The most sought-after restaurant reservation in the world is a spot at Rene Redzepi’s Noma 2.0, and on our recent Insider Journey to Copenhagen we were able to experience the second night of his latest innovation: an entirely vegetarian 20-course menu. Dining at Noma really starts with the mythology. What began as a social and culinary experiment has morphed into gourmet dining at its most orchestrated and sought after. The original Noma not only put Copenhagen on the gourmet map and raised the bar for reservation envy, but it kicked off the Nordic cuisine movement that has spawned dozens of great restaurants all over the world. While Claus Mayer (one of the original founders) continues to use cooking for social good through his Melting Pot Foundation, the second version of chef Rene Redzepi’s Noma (commonly known as Noma 2.0) opened in February in a $40 million Danish dining temple designed to accommodate no more than 40 people at a time.
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Related: Top Tables Copenhagen
Our meal began with potted plants, literally. The first course arrives as a terra cotta pot blooming with tarragon or parsley. A hollowed-out plant stalk is tucked in the herbs; it serves as a straw. To sip the potato soup, you nestle your face in the herb bouquet. The message: Nothing about this meal will be predictable, but it will be fresh, inventive, earthy and, for the most part, delicious. Every course offers a twist and asks you to examine your preconceived notions of dining and of food. Marigold flowers were served with whiskey egg nog, mashing up summer and Christmas. A shawarma, just like the lamb ones that rotate on spits in Lebanese restaurants, was brought to the table to be carved. It's an all vegetable menu, though, so it cannot be lamb even if it looks and smells like grease-dripping, late-night Shawarma. Surprise it's celeriac as you could never imagine and will likely never taste again. Who dreams up the combinations? The place is electric with the energy of earnest food fanatics who play in the test kitchen out back for hours inventing new ways to ignite your palate and your imagination. This is an experience for food explorers not gourmet snobs. Go to have fun and to marvel at their creativity but starve yourself beforehand because there is a lot to try.
Related: Copenhagen Rising
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