Scandia Restaurant on Sunset Strip
"There's Ma Maison, La Scala and Scandia. And of the newer ones, I hear that Le Dome is quite nice.” – Dialogue from American Gigolo, 1980.
Scandia. 9040 Sunset. 1946-1989.
Some of my earliest memories are at Scandia. It was one of my parents favorite destinations. (I was lucky they never left me with baby sitters). We settled into regal red leather chairs in the nearby bright, glass-walled dining room that seemed to float over lit-up Los Angeles. We drove into Scandia’s huge driveway where you knew Warren Beatty or Natalie Wood would soon emerge from a sleek black car and into this mid century modern building. Near the entrance was a moody, rat pack wooden bar. The Scandia chefs served perfect Swedish meatballs in silver platters and beer mugs with names of notable Scandia ‘Club of the Vikings’ guests such as Errol Flynn were displayed.
Scandia was very elegant with paneled woods, copper and brass fixtures, royal blue and white china and crystal vases. The principal decorations were coats of arms. Specialties here included "Lammesaddel", "Viking Sword", "Hamlets Dagger" (fresh lobster pieces non-greasily fried with exquisite tartar sauce) , and Danish pastries. Scandia Restaurant had an award winning wine cellar with over 30,000 bottles of wine in the '80s. From 1950 through 1980, this restaurant received Holiday Magazine awards. Scandia Restaurant also received many other accolades for the cuisine. They served their last meal on May 4th. 1989. The restaurant tried to open a few times as other residencies, but have failed. The structure is still standing vacant today on the corner of Sunset and Doheny, but rumored to come down in the next few years for a massive development.
The building today at Sunset and Doheny - but not for long.
Down below is a very rare 1940's wall sconce that once hung inside Scandia. You can see a few rows of them hanging in this incredible photo courtesy of Vintage Los Angeles member, Nicole Renzi Mahon of her mom and dad on their wedding night wither her Grandparents at Scandia.
Hard to believe this wall sconce survived after all these years and now hanging in my kitchen! Makes me want to play Duke Ellington and cook some Swedish Meatballs!
Customers, in its heyday would beg, borrow and steal for a reservation before 11 p.m at Scandia. Although the Hanson family sold it off during the 1980s, I had always dreamed of a comeback for Scandia since the building has been sitting intact for years at the corner of Doheny and Sunset Blvd. Sadly that won’t be the case. The structure built in 1947 will come down for a Marriott Hotel. Luckily I was able to shoot a few photos of the inside recently before it hits the wrecking ball. May the rooms be forever haunted by Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe...
This is one of the Original Door Handles a friend of mine is fortunate to have.
Original Letter that once hung on the facade.
Original cigarette holder I picked up an estate sale.
Ashtray circa 1960s - Ebay score!
The Matchbooks I personally found in a jar at my parents house located in their bar. And I uncovered the 1960's Postcard in my fathers desk years back.
Here is Jack Webb with the owners of Scandia. This is from his Jack's personal collection. Photo taken in June 1958 at his wedding.
Vintage Los Angeles members have shared the following..
Robin Reid: "My Dad took us to Scandia every Sunday night. The Dover Sole was flown in fresh from Dover and was delicious. The restaurant always had a jacket and a tie waiting for me. I wasn't the jacket and tie type. Neither was Sonny Bono. They wouldn't seat him and Cher because they were wearing blue jeans. Many years later I was married there. The marriage like Scandia, is only a memory now of things that are no longer here".
Kathy Regan:"My girlfriends and I used to take a limo there for birthdays and ended up our dinner smoking cigars, much to their amusement and tolerance! The stuffed cabbage and Daggers of Hamlet were the best!!!!!"
Josh Mills: "In the early '80's a well known agent died who was a collector of fine wines. In his will, he stipulated that 10 people who he liked be invited to drink his wine in the Scandia wine seller. It only held about 10 people in the basement. He invited his business partners, clients, his pool man (but not their spouses if he didn't like them). He paired his very expensive wines with the meal Scandia prepared for his guests. He pre paid for the meal when he knees he was ill. By all accounts - an amazing send off"
Scott Raphael: "Used to go on my birthday. To this day, the best chocolate soufflé I've ever had. The waiter would take a spoon and push down the center and pour in this rich, decadent vanilla cream sauce...mmm"
Unfortunately we will be losing this mid century gem for a Lush Sunset Strip Marriott Hotel in 2015.
Alison Martino is a writer, television producer and personality, and L.A. pop culture historian. She founded the Facebook page Vintage Los Angeles in 2010. In addition to CityThink and VLA, Martino muses on L.A’s. past and present on Twitter and Instagram and on her website, alisonmartino.com
Alison is also currently a columnist for Los Angeles Magazine.
Looking for a dessert served at Scandia with Lingonberries. I would love the recipe for this parfait which was served in a tall glass with a wonderful creme and Lingonberries layered.ReplyDelete
I have a menu from Scandia! I will have to look to see if this desert is on the menu! Thanks!ReplyDelete
I have an old picture from the Scandia's 5th anniversary that I was going to post a link to but it doesn't look like I can. It's nice to see an article about Scandia though, my grandfather was the chef there for a few years and I enjoy reading about places that he worked. If you have any information on the Bit Of Sweden I would love to read about it too, as he worked there prior to working at Scandia. I think those were the only two L.A. restaurants he worked at though, before moving on to Santa Anita Racetrack and places in Orange County and Las Vegas.ReplyDelete
Sorry, I've gotten a bit rambly but the main point is to say thank you for the lovely article :)
The Bit of Sweden was owned by Fred Glow. At the time of hid death in the late 1950's ownership passed to his wife (my aunt) Lillian Glow. She died in 1959 and the restaurant was closed. The wife of my fathers twin brother, Alice Broude was a waitress.Delete
PLEASE scan and post the Scandia menus! Biff med log - Kadellomar - all the goodies - and yes the Lingonberry Pudding! Doug
The closest I could find to a recipe for the Lingonberry pudding is found at http://scandinavianfood.about.com/od/dessertrecipes/r/Rodgrod-Med-Flode-Danish-Red-Berry-Pudding-With-Cream.htmReplyDelete
An instand form of it is made by junket and can usually be found in the jello section of the supermarket in Rasberry or Strawberry flavor.
I have all the letters from the Scandia sign out front which were given to me by one of the later residents I knew that had attempted to re-open the restaurant and call it "Legacy." Lasted 5 minutes... but I have the iconic letters and I treasure them.ReplyDelete
Good for you! I am envious. Treasure them, maybe find a way to display them safely in your home, and NEVER let them go. I spent many happy evenings there with my family, and it makes me very happy to know the sign still exists in substantial part.Delete
Thank You for the article, and great pictures of Scandia. For my Senior High School Prom, back in May of 1970, my date, and other friends had a wonderful time there.ReplyDelete
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Hi Alison thank you a very cool blog im in Nor Cal for vacays it was SoCal Scandia was a family fave as was Bit of SwedenReplyDelete
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My dad, Edward Brown, was a sous chef at Scandia's when I was a little girl. I was too young to remember it, but he has a lot of fond memories and good stories about the movie stars he would meet. They had a hamburger which had shredded beets and capers in it, then topped with a fried egg. He met George Fisher at Scandias, who hired him to be the chef at the Witchburners Restaurant, which I guess shared location with Agnes Morehead's studio business.ReplyDelete
So great to see this - my grandfather was a chef at Scandia's.ReplyDelete
I loved Scandia! My parents took me there too. It knocked my socks off.ReplyDelete
LA Public Library has old menu archives online ; SCANDIA WAS EXPENSIVE!!ReplyDelete
Archive search page:
I remember a Scandia Sunday brunch drink served in a large wineglass filled with champagne, and a full peach that had been marinated in some kind liquor. Yum!ReplyDelete
My family lived in West Hollywood from 1963 - 1967. My mother worked at Scandia during that time. I can remember her coming home saying "Diana Ross came in for dinner tonight. She was dripping in white furs even though it was summer." She met many other celebrities during her time there. I miss her coming home every night telling us who she had met, who was nice (and who was not!). We lived just a few blocks away. Ah the good old days.ReplyDelete
My husbands father was a bartender at Scandia for many years.ReplyDelete
One night the phone rang at home and my husband (he was just a kid then) picked it up. On the other end was Liza Minnelli, asking if Johnny could tend bar for one of her private parties. Apparently, my husband's father was a great bartender, tight lipped about his customers and very respectful of their privacy.
Manny, who used to make perfect Manhattans on the rocks for me at Scandia is now working part time at Musso & Frank Grill.Delete
I had the pleasure of having dinner there in the 60's. After dinner I met Chill Wills, very interesting gentleman...ReplyDelete
Thank you. Sharing this with my father-in-law who was the CFO for Petersen companies when they bought Scandia's...he has Alzheimer's and this will be an enchanting revisit for him. Thank you.ReplyDelete
This was one of our all time favorites in the 60's. Our favorite table was just outside the main dining room. There were two or three little tables, for two, under beautiful paintings. My wife and I always sat out there. One of the chef's operated an excellent high level coffee shop in Marina del Rey; I went there for about twenty years; he just closed about a month ago. I dearly miss old LA.ReplyDelete
You must be talking about B... he was my dad's best friend at scandia and many years after. I will have my mom drop him a call I did not know. Hope all is well. Enjoyed working at scandia as a kid.Delete
I have a original dishes from Scandia. approx 12 large dinner plates, soup bowls, cups and saucers, espresso cups. Most have the signature 'S' on them, some are just blue and white, but guaranteed from scandia. My Brother in law was an employee of Bob Peterson and I came by them through marriage. If interested, please email me. thank you. they are incredible firstname.lastname@example.orgReplyDelete