the perfect place for a relaxed couple of drinks after a day’s sightseeing.

The Details
Park
Calçada do Combro 58
Open every day, 13:00-02:00

Image Credits
Fumeiro de Santa Catarina interior: Fumeiro de Santa Catarina’s Facebook page, by Beatriz Tomáz
Mercado de Ribeira Portuguese Independent News
All other images my own, please credit if using.

(If you want to see where we ate last time, I wrote about them too. However this was three years ago, so I can’t still vouch for their quality.)

Walking Copenhagen

Christianshavns
Copenhagen harbour

Copenhagen is best seen from the pavement. It’s a city where your journey could take you down a street pock-marked with foosball tables. Where a riverside walk leads you past moored boats painted with happy murals and bursting with flowers on their decks. Where the suddenly slow-moving traffic you pass by is the result of a sausage cart vendor dragging his stand to work.

Copenhagen

Assistens Cemtery, Copenhagen
Assistens Cemetery Copenhagen

We wandered through Assistens Kierkegard, final resting place of Hans Christian Anderson and exactly the lively sort of place you don’t imagine when you think of cemeteries. A sunny afternoon, locals (families, friends, couples) were scattered among the graves – reading, talking, kissing, sleeping – with their bikes at their feet.

Frederiksberg Gardens

We strolled through Frederiksberg Gardens, whose grass stretches for miles, past post-work runners. We climbed its hill and looked down over the city we for which we fell, instantly, head-over-heels in love.

Tante T, Viktoriagade, Copenhangen
Tante T tea
We were typical Brits; in a city known for coffee, we sheltered from the rain in Tante T on Victoriagade, a tea shop filled with chintzy chairs and black and white photographs on the wall. (John, to be fair, did then order a coffee.) They provided an egg timer with different strengths marked at different points, to make sure my coconut-flavoured tea would be just right.

illums2
illums
Illums Bolighaus

We discovered the beautiful Illums Bolighaus, which feels more art gallery than designer furniture shop. We spent an hour drooling and planning which sofas and chairs and lights we’ll buy when we make our first few million.

Lego Nyhavn

We found ourselves in the Lego shop a few streets later, marvelling at their models of Nyhavn and other landmarks and making plastic versions of ourselves. We even managed to represent the almost-a-foot height difference. By giving me a Lego child’s legs.

Copenhagen Latin Quarter by
Latin Quarter by Ania Krasniewska

We took right turns and left turns at random in the Latin Quarter’s bright backstreets full of vintage clothes shops and studenty bars. One of the city’s many cyclists passed us, eating an ice cream.

Copenhagen botanic garden

We slowly circled the lake in the (free) botanic gardens and found ourselves in one of the greenhouses, surrounded by cacti and other spiky, wonky, jutting, alien-like plants.

 

torveshallerne

We resisted eating everything in the Torvehallerne, glass-walled markets with stalls selling coffee and spices and vegetables and larger meals from around the world.

Karriere cocktail bar, Kodbyens

We explored Kodbyens, the meat-packing district, come nightfall. We passed al fresco diners making the most of free blankets (they – the blankets – are a common site in Copenhagen), neon lights flashing from dimly-lit bars and a bonfire outside Karriere cocktail bar. We walked through its plastic flaps, left over from its former life as a butcher’s shop, and sipped a rum cocktail.

We meandered past the large ponds behind the planetarium. Down side-streets full of independent shops. Past small artists’ galleries, prints tempting us from the windows.

P1020147

We breathed in the coffee and the hot dogs. We sat on benches and the sides of harbours, not because we were tired, but because we wanted to watch the city go by.

We walked slowly (Copenhagen does not rush). Hand-in-hand. Happy.

Summer graffiti Copenhagen

wpid-img_20140402_101031.jpg
Copenhagen
Copenhagen botanic garden

Photo Credits
Assistens Kierkegard (x2): Open City Project
Tante T: Tante T website
Latin Quarter Photo One: Euroshop
Latin Quarter Photo Two: The New Diplomat’s Wife
Torveshallerne: Heather Spalling via Flickr
All others my own, please credit if using.

Cultural Copenhagen

Design Museum Copenhagen garden

Although we spent a lot of our time in Copenhagen eating and drinking and possibly even more just wandering the streets (no, not like that), we also found time to visit a few museums too.

It’s worth noting that there’s definitely an ‘off’ season in Denmark – most things seemed to be more fully open from about the time the Tivoli Gardens open in mid-April until the end of Summer. This meant that in a number of the museums, not all exhibitions or areas were open. But on the plus side, they were also relatively quiet. So if there’s nothing you’re absolutely desperate to see, then I’d definitely recommend an out-of-season visit.

Design Museum Copenhagen display

Design Museum Copenhagen shop

Design Museum Copenhagen Wegner Exhibition

Design Museum
John’s a Design Engineer and we both love wooden, mid-century furniture so a visit to the Design Museum was always a must. In one half, the museum showcases key design themes, pieces and designers while in the second, the focus is on the more traditional. Our knowledge of historical Danish design was (is) limited, so we were quite suprised by the look of the older pieces.

We also saw the beginnings of a new exhibition (it didn’t open fully until a couple of days after our visit) – Wegner, ‘Just One Good Chair’ which was already looking really excellent.

Also excellent was the (free!) exhibition catalogue we were given on arrival. Thick paper and beautifully designed – I guess we should have expected nothing else considering the museum we were in!

Great shop too – as with everything in Copenhagen, it’s slightly pricey, but there’s some gorgeous products in here. We managed to restrain ourselves and came away with just a large (A4) postcard, but the wallet damage could easily have been much worse!

The details
http://designmuseum.dk/en/
Bredgade 68 / 1260 København K
Nearest Metro stop: Kongens Nytorv
Entry: 90DKK. Free if you’re a student or under 26 (something we very conveniently found this out a couple of days before my 26th birthday. Guess where we headed the next day..!)
Closed Mondays & some bank holidays

Carlsberg Glyptotek Copenhagen

Winter Garden Glypototek

Winter Garden Glypototek2

Glypototek

Peter Bangs Vej 145  - 2000 Frederiksberg   DK
Ny Carlsberg Glyptoteket

When I was talking to my manager about my plans for Copenhagen, this was the first place she recommended. Even if you’re not interested in the collections, she said, the building itself is amazing.

Walking into the main courtyard of the Glypototek, I understood exactly what she meant. Called the Wintergarden, it’s like a huge greenhouse or orangery full of trees and plants and fountains and statues and benches. Unexpected and breathtaking. My manager was right – even if you’re not too bothered about the art, it’s worth making the most of the museum’s free entry on Sundays just to see this.

And if you are interested in art, there’s plenty more here to explore, from Egyptian mummies in a basement to rooms and rooms full of statues (so many statues! And busts. And bits of statues and busts) to Danish art to French masterpieces by Gauguin and Cezanne among others. Sadly the latter section was closed when we visited, which was one of the areas we were most interested in, but we still spent an hour or so in the other rooms and marveling at the building itself.

The details
Dantes Plads 7 | DK-1556 Cph
Nearest station: Central Station (Københavns Hovedbanegård)
http://www.glyptoteket.com
75DKK (Adults). Children under 18 go free.
Free entry on Sundays – we thought it would be heaving as a result but it didn’t seem to be.
Closed Mondays & some bank holidays

Danish Jewish museum

Danish Jewish museum

Copenhagen Royal Library Garden

 

Copenhagen Royal Library Garden

Danish Jewish Museum
There was an unwritten rule of city holidays in my family. If we found ourselves in a new city with a Jewish museum, then my Dad would gravitate towards it. When I was younger, I just didn’t get it. Sure they were interesting – but how different can each Jewish museum be? How much more can they say?

But as an adult (allegedly), I have inherited this gravitational pull. It’s like there’s some kind of magnet that gets passed through Jewish blood and kicks in when we get to about 18. I’ve also learnt that Jewish museums can be, are, very different. I’m ashamed to admit I knew very little of how Sweden helped Danish Jews during the war. The exhibits focusing on this area were the highlights of the museum for me. The other displays were more focused on Jewish culture through the years, featuring items like Torahs and clothes.

It wasn’t the best Jewish museum I’ve been to, but it was interesting to hear a new side to the Second World War story. And the building itself, jutting walls and interesting lighting, is stunning; it was designed by Daniel Libeskind, the man behind the Jewish Museum in Berlin – along with many other projects. Although exploring the museum itself will probably only take an hour or so of your time, being able to see inside the building is justification enough to pay the entry fee.

It’s also set within the small, peaceful Royal Library Gardens, the perfect place to just sit and stop and think (or not think!) for a little while.

The details
Købmagergade 5, 3
1150 København K
Nearest station: Kongens Nytorv
http://jewmus.dk/en
50DKK (Adults), or 75DKK for main and special exhibition (special exhibition wasn’t on when we visited). Students and pensioners are 40DKK/65DKK. Children under 18 go free.
Closed Mondays. During off-peak season (01/09 – 31/05), only open 1-4 on weekdays (open all day at weekends).
It’s worth noting that the museum is closed on some Jewish holidays (i.e Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur) as well as national Bank Holidays

experimentarium copenhagen

Experimentarium
OK, this one’s not quite as cultural as the other museums we visited – but it was a whole lot of fun! The Experimentarium is a science museum full of hands-on exhibits. Test out your fitness and strength, learn about Danish inventions or see inside your body. It’s really aimed at children, but that doesn’t mean that big kids can’t spend a good couple of hours here playing around. Go in the afternoon though – apparently it gets very busy with school groups in the morning.

I highly recommend if you fancy a laugh for a few hours. That said, when it moves back to Hellerup (their main building is currently being refurbished and expanded) then it’s probably quite not worth the trip for adult-only parties. Though the expansion may add lots of extra features that prove me wrong (and the architects’ designs a Google Image search throws up are undeniably intriguing).

The details
Trangravsvej 12
1436 Copenhagen K
Nearest station: Christianshavn Torv
https://www.experimentarium.dk/
Children 3-11, Students & Disabled: 105DKK
Adults (12+): 160DKK
Under 3s and Disabled helpers go free
Closed some bank holidays
(No I haven’t just missed a line – it’s open on Mondays!)

We also visited the lovely Viking Ships Museum in Roskilde – you can read a little more about it here

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Picture Credits
All pics that aren’t mine link to original source
Design Museum exterior, shop and collection (3rd pic): Design Museum website
Glyptotek exterior and interior statues: Glypototek website
Experimentarium from accross the water: Location CPH
All other pictures my own, please credit if using

Food Friday: Lunch and dinner in Copenhagen

Last week I highlighted some lovely spots for a bit of breakfast in Copenhagen. But woman cannot live by pastries alone (much as I’d love to)! So here are some of the places we enjoyed lunch and dinner.

DOP hotdog Copenhagen

Hot dog stands
Everyone warns you that Copenhagen is expensive, but nothing quite prepares you for just how expensive. Especially when it comes to food and drink. That doesn’t mean there aren’t cheaper options, and a good way to save a few pennies is by grabbing lunch from one of the many hot dog stands around the city. We tried two. The one sat at the top of Nyhavn won on location. We ate in the sun, lounging on some nearby steps overlooking the beautiful, much-photographed harbour. However while those hot dogs were tasty, there’s a reason that readers of Politiken, a Danish broadsheet, voted DOP the best restaurant in Copenhagen (hot dogs pictured above). This might sound a bit odd, but the real stand-out about their offering was the bun – super soft and not chewy at all. So, so good.

Stands cost from around 25DKK, though DOP’s were a bit more expensive (around 36DKK).

Kodbyens Fiskebar dessert
Kodbyens fiskebar mussels

Kodbyens Fiskebar
From the cheapest places we visited on our trip to the most expensive. But oh was it worth it. A fish and seafood restaurant, Kodbyens Fiskebar is located in ‘cool’ Kodbyen. Also known a the ‘meatpacking district’, Kodbyen is next to Vesterbro and, conveniently, less than a five minute walk from our apartment.

As you might expect from its name, this area was – and still is – home to butchers; many now stroll to work as partygoers stagger home from the surrounding bars and clubs. Strict planning laws means that the restaurants and bars who have moved in have to preserve the white-tiled outlets as they were when they were home to butchers. As a result, none of the places in the area look particularly fancy. So despite Kodbyens Fiskebaren seemingly being one of the most-talked restaurants in Copenhagen at the moment, we loved that it was also completed relaxed and welcoming and more suited to jeans than a dress.

More importantly, the staff were friendly and helpful and the food and drink was incredible. Go, go, go and eat as much as you can possibly manage!

‘Raw bar’ plates (almost like ‘samplers’, of which you need more than one dish): DK115-145 for three pieces.
Medium courses (large starters): 105-165DKK
Bigger courses (mains): 165-255DKK
Desserts: 95DKK

Reservations highly recommended (book online)

bangaw

Ban Gaw
Admittedly Thai probably isn’t the natural choice for dinner in Denmark, but Ben Gaw on Sonder Boulevard was conveniently situated and looked full every time we walked past – both big ticks. It’s not the best Thai I’ve ever eaten (that title still goes to Oli’s Thai), and I probably wouldn’t make a special trip to eat here if I wasn’t staying nearby. But the food was flavoursome and and portions were generous. And, by Copenhagen standards, it was reasonably priced too.

Starters: 50-69DKK
Mains: 124-184DKK, but most around 150DKK

Cocks and Cows Copenhagen

Cocks and Cows
You have to ignore the ridiculous name for this one, but it’s – just about – worth it. This burger restaurant has two outlets in Copenhagen, one on Sankt Peders Straese, near the university and Latin Quarter and another on Gammel Strand, just on the other side of the river from Slotsholmen. This is the one we found ourselves in.

There’s 10 burgers to choose from (mostly cow, rather than cock based, and also one veggie option). I can highly recommend the Juicy Lucy, a hunk of meat with cheese oozing out of the middle. You can also pick one of three types of bun: sesame, whole grain or Sweet American (a brioche-style sweet bread). John and I both plumped for the latter. I never normally finish burger buns, preferring to concentrate on meat and chips instead, but I polished off most of this one!

There’s also a number of sides on offer – some fairly typical (fries, curly fries, onion rings) and others less so (BBQ wings and ribs). While the latter were tempting, instead we both chose the chilli fries, which turned out to be a good decision.

There’s also a good choice of drinks. As this was looking to be our only meal of the day, we went all out and filled ourselves up on milkshakes. They were very good, but next time I think I’d be tempted to splash out on a cocktail.

Good quality burgers in central locations, Cocks and Cows is definitely worth a visit if you’re looking for something simple, good-quality and filling when in Copenhagen.

Picture credits
DOP hot dog: DOP’s Facebook page
Kodbyens Fiskebar exterior: Courtesy of Tripadvisor
Kodbyens Fiskebar food: My own, please credit if using
Ban Gaw: Thai Com
Cocks & Cows: Politiken