Smørrebrød is to Denmark what hamburger is to America, an essential food item to eat while visiting the country. What is a smørrebrød, you ask? It translates to ‘open faced sandwich,’ and these bad boys come in many shapes and sizes, and can be found in a variety of eateries all over the city.
Our very first meal of the trip was at Dyrehaven [Sønder Blvd. 72, 1720 København V, Denmark], a low-key café with a bit of hipster flair in the Vesterbro neighborhood. Outside there are a lot of tables, and on a warmer sunny day I would love to have a meal out here and people watch. However, it was chilly, and we were underdressed. I didn’t know where to grab one of those hygge blankets people were snuggling with so we went inside. There is a small wooden bar and a few tables inside which were packed, we were lucky to grab the last two stools and tried to count all of the deer as we waited for our food. We each ordered a kartoffelmad, a vegetarian open faced sandwich, which was almost a glorified potato salad on one piece of deeply delectable rye bread; you could taste every grain of goodness.
There were big hunks of fresh clean tasting potatoes. Sprinklings of radishes, chives, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions. A serious slathering of homemade mayo. And topped, I mean loaded, with crispy fried onions. It was a fine sandwich, filling, and kind of hard to eat, but worth the effort.
Our other experience was at the opposite end of the spectrum, and city, at Aamanns Etablissment [Øster Farimagsgade 12 2100 Copenhagen Denmark København K], a higher end joint though only the casual lunchtime deli section of the restaurant was open. We sat down and decided on which of these slightly miniature sandwiches to order. Most people order two or three, I settled on the smoked halibut and the chicken salad and that was plenty for my appetite.
The ingredients were all remarkably fresh; I loved the whole and puréed peas, dollops of sour cream, crispy onions, and crunchy greens on the halibut. The chicken salad was creamy yet light, crumbles of savory bacon, and fresh bites of fruit had all sorts of flavor explosions going on in my mouth.
An open faced sandwich: one piece of bread, one million possibilities. Don’t miss out on experiencing a smørrebrød on your visit to Copenhagen!