Monday, March 10, 2008

Lunch with Queen Ida!

Ida Davidsen is a living legend, a queen rivaling the deeply loved Danish regent Margrethe. Whereas queen Margrethe rules this small, densely populated Scandinavian country by law, queen Ida is the undisputed queen of the Scandinavian open sandwich. She has, from her dark basement restaurant in Store Kongensgade in Copenhagen conquered the hearts of lovers of Scandinavian open sandwiches. You have not heard of her!!! Well, pal, you are greatly out of touch - at least if you love open sandwiches.

Location: BBBB+

Ida Davidsen is located in Store Kongens Gade, close to Kongens Nytorv and Nyhavn. Very easy to find, but hardly the most romantic or scenic location.

Atmosphere and interior: BBBBB-

It is very difficult to rate Ida Davidsen in any traditional context. This is a restaurant that has been in business for over 100 years. The interior is hardly creative or inventive but should not be rated as such.

The presentation at the table is not stylish, but the whole atmosphere is wonderfully informal. The minus here is therefore for those of you that may not like it. Very Danish, very dark and filled up to capacity, as tables here are in great demand, but what spirit!!!

Price & value for money: BBBBB

Price of 540 DKK (€65) for two pints, one akevitt and 4 sandwiches would normally be stated as an outrageous price - but not at Ida Davidsen. This was the final price, but it is absolutely worth it!!!

Service: BBBBB

You have to wait at the counter - but hey, here is the Ida Davidsen standing herself at the counter. Just look at this film clip.

Ida Davidsen has the most wonderful personal service. You order what you will drink by the table and then you have to wait by the counter to be served.

Here you may ask all you want and as the clientele is international you are given the same instructions in English. And you may need it as there are 300+ sandwiches on the menu. I do suspect that you may to order in advance if you want the more special sandwiches.

The food: BBBBB (!)

God help me, how I love this food. Ketil chose smoked eel, not my favourite, but he was over the moon!! Here are my sandwiches

Niels Jørgen Kaiser (€10)

This sandwich is named after the Danish culture celebrity, Niels Jørgen Kaiser. He had a hell of a taste for a good sandwich.

The Niels Jørgen Kaiser sandwich has a generous amount of warm liver paté garnished with lightly fried mushrooms, deep fried parsley, lingonberry and bacon.

According to Ida Davidsens first rule - can you see the slice of bread?

Pyntet Rødspættefilet (€10)

Decorated plaice sandwich. This is based on a traditional Danish sandwich variety. Breaded and fried fillet of plaice garnished with shrimps and remoulade or tartar sauce.

This had been improved by adding a few lightly boiled green asparagus and a herring fillet filled with black roe.

Seriously good!!!

And what to drink?

Do as I and my Ketil did, enjoy a cold beer and a glass of akevitt. They have many brands to choose from, and a few you have not even heard of.

Rating the Ida Davidsen experience: BBBBB- (4,83 points)

A place for plaice, liverpaté, eel, and much more on a slice of bread. The ultimate place to eat in the Danish capital.

Restaurant Ida Davidsen
Store Kongensgade 70, 1254 København K
Phone: 33 91 36 55

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