What To Eat In Solvang, California From Breakfast To Dinner

This week, we want to take you on a tasting-tour of Solvang, the sleepiest Danish town in all of Southern California. But before we begin, I will preface this article with a disclaimer: We were only able to try two days worth of food in Solvang! Surely this wasn't enough time to form tried and true opinions of each eatery, but believe me... Elise and I ate more than you would think. Much more. We have sharp noses that have been extensively trained to sniff out the most sugary sweets, the most savory sausages, and the most decadent dishes within a ten mile radius. 

This list will take you on a delicious journey from breakfast to desert, and features an unforgiving amount of sugar. So without further ado, the foodie's guide to Solvang!


Breakfast

Solvang Restaurant $

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The aptly-named Solvang Restaurant claims to have “The best aebleskivers in Solvang,” and I am inclined to agree. Though this may not seem like a high honor to those who haven't visited this Danish town, you could outstretch your arms at any point in Solvang and touch an aebleskiver stand. That being said, the proof of Solvang Restaurant's success is in the pudding... or dare I say, the raspberry jam. At barely eight in the morning, this fairy tale themed diner was absolutely hopping! While waiting for a table, we had several people circling around us just to ask for a delicious serving of aebleskivers to-go. 

For those who don’t know, an aebleskiver is a Danish pancake ball typically covered in a healthy dose of raspberry syrup and powdered sugar. They are remarkably fluffy. I'd say they are almost comparable to a warm semi-sweet doughnut, rolled into a ball with love. 

The Works

  • Black Coffee
  • Three aebleskivers
  • Side of Danish sausage
  • Extra side of hash browns

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Local, organic, and sustainable: The Fresco Valley Cafe is both conscious and delicious! This airy cafe is more ruminant of Californian grub than it is of Danish, but we loved it nonetheless. One of my favorite aspects of this eatery was the ambiance: smooth, relaxing music filled the air, the sun was softly shining through the wide windows, and the decor was both modern and comfortable. If you're not yet convinced, it also features not only a dog friendly patio... but a dog friendly menu! 

The food itself, mirroring the atmosphere, is quite remarkable. We enjoyed two robust french dip sandwiches with crisp and refreshing salads to compliment. Everything was flavorful, filling, and left us with more than enough energy to get through the rest of the day. 

The calm before the storm

  • French Dip with provolone
  • Gorgonzola walnut salad
  • Double espresso or a specialty soda

What is a Danish town without a sausage garden? Better yet, what the heck is a sausage garden? While I can’t vouch for sausage gardens elsewhere in the world, I can surely say that the Copenhagen Sausage Garden in Solvang was by far the most memorable restaurant we visited during our trip. Located in a large alleyway between two buildings is a fenced-off brick plaza serving nothing but sausage and beer. This simple restaurant operates under the stars, and wooden barrels turned into fireplaces rage all night to keep the sausage-eaters warm. If that isn't the American dream, I don't know what is. 

The Copenhagen Sausage Garden features every kind of sausage you can imagine, from every corner of this vast sausage-serving globe. From freshly grilled Kielbasa to Rod Polse, they have it all! You can even try interesting spins on the classics like the curry-wurst, but why stop there? Order a whole platter of sausages as a tester. Try every single one! And the fun doesn't end there. On each wooden plate sits a lovely display of house-fermented pickles, and just around the corner you will find a teetering cart, brimming with nearly two-dozen types of obscure dipping sauces.

The Copenhagen Sausage Garden is proud to offer three veggie options. They also support local businesses and hand-make all of their sausages! It is a simple, charming, and devilishly greasy dinner. 

"I'll have the 12 piece platter, please..."

  • Bratwurst
  • Hot Italian
  • Chicken Apple Sage (A Busy Rat's personal favorite!)
    • All paired with honey mustard
  • A locally brewed craft beer of your choosing

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If you’re traveling to Solvang, you are definitely not going for the night life. The hilariously accurate city-wide bedtime of 8 o'clock makes Solvang perfect for quiet nights by the fireplace and peaceful walks, but with every pro comes a con. We were stranded with a nasty hankering for some Danish pastries at 7:45 pm. After a brisk jog (a.k.a. a painful sprint), we huffed and puffed our way into the last open bakery in town, just minutes before they locked their doors.

Staying open later than usual is certainly not the Solvang Bakery’s only asset. Upon entrance you’re treated with a bright atmosphere, wonderful smells, and a cute animatronic rabbit working tirelessly to make miniature sweets for all to enjoy. OK, it doesn’t actually make anything, but it was cute nonetheless! The staff was kind and insisted we weren’t rude for barging in minutes before closing time. The choices were abundant, and the pastries were delicious.

After we had been drooling over the bakery items indecisively for far too long—as is our style—we finally decided on a few petite cookies and a hot drink to shake off the cold. After our first bite, we both silently concluded that there is truly nothing like a homemade pastry. Elise's coconut macaroon was crisp around the edges but unbelievably moist and flaky on the inside, and my mammoth cream puff was soft, filling, and heart-warming.

I wish we lived in Solvang just so we could head down the street and grab one of these pastries every time life got the best of us. 

End the day the right way

  • Hot coffee with french vanilla creamer
  • One coconut macaroon
  • Two French-style macaroons
  • One cream puff

Maybe just order one of everything...


Bonus round:

Souvenir-worthy Sweets

Swedish Candy Factory $

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With Solvang’s copious amounts of aebleskiver restaurants and Danish bakeries, it’s no surprise that with this town’s sweet tooth they have accumulated a fair share of candy shops. What did actually surprise me was that the best candy shop in this Danish enclave... is Swedish! 

The story behind this place is actually really fascinating. The owner’s love and nostalgia for a Swedish treat known as the polkatwist drove him to open a shop of his own. However, he didn’t want to settle for any old, run-of-the-mill candy shop. He wanted to do it right. He sought after a mentor who could properly teach him the art of making this finicky, traditional treat, and was fortunate enough to find a man born and raised in Sweden who not only knew the way of the polkatwist, but has won awards for his modern recipes!

We know this because we were lucky enough to be in Solvang on the same day that this Swedish candy chef was visiting his former pupil, who now owns the Swedish Candy Factory. We were able to chat and learn about their story while munching on fresh and warm, hand-wrung polkatwists. The reason this shop attracts so many hungry tourists is the demonstration station, where the main candy chef hand rolls, molds, and shapes his polkatwists to perfection. If you’re in Solvang, the Swedish Candy Factory is an absolute must see. 

Munch from sunrise to sunset

  • Blueberry polkatwist
  • Sour Lemon polkatwist

Thank you so much for reading! We hope you were on the edge of your seat with hunger. When is the last time you had a Danish pastry? Let us know in the comments!