From the time I entered my first café, it was obvious that finding cheap places to eat in Copenhagen would be a challenge. 77 DKK (about US$12) for a cappuccino and a rather unappetizing half sandwich, really? (Exchange rate for the Danish krone: 1 DKK = $0.15 USD = $0.20 CAD)

Given my small food budget, I thought I might starve in this city where food prices were almost twice what I’m used to in Canada! Fortunately, over the following days, I discovered a few places in the city centre which could make attractive refuelling stops for visitors on a budget. (Many thanks to Evelina, a young Lithuanian expat, for suggesting some of these.)

Tagliatelle with chicken from Paludan Bogcafe (Copenhagen)

My first tip to avoid spending all of your Danish krones on food in Copenhagen (and in Scandinavia in general) is to limit yourself to one restaurant meal a day. Buy food for the other two meals at grocery stores such as Fakta. Since I spent all day walking around, I made lunch my restaurant meal. I usually bought myself a yogurt and a pastry for breakfast, and a salad, sandwich, or other prepared food (to reheat at my AirBnB accommodation) for dinner.

My consumption of alcoholic beverages was limited to the occasional local beer from the supermarket. Alcohol in restaurants is expensive, starting at about 50 DKK for a beer. Note however that restaurant prices include tax, and wait staff does not expect tips. Cappuccinos are usually around 32 to 38 DKK.

Using this method, I was able to limit my daily food expenses to CAD$30-35 (US$23-27). Below are five places where you should be able to have a meal (or a snack) for 100 DKK or less. Note that you can help yourself to free tap water, which is perfectly fine to drink, in every café.

Cheap places to eat in Copenhagen

1. Toldbodens Juice & Gront

This cosy little café serves delicious organic salads (of different sizes), large sandwiches, and freshly blended juices. There are many vegetarian choices as well. They also serve espresso coffee and breakfast plates. Furry blankets cover the chairs for those chilly days

Toldbodens Juice & Gront, Copenhagen

Location: Toldbodgade 14. Stop here before of after visiting the Little Mermaid, the Design Museum, Amalienborg, or Nyhavn.

2. Studenterhuset (Student Café)

You don’t have to be a student to come here for a caffeine boost. Cappuccinos start at 32 DKK (for non members), and they serve baked goods and snacks. Interestingly, they allow you to bring your own packed lunch as long as you buy your drinks from the café. There is ample seating both inside and on the outdoor patio.

In the evening, Studenterhuset transforms into a bar, featuring music bands and other events. They offer a good selection of beers.

Studenterhuset, Copenhagen

Location: Købmagergade 52, right next to The Round Tower, near all the pedestrian commercial streets.

3. Paludan Bogcafé

If you’re hungry and looking for something different, look no further than Paludan. Order at the counter from a varied menu including burgers, salads, pasta, fish and more. The servings are large and most dishes cost less than 100 DKK. I had tagliatelle with chicken for 89 DKK and couldn’t eat it all (see top photo).

The café is also a functioning bookstore, so you get to eat surrounded by shelves full of books! They’re open for (late) breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Alcohol is available, including small beers for only 25 DKK.

Paludan Bogcafe, Copenhagen

Location: Fiolestræde 10-12, not far from the Copenhagen Cathedral.

4. Zaggi Coffee

Marketing itself as “the cheapest coffee in Copenhagen”, Zaggi is another student hangout serving 15 DKK cups of coffee (including cappuccinos and lattes), sandwiches, pasta salad, cakes, even yoghurt with granola.

Location: Frederiksborggade 43, near the Botanical Gardens and University of Copenhagen.

5. Torvehallerne Market

Torvehallerne is a pleasant clean farmer’s market with many food and produce stalls. Try the colourful and artistically elaborated smørrebrød (open-face sandwiches), or look for lunch deals. There is a lot of fresh seafood here and a nice “direct trade” coffee shop called The Coffee Collective. This market gets top ratings on both Tripadvisor and Yelp.

Smorrebrod at Torvehallerne Market, Copengahen

Smørrebrød at Torvehallerne Market

Location: Frederiksborggade 21, just north of Nørreport metro station. Convenient to the Botanical Gardens, Rosenborg Castle, and Kings Garden.

I hope these suggestions of cheap places to eat in Copenhagen will help you find good affordable food while you’re exploring the city centre. The University of Copenhagen has four campuses in town, so you can always ask students for more ideas!


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