When you think of Los Angeles, you automatically think of terrific options for Scandinavian food, right? Yeah, I didn’t either. In fact, it was quite a shock when we ran across our first Scandinavian deli here. Since then, we’ve been thrilled to find decadent pastries, tasty sandwiches, and wonderfully friendly owners/sales staff who have always been willing to answer any question we threw at them.
It seems only fair that I share my three favorite Scandinavian places for the foodies in Los Angeles (and for anyone who just loves the sweet stuff).
Olsons Scandinavian Delicatessen (5660 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90019)
Olsons was our first discovery (but we’re late to this party because it has been in LA since 1948). It’s Mid-City-ish, and rather unassuming – in fact, I’m not sure we would have noticed it if it weren’t for the flags blowing outside the restaurant.
The inside is completely charming. Red tables and chairs fill both sides of the restaurant, while shelves filled with candies, knickknacks, books, gifts and drinks line the walls. They have imported specialty items (that we have liberally sampled), and everything we’ve tasted has been very fresh.
While they do have quite a few dessert-type options, we gravitated to them for lunch. You’ll see a lot of authentically Scandinavian sandwiches on their menu – and the food has been so tasty (and reasonably priced) that we’ve kept going back for them. My current favorite is a curry chicken salad with apples and bacon (in fact, I had it for lunch today), and Andy has sampled a couple of different ones, including the herring.
Our recommendation? Go for the sandwiches and be sure to pick up an imported sweet snack for later (or for right then and there).
Copenhagen Pastry (11113 Washington Boulevard, Culver City, CA 90232)
You caught me. Technically, this is in Culver City (and there is a second location in Pasadena), but it’s so good that I had to share it.
Copenhagen Pastry bakes a rye bread that people will queue to get. Naturally, that means we haven’t had it yet. We always dance to our own beat. No, we headed straight for the sweets. Andy loves their marzipan items, while I lean toward anything chocolate. We both swear by their Romkugle dessert ball (aka ball of chocolate heaven). We also have sampled Napoleon Hats, Almond Marzipan and a chocolate custard creation called Chokoladebolle.
Literally, there is nothing bad about any of these things, and, as I write this, I feel the need to go back right now.
Hygge Bakery (1106 S. Hope Street, Los Angeles, California 90015)
I’ve only been out to Hygge Bakery once. It’s downtown, so I really have to make a plan to visit it, but the treats are worth the trip (and now the subway can take us there). It’s so new to us that Andy hasn’t visited with me yet. I suspect that will change soon.
The bakery, which opened in 2009, has a wide variety of Danish pastries, tarts and cakes. They also bake bread that gets rave notices. They have a fairly big menu of sandwiches, but you are more likely to find prosciutto here than herring.
What have I tried? I’ve sampled a rich chocolate custard treat and a lovely, light Kringle Bar. They were both excellent – sweet without being overpowering. I can’t wait to sample more.
There you have them – my recommendations for sampling some Scandinavian treats in Los Angeles. Have I mentioned one of your favorite Scandinavian bakeries or restaurants? Give me your recommendations for things I should try in the comments!