Scandia

One of the fanciest restaurants in Los Angeles was located at 9040 Sunset Boulevard, just west of Doheny. A man named Ken Hansen originally opened it across the street in 1947. Ten years later, he moved into its more famous location and began serving Scandinavian cuisine to a rich and famous clientele. His sister-in-law, Teddy Hansen, served as the hostess in charge of greeting and seating the beautiful people and she knew everybody.

My family had some wealthy friends who would sometimes take us there and the thing I remember most vividly is the service. There were waiters everywhere and if you dropped a napkin, six people would converge on you to pick it up, fold it, iron it, offer you a new one and tuck it into your belt. I do not remember the food being especially notable but I remember the fuss they made about every patron. One of our wealthy friends had an allergy to margarine and as he strode in the door each time, he would immediately be greeted by name by a male maitre’d, who worked alongside Ms. Hansen and who I recall as being very much like the one played by John Cleese in the “Mr. Creosote” sketch from the last Monty Python film. He would welcome our rich friend, remark that he recalled the man’s allergy to margarine and announce that he personally would go into the kitchen and remind the chefs that no margarine was to be used in the preparation of our order. That was the kind of personal attention that built Scandia.

In the early seventies, the Hansens sold Scandia to magazine publisher Bob Petersen, he of the automotive magazines. By then, the character of Sunset Boulevard was beginning to change. Other businesses in that area, including the Roxy nightclub and the Rainbow Bar and Grill, attracted a younger, rowdier crowd. Every night, police were busting drug dealers within yards of Scandia, and it did a lot to drive Scandia’s older, wealthy clientele to other, newer eateries. The place finally closed in 1989.

118 Responses to Scandia

  • gc says:

    One of the most memorable meals ever was a July 4th in the 60’s with my family
    and in-laws. A very special Scandia 4th. Whole fresh Alaskan salmon flown in that morning…..with a delicate souffle inside……served by waiters carrying
    huge silver platters. Accompanied by vegetables…..seconds of everything if
    desired. So delicious and elegant. And then to make the experience more
    sublime……Scandia’s yumyum apple cale. We really loved the old original Scandia and went as often as possible. In the mid 50’s we had a lovely baby sitter whose son was a chef at Scandia……many times she brought us leftover treats from the kitchen. And……don’t forget those old prices.

  • Angelo D'Amico says:

    My dad worked for Martoni’s in the 60s and 70s and opened his own restaurant La Traverna a block west of Scandia and we would go there on his day off occasionally. I remember on night Jerry Dumphy the news anchor came into the bar to start his night for dinner. It was a magic place. We lived a block from Paramount Studio and would go to Nicodel’s a lot. Great food great memories. It’s amazing that you all remember those days. Love to hear back with your thoughts.

  • David says:

    Scandia was a great to place to eat… the food was excellent and all the pastries were hand made by a French chef. If you recall, they had French service, three workers to a table, the Captain, the Waiter and the Busboy. I worked there for a short period of time until I landed a waiter position at the Magic Castle in Hollywood. Prior to working at Scandia, I worked as a waiter at ‘Mark Twain’s Jumping Frog Saloon’ on San Vicente Blvd. in Brentwood. Does anyone remember Mark Twain’s?

  • Bob of the Village of Los Ranchos (NM) says:

    Alas Len, Thanks for not bringing up Mike Mckeever! Eeek, heard a vague reference to the Med School, but just now….Thanks to you, LOL…read a (blush) extensive NY Times article…OMG…so sad. At least it should be an exciting year for football being back on track per the team and QB, Sam Darnold, pulling the season’s end as well as Rose Bowl game out of the fire with heart thumping games: http://tinyurl.com/y77ncqlf As always: http://tinyurl.com/qgpfpng Alas, my biggest thrill was once ushering a Rose Bowl on the 50 yard line…LOL
    Elsewise, Yelp has some interesting pics http://tinyurl.com/y7zc3b4o of servings at Alta Nordic (plus its weblink). Not sure my memory serves me well, but seems like ANK’s menu is more fishy than what Scandia’s was . In any event, hope you kept a winner from one of those “cheap dates” to have a happy SoCal life…..Skol with a Tuborg!

  • Jerry Goudchaux says:

    I adored Scandia, went there many many times with my former wife and inlaws…

  • Len Frank says:

    Hey, Robert, come back to LA. Had dinner at ALTA Nordic Kitchen (they’ve just opened). Chef Christer Larsson was an early chef at Acquavit, back east, so he really knows his game. It may not be the Scandia of old, but it’s a very welcome addition.

    And should you come back to town, we could get together at ALTA and reminisce a bit and then discuss how SC will shed its latest scandal. First they gave us OJ and now this. Scares the Keck out of me.

  • Chris Harlan says:

    I loved Scandia. It was my favorite Hollywood fancy date destination. That, and Chasens and Nicodel’s. Favorite meal was “The Viking Sword.”

  • Bob of the Village of Los Ranchos (NM) says:

    Alas Len, not sure whatcha mean by ‘eons’ ago. Mine was circa ’60* and despite the fact that tuition at USC was a whopping $32/unit or $1K per year**, I, as a frugal Trojan, had a better Scandia plan to actual sit at a table and feast for a “cheap date” which, I’m thinking reflected a superior brainpower given you could only make it into UCLA (Sorry…LOL). I hooked up with a TroJane, whose Dad, being an actual Dane, enjoyed treating us often to Scandia as one of the finer things in SoCal whereas we might sip on Tuborgs (if not MaiTais of the era) down in Hermosa Beach…home to this day, The Lighthouse for Jazz.

    Checking prices to sit at a table…LOL:
    A pic/text history with a menu from an unknown time http://tinyurl.com/ybhcotnb

    1981 Scandia menu (scroll down) http://tinyurl.com/y7cpbctv

    *By the Way, The Greatest Pre-USC-ucla game prank that ever occurred was my Freshman year when Trojans sneaked onto your campus in the wee hours of the morn and substituted all the copies of The Daily Bruin with articles of the greatness of Troy https://libraries.usc.edu/es/node/6713

    **BTW, Why are college tuitions so outrageously high…50-60K/year plus board nowadays? Using this government Inflation Calculator https://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl, USC should now only be 8+K/yr!!!!

    Ok, your plan had its’ merits! Skol!

  • Len Frank says:

    I was drawn here, searching out Ken Hansen, because a new restaurant is about to open in L.A. — ALTA Nordic Kitchen — on Melrose, a few miles south of Sunset. It won’t be Scandia — can’t be — but at least it will bring back a few familiar dishes.

    Scandia is truly missed! Eons ago, when I was at UCLA, Scandia’s bar was one of the best date places in town. For the price of two Martinis and a decent tip one could get all the dips and frikadeller imaginable. The bartenders, bless them, knew what we were doing, and never said a word. What a great (cheap) night out!

  • Steve Alsberg says:

    My favorite entree? Veal Oscar, thin veal cutlets with asparagus, crab legs and bernaise sauce. Something that has outlived the restaurant now served in many places, never as well.

  • Jerry Atlansky says:

    In the early 1960’s I had the most excellent honor of being Continental Airlines Director of Social Events at the world headquarters, to provide the best and unique venues in Los Angeles County for five thousand employees and their families. My wife and I tested out Scandia and to put in one word it was extraordinary for the entire experience, so our group felt they have a new favorite restaurant in Los Angeles. We welcome anyone to Google/Yahoo my name to learn about three programs that was started in 2006 as volunteers and self-funded. Make Every day terrific!

  • Desslar says:

    You can briefly see the exterior of the restaurant in episode 1 of the 1975 TV series Switch with Robert Wagner. Wagner eats in the restaurant, but don’t know if the interior shots are on location or a set. You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-bRIbb_lSo&t=368s

  • Vincent Beckley says:

    I was hired as a captain at Scandia in 1979 having just moved to California, I was definitely the youngest Captain at 20.
    Michele, the Maitre D’ was elderly and frail, but that did not keep him from running a tight ship and having amazing people skills, sharp, professional and charming. He was an amazing mentor.
    The food was interesting, delicious and elegant. Veal Oskar, poached salmon in dill Aspic, house made graavlaxx. Exquisite desserts.
    Many memories of celebrities. Shirley Jones coming in with Sean and David Cassidy, Farrah Fawcett, Mae West, Betty Davis, Ed Asner, Elizabeth Taylor,
    Every night was special.
    I loved all the different dining rooms, the dark red bar with high banquets was great for Privacy, the main room was a great see and be seen spot with lots of action, and the best spot for Sunday brunch was the pink and green, fern accented sun room overlooking West Hollywood.
    The action behind the scenes was lively as well.
    The amazing wine cavern holding thousands of bottles was expertly controlled without the aid of a computer. The wine steward could tell you where every bottle was located. The busboys were in charge of making bread baskets with yummy breads as well as rye crisps with Parmesan freshly toasted to order.
    I am grateful to have been able to experience working at Scandia

  • Ellen Harvey says:

    Yesterday I made a version of the Lingonberry Cheesecake from Scandia. Couldn’t find the cheesecake recipe, both most are pretty similar, but I had the Lingonberry Preserves on the shelf, courtesy of TJ MAXX. As I find graham crackers BORING for a crust, I used Keebler’s Pecan Sandies & threw in extra pecans as I was processing. You spread the Lingonberry Preserves over the finished cake, & it was marvelous! I will make it again.

  • Ellen Harvey says:

    My father was one of the Scandia Vikings, a men’s club (mostly imbibing, I think), & when Ken Hansen went to Denmark to acquire decorator items, etc. for the restairant the Vikings became the Maitre’d’s. They also had a blood drive to which the Vikings donated. Bet there were some very happy recipients. My father’s office was right down the way on Sunset Blvd., so that was his favorite lunch spot.

    Tomorrow I am going to make a version of their Cheesecake with Preserved Lingonberries to take to a monthly hangar lunch at a small WWII Air Musem between Tallulah, La. (Yes, there is a town by that name!) & Vicksburg, Ms. I have the Lingonberry Preserves standing by at the ready.

    They had wonderful snails in mushroom caps which set me on the road to loving the little critters. Also, great Gazpacho, even though that’s NOT Danish. AAAH, the memories.

  • Sandy Westmoreland says:

    Back in 1968-69, my inlaws lived in an apartment on Doheny, right around the corner from Scandia. I made friends with the bartender, who would call me whenever a movie star dined there that week. I was so starstruck back then, but would play it cool and just look, never asking for an autograph. Ann Margaret and Roger Smith rode their motorcycles there and sat at the bar. Dinah Shore had lunch with artist Norman Rockwell. But when celebrities sat down at the tables it was difficult to see them because the wingback chairs created privacy! So much for star watching!

  • Bob of the Village of Los Ranchos (NM) says:

    Yo Wendy: Speaking of your Dad’s fetish, here it is being introduced by Dick Clark http://tinyurl.com/kklu3rm Speaking of “that era”, hopefully you got to revive memories in early ’00s with this great series http://tinyurl.com/mh4kajj. Those were the days….

  • Wendy Hughes says:

    Bob from New Mexico: boy is my face red! You’re right – it was Dino’s. The memory plays tricks, but I swear the Bikini Song story really happened. :-)

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