My recent trip to Copenhagen was the first real challenge since transitioning to a fully vegan diet, but with a little advance planning I have to say being vegan in Copenhagen is not difficult; it is not only a very vegan-friendly city, but one of the most veggie-friendly cities I’ve been to in a while. Copenhagen has a good number of exclusively meat-free restaurants as well as places with clearly labelled vegan options, though don’t expect to find any traditional Danish restaurants with so much as a token vegetarian option! (However, if you do find one of the latter, let me know!)
Since I was travelling with my partner who is omni, we were really after establishments that served both vegan and meaty options. After trawling through options on Trip Advisor (generally our first port of call when planning the foodie part of any trip) it wasn’t looking too promising, but once I expanded my research by looking into specific neighbourhoods and more alternative areas of the city we were suddenly spoilt for choice. The following are just a starting point into eating vegan in Copenhagen and no doubt there’ll be plenty I’ve missed; what I can say though is that these are all tried and tested – and both vegan and meat-eater approved.
Copenhagen Street Food
Copenhagen Street Food was a highlight of the trip for both of us and has to be one of the best places to be vegan in Copenhagen. It was a bit of a trek on foot from where we stayed out to Papirøen (paper island – so called because the building was previously used for paper storage by the Danish press) where the street food market is located so we’d built up a quite an appetite by the time we arrived.
Papirøen is on the waterfront of Copenhagen Harbour and in the summer you’ll find deck chairs laid out in front of the building. We had no such luck in the winter and were eager to get inside, away from the cold winds coming in over the water.
Inside the hall is lined with rows of trucks, converted shipping containers, wooden stands and various other colourful stalls selling cuisines from all over the world. No where could be better than Copenhagen Street Food if you want to please everyone; some of the street food stands sell exclusively meat-free food while others have both meat and veg options, and a few more are decidedly meaty. Pete and I grabbed a little starter to share together then went our own way to make our choices.
There’s a good number of places serving up vegan options at Copenhagen Street Food, from Moroccan, Italian, Korean, and even an organic health food option. I picked up an amazing Colombian veggie burger with plantain fries from La Tienda. They call themselves ‘vegetarian Colombian food’ but if you ask for the veggie burger without cheese then it is completely vegan, as are the dips and plantain fries.
The aforementioned starter was from Madenitaly who sell exclusively meat-free pizzas, including a few cheese-free vegan pizzas. We opted to share a slice of the artichoke carpaccio. The slices are popped into the oven before serving so they’re crisp and soft in equal measures and piping hot. There was the option to add a sprinkling of cheese onto the slices so we were able to have ours cut into two, one side with for Pete and one side without cheese for me. I also picked up an excellent vanilla soy latte from The Silver Streak Coffee Club. My only disappointment was that I didn’t get chance to visit Root Food who make beautiful looking veggie summer rolls but the queue was huge on our visit and, despite our best intentions, we never did get to revisit Papirøen.
All in all, both Pete and I concluded that we’d quite like to transplant Copenhagen Street Food from Copenhagen and over to Leeds! You can find the full list of stalls here.
Torvehallerne calls itself a ‘super market’ (read: not a supermarket!) and consists of two halls as well as an outdoor area lined with independent vendors selling various produce, gourmet ingredients and quick bites to eat. It’s located just next to Nørreport Station and happened to be only a five minute walk from our apartment, so we popped in for breakfast on our first day before heading out to explore the city.
There’s all sorts of cuisine to be found but we settled on Granny’s House – a little café located in the corner of one of the halls serving up fresh bread, pastries and sandwiches. I ordered an avocado sandwich (without mozzarella as it was on the menu at an avocado and mozzarella sandwich). It came full of salad and a sun-dried tomato paste and was a delicious, if extremely messy, mid-morning breakfast. Though nothing was labelled as vegan on the menu, all allergens are clearly labelled on the breads and pastries so it’s easy to see what contains milk and/or eggs and the freshly made sandwiches can easily be adapted.
Around the rest of Torvehallerne, there’s plenty of fresh ingredients if you were looking to cook for yourself at all as well as more vegan options to be found in the other cafés.
This vintage-styled basement café was also very near to our apartment, one block away in fact! This made it an even more perfect Sunday brunch spot that I’d hoped when I was planning where to eat as a vegan in Copenhagen.
Kalaset serves vegan options at all times of day, but on Sunday mornings they only serve brunch – with a non-veg, a vegetarian and a vegan brunch on the menu. Everything vegan is clearly labelled and they also offer soy milk in their coffees.
The vegan brunch consisted of Moroccan lentil ratatouille, falafel, grilled vegetables, baked new potatoes, a big scoop of hummous and one of olive tapenade, along with fresh fruit, a little salad and a pot of soy yoghurt topped with muesli. I love the fact they thought of everything vegan, such as including soy yoghurt rather than skipping that part.
Kalaset is a popular brunch spot so it’s worth arriving early to bag a table. We got there not long after they opened at 10am and it was already filling up rapidly! The interior is pretty cool and decorated with vintage radios and kitchenware and in nice weather there’s a few outdoor seats on offer too.
This was somewhat of a serendipitous find. We had got to the point one afternoon where we had done so much walking, the cold weather was taking its toll and we just need to rest and refuel.
Fortunately we stumbled across Kaffestuen on Vesterbrogade and found a seat in their upstairs area that’s full of pallet sofas and mountains of cushions. Exactly the kind of place we needed! We ordered ourselves a couple of fresh juices and though the menu was only in Danish the staff were happy to translate it for us. I went for one of my favourite juice combinations: beetroot, apple, lime and ginger.
I enquired about the cakes and was delighted when they informed me a couple were vegan (without me even getting to that question!). My choice was the Romkugler, a vegan take on Danish rum balls! It was chocolatey, coconutty, and honestly one of the best cakes I’ve had in a while – definitely worth popping in for one as a vegan afternoon treat! It was also a pleasant surprise to see that you could find cake as a vegan in Copenhagen without really trying.
Edited to add: I’ve since found out that Kaffestuen are now a fully vegan café – great news!
Have you travelled as a vegan in Copenhagen? Let me know your favourite spots and anywhere I’ve missed out!