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Sampling LA’s Scandinavian Delights

Pastries, Sandwiches and Candy in Los Angeles

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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).

 

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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.

 

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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. 

 

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Curry Chicken Salad from Olsons

Our recommendation? Go for the sandwiches and be sure to pick up an imported sweet snack for later (or for right then and there).

 

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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.

 

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Literally, there is nothing bad about any of these things, and, as I write this, I feel the need to go back right now.

 

 

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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.

 

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A custard-filled chocolate treat from Hygge.

 

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 favorites? Give me your recommendations for things I should try in the comments!

20 Comments on Sampling LA’s Scandinavian Delights

  1. I am SO excited when I find Scandinavian food anywhere else, so if I happen to pass through LA I now know where to go! What I’d really like to know though is do any of them have prinsesstårta or semla? That’s my favourite!

    • PatriciaSteffy // October 19, 2016 at 4:22 pm // Reply

      Every time we go to one of these places, we try something new. So far, I’ve really enjoyed everything. I haven’t seen prinsesstårta or semla yet, but now I’m definitely going to ask! Olsons has the biggest range, so the next time I’m in there, I’ll see.

  2. I’m a HUUUUUUUUGE fan of pastries, especially Danish ones, so I think I’d visit Hygge Bakery every day if I lived in LA. Sweet without being overpowering sounds like a good time. Noted for the next time I go to LA! What’s the price range?

    • PatriciaSteffy // October 19, 2016 at 6:27 pm // Reply

      The prices are really reasonable at all the places. Hygge is a bit more than Copenhagen Pastry, but that still puts the pastries at less than $3.00 (Copenhagen has pastries ranging from $1.60 to $2.35).That’s pretty cheap for Los Angeles!

  3. This is great! I’m glad you don’t have to fly all the way to Scandinavia to get good treats. I tried a ton of different foods when I did a quick tour of Scandinavia last winter. I’m lucky enough to know of a great Icelandic bakery in Toronto, but now I’m going to have to see what my other Scandinavian options are.

    • PatriciaSteffy // October 19, 2016 at 7:13 pm // Reply

      The funny thing is — I was so broke when we were in Denmark and Norway many years ago that we didn’t indulge very often. I find it bizarrely funny that I’m making up for lost opportunity in Los Angeles of all places. 🙂

  4. When I went to LA I was surprised by the variety (and quality) of all the restaurants. Not sure why but I assumed that LA people were all skinny and didn’t eat anything except salads.

    • PatriciaSteffy // October 19, 2016 at 9:40 pm // Reply

      LOL!! I think I had that same impression before I moved here. I’m sure in certain circles that is probably true, but we have our share of foodies, too. And the variety probably makes sense because we have such a diverse population. I’m loving exploring it all!

  5. You’re right – I would have never thought of LA as being a mecca for Scandinavian treats. It’s one of my favorite types of pastries because they aren’t over powering.

    • PatriciaSteffy // October 20, 2016 at 12:46 am // Reply

      It was such a pleasant surprise! I’m loving everything I’ve tried so far, and I can’t wait to go back to try more. 🙂

  6. Whaaaat?!?!?! I lived in LA for 3 years and never heard of this place. I need to tell my Scandinavian friends who still live there. I lived in Norway for a little bit, so this would be so nice to visit.

  7. I am totally bookmarking this since I live in LA! I’ve only ever heard of Copenhagen Bakery but I haven’t had a chance to go just yet. Good to know there are a couple of other options around town. Everything looks so delicious!

    • PatriciaSteffy // October 20, 2016 at 4:48 pm // Reply

      There is some seriously good stuff out there. We discovered a French/Vietnamese bakery the other day on Pico, too. So many different types of bakeries to choose from!

  8. Oh wow — I would have not thought that there would be a lot of Scandinavian places in LA! I love when you can try goodies from all over the world — even where you’d least expect it. As a big fan of pastries, I’d love to check these places out! Thanks!

    • PatriciaSteffy // October 20, 2016 at 4:49 pm // Reply

      We’ve had so much fun exploring the options in our new neighborhood (and even those not so near to us).

  9. From the list i would definitely pick Hygge Bakery. Personally I am a huge fan of Middle east pastries. Baklava, and knafeh are just few of my favourites. You should try them.

  10. I never would have guessed LA had so many Scandinavian spots! I just moved to a new neighborhood in NYC, and it is very diverse. I’m looking forward to eating my way around the world ASAP. That’s the best thing about living in a diverse area…the food!!

    • PatriciaSteffy // October 20, 2016 at 4:46 pm // Reply

      I totally agree! I got stuck in a real work/home rut for a while, but after the big leap away from corporate life, I’ve started taking advantage of the opportunities around me. So far, I’m loving discovering so many new options!

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