Word of Mouth: Eco-Conscious Dining in Aarhus, Denmark

Cocktails and culinary delights with a focus on seasonal, hyper-local ingredients

Denmark’s capital city, Copenhagen, is known around the globe for its design and culinary scenes (with the latter including Noma, the famed restaurant that’s arguably responsible for putting high-end green gastronomy experiences on the map). But two hours away by train, the charming city of Aarhus has been quietly revolutionizing dining. Just as the pandemic focused a spotlight on local destinations in the States, Danish people began flocking to cities like Aarhus, bringing with them a greater demand for new restaurants, shops, galleries and more. It’s a city that radiates and delicious restaurants and cafes pop up on seemingly every corner, stylish boutiques continue to fling open their doors in the Latin Quarter and a craft cocktail scene steadily grows. Perhaps the most impressive draw of Aarhus is its sustainability-focused dining culture, which entices locals and visitors alike, thanks to immaculate Scandinavian vibes and innovative use of hyper-local produce. Here are our picks for where to dine and drink in Denmark’s next big destination.

Courtesy of Restaurant Moment

Restaurant Moment

Not many can say they’ve experienced fine dining within a national park, but you will be counted among the few after a visit to Restaurant Moment, located within Mols Bjerge National Park—a short drive from Aarhus’ city center. Besides a Michelin Green Star, Restaurant Moment also lays claim to a unique greenhouse utilizing recycled waste water and an on-site garden and pond. All elements of the restaurant itself strive to be eco-conscious—from Danish-designed chairs made of local wood to unglazed plates that can be composted. A stunning, vegetable-based tasting menu brings diners a true taste of the local produce, with natural wine and house-made kombucha pairings to boot. Behind the scenes, they also promise to plant one tree in Myanmar’s Yangoon Coastal Region for every reservation at the restaurant.

Courtesy of La Cabra

La Cabra

New Yorkers might recognize La Cabra as one of the newest coffee shops in the East Village (they also have locations in Copenhagen and Bangkok), but the original location is in Aarhus. La Cabra can be found in the city’s charming Latin Quarter, a cobblestoned neighborhood that dates back to the late 14th century and is inspired, in part, by the Latin Quarter of Paris’ 5th arrondissement. There, they serve their own excellent coffee and single-origin chocolate bars, and bake some of the most mouthwatering cardamom buns, cinnamon rolls, naturally leavened sourdough and hand-laminated croissants.

Courtesy of Gedulgt

Gedulgt

One of the city’s only speakeasy-style bars, Gedulgt can be found behind an unassuming green door near the Aarhus Street Food market (also worth a visit). Inside, an austere interior reflects the exact opposite of their cocktail offerings, which are bright in color and bold in flavor. The menu is separated into three sections, one of which—called All Over The World—focuses solely on fusing local ingredients with globally sourced spirits. Another is called Out of This World and allows their bartenders to let their imaginations run wild, while the remaining section, The Beginning of The World, highlights unique takes on classic cocktails.

Courtesy of Langhoff & Juul

Langhoff & Juul

Functioning as both a charming boutique hotel and a bistro, the menu at Langhoff & Juul is a shining example of seasonal Danish produce. Their focus is on quality and simplicity, demonstrated in their take on the traditional smørrebrod—an open-faced sandwich, which they top with things like house-made hummus, locally sourced microgreens and edible flowers. Rustic Scandinavian decor and plenty of natural light make for the perfect weekend brunch setting.

Courtesy of Berta

Berta Bakery

A small but mighty bakery, Berta is changing local perception of tasty pastry. Playing with innovative seasonal flavors like rhubarb, they are keen on showing that bakery items don’t need to be overly sweet to be delicious. The bakery carefully chooses the local farmers they work with, from souring flour and salt to butter and milk (which is personally transported in small batches by the local dairy farmer straight into the shop).

Courtesy of Hærværk

Hærværk

The first thing one notices when entering Hærværk is a stunning dining room bedecked with statement lighting and shaggy sheepskins. Since they first opened in 2014, the restaurant, whose name means “to vandalize,” has been on a mission to revolutionize the dining scene in Aarhus through their transformation of fresh seasonal ingredients, sourced from small, local farms and suppliers. Diners are required to put their faith in Hærværk when making a reservation, as the ever-changing menu is not revealed until you are seated.

Hero image courtesy of Restaurant Moment