They have the furniture everyone loves to hate. Looks beautiful in the showroom. You get excited. You bring the box home to build it only to find that simple-looking bookcase has eight million components and a single page of directions by way of a picture and a bunch of arrows pointing at labeled screws. You want to scream as you throw that Allen wrench out the window. But it’s okay, because when you went and picked up that bedroom set from hell, you ate lunch at Ikea. Yes, that plate of 10 Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, and ligonberry preserves for $4.99 made it all worth it. You can add five more for a dollar. No joke, if Ikea was any closer to me, I would probably go there just to eat. Is that unheard of? Everyone I know also raves about how good the food is. The prices are mindbogglingly cheap, but the quality is also there.
Though it is essentially a cafeteria and you might be weary, the massive crowds that funnel through Ikea practically guarantees the food doesn’t sit and is prepared fresh. They could use more help with crowd control and speeding up their game a bit, but when a family of four can eat—and eat well—for $20, you really can’t complain. There is even a marketplace downstairs offering a frozen section so you can make their meatballs at home. It seems people are catching on to how good the food is, because they are now selling many kinds of Swedish food that aren’t even available in their restaurant.
While the meatballs and a smoked, cured salmon called Gravlax (above; served with hard-bread and mustard) are mainstays, they also keep a rotation going. They have sandwiches, wraps, and even chicken and veggie (with a middle eastern spin) versions of the ubiquitous meatball. $4.99 here, $5.99 there. A piece of chocolate cake for $2.99, and how about two pieces of garlic bread for just under a dollar? It’s unreal. I could say more. I could go on and on. But I won’t. The food at Ikea rocks and you’re missing out.