I rarely visit Copenhagen without stopping by Manfreds. At least I always stop for a glass of delicous, juicy wine or their famous tartare when I walk past the restaurant in Jægersborggade. Manfreds was the first natural wine bar in Copenhagen and it’s still one of the best. The owners, Christian Puglisi and Kim Rossen, also have their own wine import company called Vinikultur. In addition to the Michelin-starred restaurant Relæ, the pizza restaurant Bæst and the bakery Mirabelle. Manfreds is their casual neighborhood joint, where there should be no barriers for dropping by.
An affordable neighborhood joint
In the summer you want to sit on the benches outside Manfreds and quench your thirst with delicious and easy-to-drink wines. Just ask the waiters what they recommend and they will guide you in the right direction. They might ask your preferences in return, but you won’t need knowledge about grapes, terroir, country or producers. The last time we were here we met up with fashion and food stylist Mette Mortensen and shared glasses of both white, orange and sparkling rosé selected by our nice host. When the air gets cold it’s better to sit by the bar inside or book a table for dinner. The meal is served family style and both the food and atmosphere is very low-key. The prices are extremely affordable (7 courses for DKK 275!) and the restaurant is certified organic with 90-100% organic produce. You can also get a good selection of the menu as takeaway.
The famous tartare
“Manfreds – (probably) the world’s only veggie-focused restaurant famous for its raw meat,” is how they describe themselves on their website. In my case it’s very true as the tartare is one of the main reasons I keep returning. That and the wine, of course. The tartare is very simple in its presentation and consists originally of only raw meat, cress and crispy rye. It comes in two sizes: medium and extra large. Sometimes you have a choice of adding truffles to the dish. Is it as great as the legend goes? Nah, but it’s original and the high quality organic meat is in focus.
Off to a bad start
My initial experience with Manfreds was actually not that good. It took place on one of my first ever journeys to Copenhagen in 2013. Believe it or not, but I hadn’t been in the city before 2011! Anyway, I had read about some new restaurants that was worth checking out: Manfreds & Vin (as the place was called back then) and restaurant Bror. My parents joined us for my birthday weekend, and Manfreds was booked on a Friday – one day in advance of the big day. The surprise came at two levels: natural wine and almost vegeterian food! The wine was strange to our palates and the food felt too simple for a restaurant meal, even if it was quite affordable. My parents in particular struggled with the natural wine, and my mum said it reminded her of the wine they used to make at home in her youth.
The spark that Ignited my natural wine addiction
Fast forward three years and I am a nature wine addict! Who would have guessed? I am not dogmatic about it, though. I like wine from both worlds, if I can call it that. My preferences, however, have to a large degree been altered in the direction of the naturally fermented grape juices. I am no wine expert, so it’s sometimes difficult for me to explain what kind of wine I like. Yet, most sommeliers at natural wine bars understand my taste very well when I tell them I want a fruity, fresh and juicy white wine or a light and succulent red wine. I’ve struggled to convey the same message to waiters at restaurants or wine bars serving traditional wines. Manfreds understand me. I understand Manfreds now.
What do you usually order when you stop by Manfreds? Please share in a comment below.