Noma No More: Denmark's Three Star Restaurant Closing

Noma No More: Denmark's Three Star Restaurant Closing

Chef René Redzepi’s Noma, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Copenhagen, has been named the world’s very best five times over
13 April 23
Michelin Starred Restaurant, Noma Denmark

Chef René Redzepi’s Noma, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Copenhagen, has been named the world’s very best five times over.

However, now it’s set to close at the end of next year.

Here, one three-time visitor explains what makes it so special – and why you should drop everything and go while you can.  

At the end of next year, Noma will close, and with it, a chapter of Scandinavia’s modern history. To say as much is no overstatement: in its 20 years of existence, its impact and influence has transformed not only approaches to cooking, but to the environment, science and government policy as well, while remaining a singularly breathtaking place to eat.  

For all the dishes that have grabbed headlines (Live shrimp! Live ants! Crêpes made of mould!), there have been hundreds more that surprise diners night after night, driven not merely from Nordic history, but also from a broad and talented team of chefs and servers from all corners of the globe.  

Ditte Isager: Noma dining room

I’ve loved Noma since the moment I laid eyes on the place, I confess. I’ve had the privilege of visiting two more times since then, and my love remains, unwavering. I’ll never forget the shiver of excitement I felt the moment the glint of its glasshouse first crept into my view in the cab toward Refshaleøen on the industrial fringes of Copenhagen. Every inch of the place is preternaturally gorgeous, with its mélange of Danish oak, shipyard steel and forest pine. Every plate, pairing, and portion is a mini marvel in itself. Even the stoneware on the table tells a story – of nods to time spent in Mexico and Japan – and is crafted with a delicate touch, yet is sturdy and speckled, perfectly imperfect.  

The evening drifts by like a dream across 20 to 30 courses, until you stop counting and wish it never ends. But even when the eating is over, the night still continues, as they take you through to the hygge room for a Schnapps and a moment of calm so you can take it all in. If you want to stay there all night, you can. To be there as the sun sets on a summer’s evening is a joy, but from what I’ve heard from those who visited in other seasons, inky darkness brings its own beauty to the space, like a night curled up in a cabin under the stars.  

Getting in isn’t cheap, or easy. Competition will be tough: All I will say is that you need to keep abreast of dates and times, set your alarms, and keep your card at the ready. Book your table first, your trip second, and be prepared to clear out your calendar. But it’s worth it, because it’s going for good and it might not be replaced. The age of fine dining that Noma embodies is passing, much like it did for the legendary El Bulli before it, and the next great era-defining restaurant is yet to emerge.  

Instagram: Custom lighting in Noma's private dining room

But even if a table eludes you before the end of next year, you can get a taste of how special Noma was through the chefs that carry the flame. They are all over Copenhagen, say at Sanchez or Alchemist, high up in the mountains of La Paz at Gustu, and even in New York state’s school cafeterias, through the pioneering work of former head chef Dan Giusti. Just know there will never be this same Noma, and if you’ve always wanted to go, you shouldn’t wait any longer. 

Noma, Refshalevej 96, 1432 Copenhagen K, Denmark 

Visit Noma Instagram here

Noted imagery with thanks to Ditte Isager