This cute, traditional seafood eatery right on the quay in popular tourist street Nyhavn is probably the closest Copenhagen gets to a real French-style oysters bar, and its loyal clientele have been coming here for years. Havfruen ('the mermaid') has remained pretty much the same for decades, with its dark wooden tables and royal blue tablecloths, and serves a range of reasonably-priced, fresh fish and seafood specialties - though its restaurant's highlight is undoubtedly the oysters. It's all washed down with a glass of wine - the wine list is exclusively French.
There is a definite air of nostalgia to Jean Claude, but this only adds to its charm. The new kid on the French block in Copenhagen, the restaurant opened in summer 2012 on Victor Borges Plads in Østerbro where it is in good company next door to the popular Italian restaurant Fischer. The bistro's aim is to provide its guests with an authentic French home dining experience, and this small, rustic kitchen specializes in simple, traditional dishes. The head chef at Jean Claude, Luc Larrette, has previously worked at two-starred Reims restaurant L'Assiette Champenoise: That said, the bistro is very reasonably priced, with main dishes starting around DKK 170 - or you could pop in at lunchtime for a simple baguette.
The refurbished restaurant in the landmark Hotel D'Angleterre reopened in 2013 as Marchal, after the hotel's founders, Jean Marchal and Maria Coppy, who first established a restaurant before it developed into the Hotel D'Angleterre. Head chef Ronny Emborg comes fresh from Michelin-starred AOC, and the upscale, lavish cuisine of Marchal is described as Nordic and French classics with a contemporary twist. The restaurant is open to those looking for an extravagant dining experience as well as shoppers from nearby Magasin looking for a 'bite to eat' in sophisticated setting. To this end the menu is generally a la carte, with the option of two-person dishes such as lobster and chateaubriand. Expect to pay upwards of DKK 2000 / $350 for a three-course dinner for two people including wine.
L'education Nationale is closer to a real French restaurant than the usually stuffy, stiff places found outside the country itself. This simple bistro, with its red-and-white checked tablecloths and clientele of French expats and hungry students, has been a fixture of Copenhagen's Latin Quarter neighborhood since the early 1990s. It's authentic enough to keep French customers coming back time and again, and the atmosphere is more lively than romantic; the tables are placed a little too close together for intimate dining experiences. Lunch is served from 11.30 right through to 4pm, with dishes from DKK 69 for a sandwich or a 'pissaladiere' (traditional Provence pizza) to DKK 165 for the entrecôte de boeuf. Dinner starts at 5.30pm--choose between a number of mains, all priced at 199kr, or the DKK 295 'Menu de Ministre', a three-course changing menu.
This small, basement restaurant on a small side street from Kongens Nytorv has been one of Copenhagen's most exclusive restaurants for more than 30 years. Its medieval, atmospheric setting, in Copenhagen's oldest wine cellar, is believed to be the site of the city's first Royal Mint, and some 300 years after it was first built, H.C. Andersen lived in a tiny garret above. As a long-standing one-starred Michelin restaurant, Kong Hans specializes in French cuisine with a Nordic twist: Needless to say, well-dressed company and pre-booking are essential. Expect to pay upwards of DKK 2,500 for two people including wine.
This popular French brasserie is located in a leafy square on the right-hand side of Østerbrogade, not far from Park Bio and the large Parken stadium. Especially pleasant is the chance to dine al fresco at one of the outside tables, watching the world go by; inside, the small premises are characterized by Russian icons on the bare, white walls. The signature dish of owner Daniel Letz - whose resume includes Kong Hans Kælder - is his smoked salmon, which is smoked by hand, while French classics such as foie gras, moules poulette, and steak frites are also served. While it is generally possible to find tables on weekday lunchtimes, pre-booking of larger parties is essential.
Prices are more than reasonable at this welcoming, family-run French bistro in Copenhagen's atmospheric Latin quarter, which serves authentic French cuisine with a distinct lack of snobbery. French standards like foie gras, moule frites and steak frites are served alongside house specialties such as 'gigot d'agneau', a slow-roasted leg of lamb prepared with thyme, garlic, and rosemary. Note the restaurant is closed on Mondays. Three-course menu DKK 295 / 39. Mon Amour also has a wine bar, with a wide selection of the best in French wines.
Les Trois Cochons was one of Cofoco's first restaurants and is ideally located on foodie street Vaernedamsvej, where the distinctly Parisian air makes the perfect ambience for this unpretentious French restaurant. In keeping with the Cofoco concept, simple decor and seasonal set menus give the place the vibe of a private party and help keep prices down. Since Les Trois Cochons first opened, Cofoco has expanded its empire across Copenhagen with Vespa, Scarpetta and so on, but 'The Three Little Pigs' continues to have a loyal following in Vesterbro and Frederiksberg. The house foie gras has fans on its own. A three course evening menu costs DKK 295 per person.
Ever since it opened in 2006, chic bistro Pastis has been hugely popular with local food critics as a smart place to head to for contemporary French cuisine. Centrally located on the corner of Gothersgade and Adelgade with large cafe windows open directly onto the street and multi-colored cafe chairs, the bistro ambience is not restricted to the food: With Pastis, owners Mikkel Egelund and Henrik Lazlo hope to bring 'bistro culture' to Copenhagen, for lunch as well as dinner. The fixed menus are about average for Copenhagen's more upscale cafe-restaurants, at DKK 285 for three courses. Small lunch dishes like Salade Nicoise, Croque Madame and escargots are priced between DKK 90-125, while main courses are priced between DKK 150-250. Sister restaurant Pastis Fishmarket opened nearby in 2010.
Opened summer 2010, Osterbro's neighborhood French eatery Carte Blanche has been received favorably by local food critics, who have described the place as somewhere 'you feel like coming time and again.' The small premises are bright and welcoming and smart without being exclusive, while the prices are surprisingly reasonable: Two courses from the small but select menu costs 210 Dkr; three-courses go for 240 Dkr. Carte Blanche is owned by Vincent Chabane, who previously ran Vincent's on nearby Landskronagade (now under new ownership). Reservations can be made by telephone only.