World's 'Best Restaurant' Has a New Menu—for $15

Owner René Redzepi turns Noma into an affordable wine bar
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2020 11:00 AM CDT
World's 'Best Restaurant' Has a New Menu—for $15
This March 14, 2012, file photo shows the Danish restaurant Noma in Copenhagen, at its old location.   (Jens Dresling/Polfoto via AP, File)

(Newser) – Noma wasn't affordable to most earthlings—until now. The innovative and expensive Danish restaurant is reopening next week with a whole new menu costing just $15 a person, the LA Times reports. In other words, Noma is ditching its roughly $400 meals (think dried fruit stuffed with pollen, or cod bladder cooked in quince) for simple burger-and-drink fare. "We were like, 'Should we do an ant marinade with raw carrots to have that twist of who we are?'" says chef-owner René Redzepi. "But then I'm like, 'No, why should we do that right now?' It's about being together, it's not about trying to be innovative." What's more, reservations will be unavailable and diners will have to sit outside on picnic blankets. As Redzepi tells the Wall Street Journal, "We will open as a kind of wine bar."

The Thursday reopening will be Noma's first business since it closed March 14 in response to the coronavirus, Eater notes. But it's not facing extinction: The Danish government has covered Noma's fixed costs for the first two months and up to 80% for the next two, and Redzepi managed to get a bank loan. So he's been able to keep his full 85-person staff and give them free meals to boot. "One thing that has surprised me: how strongly hit restaurants are in America and how bad it seems," he tells the Times. "People are running out of money in one week, two weeks, and that's pretty heavy to watch." But Noma still faces an uncertain future and slim 3% profit margin after taxes. "That is sort of the same [for restaurants] all over the world," he says. (Read more restaurants stories.)

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