The Greenhouse Café, a Nordic Bistro offers up traditional fare in Solvang!

What is the old saying?  “When in Rome, do as the Roman’s do”.  Well in Solvang, California, the Danish community in the Santa Ynez Valley, we decided to do as the Danish do and try some traditional fare.  At the lovely Greenhouse Café with its greenhouse atmosphere, we watched tourists walk by and ordered the smorrebrod which is a Danish open-faced sandwich and  aebleskiver which is like a pancake or waffle, but shaped into a ball and covered with powdered sugar.  The aebleskiver was then topped with raspberry sauce! Yum.


The smorrebrod was something I had read about in a Norwegian mystery fiction book and I had been curious ever since.  The base of the smorrebrod is dense sourdough rye bread called rugbrød bread.  According to the website Serious Eats  the name of the sandwich  comes from the words for butter (smør) and bread (brød). They report that the sandwich served as …”an inexpensive, satisfying lunch in the late 19th century, when factory workers began eating their midday meal away from home. Workers piled the few leftovers they had onto cheap, filling rugbrød and hoped munching on a few open-faced sandwiches would satisfy them until dinner…”

We tried the roast beef and pickled herring. Our dish was accompanied with potato salad, slivers of wonderful cucumbers and more.  The fare was hearty and tasty providing us with a strong enough meal that we just had a bowl of soup for dinner.  While the aebleskiver is listed as a breakfast dish, we used it as our dessert and I would love to try making this now that I am back home.  I am sure it won’t have the same ambience that the Greenhouse Café offered, with the European old world charm of Solvang right outside my window, but I may try anyway.

greenhouse cafe dinner

Located in the Petersen Village, in the heart of Solvang, next door to Mortensen’s Danish Bakery and the  The Landsby  Inn is also just two blocks from the Solvang festival theater, Hans Christian Anderson Museum, Solvang Park, and hundreds of unique shops and wine tasting rooms. Log onto the website for more details and to see the full menu at

The Greenhouse Café was a great way to immerse ourselves in the Danish traditions.  I would love to go back and try it all over again!





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