Aquavit is a Scandinavian restaurant located at 65 East 55th Street in Manhattan in New York City. In November 2016, an outpost was launched in London by Philip Hamilton.HistoryAquavit was created and opened by Håkan Swahn in 1987. and was a pioneer in New York in creating two distinct dining rooms, a casual café with modern but rustic fare as well as a cutting-edge modern dining room. This was conceptually based on the Stockholm restaurant, Operakällaren, whose owner, Tore Wretman, was one of Aquavit’s original partners. Aquavit with the arrival of Chef Marcus Samuelsson in 1995 garnered greater culinary recognition.After 17 years in one location (2004), Aquavit relocated in 2005 to new premises giving the restaurant an entirely new look. Aquavit opened a second restaurant in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1999, but it failed to take hold and ultimately closed in mid-2003.Aquavit enjoyed a three-star rating from The New York Times from 1995 until 2010, when it was downgraded to two stars, and was ranked by New York Magazine in 2006 as the 9th-best restaurant in New York.In 2002 the cook book “Aquavit and the new Scandinavian Cuisine” was written by Marcus Samuelsson based on the food of the restaurant.ConceptThe restaurant is an international restaurant with Scandinavian flair and not an ethnic restaurant. It was conceived to be a restaurant for New Yorkers and visitors to New York and not a culinary home-away-from-home for Scandinavian expats. The menu has a Scandinavian flavor profile without featuring special Scandinavian ethnic dishes. The menu favors seafood and offers several tasting menus as well as a vegetarian menu. Aquavit’s café is distinctly more traditional in its roots. A substantial portion of the menu showcases Scandinavian specialties such as Meatballs with Lingonberries, Gravlax and a variety of herrings. The Lounge offers small portions of dishes offered in the café and the Private Dining Room has a menu targeted to corporate customers.