Is Geranium, Copenhagen truly the world’s best restaurant?

a review by @AnthonyTravelPhotos

by Guest Writer
4 comments

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I decided on another foodie adventure for my April birthday this year. If you have read my previous articles here, you know I enjoy exploring restaurants on the ‘World’s 50 Best‘ list. So for my birthday, I decided to experience Geranium, a 3 Michelin restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark, which is #1 on the list of best restaurants.

A new rule was recently adopted to allow other restaurants better exposure to the ‘World’s 50 Best’: if a restaurant came in #1, they could no longer qualify to be on the list ever again. Number One in 2021 was another Danish restaurant, Noma, now retired from being able to qualify for the ’50 Best list’. So if you are looking for unforgettable dining experiences, look for previous #1’s on the list, as they won’t appear on future lists.

If you are a foodie, Denmark has a great selection of places to eat. At the time of writing, there are 28 Michelin Star restaurants in the country – 2 Three Michelin restaurants (back-to-back world #1’s too), 7 Two Michelin restaurants, and 19 One Michelin restaurants. My one negative observation is that many of these places only offer dinner reservations, so there aren’t many if you are looking for lunch options.

Geranium, Copenhagen – Book a Table

Half the battle of eating at Geranium is getting a reservation. Reservations are released 90 days in advance and open at 6 pm local time on the restaurant website, and a pre-payment is required to confirm. If you have ever been online to get concert tickets just as they go on sale, the experience is quite similar. Spots sell out fast, often in under 5 minutes, and if you are not online as soon as seats are released, you will find yourself on the wait list 5 minutes later. The restaurant has a few tables for solo diners, so snagging a table for one is even more challenging.

I reserved the ‘The Spring Universe 18 course Tasting menu’, which cost 3,800 DKK (~ CAD 750) consisting of 4 appetizers, seven savoury courses and seven dessert servings.

Geranium, Copenhagen – Getting there

I flew Air Canada (AC 828) direct from Toronto (YYZ) to Copenhagen (CPH) and booked a Premium Economy (flexible) fare for 61,500 Aeroplan Points and $60 in taxes. I then used my eUpgrades to request a business class seat which cleared on the day of departure.

Having spent my birthday at various locations worldwide, this year I experienced it up in the air as well. I told a crew member it was my birthday and was pleasantly surprised with champagne and chocolates at midnight. Have you celebrated a special occasion in the air? Please share your experience with a comment below : )
Upon landing, I went to a friend’s house, hosting me over the weekend. Copenhagen does not have Uber or Lyft, so I downloaded the local ride-share app Viggo for my transportation. The Copenhagen Metro is also an efficient option with an all-day pass (4 zones), which costs 80 Danish Krone (CAD 1 = 5 DKK approx.).

Geranium, Copenhagen – Location and Ambiance

You would think the world’s best restaurant would be in some posh and lavish location, but it’s actually inside a sporting stadium. The restaurant is located on the top floor of Fælledparken (Common Gardens), the Danish national football stadium. Some windows look over to the football field from the kitchen. The windows in the dining area have views of the city. The story behind this, I was told, is that their former location was being closed, and the owner of the stadium, a friend of the executive chef, suggested the space and gave the chef total control over the restaurant’s layout.

My dining table faced the kitchen and came with a white vase holding local plants and a clear lamp with a single-lit candle. To watch a Three Michelin kitchen in action was a real birthday treat. At any given time, there were anywhere from five to a dozen chefs in the kitchen, all working like a symphony.

The staff were dressed in black & white and looked energetic as they moved throughout the kitchen and restaurant. Matea, a deputy restaurant manager, took me on a kitchen tour, notably the wine cellar where the best restaurant in the World award is tucked away. I got a chance to take a photo of the Three Michelin banner tucked away in the “inspirational kitchen,” which requires a minimum spend of 40,000 DKK (~ CAD 8,000) to reserve a table.

Geranium, Copenhagen – The Spring Universe Menu

The Spring Universe 18-course Tasting menu was a 3-hour extravaganza, with four appetizers, seven savoury courses and seven dessert servings, all served at a perfect pace.

  • 4 Appetizers
    • Lightly smoked lumpfish row, milk and kale – A multi-layered first course, with the kale at the bottom, a milky custardy center with fish roe, and a crunchy topping of dried Japanese broth, makes your mouth feel multiple textures all at once.
    • Salted herring in crispy algae, dill stems & aquavit – eaten in two bites. It was crisp and salty at the same time.
    • Boiled beetroot with horseradish – the sweetness of the beetroot with the horseradish kick is an excellent combination of the two flavours.
    • Taste of the Ocean – a cold soup featuring king crab, cockles, snail eggs, algae, clams and trout.
  • 7 Savory servings 
    • Lightly pickled kohlrabi, caviar greens & smoked cream cheese – Shaped like a flower, each “petal” was crunchy and creamy. Kohlrabi, I was told, is from the beetroot family.
    • The essence of squid, potato & yeast with smoked oil – A light broth you drink from the bowl. No utensils are brought for this dish. While I could not taste the squid, I did taste the potato, and a light cheese that I was told was Vesterhav cheese (a Danish cheese)
    • Bianchetto truffle with cauliflower & walnut oil – A Cauliflower based soup accented with truffles with both a crunchy/earthy and creamy texture
    • Grilled scallop, with small leaves from dried black currant & Jerusalem artichoke, topped with what appeared to be red maple leaves. The juice/broth poured over the dish was incredibly flavourful.
    • Bread pancake with buttermilk, truffle and ramson – This menu has no bread basket/course. So this dish is the only “bread” on the menu. Again no utensils as this dish is eaten with hands.
    • Celaric, apples, lightly smoked cod, oyster and pickled elderflower – another multi-layered dish. Oysters on the bottom, a celiac shell on top of it was topped with apple. The sauce is an oyster reduction.
    • “Today’s Harvest from the plant kingdom” – Another fantastic presentation with raw ingredients from the garden, followed by the cooked version.

  • 6 Sweets
    • Yogurt with frozen pine needles (on the bottom) with firm meringue on the top. This multi-layered first dessert had an icy sweetness that started my dessert journey on the menu.
    • Sea buckthorn, carrot, pumpkin seeds and white chocolate – soft white chocolate and hard white chocolate on the bottom, pumpkin seeds for that crunchy texture, and ice-cold sorbet for more sweetness. The decorative top is made of carrots. One of the dessert chefs, Lola, took me into the kitchen to show me how she prepares this multi-layered, intricate dish. That was a treat!!
    • Dark chocolate & Jerusalem artichoke syrup – two sparkly blingy balls of chocolate. The white one has an artichoke center, and the dark one has a chocolate center. It just melts in your mouth as you bite into them.
    • Taste of cep mushrooms, caramel and pear vinegar – a cold desert with a mushroom flavour and pear bottom
    • Birthday cake: A decadent chocolate mousse cake with triple-layered chocolate, hazelnut and raspberry filling, complete with a candle to blow out and topped with a chocolate maple leaf (which I thought was a nice personalized touch). I learned it is a tradition to put a small Danish Flag on the table for someone celebrating a birthday. The flag was left on my table for the rest of the evening, and as diners passed by, they wished me a Happy Birthday when they saw the flag at my table 😊
    • These last three courses on the menu are presented together, almost like a “petit fours”:
      • Milk chocolate and pickled rose hip
      • Crispy flowers with exotic spices
      • Warm potato cake with nutmeg and milk – this last dish was more savoury than sweet

A great end to a beautiful gourmet journey.

Geranium, Copenhagen – Wrapping up

My terrific experience included a personalized menu and a bottle of locally brewed beer as a takeaway gift. Chef Rasmus, the executive chef, is a vegan and does not use meats like chicken or beef, so to have 18 unique courses comprised of vegetables and seafood was quite the dining experience. My favourite dish was the first dessert of yogurt and frozen pine needles. If I had to choose my least favourite dish, it would be the boiled beetroot with horseradish, just because I am not a fan of horseradish. So was it indeed the best restaurant in the world? It is hard to be definitive without trying each restaurant on the list. Good thing I have a few more birthdays in my pocket 🙂

A CAD 750 dinner may not be on everyone’s budget, but saving and splurging on special occasions is well worth it, especially when the flight and accommodation were next to nothing, thanks to points. #YOLO

4 comments

Sash May 14, 2023 - 11:02 pm

Great review, Anthony! As a somewhat foodie, I enjoyed this post and might consider this restaurant on my next visit to cph.

Reply
Anthony May 15, 2023 - 9:56 pm

Well worth a visit Sash !! But getting a reservation is the hard part. Circle 90-95 days before your intended visit to look for reservations to be released. Also, if you have the time (and $$) there is a 2 Michelin Star restaurant in Copenhagen called Alchemist with a 6 hour, 50 (yup, Fifty) course tasting menu…. and a 2 guest minimum on a reservation too. Bon Appetite : )

Reply
Mak May 9, 2023 - 10:07 am

The degeneration of food culture. A restaurant and style of cooking perfect for people who don’t really like food.

Reply
Anshul May 9, 2023 - 10:44 am

you and me belong to the same group of people – those that dont understand fine dining and skill that goes into it 🙂

Reply

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