Nina Højgaard Jensen

“The natural-wine movement is very strong in Copenhagen,” says the head sommelier of Copenhagen’s renowned Kong Hans Kælder, the capital’s first restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star. “Yet one might argue it could be too strong.” Thoughtful inclusivity informs Nina Jensen’s fresh, dogma-free wine approach and guided her to her runner-up finish at the 2019 Best Sommelier of the World championships. From classic houses to new-wave producers, her recommendations cover the full spectrum of wine.
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My Favourite Spots To Wine (And Dine) In Copenhagen

For me, restaurant Anarki has the most interesting wine programme in the city. Here you will find well-selected producers in all styles, and from different corners of the world at very reasonable prices. Terroiristen wine bar is another exciting place to go exploring, wine-wise. They are good in the more obscure regions of the world, and don’t care much for movements or trends – they’re happy just doing their own thing. French-Nordic-style bistro Melee has it all – a homely feeling, great food, good service with well-educated staff and of course, a great wine list. In the summertime, it’s one of the most special outdoor experiences. It is pure happiness that you want to come back to time and time again. The pricing is very important when I go to a wine bar. It’s not exactly fun when you know that everything is priced at the absolute maximum. Considering this, I like smaller, quirky wine bars like Ancestrale. They offer a great selection of natural wines, and it’s a very clear example of the local scene here in Copenhagen; tiny, beautiful decor and hits the hipster-nerve spot on, but importantly, what they deliver is good.  Vinbaren Vesterbro Torv, which is more classically oriented, is also a great option. Pluto is an all-time favourite with solid food, good natural wines and nice cocktails. It never fails to deliver and is the hotspot on Sunday, Monday and Tuesdays for industry people.

Where Locals Go To Enjoy A Summer’s Day

On a beautiful sunny day, Ved Stranden 10 is just perfect. Settings don’t get much better than their location down by the canals of Copenhagen. La Banchina is also one of the best places in Copenhagen to relax in the sun; a place where you can get some nice food and a decent glass of something cold be it a beer, cider or glass of wine. It is the essence of Copenhagen. Our way of chilling in the summer, right by the water’s edge where you can jump in and cool off if needed.

Nordic Cuisine For The Soul

In the summertime, a trip to Amass is like balsam for the soul. It serves strictly Nordic cuisine – it’s some of the best available in Copenhagen – in the coolest surroundings. You’re in the middle of the city, but there’s a gorgeous garden outside, a bonfire and the perfect setting to watch the sunset.  

Board Games And Cocktails On A Rainy Day

On a rainy, day – which we have many more of than sunny days – I love to go to Bastard Café, where you can pass time with their huge selection of board games and cocktails.

My Favourite Local Diners

Omar is one of my top favourite places to dine right now. They have really great French bistro-style food, a good wine selection with nice by-the-glass choices and at prices that couldn’t be more fair (read: extremely cheap). I also really like a wine bar called Nr.30 for both their food and wine – it’s the perfect place to unwind with friends. Omar and Nr.30 are places you won’t find in guidebooks but are spots that you should surely visit. Italo Disco makes purely delicious Italian food using good raw ingredients in simple preparations. There is only one menu, and the whole ambience is no-bullshit. Their whole attitude is, “It doesn’t have to be that fucking complicated; if it’s good, it’s good.” And they sure know how to do just that. Ramen to Biiru make delicious bowls of ramen, and I really appreciate the rusticity and simplicity of a meal there. It fills your belly and soul with comfort. Baan Thai Isarn is my go-to for good Thai food. Usually the restaurant is crowded, so reserving a table is recommendable. Their specialty is Isaan-style food, which for me, is the most authentic, flavourful Thai food one can get – just be prepared for a spicy meal!

Nothing is more Danish than Smørrebrød

Lunch at Palægade is unmissable if you want to know what smørrebrød (open face sandwich) is all about. Here, they execute the classics to perfection with some truly legendary people running the floor. Have some schnapps and a couple of pieces, and you will have Danish blood flowing through your veins. Selma is the best, yet less famed restaurant for smørrebrød. Go here if you want a more modern interpretation. They have a great beer selection as well.

Fine-Dining in a 17th-century Thatched-Roof Inn

Søllerød Kro, located a little north of Copenhagen, is a really special place for me. This is where I had my first fine-dining experience. The warmth and passion of the people there are very inspiring. It is definitely worth the small trip.

Old School Charm And A 700-year Old Cellar

If you’re looking for a truly special and memorable dining experience, Copenhagen has many high-end restaurants to choose from. Kong Hans Kælder (where I also happen to work) is ideal for just that. Here, you encounter a very classical approach to fine-dining, and many tableside show-elements that truly require the old-school waiter craft to execute properly. The ambience in the 700-year old vaulted cellar with white chalked walls is so unique, and everything is carefully considered down to the smallest detail. The wine list is long and with great depth, relying mostly on the classical area. The cuisine, and taste of the dishes are deep and intense – the whole experience is the essence of luxury, hence a high price tag.

Just Like Grandma Cooked It

Guldkroen is the place to go if you want to understand traditional Danish food, the way grandma makes it. Absurdly enough it is a Turkish chef – who’s now a big star – who decided to honour the old, Danish cuisine with this restaurant, and everything is done so right. There probably is no place more Danish than this. It really is remarkable and an incredible experience, especially for anybody interested in understanding Danish cooking, past and present.

A Contender For The World’s Best Ice Cream

I am as passionate about ice-cream as I am obsessed about wine and food. And here in Copenhagen it just so happens that we have one of the best ice cream stores in the world: Ismageriet. They have two branches in Søborg and Amager that are both always busy, but it is worth the wait.

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