If you weren't hungry before you started reading this, you will be by the end. Photo: Alex Berger
After more three years exploring Copenhagen’s budget eateries, this list highlights some of my favourites. The rules are simple – that the food is good, the portions are large, and that the price for your meal is less than 100 kroner (and ideally significantly cheaper than that). Prices change, as does quality so I make no guarantees that the information in this post is up to date but I make every effort possible to keep it accurate and reliable. This list is also divided into two sections: The City Centre and Nørrebro. Vesterbro may have won the 'hipster war', but it isn’t an area I typically turn to for cheap eats.
And if you missed it, be sure to check out the first part of this two-part instalment, 'How to eat on the cheap in Copenhagen', where I discuss different genres of budget friendly food in the capital area.
Where to eat for cheap in the city centre:
Restaurant Ankara – Situated along Strøget on the first floor, this restaurant offers a fairly extensive buffet. The food is usually fresh, ingredients are decent, and there is a relatively large selection of salads and meat plates with reasonable flavour. The lunch buffet runs 69 kroner+drink while dinner will cost 89 kroner+drink. The food has a heavy Mediterranean/Turkish influence.
Dalle Valle – Home to the nicest budget budget buffet in Copenhagen, Dalle Valle has a lunch buffet at 79 kroner and a dinner buffet for 119 kroner. The buffet is large, fresh, has a variety of local Danish dishes, and is immensely popular with locals. The restaurant also offers specials that allow you to purchase most entrees at a 50 percent discount with the purchase of a drink (20 kroner for a tap water works). This makes it one of the cheapest traditional restaurant experiences in Copenhagen. The deal is not available on the weekends, however. Dalle Valle has been widely popular and now has locations in Amager and Taastrup in addition to the one on Fiolstræde, and a new location will open in Glostrup on October 28th. Be warned that drinks are quite expensive and that Dalle Valle has repeatedly raised prices on its buffet, quickly counteracting all of the positives that made them so attractive to begin with. I've left it on the list because it is still a good buffet, but technically their dinner pricing is now outside the range of this post with lunch prices nearing what their dinner prices once were.
Samos Greek – With a lunch buffet that costs just 50 kroner and a dinner buffet that runs 79 kroner, the food selection and quality isn’t amazing but is definitely tolerable. If you need to re-fuel on a tight budget and enjoy Mediterranean food, this is a good spot for you.
Magasin Cafe – Situated right off Nyhavn and Kongens Nytorv the large department store Magasin has a cafe located on the top floor. While still slightly pricey, you’ll be able to find a good selection of traditional Danish foods for less than 100 kroner.
Tria Deli – This bagel and salad shop makes fantastic sandwiches at very reasonable prices (typically less than 45 kroner) and is located just next to the 7/11 on Gothersgade, making it one of the best budget friendly options in the immediate vicinity of Nyhavn.
L’Appetit – Situated on Fredriksborggade just north of Nørreport Station this tiny salad place has a number of delicious salad options and is obviously vegetarian friendly with heaping portions, great menu items, and delicious samosas. Even if you’re not a salad person (I’m normally not) this is well worth the visit. Prices vary based on what you get, but items such as samosas can be purchased individually or as part of a meal. Expect to pay between 30-60 kroner.
Where to eat for cheap in Nørrebro and Nordvest:
Rita’s Smørrebrød – This is my favourite smørrebrød shop in Copenhagen. With a wide assortment of 'budget' options starting at 12 kroner, Rita’s is always fresh, tasty, and is very popular with local Danes. With just enough room for three people to eat in (or two tables outside if the weather is nice) this is usually a good spot to order the smørrebrød to go. On a nice day, take it to the nearby bridge across the lakes and join Danes for sunbathing and good eats. Rita’s is open from 10am-2pm Monday-Friday.
Banana Joe’s – My favourite budget burger shop in Copenhagen. I discovered Banana Joe’s a couple years ago and am thrilled that people are starting to catch on to it. With an extremely affordable menu, this little hole in the wall cranks out some of the best burgers in town. The Banana Joe special burger is particularly good and consists of a hulking burger with an egg on top. It may not look like the type of place you should try fish from, but Banana Joe’s also has the best fish burger (real salmon fillets, perfectly cooked) in town. 'Joe' is also a fantastic host – so make sure you try and grab one of the small tables and stay for a chat. Prices range from 35-75 kroner.
Harry’s Place – It doesn’t get more Danish than this tiny place. This shop is just wide enough for one person, and embodies everything you want in a tiny undiscovered local’s eatery. Prices are good, and they’ve got some of the best hot dogs and traditional Danish eats in Copenhagen. If you’re itching to try a traditional Danish flæskesteg sandwich (and you should), this is definitely the place to do it.
Mama Africa – If you want heaping portions and are itching for a good meat plate at a rock bottom price this is a great option. I usually opt for either a #4 or #6 but most of the menu is good. The food is African in nature and the staff and majority of their customers are Somali. For 65 kroner you’ll find tasty lamb or beef options served with a heaping serving of flavoured rice and a couple of small sides. The meat is good quality, though often second tier cuts – so be prepared to use your fingers and work your way through a tender shoulder or knee cut if you opt for the #4. The menu’s weak spots are the Ethiopian platter and chicken offerings. The kaka is also a tasty vegetarian (?) option if you wan’t something more exotic. Most mains start at 65 kroner and go up to 80 kroner. It’s worth noting that it can be slightly intimidating for non-Somali’s when you first walk into the place just because you feel a bit like an outsider. Don’t let that dissuade you though, folks are friendly and the atmosphere is vibrant! A knife and fork is optional and make sure to try their delicious green chilli salsa.
Torvets Kebab – Nothing fancy or complicated about this place. Just one of the best kebabs in Nørrebro. Good prices, and fresh meat with a high turnover. The kebab place next door may look more promising, but this is where you want to go. Also, as a fun quirk, check the place’s counter out – it is decorated with verses from Machiavelli’s The Prince. I strongly suggest opting for the mixed pita or durum, especially if you’re hungry, but they’ve also got tasty falafel. Pitas and dürüm range from 20-33 kroner.
La Centrale – While the majority of what these guys do focuses around kebab and pizza, they have recently diversified into a wide assortment of Middle Eastern food. This includes rotisserie chicken, a wide selection of Middle Eastern dishes, and other tasty eats. They have good daily specials and make a tasty chicken burger (about 60 kroner for a meal plus a drink).
Maed Ethiopian – One of Copenhagen’s only Ethiopian restaurants, this place also has a decent menu. It’s not the best Ethiopian you’ll ever try, but it is definitely good enough to return to repeatedly and some of the best in Copenhagen. With a very authentic vibe, the best bet for folks on a budget is to visit for their lunch special which will serve up a hearty portion with a couple flavours for about 50 kroner. If ordering off the regular menu expect to pay between 60-80 kroner for a filling meal.
Kosk Kebab – Quite possibly the most popular kebab shop in Copenhagen. While a little ways from the city centre (lines 350S, 5A both drop you off nearby at Nørrebro Station) it is usually worth the trip. With large servings and addictive rice, their plates are well priced and the quality is quite high. Expect to pay between 60-70 kroner for a plate which includes two skewers, rice, and salad.
Eating cheap in other areas:
Føtex, Kvickly & Super Brugsen – These supermarkets are found just about everywhere and typically have deli sections. As with any deli, freshness varies widely. However, these provide a super cheap and convenient opportunity to get access to and sample some traditional Danish food on the cheap.
Green Mango – With a weekday lunch special that drops the price of a main to 59 kroner, this Christianshavn joint is some of the cheapest and best Thai food in Copenhagen. I always opt for the Pad Thai which is super fresh, a hearty portion, and has great flavour and presentation. The location makes it a super convenient stop on the way to Christiania or the city centre.
Magasasa Chinese – Despite what I said earlier, one Vesterbro eatery did find its way on the list. If you ask Chinese folks in Copenhagen where to go for budget friendly semi-authentic Chinese food, they’ll almost all tell you Magasasa. It is located right next to Copenhagen Central Station and has a large menu. Prices vary but mains usually start around 60 kroner with the bulk falling in the 70-80 kroner range.
Have your own suggestions? Post them in a comment so residents and visitors alike can have even more options for eating cheaply in Copenhagen. And don’t forget to check out the first part of this post, 'How to eat on the cheap in Copenhagen', where I talk about eating out in Copenhagen on a budget in more general terms.