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Smørrebrød, Copenhagen

Denmark's insider take:

Smørrebrød translates as "open-face sandwich," but once you have piled shrimp on top of crayfish and crowned it with caviar, it hardly deserves such a homely name. Typical Danish attention to detail and aesthetics have made this farmhouse fare the country's signature dish—and it's still the only lunch many natives will eat. Slotskælderen Hos Gitte Kik is a timeless model of a smørrebrød restaurant. Just across the canal from Christiansborg Palace, it resembles a country cottage with buttery-yellow stucco walls hung with photos of turn-of-the-century local wrestlers. All of the daily sandwiches line a long wooden buffet table so you can choose: Local favorites include a creamy liver pâté topped with crisp bacon, and classic smoked eel and buttery scrambled eggs (Fortunstraede 11 4; 45-33-11-15-37; lunch only; closed Sundays, Mondays, and all of July). More touristy but just as delectable is Ida Davidsen. Each day, Ida herself pops up behind her display of sandwiches with a signature toque riding high on her perennially blond waves. Her best concoctions include the Alexandra, a pile of raw salmon, salmon roe, six crayfish tails, and—because a sandwich can never be too rich or too fat—the final flourish of a dill sprig, and OK, some more roe. For the brave there's Cook's Midnight Snack, a melee of salami, mayo, grated radish, chives, smoked cheese, and black-currant jam (Store Kongensgade 70; 45-33-91-36-55; Not enough? If the sun is shining, head to Nyhavns Faergekro for smørrebrød alfresco at tables along the Nyhavn inlet, or duck inside for the most extreme of Nordic feasts: a smorgasbord of ten different herring preparations (Nyhavn 5; 45-33-15-15-88;

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.