Copenhagen, or København to the Danes, is renowned for its picturesque canals and bike-friendly streetscapes, its cutting-edge design and sky-high standard of living. In recent years, however, it’s gotten a disproportionate amount of press for its food, and for good reason—the Danish capital of 1.2 million was awarded a record-breaking 18 Michelin stars among 15 restaurants in 2015, while Noma, that pioneer of so-called New Nordic cuisine, was voted the World’s Best Restaurant five times since it opened in 2004 (in its previous incarnation). The majority of those Michelin-starred restaurants are doing something “Nordic” in the kitchen—no small feat in a city where not so long ago fine dining predominantly meant French cooking.

But none of this is news to any traveling food lover. What might be news is that some of the best places to eat in Copenhagen have been around for decades. Traditional Danish food in Copenhagen never went away. The classic open-faced sandwich lunch, smørrebrød, has never gone in or out of style; it’s been there all along, in hundreds of creative varieties, feeding the Danes at home, in elegant basement eateries, and in casual takeout cafes for the past century and a half. Wienerbrød, beloved Danish pastry, is just as old and varied, and mind-bogglingly delicious. Know what’s immensely satisfying in the late afternoon? A classic Danish hot dog, or pølse, on the street, paired with velvety chocolate milk.

These dishes aren’t new or hot or experimental. They are the unsung heroes of Danish cuisine, the ones that continue to live on in relative anonymity while the “New Nordic” concept, the very foundation of which is rooted in tradition, spreads across the globe. Most of the traditional Danish dishes have long resided in, not surprisingly, the traditional Danish restaurants of Copenhagen—and they should absolutely be on your to-do list when planning a trip to this culinary capital.

In this guide, we pay tribute to both sides of Copenhagen’s food scene. On the one hand are the traditional Danish dishes that have long sustained the Danes, and continue to do so today; on the other, the modernist, innovative twists on regionally sourced Nordic ingredients that have come to define modern gastronomy in Copenhagen. It’s a beautiful thing, this choice of old and new, homey and groundbreaking. Here is a truly exciting town to eat in. Are you ready?