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Attempting to Fine Dine in Copenhagen With a Baby

(Copenhagen, Denmark)

(Copenhagen, Denmark)

Don’t judge.  I never thought I’d be the type of parent to do this, but traveling brings out a different side in me.

Mr. T and I have always enjoyed a good meal and have even flown cross-country because of coveted reservations we secured at some of the nation’s best restaurants.  I was pretty certain that with the addition of Traveler #3 our taste buds would have to be put on hold until she was old enough for a sitter (which incidentally, seems like it will be years from now considering Traveler #3 can’t even hang with her grandparents without crying hysterically), but we were headed to Copenhagen and some of the best restaurants in the world are in Copenhagen. Right. Now.  We couldn’t fly all the way over there without checking out their highly praised gourmet scene, right?  I mean, when else would we be able to go back?!

With that realization I immediately secured a few reservations at a few highly rated restaurants.  I figured we could always cancel if it didn’t seem like Traveler #3 could hang. Luckily, we didn’t have to cancel.

We went to three decent restaurants: Krebsegaarde, Geranium, and Kadeau

Krebsegaarde is a small restaurant with a bistro feel; it’s so small, you can basically see the entire restaurant just from the entrance.  There are enough tables for maybe 6-10 parties.  Upon entering, I immediately felt guilt-ridden that we were the only ones with a baby.  Everyone else looked like they were on dates or were tourists (the coupled up kind, too), but we were hungry and we trekked a good ways to get there from our hotel so our plan was to eat fast and leave to minimize any disruption to fellow diners.

The interesting thing about Copenhagen is that as much as the Danes love babies – there were strollers everywhere in the city – the restaurants didn’t have high chairs (at least the ones in this post).  I’m okay if there are no high chairs because babies aren’t welcomed/allowed, but I gave full disclosure that we were bringing a baby and not one of the three restaurants informed me of their lack of high chair so I just assumed they had it.

Prior to Krebsegaarde, we hadn’t ever dined sans high chair before so balancing Traveling #3 in my lap throughout the meal was a new one.  Surprisingly, it worked out since Mr. T ended up carrying her downstairs to the restaurant’s restrooms whenever she got a little rowdy – which (go figure) happened between every course.  I used that time to eat my next course and by the time I was done, Mr. T came back to the table so I held Traveler #3 while he ate.

The food at Krebegaarde was fresh and  delicious. I could see why this place was a fan favorite.  While I wish we could have lingered longer and tried out one of their desserts I was so nervous about disrupting the other diners that we asked for the check as soon as we finished our entrees.  As much as I wanted to enjoy the food, I didn’t want to be that parent who ruined everyone else’s meal because we ignorantly brought a baby to a nice restaurant (since these restaurants are probably the last place people expect to see babies).  As swiftly as we arrived at the restaurant, we darted out when we were done feeling like we dodged a bullet. I was totally caught off guard when the waiter graciously walked us out, thanked us for dining with them, and then told us what a pleasure it was to have us there with not one ounce of sarcasm either!  Say whaaat?!  Did that just happen?  He went on to say it was nice to have us since we were keen to ensure we didn’t disrupt other diners; they’ve had incidents in the past where families brought their babies and were immune to their kid’s cries while the rest of the restaurant (remember, this place is tiny) listens on.  Well, thank goodness for that feedback because as “traumatizing” as it was to dine there with Traveler #3, hearing that give us the courage to keep our next reservation which was at Geranium, one of the world’s top 50 restaurants.

Since Krebsegaarde had no high chair, I emailed Geranium to check if they had high chairs – they don’t.  But they said they could seat us on the couch since that’s where they’ve seated families with babies in the past. I didn’t know what to expect, but if they’ve welcomed small kids before and this couch arrangement worked then, we could make it work, too.  Our strategy was to eat fast, bring some snacks for Traveler #3 so she could hold her own for a while, and of course, take her for a short walk in between courses if she got restless.

Geranium is located in a park in the outskirts of the touristy section of Copenhagen.  It’s on the top floor of an office building, and walking there, it was the last place we’d expect to find a two Michelin starred restaurant.  Once we arrived at the entrance of the restaurant we were warmly welcomed by the hostess and promptly escorted to our table which was conveniently close to the entrance.  The restaurant decor is modern and sleek and the giant windows offered sweeping views of the park during sunset.  The kitchen was separated from the dining room by a glass pane which meant we could see the chefs in action from our seat.

(The Geranium chefs in action)

(The Geranium chefs in action)

Geranium offers who types of tastings: The Universe Tasting and The Geranium Dishes.  We opted for the latter since we asked for the shorter of the two and even then, we still indulged in 15 courses!  And it took us 3 hours to get through it all.

Thankfully, Traveler #3 did really well for the majority of it and she even got to sample a few courses – at least the ones mushy enough for her to gum on!  Our strategy of bringing snacks coupled with our sitting on the couch (which was really more like a booth) and the gorgeous view out the window behind us was more than enough to entertain Traveler #3.  The waiters at Geranium were also the kindest and took to Traveler #3 often waving “hi” to her as they came by.  When the dessert came, they even brought out extra frozen yogurt since they noticed she devoured the portion that was on my plate!

(Geranium

(Geranium’s Rhubard, Crystallized Hipe Rose, and Sheep Yogurt)

Did that mean that we had a relaxing dinner?  No!  I was constantly on high alert for her littlest peeps.  I guess that comes with the territory of dining out with a baby.  But in all, our experience at Geranium was overwhelmingly positive: the quality of the food was well deserving of its two Michelin stars and the staff couldn’t have been more welcoming and friendly.  Oh, and Traveler #3 was on her best behavior so the stars were aligned for us that night.

After the two nights out, we weren’t sure if we wanted to try our luck again and almost canceled our last reservation at Kadeau.  In fact, my initial impression was that Kadeau wasn’t as welcoming as Geranium when I asked if they had high chairs – at least over email. They told me they had no high chairs (not a surprise at this point) so I figured we should cancel.  They were okay with the cancelation, but the morning of the reservations, they emailed that they found a high chair.  I don’t understand how a restaurant suddenly finds a high chair, but we were in the neighborhood already and took that as a sign that we mind as well eat there.

Kadeau was the biggest of the three restaurants and felt more like a chic cafeteria (a very, very, very nice one, though) in comparison.  There’s a main dining area and a section that’s a smaller offshoot from the main area, which is where we sat.  Just like at Geranium, our seats at Kadeau had a bench.  Kadeau’s tasting menu had the most courses at around 20 and since we advised the waiter that we’d like to get through the meals quickly, we were able to get through all 20 courses in 2 hours.

(Kadeau

(Kadeau’s Duck Heart with Pickled Green Strawberry and Cress)

For the most part, Traveler #3 did well munching on her snacks and sampling some of ours.  Halfway through, however, Mr. T took Traveler #3 outside for a little walk – we’re starting to think it’s good practice to give her a change of scenery to keep her from getting too bored and restless at meals when we’re out.

Would we bring a baby to another nice restaurant?

Between Kadeau and Geranium, Traveler #3’s already collected 3 Michelin stars and is on the road to becoming a little gourmand if we keep this up.  That said, while we survived these meals, I’m hesitant to press our luck and make this a routine affair with her until she’s a bit older.  It’s also just not the same dining at these places with her; we end up rushing through the courses instead of savoring the overall experience.

Of course, if we are in a foreign country and we happen to be in a city known for its dining scene and we think Traveler #3 can behave, we may have to take advantage of the opportunity… sometimes, we just miss a good meal!

Which of the three restaurants was the best?

Hands down, our favorite was Geranium.  The service and food were in a class of their own and I was impressed at how welcoming they were of Traveler #3.  The restaurant is a good excuse to leave the tourist section of the city for the night and enjoy a world-class dining experience.  If you go to Copenhagen, go to Geranium!  You won’t be disappointed.

Finally, here are some tips for bringing a baby to a nice meal out:

  • Check ahead with the restaurant to make sure it’s okay if you bring a baby
  • Find out if they have high chairs; if not, see if you can make arrangements to sit close to the exit
  • Bring snacks and toys to keep the little one occupied
  • Take the baby on walks in between courses
  • Let the waiter know if you’re open to getting your courses faster
  • Don’t be the parent who ignores the crying baby; other patrons were probably expecting a baby-free meal especially if you’re at a nice place
  • Consider making reservations for a time that is less busy at the restaurant
  • Tip extra!

Have you ever brought your baby out to a nice meal?  What tips do you have?

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Allison - January 5, 2017 - 1:20 am

Thanks so much for the tip! It gives me confidence to try this with my own 8 month old. Maybe even Geranium in Copenhagen!

JustWanderlust - January 18, 2017 - 4:52 pm

Geranium was worth it! Try it!

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