Even if you have never been to IKEA, you have undoubtedly heard of their Swedish Meatballs. I know people who wouldn’t agree with me, but for the most part I think they do live up to the hype—they are pretty tasty. But the IKEA restaurant offers so many options that you can have an inexpensive, nutritious meal any time of day without meatballs showing up on your plate.
IKEA Restaurant Breakfast Fare
I believe IKEA is one of the smartest managed retail establishments in the world, and one of the
great things they do is open the restaurant 30 minutes sooner than the store. Especially since you can get a 99 cent breakfast and a free coffee (if you are an IKEA Family member). This “Regular” breakfast deal includes turkey sausage, scrambled eggs and hash browns. I have had better breakfasts, but not for less than a dollar.
The star of the breakfast menu is their famous cinnamon roll, which you can smell from the lobby of the store. I am pretty sure they pump the aroma through the ventilation system. It is an awfully big store to have that much cinnamon wafting at all times. I have found that the cinnamon roll in the cafeteria is twice as big and a million times yummier than the Bistro cinnamon roll. Not sure if my experience is a fluke or not, but I will never have another cinnamon roll from the Bistro.
Besides the cinnamon rolls and Regular breakfast deal, they offer (what they call) traditional Swedish favorites. And of course, you can always have the meatballs. Swedish options (not together) are Gravad Lox, Swedish Waffles and Swedish Pancakes. And at every meal they have kid’s specials, for breakfast it is a pancake and sausage.
IKEA Restaurant Lunch/Dinner Fare
They have separate Lunch and Dinner menus, but they are pretty much the same. There are the standard offering of cold plates such as wraps, salads and sandwiches, and the hot tray line. The hot dishes always include the meatballs and my favorite, the poached salmon. Then there are also dishes that rotate in and out of the menu, like BBQ ribs, Chicken Florentine, grilled chicken with various toppers, or herb roasted chicken. The meatball offerings always include the veggie balls and chicken meatballs in addition to the traditional Swedish meatballs. The sides offered typically include mashed potatoes, French fries and my favorite, the veggie medallions. These are a small patty made with chopped veggies and held together with mashed potatoes. They are available in the retail market, as are most of the restaurant offerings.
IKEA Restaurant Beverages, Sides & Desserts Fare
As in all cafeteria set-ups, you have to grab everything as you go through the line, including your dessert. All of the desserts look better than they taste (my opinion) but if you really want to try something skip it in the line and buy it in the retail section to take home for later. Beverages include the standard fountain drinks and hot beverages (at the end of the line), but in the beginning they have packaged apple cider, elderflower drink and lingonberry drink. In addition to the hot sides they offer side salads, soups and a bread offering such as cornbread or garlic toast.
IKEA Restaurant Fare Nutrition & Sustainability
IKEA’s website has a complete listing of nutritional values for everything they serve. Besides the BBQ options, nothing comes in over 1000 calories and most of it is much less than that. As an example my favorite salmon meal as mentioned above comes in at 850 calories WITH the hollandaise sauce. These caloric values are a result of reasonable serving sizes.
And like everything IKEA does, they have an ecological awareness in their food, too. Much has been said about the pros and cons of eating wild salmon verses farmed salmon. IKEA is only selling farmed salmon produced at Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certified farms. This certification is based on removing the negatives associated with farm-raised fish and therefore producing a healthy alternative to expensive wild caught salmon. And if this still goes against your conscience, they have many vegetarian and some organic options on the menu, too.
If this all sounds overwhelming, just get my son’s “regular”. Chicken tenders (comes with two sides), double fries, a side of meatballs, garlic toast, chocolate overload cake and a can of apple cider, for a total of 1670 calories! Did I mention he is almost thirteen? But a promise of this meal is usually enough to convince him to come with me to IKEA when I need help with the heavy lifting.