By  on June 5, 2008

Since Denmark was once voted the happiest nation in the world, it's no wonder its capital boasts a vibrant cultural and restaurant scene.

Foodies will appreciate biodynamic restaurant Geranium, Danish spot Paustian and Thai eatery Kiin Kiin, which are the latest Copenhagen restaurants to bag themselves a Michelin star. Michelin's "Main Cities of Europe 2008" raises the count here to 12, rare for a city of this size. Renowned fish eatery Noma, Copenhagen's only two-star restaurant, which serves horse mussels, deep-sea crabs and langoustines from the Faroe Islands, and wild salmon and seaweed from Iceland, leads a revival in Nordic cuisine.

Newly opened Italian eatery Acquamarina in upcoming Borgergadehas already won fans of its locally caught fish dishes, with neither pasta nor pizza in sight.

With a 200-year history in fine porcelain dinnerware, Royal Copenhagen's first cafe always promised an anti-Starbucks experience, according to coffee guru and manager Rud Christiansen. Located adjacent to its flagship on Strøget and set in a 17th-century courtyard, the Royal Café's long banquet tables and high ceilings in a pink-walled setting make for a quirky experience. Specialties include Smushis — Danish open sandwiches prepared like sushi — and sweets including red berry pudding with cream, a Danish classic.

Shoppers will find that Copenhagen boasts a host of trendsetting, multibrand stores.

Normann, the 18,000-square-foot former cinema in Copenhagen's Osterbo district, is a showroom, store and party venue in one. Grace Jones has performed there.

Storm is to Copenhagen what Colette is to Paris. Owner Rasmus Storm curates the directional concept store "like a magazine, like a marketing tool," highlighting international fashion labels, books and music hard to find elsewhere in the city. The store has collaborated with Copenhagen-based firm Mismo to create a line of bags launching in August.

Badeanstalten, which means "public bath" in English, is a multibrand store owned by Samsøe and Samsøe in an old bathhouse off Strøget. Over on Krystalagde, stores include ParisTexas, which sells its own label alongside Rick Owens and Veronique Branquinho and Wood Wood, Comme des Garçons and Bernard Wilhelm.

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