The Danish capital is one of the world’s best culinary destinations, with adventurous chefs and more Michelin stars than any other Scandinavian city.

Best for smorrebrod
Clued-up Danes come to this Aamanns for seasonal smørrebrød (open sandwiches). Variations include a scrumptious beef tartar smørrebrød topped with egg emulsion and miniature potato chips, and Søvind brie with dried fruit and nut relish. Eat inside or gobble your selection in a nearby park (Øster Farimagsgade 10; smørrebrød from £5.40).

Schønnemann has been lining local bellies with smørrebrød and schnapps since 1877. Originally a hit with peasant farmers peddling their produce, its current fan base includes prestigious chefs and nostalgia-pining city workers. More than 100 toppings are on offer, from aquavit-marinated herring to smoked salmon with grated radish, chives and egg yolk. It’s a local instituion, so book ahead (Hauser Plads 16; closed Sun; smørrebrød from £7).

Slotskaelderen Host Gitte Kik is a lunchtime smørrebrød restaurant is full of atmosphere and traditional Danish charm. It’s a family-run affair that’s been in business since 1910, and its rustic interior is filled with old portraits and scenes of the city. When you order, just point at the sandwich topping you’d like (there are about 50 to choose from) and your sandwich will be brought to your table (Fortunstræde 4; closed Jul, Sun & Mon; smørrebrød from £7).

Best for hygge
Roughly translated as ‘cosy’, hygge can also describe a social situation that induces a cheerful state of mind. And hygge isn’t in short supply here. Dyrehaven is a home-from-home for the Vesterbro district’s effortlessly laid-back bohemians, who head here for cheap drinks, traditional dishes and late-night camaraderie (Sønder Blvd 72; lunch from £6).

La Glace sits next to the Peter Beier chocolate store in the Strøget neighbourhood, and serves some of the city’s best confections, including wonderfully fattening sponge, mousse and cream concoctions, and the finest hot chocolate in town. Take a seat in the beautiful old tearoom-style surroundings and you’ll get a feel for the quiet dignity and history of the place (Skoubogade 3–5; six macaroons £10).

A deservedly popular spot, Cap Horn is an eclectically decorated charmer with the odd nautical touch gives on to one of Copenhagen’s loveliest canalside quays. The restaurant is open late, and it’s often worth waiting for the crowds to die down. It specialises in Danish cuisine – either of the sandwich variety, or heartier dishes such as fried plaice with sautéed capers, tomatoes and spinach (Nyhavn 21; mains from £20).

Best for modern Nordic
A sublime culinary experience is guaranteed at the Michelin starred Restaurant AOC in Nyhavn. Chefs Ronny Emborg and Michael Munk take the sourcing of the finest Danish ingredients very seriously, while sommelier Christian Aarø Mortensen is a champion wine steward (Dronningens Tværgade 2; dinner Tue-Sat; five-course menu £40).

If you want to impress someone, book a table at Mielcke & Hurtigkarl in Frederiksberg Have, a vision of white walls and crystal chandeliers. The highlight is the dinner menu, showcasing head chef Jakob Mielcke’s inspired approach to ingredients, including a lobster jelly with salty plum ice cream (Frederiksberg Runddel 1; dinner Tue–Sun; set menu from £75).

Topping the San Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurants list for the third year running in 2012, Noma is the domain of chef René Redzepi, formerly of El Bulli and the French Laundry. The menu features Scandinaviansourced produce such as musk ox, skyr curd and octopus legs. Book around three months ahead (Strandgade 93; Tue–Sat; 20-course menu £165).

Where to stay
Wakeup Copenhagen’s white, chocolate brown and lime green rooms bring to mind a stylish space station designed in the 1960s. Have breakfast in its cosy restaurant (Carsten Niebuhrs Gade 11; from £60).

The nautical Copenhagen Admiral Hotel, set by the water in Nyhavn, does a great job of blending the old and the new, with cannons at the entrance and exposed pine beams in the rooms (Toldbodgade 24–28; from £160).

Nimb resides in an impressive Arabian-style building in the Tivoli Gardens, complete with arches, domes and minarets. Its boutique rooms and suites are beautifully styled with log fires and four-poster beds ( Bernstorffsgade 5; from £260).

The article 'Mini guide to eating in Copenhagen' was published in partnership with Lonely Planet Traveller.