Essens Gaarden

Guide: From farm to table: 4 selected Dining Places in North Jutland

Photo: Destination NORD

Tonny Kristensen is behind the idyllic dining spot, Essens Gaarden. Here, he shares his suggestions for some of North Jutland's most authentic culinary experiences.

Tonny Kristensen

Photo:Destination NORD

Tonny Kristensen has been in the culinary and restaurant industry for over 25 years. He has been behind Restaurant Essens in Frederikshavn, which has now moved to the countryside and is now known as Essens Gaarden.

At Essens Gaarden you eat Danish food in season, quite literally. The various crops are not delivered from other local farms – they are sown, cultivated, and harvested by Tonny Kristensen and the rest of the team.

"The heart of Essens Gaarden is our kitchen garden, where we cultivate many different types of vegetables – from the early spring onions and lettuce to summer squash and beans, and to the autumn root vegetables, cabbage, mallow, and leaf fennel that can withstand the winter cold. We want vegetables, fruits, and berries to be homegrown – that way, we can harvest on the same day that the ingredient goes into a dish – it just gives 10 percent better flavor. In addition to that, we can take advantage of micro-seasons: For example, when we harvest our cabbage during the autumn, we leave the stems. In the spring, small, delicate cabbage shoots grow on the same stem; they are a bit sweeter, and the taste is delightful. For instance, we also let our radishes grow until they flower – the flowers form seeds, which are a pure delicacy. It's a window that may last a week. You never see that if all your vegetables are delivered from outside."

Pizza, grandma's food, and gourmet

Essens Gaarden doesn't operate with opening hours from Tuesday to Sunday like many other places. Instead, you can book a table from Wednesday to Friday, and each day has its own unique concept:

Pizza on the farm – Every Wednesday is dedicated to sourdough pizza baked in the heavy stone oven using firwood. Herbs and vegetables are sourced from our own kitchen garden, and the meat is from Rosenbeck Free-range Meat.

Thursday on the farm – On Thursdays, the table is set with grandma's dishes, and the menu features a seasonal classic Danish dish in a reinterpretation. Fish and meat are sourced from the local area. During winter, the meals are served in one of the farm's cozy rooms, while in the summer months, dining takes place in the sunny, blooming courtyard.

Fridays on the farm – Fridays are reserved for pure gourmet experiences, where the wine menu is tailored to the different courses, and what else happens, you'll only find out by booking a table.

More experiences in North Jutland

Restaurant Smørgåsen
Photo: Restaurant Smørgåsen

Smørgåsen in Frederikshavn

The food

At Smørgåsen, they serve delicious, classic smørrebrød with a modern twist. You can both see and taste the attention to detail – all platters are beautifully arranged and served with great care and respect for both craftsmanship and the ingredients used.

The atmosphere

Here, you're always warmly welcomed in the North Jutlandic manner, and even though the staff is highly professional, the atmosphere is completely informal.

Blink i Skagen
Photo: Emil Agerskov

Blink in Skagen

The food

Matilde and Maciek embrace the Danish seasons. Their menu depends on the day's catch, what they've just gathered from nature, and freshly dug vegetables from local farms. The dishes are simple, rustic, and utterly delicious. Here, you get food as authentic as it can be.

The atmosphere

You can clearly feel the vision here, making Blink a personal place that is both modern and cozy.

Restaurant Emil
Photo: Restaurant Emil

Emil in Aalborg

The food

Owner Emil is young, energetic, and incredibly skilled, and it reflects in his food. The main ingredient at the restaurant is fish. Even though we're on the north coast with the Kattegat as our neighbor, there aren't many eateries that go all-in on the pescetarian cuisine – huge credit for that. All fish are freshly caught and locally sourced from Strandby, just north of Frederikshavn – in itself, a significant quality stamp.

The atmosphere

Emil is always present at the restaurant, and it's wonderful to enjoy a meal where the owner is always there – you really feel the passion for the craft, making the dining experience much more personal.