Cafe Petersborg: It’s like stepping back in time


My Danish ven, John, wanted to take me to a truly authentic Danish restaurant. It was after I toured the Danish Resistance Museum (a must see) and we were ready for lunch that Sunday afternoon.

Cafe Petersborg is located northeast of the main downtown in a white building at Bredgade 76. One steps down into a darken space with old wooden beams on the ceiling. Founded in 1746, if it is not the oldest restaurant still operating in Copenhagen it must be pretty close. It was busy that mid afternoon, filled with both locals and tourists (always a good sign) and John noticed a table of people speaking Norwegian: music to his ears.

I wish I kept better track of what I ordered. But there was one item John talked me into ordering something I had never eaten: herring. I was taken back how tasty it was this meaty fish known as a favorite to the Danish and Scandinavian diets.

As a saver of things – papers, books, newspapers, receipt, etc. -I dug out the box of items from my Danish trip and found the cafe receipt. Unfortunately the scribble of the waitress who served us is unreadable, but the price of my meal is clearly legible: 303 DKK or around $54 US/Canadian dollars.

Mentioned to the waitress I was a reporter and she offered me her special pen: a ‘keeper’ as on the side a banner about the cafe could be pulled out from its side. The image above is part of that banner showing the entrance of Petersborg’s.

I was thinking of the Danes who came to this cafe for literally generations. With this afternoon meal, I felt I was connecting with a living, breathing historical place that people met, ate good food and drin, and enjoyed each other’s company for over 250 years.

When I return to Copenhagen this September, I will visit Cafe Petersborg again to enjoy its food, ambiance, and pleasant wait staff – a trifecta for any enjoyable dining experience. Only next time, I’ll ask for a menu and circle what I ordered to help me remember what I ate. If I am lucky, maybe I will be given another pen from the Cafe Petersborg.

No discount or special accommodations were given to this writer and he only introduced himself after the meal and service were concluded.

Cafe Petersborg                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Bredgade 76                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Copenhagen                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Kitchen open Sunday -Friday, from 11.45 to 1600 and from 17:00 to 20:30 daily; Saturday from 11.30 to 1600



By Scott Larsen • February 26, 2013
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Nothing Rotten in Denmark

Scott Larsen

Interest in his Danish grandfather who emigrated to the U.S. made Scott explore his Danish roots. He has done extensive genealogy on his Larsen family - but there's always more questions. A longtime American journalist who lives in Canada, he has visited Denmark, wrote about his travels on this blog, and hopes to return to the 'Land of Hamlet' someday.