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    Posted December 21, 2012 by
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    100 places to eat like a local

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    The Real Deal: Authentic Danish Food

    Situated just north of the lakes, and a few minutes casual stroll from the heart of Copenhagen's city center is Rita's smørrebrød. Located at #11 on Fælledvej in Nørrebro it's a tiny place with barely enough standing room for 5 people. Rita's is dominated by a large refrigerated counter overflowing with mouth watering trays of freshly made smørrebrød. For those of us who absolutely insist on a place to sit, there's a small wall counter with two stools nestled kitty-corner to the door.

    What is smørrebrød? Just about whatever you want. It is a piece of rugbrød or hearty Danish rye bread, typically buttered and then topped with things like fried fish fillet, small shrimp, sliced boiled potatoes, curried herring, pickled beat root and usually accompanied by savory sauces like remoulade. To finish it off smørrebrød is then topped by a garnish, fresh vegetable, citrus, or seafood of some sort. This can include everything from artistically sliced red pepper to fish eggs.

    While most Danes eat smørrebrød on a daily basis, it is usually prepared at home or in business cafeterias. For outsiders, travelers and visitors alike finding quality smørrebrød - the core of authentic Danish cuisine - is surprisingly difficult.

    When I arrived at Rita's this past Thursday it was 12:30PM and a constant stream of Danes were cycling in and out. As each left - likely to go bike back to work - they had beautifully decorated pieces of smørrebrød delicately wrapped in butcher paper tucked under their arms. Most of the day's pre-made smørrebrød which comprise the regular menu was already sold. Though technically open until 2pm, it looked like they'd easily sell out by 1PM.

    The shop offers 40+ types of regular smørrebrød on their standard menu, each priced at 12 DKK or about $2.50. Their premium menu adds another 40 custom, made on demand, alternatives which range in price. They're also one of the few small restaurants around that offer Danish frikadelle (think large meatballs), Danish roast pork, and krebinet (like a hamburger patty but totally different).

    When grabbing lunch at Rita's I usually pick up 3-5 pieces of smørrebrød. I can't say I have individual favorites, as I usually just order straight out of the case depending on what strikes my fancy. That's the beauty of Rita's, the food is beautifully laid out, fresh and made with great ingredients but also available over-the-counter. No trying to translate the menu, no need for an overwhelming long list with too many options. Eyeball what you want, pick, point, and then feast.

    While Noma may be the place to go for unique Danish cuisine, Rita's is the place to go for authentic Danish eats.
    This iReport is part of an assignment that we created with Travel + Leisure:  100 places to eat like a local
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