Burgers are not new to the Copenhagen food scene, but they experienced a bit of a renaissance last year. What led to this dramatic surge in popularity? Ah, yes – the lockdown effect. When restaurants were forced to shutter and takeout became the only food option, the humble burger stepped out of the shadows and back into the spotlight. Donning its superhero cape, the traditional American cheeseburger rescued hungry food lovers from their sad salad lunches. The burger was the comfort food we all needed – familiar, nostalgic, and uncomplicated. Because burgers are easy to enjoy on-the-go, it suddenly felt like every restaurant in town was serving take-away burgers. As very serious food reporters and professional burger lovers, we were obligated to try them all and create the ultimate Copenhagen burger guide. We found several tasty options in town, but one burger rules them all. Read on, carnivores. (Vegetarians, step aside. This guide is not for you.)
Looking for more great spots for food and drinks in the Danish capital? Check out our city map of Copenhagen!
Rant: A Fried Chicken Sandwich is Not a Burger
We found a few misconceptions and misunderstandings during our intense burger research. When we asked Copenhageners for recommendations of burgers we should test in town, many recommended “the fried chicken burger at Poulette,” “the pulled pork burger at The Hungry Dane,” or “the halloumi burger at Jagger.” Those might be excellent sandwiches, but they are not burgers. Let us explain…
What makes a burger a burger? The Oxford Dictionary defines a burger as: “a ground meat patty (usually beef) that is grilled and served between a sliced bun with various toppings.” Therefore, a “chicken burger” doesn’t exist – that is, unless your chicken has been ground up into a patty. If the chicken is deep-fried and placed on a burger bun, then it is a sandwich. The same is true for fried fish sandwiches. It can be confusing to see the burger bun used so universally in the sandwich world, but putting something inside a burger bun does not make it a burger. Take a look at the flæskesteg sandwich – the slab of crispy pork belly is served on a burger bun, but Danes would never call it a burger! A veggie burger, however, can be called a burger if the veggies are ground into a patty. Are you starting to understand the difference?
Yes, yes, we know – this is boring linguistic stuff, and who cares about what it’s called anyway? Well, Kaitlin cares. Please remember, burgers are Kaitlin’s number one passion in life and it’s very important to her that people get this right. Usually she’s an easygoing gal, but when someone calls a fried chicken sandwich a burger, the Carnivorr’s rage is revealed. Maybe she’s gone a bit mental during the lockdown, but this is the hill she has decided to die on. So, thanks for indulging us with this little rant.
The Best Burgers in Copenhagen
For this guide, we only tested cheeseburgers. Here’s how we ranked the list… Presentation: was the beef cooked properly, or was it overcooked? Did the burger fall apart? Did the bun become overly soggy, or did it hold its structure when eaten? Flavor: how delicious and mouth-watering was it? How much did we want to eat it again? Value for money: how does the price compare to its size, the quality of the ingredients used, and the other burgers on the list? To get the overall score, we doubled the flavor points to give them more weight (this is the most important factor to us, after all), and then took an average of the numbers. To fully cover the Copenhagen burger scene, we also visited Jagger, Yo Burger, Square Burger, Oliver’s Garage, Pops Diner Box, Yolkie, and Philly’s, but none of these burgers scored high enough to make the list. Without further ado, here is our guide to Copenhagen’s best burgers.
No. 8 – Tommi’s Burger Joint
If you’re looking for a burger that is comparable to your average backyard barbecue burger, head to Tommi’s. This burger chain from Iceland experienced quite a bit of hype when they first opened, and there are now locations in Norway, the UK, and two in Denmark (Nørrebro and Kødbyen). Their outposts have a California surf shack vibe, with stickers plastered all over the walls and a fun playlist. But don’t expect much from their burgers – they’re fine, and actually surprisingly well-cooked (if you request medium rare), but there is little happening in the flavor department. We ordered the cheeseburger, which comes with lettuce, onion, mayo, ketchup, and mustard. This burger is boring and basic and we would only eat it again as a late night snack if we needed drunk food. It’s not the cheapest on the list, and the ingredients aren’t even organic. All in all, it’s a decent but uninteresting burger.
TOMMI'S BURGER JOINT Price: 84 DKK Presentation: 4/10 Flavor: 5/10 Value: 7/10 Overall score: 5.25/10
No. 7 – Racy
While a burger at Racy won’t change your life, if you’re looking for a simple meal on-the-go, it’s a nice alternative to the Golden Arches and the other fast food conglomerates of the world. Racy’s burger is nothing fancy, just a classic cheeseburger made with organic beef, organic veggies (tomato, red onion, pickled cucumbers, and iceberg lettuce), and Racy sauce (chili mayo). The presentation is very simple. Although the bun looks a little plasticky, it tastes better than it looks – but it doesn’t add much in terms of flavor. The happiest surprise was that the meat was cooked perfectly; we didn’t specify how we wanted it, and it came with a pink medium rare center. The beef was well-seasoned with a nice salty flavor, but the texture was a little soft – we would’ve liked a little more caramelization on the patty. Personally, we could do without all the veggies on top; it was very messy to eat. The tomatoes fell off the burger and onto the ground, but that was fine with us since they only added a soft gummy texture and no flavor. Other than that, it was a decent cheeseburger, but next time we would skip the lettuce and tomatoes and order it with raw onions and pickles only.
RACY Price: 75 DKK Presentation: 5/10 Flavor: 5/10 Value: 8/10 Overall score: 5.75/10
No. 6 – Warpigs Brewpub
The cheeseburger at Warpigs, Mikkeller’s barbecue restaurant in Kødbyen, is a weekly special only available on Wednesdays from 5:00 p.m. until sold out. It’s a double cheeseburger, and comes with onion rings for 110 Danish kroner. (You can also add on a beer for only 40 DKK, or just get the burger on its own for 80 DKK). The cheeseburger comes with two small but thick patties, topped with a caramelized onion and bacon jam. We loved the flavors in this burger – there was a nice smokiness from the bacon (and we much prefer bacon bits to having a strip of bacon on top). A couple small critiques – the meat was juicy, but overcooked. We didn’t specify medium rare when we ordered, but the standard came served gray on the inside. Our biggest complaint, however, is that the pickles were way too big – the slices were literally as thick as one of the burger patties, which meant the pickle overpowered the other flavors. We love pickles, and appreciate the acidity they add to burgers – but they need to be sliced thinner. Also, the patties are very small in size compared to the bun, like silver dollar pancakes. They weren’t stacked on top of each other – one had slid off, so really it was like eating a normal burger with two small patties side by side in the bun. Maybe one big patty would have been better than two? While we weren’t expecting a work of art from a brewery, the overall burger presentation was quite sloppy. The confetti-like shredded lettuce (which we found unnecessary) fell off everywhere and took the sauce with it. Critiques aside, it was a tasty burger, and one we would eat again.
WARPIGS BREWPUB Price: 80 DKK Presentation: 5/10 Flavor: 6/10 Value: 8/10 Overall score: 6.25/10
No. 5 – Mast Burger
Mast is a new Danish burger chain that opened their first location in Helsingør in December 2020. Since they’re opening a location in Copenhagen later this summer, we decided they were worthy of inclusion in this guide. Owner Michael Slass went to New York on a burger research trip, and brought back some inspiration from Shake Shack. We’re glad he did – this is the best smash burger we’ve tried so far in Denmark. Mast Burger jam-packs their beef patties with a lot of fat and smashes them extremely thin on the griddle. This technique causes the meat to caramelize, resulting in a crispy crust that almost looks like lace made of meat. While you won’t have a pink center with this style of cooking, the caramelization on the outside helps keep the meat juicy on the inside. Since the patties are so thin, the standard Mast burger (140 g) is a double cheeseburger. You can downgrade to a single patty, but we’d recommend going for the double here – it’s a better meat to bun ratio and we love the mouthfeel of having double patty, double cheese. Mast is currently using a brioche bun, but they revealed that they may follow Shake Shack’s lead and switch to Martin’s Potato Rolls in the future. American cheese, although not our favorite, is typical for this style of burger. The cheese doesn’t provide much flavor, but it has a velvety texture that melts extremely well on top of the patties. The toppings at Mast are simple – a mayo-based sauce, raw onions, and pickles. The burger also comes topped with bacon, which we personally find unnecessary, as we don’t love the texture of eating a strip of hard bacon on top of a soft, juicy beef patty. Overall, Mast’s burger has a very meaty, greasy, umami taste – a perfect hangover burger.
MAST BURGER Price: 89 DKK Presentation: 8/10 Flavor: 6/10 Value: 7/10 Overall score: 6.75/10
No. 4 – Dandelion
Dandelion sprung from the earth in July 2020, after Copenhagen’s first lockdown, but its popularity didn’t really bloom until early 2021. We like that they’re doing things a bit differently from their competitors, trying to stand out from the crowd instead of imitating them. Dandelion’s signature cheeseburger is made with an organic beef patty stuffed with bone marrow, which gives the meat a rich, buttery taste. They top it off with mature cheddar cheese, chopped red onion, and Dandelion dressing (a delicious mayo-based truffle sauce). The umami-rich flavors of this burger melt in your mouth. The size of it is perfect to eat with one hand, although it is slightly smaller than the other burgers on this list. Our only critique is that the burger was very soft in texture; it started falling apart while we ate it, as if the patty couldn’t quite stay together. Maybe because of the bone marrow in the patty? Nevertheless, it’s a tasty little burger with a unique flavor profile.
DANDELION Price: 75 DKK Presentation: 6/10 Flavor: 7/10 Value: 8/10 Overall score: 7/10
No. 3 – POPL
The infamous Noma burger, which took Copenhagen by storm during the summer of 2020, found a permanent home at POPL (in the former 108 space in Christianshavn). While nothing can recreate the magic of sitting in the sunshine in the Noma garden sipping on a glass of wine with a burger in hand, the best version of Noma’s burger we had was in POPL’s dining room on opening night. That burger was a sight to behold – a mighty behemoth of a thing, stacked tall with organic ingredients and cooked a perfect medium rare. It was even tastier than its original iteration at the pop-up. Unfortunately, POPL’s dine-in service was short-lived, and the site was forced to pivot to take-away during the second lockdown. Happily, the restaurant has been thriving, with long lines of Copenhageners clambering for takeout; however, the burgers may have suffered some from the pressing public demand, fostered by the immense popularity of the Noma name. The take-away burgers we have eaten have been consistently overcooked – missing the pink, medium rare center. We’ve tried them three times during the second lockdown and every time they were light gray at best – which was especially disappointing because the quality of meat POPL uses is so high. The seasoning has also been a bit out of balance during this time period – sometimes, the wasabi notes in the sauce can be a bit overpowering and, on several occasions, the burgers have been over salted. Because of this inconsistency, we have recently been opting for the other offerings from POPL (we really enjoy the fried chicken and the fried fish, but those sandwiches were not factored into this ranking). When the restaurant reopens for dine-in, we hope that the Noma burger we fell in love with will be reinstated to its former glory.
POPL Price: 115 DKK Presentation: 8/10 Flavor: 7/10 Value: 6/10 Overall score: 7/10
No. 2 – Fatty’s
Copenhagen’s best kept burger secret is Fatty’s, the charming takeout window of The Fat Pike, located right next to Il Buco in Islands Brygge. It’s a real hidden gem (literally a hole in the wall) that doesn’t even have an Instagram account (gasp!). This burger was another lockdown baby, born when its fish-focused big brother, The Fat Pike, had to shift to a take-away concept. Fish doesn’t travel well, so they started slinging burgers! This is one of the few places we’ve discovered simply by stumbling upon it (as opposed to discovering it via social media or by someone’s recommendation) – and what a rare treat that was. The feeling of discovery is a beautiful thing, especially when it takes you by surprise. We tried Fatty’s on a whim last summer (back before the window even existed), not expecting much and just needing a quick bite on-the-go. You had us at “burger pop-up!” We didn’t even have our camera with us, didn’t take a picture, just sunk our teeth in – and instantly knew we’d have to return and document this spot. The beef is ground in-house every day, grilled, and topped with cheddar cheese and house-made pickles. Although Fatty’s sauce is secret, the owner revealed to us that the main ingredients are mayo, ketchup, mustard, lemon, and sriracha (which gives it a nice little kick). It’s served on a buttery brioche bun that is toasted golden brown in clarified butter. The best part? They’ve got the most competitive price in town. Fatty’s standard price is 75 Danish kroner, but if you come during lunch it’s only 60 kroner!
FATTY'S Price: 75 DKK (60 DKK during lunch) Presentation: 8/10 Flavor: 8/10 Value: 9/10 Overall score: 8.3/10
No. 1 – Gasoline Grill
You’re the first, my last, my everything. Oh, Gasoline Grill – a burger so perfect that Barry White had to write a love song about it. (Or is it just us that hears sweet melodies every time we take a bite?) Copenhagen’s first high-quality burger joint set the standard for what a great burger should look like, and now, five years later, it’s still the best burger in town. Owner Klaus Wittrup opened his first shop inside a (still-operating) gas station, and now has a handful of other locations around the city. But unlike most chains, Gasoline has been able to keep the same high-quality and consistency across all locations. The recipe for success? Each shop grinds their own meat every day, semi-smashes it on a griddle to get a perfect caramelization, and sandwiches it inside a freshly baked potato bun. The flavors on the cheeseburger are simple – melt-in-your-mouth meat and cheese, onions and pickles for acidity, and Gasoline’s signature sauce, a tart and zingy chili mayo. The sauce is what makes this burger a showstopper – it has this wonderful sweet and salty tang that balances out the beefy notes and adds a deeper level of flavor that we often find missing from your basic, umami-heavy burgers. One bite of Gasoline’s cheeseburger and you can feel how perfectly the meat is seasoned (the salt and pepper really shine) and the burgers are cooked perfectly medium rare with a bright pink center. The soft fluff of a toasted potato bun is the vehicle for this perfect patty – and it can hold its own in a battle against the sauce. (No soggy burger buns here!) We think the Gasoline Grill cheeseburger is the best fast food burger in the world – and we’re lucky to get to satisfy our burger cravings here every week.
GASOLINE GRILL Price: 80 DKK Presentation: 8/10 Flavor: 10/10 Value: 9/10 Overall score: 9.3/10
What is your favorite burger in Copenhagen? Let us know in a comment below.