Dining Out 4 minutes 30 May 2024

Jordnær: Denmark’s New Three Michelin Star Restaurant

Find out why the Michelin Inspectors have given a third Star to this superb operation in the Copenhagen suburb of Gentofte

Jordnær means ‘down to earth’. It’s a fitting name for Denmark’s new Three Michelin Star restaurant, for while it offers a most outstanding dining experience, there is something delightfully understated about the place. From the décor to the cuisine, every element shows a real understanding that genuine skill and showing off are far from the same thing. Nothing is done just for the sake of it or with any degree of pretension, but purely in the service of truly exceptional cooking.


For many guests, a visit to Jordnær starts with the journey out from central Copenhagen. The restaurant, run by husband-and-wife team Eric and Tina Kragh Vildgaard, is situated in the affluent suburb of Gentofte about 9km from the city centre. Two Michelin Inspectors travelled there via a train ride and brief walk from the station – during which they got a feel for this lovely, leafy area and glimpsed a red-brick 12th Century church along the way. This is what one of our Inspectors had to say of arriving at the restaurant itself.

jordnaer room.jpg

“When we reached Jordnær, we were greeted at the door by the charming Eric and Tina before being led into the dining room. It felt bright and spacious, sporting white-painted beams and contemporary furniture, with room for around 25 covers. In line with their ‘down to earth’ ethos, there seemed to be no desire from Eric and Tina to make Jordnær a glitzy or overtly glamorous place; instead, their trademark understated style was on display. Each table was dressed with a white linen tablecloth and quality tableware, plus a tiny bouquet of flowers that exemplified a thoughtful rather than ostentatious form of elegance.”

The Team

Everything at Jordnær is led by Eric and Tina themselves. He heads up the kitchen while she runs the front of house, and both exude a humble quality that they take into every aspect of their restaurant. In an indication of their commitment to maintaining an ‘ordinary’ life despite their extraordinary talents, the restaurant is only open from Tuesday to Friday, allowing the pair, their children and the team to have a more normal life.

Eric and Tina have worked together to craft an excellent service experience here, which is the ideal accompaniment to the cooking. This is what one of our Inspectors thought.

“The chefs far outnumbered the front of house team during my visit to Jordnær, which was indicative of the large role the former played in the service. Eric and his kitchen team brought the dishes out themselves, taking great pride in describing each one without indulging in pomp and ceremony. Eric himself was a calm and good-humoured presence, willing to chat away with guests; Tina ensured every other aspect of the evening ran as smoothly as possible.”

The Cooking

Once the Inspectors were settled in their seats with an aperitif in hand, the dishes began to arrive. As soon as the very first morsel was delivered, it was clear that there was something special in store. Throughout the meal, several key facets of Eric’s cooking revealed themselves time and again. As one of our Inspectors explains, this was Three Star cuisine built around a few core principles.

“First and foremost, exceptional produce is the basis of everything they do at Jordnær. There was no meat among these superb ingredients, with seafood and vegetables proving more than sufficient materials for the talented chefs to work with. Secondly, all the preparations showcased enormous precision and a delicacy that Eric jokingly admits belies his large frame. Finally, there was a strong Japanese influence running throughout our meal. The country’s flavours and techniques were incorporated effortlessly into dishes that also displayed French and Nordic inspirations.”

The Dishes Tasted

During their visit, the Michelin Inspectors enjoyed a tasting menu full of incredible creations. These included: ultra-fresh raw scallops paired with white currant and rose; two preparations of superb langoustines, one a tartare of the claw meat and the other the tail grilled over binchotan charcoal; a white asparagus panna cotta paired with lobster, grapefruit and a sauce blanquette; and two finely balanced desserts – milk, honey and lavender followed by white chocolate, hazelnut and a plantation rum caramel.

Each of these were exceptional, but the dishes below are the ones that one of our Inspectors felt best characterised the meal as a whole.

“The meal opened with a sequence of ‘snacks’ that was among the most memorable parts of the entire evening – like the breathtaking finale of a fireworks display yet moved to the beginning. Taken as a whole, they were a thrilling microcosm of the entire dinner, showcasing so many of Eric’s strengths in the kitchen. Three fine tartlets were the perfect example of his delicate touch; the one filled with Barents Sea snow crab was particularly intricate, beautifully garnished with tiny flowers and a well-chosen selection of herbs.

“Another was filled with meltingly soft bluefin tuna otoro, which was diced using knife skills of such precision they wouldn’t be out of place in Japan – fitting for a dish that also incorporated nori, myoga (Japanese ginger) and 3-year-old soy. Perhaps my favourite snack was a superlative take on the potato waffle, where its hollow underside had been filled with raw fjord shrimp bound with crème fraiche and finely minced chives; Baeri caviar completed the dish perfectly. When I finished the last snack – takoyaki filled with lobster meat and caviar – I was left amazed by the beauty and the sheer quality of it all.”

Hamachi, ponzu & wasabi
“While there was a real ‘wow factor’ to the snacks, this dish displayed a contrasting simplicity. Eric is a master at showing admirable restraint when he needs to, along with his ability to cook in multiple styles with equal degrees of success. The hamachi, like the scallops before it, had a fabulous purity of flavour that was similar in style to top-grade sashimi. The fish, undoubtedly ikejime, had been dry aged and was accompanied by a fresh-tasting dressing of ponzu and wasabi. It was so simple, yet so skilful.”

“With this dish we were back in the realms of complexity. The chawanmushi comprised so many elements – snow crab, sea urchin, pickled daikon, habanero chilli, finger lime – that the layers of flavour just kept on coming. What stood out most, however, was the addition of beluga caviar. Unlike some restaurants, caviar isn’t offered here as an exorbitantly priced extra, but incorporated brilliantly into the main menu. It is a great talent of Eric’s that he uses this luxury ingredient only when necessary to enhance the flavour and texture of the dish, never as an expensive gimmick.”

Dover sole, ramson
“Proving yet again that Eric and his team can effortlessly change their approach from course to course, this was a classically French dish executed with modern precision. Once again favouring purity of flavour rather than maximalist complexity, the quality of the Dover sole itself was key to the dish’s success. It was presented as a ballotine, filled with a mousse of its own trimmings and perfumed with ramson. Fine slivers of raw asparagus, ramson juice, a light blue mussel emulsion, nasturtium leaves and ramson flowers rounded out the magnificent dish.”


By now it should be abundantly clear why the Michelin Inspectors have been so impressed by Jordnær. Being awarded Three Michelin Stars is an enormous achievement, one which Eric, Tina and the entire team can be hugely proud of. Here’s a final word from an Inspector on why Jordnær needs to be at the top of your ‘to visit’ list.

“My fellow Michelin Inspector and I were consistently impressed by the Jordnær team’s ability to move between overtly complex creations and pure, pared-back dishes. Eric possesses the crucial talent of restraint and knows exactly what kind of dish should come next in the tasting menu sequence. Throughout the evening, the dishes never got too rich or too elaborate, but a dash of theatricality was always close by to ensure we never got bored. For a dining experience of style, substance and sheer, unadulterated enjoyment, you’ll struggle to find anything better.”

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