Scandia, West Hollywood 1970s
Scandia, located on Sunset Strip and overlooking the lights of the city, was an elegant and glamorous restaurant that was once the hottest spot in Los Angeles. Its glittering clientele included Hollywood stars such as Frank Sinatra and Ingrid Bergman and no less than five American Presidents.
Its founder Kenneth Hansen left his native Denmark for America in 1920 and worked in restaurants all over America before settling in Los Angeles and becoming chef at the Pasadena Golf Club.
In 1946, he opened the first version of Scandia but it was the second version, located in bigger quarters at Sunset Boulevard and Doheny Avenue, that would become famous. With his business partner and sister-in-law Teddy, who ruled front of house, Hansen supervised a team of expert waiters and white-hatted chefs serving Scandinavian cuisine. Famous dishes included Hamlet’s Dagger (fresh lobster pieces with tartar sauce) and Veal Oskar (veal cutlet, crab legs and asparagus tips covered in bearnaise sauce). Swedish meatballs were served on silver platters.
The atmosphere was heightened by the celebrities who patronized Scandia. From veteran Hollywood stars such as Errol Flynn and Edward G Robinson to then up-and-coming young stars like Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood, ordinary diners were excited to get a coveted reservation and brush shoulders with the famous.
The Hansens sold Scandia in the 1970s and it closed for good in 1989. Other restaurant concepts came and went and in 2015, to great sorrow, the mid-century modern building that had been designed by renowned Californian architect Edward Frickett was bulldozed in 2015 to make way for an 11-storey Marriott hotel.
Luckily, we still have this marvelous menu cover, created as a promotion for the Copenhagen brewery Tuborg, and created by Danish, author, adventurer and artist Hakon Mielche as a memory of Scandia. An avid traveler, Mielche wrote multiple books, illustrating them with humorous vignettes.
This whimsical carton map is among his best work and shows Scandinavian countries (the tip of Scotland is also shown) and the USA. Workers in Viking hats are shown preparing food and drink to be transported to a couple sitting at a dining table in Hollywood. There’s so much to see – it’s everything we love about vintage menu art.
Courtesy Private Collection.
Each order includes a print of the interior menu.
All printed in USA.