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.

72 Responses to Scandia

  • Reneer says:

    Need help. There was a very cozy restaurant in the late 70’s where my mom and I would go get warm pistachio cake with vanilla ice cream after work at Cedars Sinai. I could SWEAR the restaurants title had the word “Melting” in it, but people think I’m thinking of the Melting Pot and I’m not unless The Melting Pot has changed that much. this place had a neat outside patio with little white lights everywhere. It was in the same neighborhood (or the same area) as Hamburger Hamlet and others. They were all within a couple miles of each other.

  • Pete Taggerez says:

    Scandia appeared in the 1968 movie “The Sweet Ride.”

  • Ted Hill says:

    I remember going there in the 60’s with Dick Horner x fullback. For LA Rams. To thier yearly kick off lunches. Loved it.

  • Paula Doss says:

    The last time I was there was for dinner in 1986. They had the best Ceasar Salad Dressing!! The Chef made it with a touch of anchovy oil instead of adding whole anchovies on top like most people do. It gave the dressing a subtle hint of the sea. Fabulous place – but it was a little old fashioned and I think the author was right about the neighborhood being more friendly to the local heavy metal rockers than the clientele that frequented the restaurant. Bygones….

  • Ari Hansson says:

    An answer to Gary Harrell’s comment: They had a head chef from Switzerland at the restaurant? Heh. I bet that didn’t made Americans even more confused about the difference between Sweden and Switzerland.

  • Ari Hansson says:

    I meant to say “I bet that made the Americans even more confused about the difference between Sweden and Switzerland” in my previous comment. Too bad you can’t edit your own comments.

  • John Engstrom says:

    Went to Scandia’s a few times for late night dinner, but far and away the most memorable time is when I took my then fiance (now wife of 31+ years) there for dinner for her birthday. Service was extraordinary, food was very good (we each had a mixed grill dish called the “Viking Sword”, and Grand Marnier souffle for dessert).

  • George thomas says:

    Scandia was always the “Special Occasion” destination for my parents. Loved the food. The warm , thinly sliced dark bread toast coated with toasted cheese. I remember ordering “Shrimps in Dill ” appetizer , made with huge shell-on tiger shrimp. Tournados of Sirloin steak as the entree, or a Planked Chopped Sirloin Burger served on a wood plank with browned mashed potatoes. This place was awesome ! I even remember a special dining room designed after the “Belle Terasse” restaurant in Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens. Prior to the opening of restaurants like “L’Orangerie” , L’ Ermitage and Spago, Scandia was the standard for elegant dining in LA.

  • Mark Sherwin says:

    We went often in the 60s. The maitre’d was Monty (I remember him as Mr. French from Family Affair). I remember the food being wonderful, particularly the duck on Sunday night that came with an appetizer course called a Smorgasbrika. Several tiers of wonderful dishes like cucumbers with lingonberries and delicious pate. It also came with picked herring and they would always substitute our favorites in place of the herring. As noted above, the service was impeccable. So elegant.

  • Mark Sherwin says:

    PS. I’m pretty sure Scandia was just east of Doheny. We always parked on Doheny and walked up the hill and turned right on Sunset. Mom was too cheap to valet park :-)

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

    Mark, check Doheny here http://tinyurl.com/o7kfth6 despite where the ‘balloon’ marker shows it to be on the south side of the Strip. Click on the pic therein. Another site says the building will be soon torn down for an 11 story Marriott.

  • Andrea Y. says:

    Talk about memories!! All this time I thought the place was called Buffalo Bills. Nobody could tell me why it closed down. I used to live in Reseda and see it all the time because it was across the street from my dentist’s office. The chair would face the window and I had a front view of the GIANT STATUE of the Lone Ranger with his arms in that typical giant man pose (one hand facing up, one facing down), holding a rifle across his front. The parking lot had a stage coach outside that deteriorated over the years, and one inside that a party of four could request service and sit inside of it. I recall the character names of all the burgers and drinks, but parents were not too fond of the quality and there were remarks about shoddy value. Now there sits an Arby’s and a Jk in the Bx on the same parking lot on Reseda Blvd near Vanowen. It was a thematic venue more than a restaurant. Too bad for our loss.

  • Larry V Smith says:

    I have never been to Scandia’s, but I once worked for a person that once worked there & the things he, Curt Lecher, were fantastic. Anyone know his or family whereabouts?

  • Larry says:

    I was at Musso & Frank Grill in Hollywood a few months ago and found Manny, a former Scandia bartender working behind the bar. He’s a part-timer there but always anxious to share stories about his days at Scandia. What a kick – the same barkeep who made my perfect Manhattans on the rocks at Scandia made me one at Musso & Frank.

  • James Nesmith says:

    During my second tour in Vietnam I was assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne). During my 13 month tour I was fortunate enough to meet Martha Raye, who had been given a commission by LBJ. COL Maggie invited me to go to dinner upon my return from Vietnam. I called her up, met her at Scandia and had a wonderful dinner. When we walked into the restaurant the head waiter jokingly asked her, “Miss Raye, I suppose as usual you do not have a reservation?” She was a truly wonderful human being.

  • Samuel Janovici says:

    Scandia was an entertainment industry hangout. Lunch wasn’t just a push the food around the plate experience, while business took center stage. The food was so good that business waited until we cleared our plates. There was a great chef named Raymond who ran the place like a kindly tyrant. He now lives in Mill Valley and cooks for charities and the poor.

  • Liberty Valance says:

    Scandia Restaurant was torn down today. R.I.P.

  • John G says:

    Larry, Manny left Musso’s around mid April. I don’t know why. I did not ask.

  • Brian says:
  • Larry says:

    I cannot recall with certainty the three main ingredients of the Viking Sword. I think it was beef, lamb and chicken. Anyone have any information, an old menu or something?

  • Dennis P says:

    Didn’t Scandia’s open up again for a short while
    in Channel Islands Harbor (Oxnard) Ventura County
    in the early 1990’s during some internal business
    problems?

  • Michael H says:

    My boyfriend and I used to go to Scandia very late on a Saturday night after hitting the gay bars on Santa Monica Blvd. I’m sure we weren’t dressed appropriately for the restaurant, and we were undoubtedly a little tipsy, but the staff at Scandia was unfailingly friendly to us and made us feel welcome, and the food was always wonderful. Scandia was a great addition to West Hollywood life in those days, early 1980s.

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