Foodie Guide to Odense From Denmark's Best Bistro to Japanese Kaiseki Style

Press trip / Affiliate links

Odense is Denmark’s third biggest city, situated on the country’s third largest island Funen. I’ll stick to the local name Fyn from now on, though. More than anything, the city of Odense is known as the birthplace of the world famous Danish writer H. C. Andersen. His fairytales are amongst the most translated books in the world – some sources even claim his stories might be more read than the Bible. We visited Odense this summer, and like any vacation or travel, we planned our journey around food. To make sure we paid a visit to the best spots for great eats I spoke with several trustworthy sources. In addition to online research, I got great tips from Julie in Visit Denmark, from chef Bent Stiansen of Statholdergaarden, who has a summer house at Fyn, and from foodie and local restaurateur Claus Skovsted, whom I met by chance during my first visit to Sabi Omakase in Stavanger.

The streets of Odense
The streets of Odense

Check in to First Hotel Grand

We arrived in Odense after driving from Copenhagen, through Zealand (local name: Sjælland), where we visited Rønnede Kro and Hotel Frederiksminde. Our GPS caused some confusion since the city is currently undergoing hefty construction work to remove the highway that used to divide the town. First Hotel Grand is located right in the middle of the city, about as centrally as one can stay while visiting Odense. Since we came by car, the hotel offered parking spots in a neighboring parking house for a slightly discounted fee. Parts of this historical hotel has been restored to its original 19th-century look. The brick and mortar exterior is beautiful, and all the public areas – the entrance, restaurant & bar and hallways look vintage. The rooms don’t match that style, though, and instead has a more modern type of flooring and wallpaper. Our room was decent enough, but then again we prefer to spend our time outside the hotel so we didn’t opt for a fancy suite.

Checking in to First Hotel Grand in Odense
Checking in to First Hotel Grand in Odense

Drink Wine at S’Vineriet Vinapotek

First stop in Odense, after checking in to the hotel, was Klaregade. S’Vineriet Vinapotek opened last autumn in number 36. I love the name of the wine bar, which is a play on two Danish words. This is the kind of place I imagine must be equally nice in the summer time as the winter season. We sat outside on our first visit because the weather allowed, but the second time we dropped by for a glass we chose the cozy atmosphere inside. Floor-to-ceiling shelves are filled with wine bottles. Old barrels are used as tables, and if you walk deeper into “the cave” a bigger room reveals itself with a lot more space and seating options.

Enjoying a glass of the most natural wine they could summon for us at S'Vineriet
Enjoying a glass of the most natural wine they could summon for us at S’Vineriet

Eat Dinner at Denmark’s Best Bistro (2014)

Restaurant No. 61 was voted Denmark’s Best Bistro in 2014 by Den Danske Spiseguide and the same year chef Martin Pilsmark’s cookbook ’61 Licks’ won the “The World’s Best Cookbook” in the World Gourmand Awards. Of course, we had to check it out! The restaurant is a French-inspired brasserie that uses local and seasonal produce. We ate delicious white asparagus with truffle vinaigrette and bacon, salmon & smoked North sea shrimps, and a hearty dish of chicken in a morel sauce, to name a few.

White asparagus with bacon and truffle vinaigrette
White asparagus with bacon and truffle vinaigrette
Tattoos and wine
Tattoos and wine

No. 61 is a small venue with a nice ambiance. It’s decorated with rustic dark wooden tables in a surprisingly un-hipster-esque way. Don’t worry, though, the sommelier has plenty of tattoos to weigh up. The menu is up on the wall on a chalkboard (but you get a printed copy too, thankfully). You can choose between a main course priced at DKK 195, a two-course menu for DKK 275 or the full three-course menu discreetly priced at DKK 325. In either case, you have a choice between two different starters, mains, and desserts. There’s a cheaper wine menu that cost DKK 65 per glass or a more expensive one costing DKK 95 per glass. Tasty food, a friendly host and a relaxing atmosphere combined made this our favorite place in Odense!

Lock, stock & barrel
Lock, stock & barrel

Breakfast at Nelle’s Coffee the Next Morning

The next morning we craved a good cup of coffee and headed for Nelle’s Coffee, which was rumored to be the best in town. In fact, they have two locations, so to be precise the one we visited was in Overgade. I was especially happy to discover Nelle’s did V60 brews. Hedda was more focused on something else, though. She had discovered that the coffee shop also sold Jacob & Jakob’s ice cream. Thus, our breakfast this morning consisted of rhubarb sorbet and vanilla ice cream. Washed down with some Ethiopian hot water.

Eat a Classic Lunch by Thomas Pasfall

When acclaimed Norwegian chef Bent Stiansen of the Michelin-starred restaurant Statholdergaarden in Oslo recommends something, you listen. With him being basically a half-citizen of Fyn as well, we had no other choice than to book a lunch at Pasfall – the fine dining restaurant by Thomas Pasfall. Mentioned in the Michelin Guide as one of only two places on Fyn (the other one is Falsled Kro), this classic French eatery has a modern touch to both the food and interior. The presentation is far from new-Nordic, but the expression isn’t hardcore French either – it’s somewhere safely in between.

Pouring the bubblies at Pasfall
Pouring the bubblies at Pasfall

I loved that the dishes were quite simple and focused on a few ingredients. However, too few of the dishes left a lasting impression in terms of flavor. Also, I could have sworn my foie gras was cold in the core. Such details aside, though, we still had a nice lunch this sunny afternoon. Even Thomas Pasfall dropped by his own restaurant as a guest. Although he seemed to be busy chatting with old friends, so we didn’t get to say hi this time, unfortunately.

The foie gras
The foie gras
Danish koldskål!
Danish koldskål!

Drink a Beer Under the Linden Tree

During our explorations of the city, in particular looking for traces of H.C. Andersen’s history, we stumbled upon an unspoiled oasis in the city center: Restaurant Under Lindetræet. The restaurant is, as the name implies, located right under a big linden tree. It also happens to be a neighbor with the childhood home of H.C. Andersen. Boom! Checked that point off our list. We found a table outside in the sun and ordered a beer from the local brewery Ugly Duck Brewing Co. I wonder where they got the name from … There wasn’t room (in our stomachs) to eat here this day, but we’ll be sure to check out the Fairytale Menu next time.

A beer under the tree at Under Lindetræet
A beer under the tree at Under Lindetræet
Helmuth Kellerbier from Ugly Duck Brewing Co.
Helmuth Kellerbier from Ugly Duck Brewing Co.

Enjoy a Japanese Kaiseki Inspired Dinner at Goma

Our last dinner in Odense, and our last meal before we left Fyn to head for Lolland was at Goma. This Japanese style restaurant offers a varied menu of sushi, snacks, and smaller courses. You can choose between sushi menus and sushi omakase menus (where the chef decide), or choose freely from the à la carte menu to have a kaiseki inspired experience.

Maki omakase menu, 16 pieces
Maki omakase menu, 16 pieces

Kaiseki is a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner, where each dish is served separately. At Goma they use original Japanese ceramics to present the food and the interior design is minimalist and contemporary. The main dining area is downstairs, while the upper floor is a cocktail & wine bar. I think we almost ate the entire menu, so this is just a small selection of our favorites. The tempura white asparagus and the gunkan with foie gras & teriyaki sauce were particularly delicious!

Chili-miso lamb chops
Chili-miso lamb chops

Places I Hope to Visit Next Time

Places on my to-visit-list, that weren’t prioritized this time, are amongst others Mmoks: a Nordic restaurant and cocktail bar with a relaxed atmosphere. Sortebro Kro: a tavern, dating back to the 1800s, that hosts a classic French restaurant in the outskirts of the city. Kok og Vin: a French brasserie with seasonal produce, and lastly Gastroteket, which is a Danish/French deli & wine store and restaurant.

Restaurant & cocktail bar mmoks in Kongensgade
Restaurant & cocktail bar mmoks in Kongensgade
Walking in the footsteps of H.C. Andersen, in the streets of Odense
Walking in the footsteps of H.C. Andersen, in the streets of Odense

What’s your favorite place to eat in Odense? Please share in a comment below.

Lagre

Lagre

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Lagre

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Disclaimer

This was a personal press trip. Parts of the expenses were covered by the hotel and restaurants. The guide contains affiliate links to booking.com. As always, the content reflects my sincere opinion and is my personal recommendation.

17 comments

  • Great guide – fun to hear What others find interesting in “my” home town.

    There is a lot going on In Odense these years – we are alive again ?

    I also love Bacchus In the City center, wery french and run by a frenshman.
    http://restaurantbacchus.dk/

    /Erland

  • You should have tried the brunch at ‘Under Lindetræet’:)
    Proberly the best brunch in Denmark and most defiently in terms of value for money. A brunch with 4 servings and from Odenses absolut most high end restaurant for around 200kr..

  • Thank you so much for writing such an in depth but still manageable to follow review of one of my favorite cities in the world and the very place I call home. . I love walking around in Odense and I think I can say that I have tasted something on almost every single restaurant. . I comepletely agree with your list. . Next time I would suggest Burger Anarchy – they serve great Burgers!
    If you do visit Goma again ask for their ‘salte fisk’ I’m not sure it’s still on their menu but they will make it for you if you ask!
    If you like sushi you should also try Bar Sushi it’s a take out place but they do have a seating area. In my opinion they serve the best sushi I’ve ever had. . 🙂
    Great post!

  • Il pupi Siciliani
    Sæson spisested
    Den Gamle Kro
    Gringos
    Umashi
    Lalou Vinbar.

    Jeg synes din anmeldelse afspejler lidt for meget dit venskab med Claus Skovsted, deraf dit besøg hos S’vineriet (mega plagiat fra Svinbar i Århus) og Nelle’s. Nelle’s får kaffe fra River Coffee og det er traditionelt dark roast italian style, så derfor er kaffen ikke light roasted, og fordi man bruger en V60 er det ikke ensbetydende med kaffen bliver bedre. Intet ondt om Nelle’s eller personerne bag. Har arbejdet der og har arbejdet for dem på Tinderbox, synes de er nogle skønne mennesker. De sidder dog på et kaffemonopol som gør, at de ikke har noget inciatement til at udvikle sig på kaffefronten.
    I og med du kommer meget i København, så man formode du kender The Coffee Collective, Democratic Coffee, Prolog, Forloren Espresso, Copenhagen Coffee lab eller Café Europa og derved vide bedre om kaffe.

    • Hei, og takk for flere tips! Før vi dro på denne turen hadde jeg en lang liste med Odense-anbefalinger fra forskjellige folk. Jeg valgte ut de stedene jeg hadde mest tro på, med den begrensede tiden vi hadde. Nelle’s var ikke en anbefaling fra Claus, som for øvrig ikke er en venn av meg. Vi hadde kun møttes én gang tidligere. Jeg synes S’Vineriet var en flott vinbar, uavhengig av hvem de har latt seg inspirere av. Takk for rettelsen angående kaffen, det er oppdatert. Jeg husker det for øvrig som en god kaffe, men tips meg gjerne om noe bedre i byen.

  • I’m happy to read that you enjoyed your stay in Odense. We really do have quite a few great places.

    As already suggested be sure to check out Lalou Winebar on your next visit. Best winebar in town and best charcuterie I’ve ever had! Also, Sortebro Kro, mmoks and Kok & Vin (go for their a la carte) is really also worth a visit. Oh and lunch at Soup Stone Cafe. And visit the cocktail bar at First Hotel Grand next time – best in town! 🙂

  • Hello there, I love your guide to the beatiful town of Odense.
    Next time you stop by, i would strongly recommend you to go and visit a new restaurant located in the theatre of Odense “Restaurant Kongens Have” The new modernised restaurant works well together with the old theatre, the food and the serving is amazing.. I almost garantie you will not be let down. Also Mmoks, is always an abselute delight to visit.

  • We just finished our very excellent lunch at Sortebro Kro. They accommodated my little son who didn’t like chicken (the only kid’s meal on the menu was grilled chicken) by offering him fish that was fried to perfection and not too heavily breaded. My husband had veal cooked perfectly to medium rare, and I had a dish with Flounder. My other son had the kids meal, which he raved about. Both of the adult meals came with creamy mashed potatoes topped with crunchy scallions and bacon that was just awesome. We also had dessert: ice-cream for the kids, chocolate mousse for my husband and a rhubarb with raspberry sorbet (that was not on the menu) for me. We will definitely go back again.

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