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Frikadeller, Danish meatballs, from Copenhagen, Denmark

What: Move over, Sweden: Denmark’s got tasty meatballs too. Yet another important pork dish, frikadeller (“freek-a-del-er”) are the ever-popular Danish meatballs, typically served with things like boiled potatoes, brown gravy, red cabbage, beets, and pickles, depending on the time of day. The traditional recipe calls for primarily minced pork (often mixed with some beef and/or veal) with onion, egg, milk, spices, and a little filler like flour, oats, or breadcrumbs; the meatballs are then pan-fried in butter until browned, often in a shape more flat or oblong than perfectly round. Like flæskesteg, this centuries-old dish is so common in Denmark that it’s often eaten at both lunch, with rye bread as smørrebrød,and as a main plate for dinner. We say, the more the merrier—you can’t go wrong with these porky balls.

Where: Our frikadeller is off the lunch-only menu at Restaurant Schønnemann (Hauser Plads 16, map), an iconic basement eatery established in 1877 that’s famous for its smørrebrød and snaps. It’s very traditional, genteel, and a bit pricey, but no matter what you order here, this place is a must.

When: Mon-Sat, 11:30am-5pm (Reservations are strongly recommended. Lunch is offered in two seatings, at 11:30am and at 2:14pm.)

Order: The frikadeller (98 kr), which during our visit was served with little pots of pickles and red cabbage. The meatballs were well-fried and tasty, perfectly complemented by the tart pickles. Overall this is a light serving, making it a good foil for the generous open-faced sandwiches you are also probably eating here.

Alternatively: This is an easy one to find at most traditional Danish eateries, including the old-school Restaurant Klubben (Enghavevej 4, map), Københavner Cafeen (Badstuestræde 10, map), and Café Petersborg (Bredgade 76, map). But you’ll also see it at more casual (and less touristy) places like weekday-lunch-only Rita’s Smørrebrød (Fælledvej 11, map) in Nørrebro and neighborhood takeaway spot Den Sorte Gryde (multiple locations including Amagerbrogade 14, map); we enjoyed some unfancy frikadeller from the latter, which paired the meatballs with lots of mouth-poppable boiled potatoes, brown gravy, red cabbage, and pickles. 

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