Solvang Restaurant

Diner | Pancake House
Worth a detour

Solvang is the type of gimmicky town that normally we’d see once, take a few pictures, and move on; but because we love aebelskivers so much it has become an unmissable repeat detour for trips to Santa Barbara County. Its streets are lined with windmills, shops selling clogs, and pancake houses. Of the many Scandinavian eateries in this assertively Danish village, the Solvang Restaurant is our favorite, mostly because of aebelskivers and sausages.

Aebelskivers are ball shaped pancakes. They are sometimes described as Danish beignets, but that’s a stretch because they are not fried. They are somewhere between a beignet and a Dutch baby pancake, but really more like the latter.  The restaurant sells its flour mix and pans to make aebelskivers at home, but our attempts have taught us that it takes skill to cook them without uncooked batter hiding in the middle, especially when they’re the baseball-size type that the restaurant serves. 

As you breach the sphere of a Solvang restaurant aebelskiver, an airy, moist inside is revealed. They are well-browned and covered with a brightly acidic, thin raspberry sauce and a light dusting of powdered sugar. The sauce is as tart as it is sweet and looser than a syrup, so it leaves the pancakes tasting refreshing and breakfasty, not too much like a dessert — like crepes with sugar and lemon. You can get them ala mode if you are more in the mood for dessert. The melting ice cream blends well with the sauce and the eggy cakes. Whether you eat aebelskivers for breakfast or dessert, they match well with the restaurant’s surprisingly rich coffee. 

Other good options are Danish sausage and meatballs, both made in house. The meatballs are fairly dense but tasty. The sausage is better. It’s herbal and complex with a thick, rustic casing. A combo meal of these comes with a large scoop of smooth mashed potatoes mimicking the meatball. All of the meat and potatoes are covered with gravy. The plate is balanced by a sharply acidic and long simmered red cabbage and a hearty bowl of split pea soup. The split pea soup is both starchy and savory, and good enough to make a trip to the famed Pea Soup Andersen’s in Buellton less necessary. 

A Danish hot dog also makes a nice lunch. The frankfurter itself is a highlight. It looks pale because of veal in the blend, but offers good smoke and a juicy snap in every bite. However, the bun is plain and topped only with crisp onion strings like those in green bean casserole. The rings exaggerate the dryness of the bun. We like to add some of the cucumber salad that comes alongside to give it much needed acid and moisture. Sure, we could have used table ketchup or mustard, but that seemed beneath the pedigree of this proud wiener. 

What to Eat
Solvang Restaurant, Arne’s Aebelskivers
Arne’s Aebelskivers
This is why you come to Solvang -- for aebelskivers as good as you'll find in the New World.
Solvang Restaurant, Combination Plate
Combination Plate
A hearty Danish lunch to fuel a day of clog shopping in Solvang.
Solvang Restaurant, Danish Hot Dog
Danish Hot Dog
The Danish hot dog is a fine piece of old world sausage craftsmanship.
Directions and Hours
open now
Sunday7am - 5pm
Monday7am - 3pm
Tuesday7am - 3pm
Wednesday7am - 3pm
Thursday7am - 3pm
Friday7am - 3pm
Saturday7am - 5pm
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
8 stops | 122 MILES | 2 hr 41 min

The road trip from Santa Barbara to Santa Maria offers the great beef and silky wines you’d expect from the ranch and vine scenery, and there are a few surprises along the way too. Starting in Santa Barbara initiate yourself to the area's famous tri-tip at Shalhoob’s Funk Zone Patio. Make sure to grab…

Open Year Round
Meals Served
Breakfast, Lunch
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

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