HOME > Chowhound > Chains >


neighborguy Sep 2, 2006 01:59 PM

Am I the only one who looks forward to going to Ikea for the food?

Secondly, I can't think of anywhere that does cafeteria-type grub these days. I believe the universities and hospitals have gone to fast food.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. b
    beckiefd RE: neighborguy Sep 2, 2006 02:07 PM

    Yes, my son and hopefully future daughter-in-law go to the IKEA in Emeryville to eat. It may be price over quality, but they tell me the quality is good.

    As for hospitals - I unfortunately need to frequent Kaiser in Santa Rosa an while waiting for test results and prescriptions between visits I find their cafeteria to be an oasis, especially the salad bar. Surprisingly the french fries are quite good.

    1. OnDaGo RE: neighborguy Sep 2, 2006 02:37 PM

      Sears in the "Eaton" centre has a cafeteria on their top floor.. also Metro HAll at King & John has a food area on the main floor off John with "stations" pasta, salad, burger, sandwiches etc. which is basically a cafeteria.

      Best though is Scotia tower (not the new tower but the old building right at the corner of Bay and King. On the 4rth floor they have an old school caffeteria with great lunches for a great price daily specials.. supposed to be employees only but nobody checks and they have so many employees they would not recognise everybody anyway :-)

      12 Replies
      1. re: OnDaGo
        bogie RE: OnDaGo Sep 2, 2006 06:06 PM

        That Sears cafeteria named "Cuisine" is definitely chow-worthy, for a low price you can get some pretty decent food here. Pastas, sandwiches, homemade salads and soups are all good. Pass on the frozen fish & chips, though. Decent pizza + choice of big salad for only $7.95.

        I always thought that "high-end cafeteria", is a great restaurant concept that needs to be explored...

        As for IKEA, no matter how hard you try, you can't complain about or beat breakfast for $1 on weekends.

        1. re: bogie
          szw RE: bogie Sep 8, 2008 07:24 PM

          "I always thought that "high-end cafeteria", is a great restaurant concept that needs to be explored..."

          Isn't that the whole Richtree Market gimmick?

          1. re: szw
            embee RE: szw Sep 8, 2008 09:13 PM

            That was the Movenpick Marche gimmick. Richtree ruined it.

            High end cafeterias have been around in the southern US for a long time. For example, Furr's and Piccadilly. They used to be popular in New York City (Concord/Garfield, Dubrow's), but have pretty well died out there.

            1. re: embee
              BarmyFotheringayPhipps RE: embee Nov 8, 2008 11:07 AM

              Back in the day, Furr's Cafeteria was the best thing about my hometown of Lubbock, Texas. They started going south in the '90s, though.

              I never cared for Movenpick Marche, but I loved, loved, loved the Movenpick restaurant in Yorkville, especially their weekend brunch. I did not know there was a secret cafeteria in the Sears at Eaton Centre. Good to know!

              And yes, no trip to IKEA is complete without Swedish meatballs and lingonberry soda.

        2. re: OnDaGo
          sleepy RE: OnDaGo Sep 8, 2006 03:05 PM

          scotia cafeteria :D reminded me of visiting my father at work durring his lunch break years ago

          the place reminded me of a cafeteria from the 70's :)

          1. re: OnDaGo
            Teep RE: OnDaGo Sep 10, 2008 02:17 PM

            How about the Bay? the one at Yonge and Queen has a cafeteria with huge windows. I used to like their chicken pot pie but the filling is more gravy than anything last time I had it.

            1. re: Teep
              Finnegan RE: Teep Sep 10, 2008 02:28 PM

              Forget about the high priced Arcadian Court resto in the Bay on Queen Street. Go with the City View Cafe. cafeteria style with cheap prices if you go for the special. Ceiling to floor windows that give a great view of Toronto City Hall (old and new). One of Toronto best kept secrets...shhhhh, don't tell anyone (Come on Teep, the Pot Pie is still pretty good for the price.

              1. re: Finnegan
                JamieK RE: Finnegan Sep 10, 2008 03:34 PM

                Mmmm, I have a nostalgic fondness for that pot pie. Have to check it out again. And I love my pie more saucy than not.

                1. re: Finnegan
                  jennjen18 RE: Finnegan Sep 10, 2008 03:36 PM

                  Is City View Cafe also in The Bay? Where??? Sounds good!

                  1. re: jennjen18
                    JamieK RE: jennjen18 Sep 10, 2008 03:45 PM

                    It's on the eighth floor of the Bay at Yonge & Queen. They also have a cooking class thing going on on that floor as well -

                    1. re: JamieK
                      Teep RE: JamieK Sep 11, 2008 11:30 AM

                      If you take the Bay Dept Store elevators to the 8th floor, it opens up to the Arcadian Court restaurant (is it still open?). You have to walk through it to get to the cafeteria. But the elevators in the office part of the building at the corner of Queen and Bay will take you to the entrance of the cafeteria.

              2. re: OnDaGo
                basileater RE: OnDaGo Sep 11, 2008 09:39 AM

                Just to update anyone thinking of going there, the cafeteria at Metro Hall closed a few months ago. There is a cafeteria at City Hall on the first floor, and it is still going strong.

                If no one else has mentioned it, the church behind the Eaton's Centre is cafeteria-style in my opinion as well. I have only been twice (and not recently), but I recall getting pretty decent food. Certainly better than your average food court fare (but not gourmet). And I think the proceeds go to some sort of charity.

              3. o
                oishi RE: neighborguy Sep 2, 2006 02:38 PM

                I agree with beckiefd in that IKEA is price over quality for their cafeteria food, but I have tried their gravlax and it's actually pretty good. Besides, how can you resist those cinnamon buns after check-out?

                As for cafeteria style food, I believe there is a place on University Avenue by Sick Kids in this style. I honestly can't remember the name of it but it's on the South-East corner of University and Elm Street.

                2 Replies
                1. re: oishi
                  hoagy294 RE: oishi Sep 2, 2006 03:25 PM

                  It's the National Life building, on the south-west corner of University and Elm. The cafeteria is on the second floor. The food is really good and the dining area looks like it was furnished by Ikea (I mean that in a good way).
                  Or do you mean Pesto on the south-east side??

                  1. re: hoagy294
                    oishi RE: hoagy294 Sep 2, 2006 03:32 PM

                    Ya, I meant Pesto. But thanks for letting me know about the National life cafeteria!

                2. Teep RE: neighborguy Sep 2, 2006 02:45 PM

                  St. Michaels Hospital has a "Marketeria". I didn't go in, but the specials of the day were Chinese Chicken Cutlet, and Korean Spicy BAIT - the last word I'm not too sure of, but I can't figure out what else it could be!

                  1. kerwintoronto RE: neighborguy Sep 2, 2006 05:25 PM

                    Well, neighborguy...my wife and do. It's not an everyday craving but a couple times a year we will get a hankering for their cafeteria food.

                    However, those cinnamon buns are a whole other story...I love the swirl of bread(?) dough and flaky pastry dough.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: kerwintoronto
                      Pizza Lover RE: kerwintoronto Sep 6, 2006 02:35 AM

                      Happened to be at the IKEA at Hwy 7 & Jane today with a craving for that delicious cinnamon bun - horror of horrors when I saw that they no longer have the flaky pastry type cinnamon bun - but rather a less than thrilling & tasty version of simple yeast dough with a minimal amount of frosting - and they're now charging 50 cents for extra frosting. What has this world come to?!!!

                    2. xtal RE: neighborguy Sep 2, 2006 11:39 PM

                      I work in a building connected to Toronto General Hospital, and it's true that many of the hospitals downtown have eschewed cafeteria offerings, and have created huge food courts of the typical bland grub. It's quite sad really, and it provides very few options for patients and their families. I digress.

                      There's a great little hidden gem called Onorio's which is in the basement of the Hydro Building (SW corner of College and University). It's a tiny italian place that serves great sandwiches and salads, and some fantastic pasta and slices. Definitely worth checking out.

                      1. jennjen18 RE: neighborguy Sep 3, 2006 03:09 AM

                        I do too. Ikea has great food at a low price. I've tried gravlax, yes, and its not bad!

                        I've also had their famous Swedish meatballs, and those were really good! It comes with a cranberry sauce (I've been a strong believer in good food does NOT pair with a fruit sauce) but for some reason, it really goes well with the meatballs. The meal also comes with potatoes and gravy. Very cheap, but can't remember how cheap, exactly. Taste is good though.

                        My SO had the veggie wrap (he's a veggie) and he said that it was quite fresh and satisfied his filling. I didnt quite like the look of it though.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: jennjen18
                          mainja RE: jennjen18 Sep 3, 2006 11:44 AM

                          it's actually lingenberry sauce, i know lots of people who don't like cranberry sauce who like lingenberry sauce, not sure why.

                          as for the sauce, it's not gravy it's, well, meatball sauce. i'm sure there is a real name for it, but, well, i don't know it. loaded with cream anyway (yum!)

                          1. re: mainja
                            Lipant RE: mainja Sep 4, 2006 12:12 AM

                            Literally, it's a sour cream gravy. Easy to make at home, too, but Ikea does it very well.

                          2. re: jennjen18
                            smr714 RE: jennjen18 Sep 9, 2008 07:58 AM

                            I think it was 6.49 last time I had the meatball special 10or 15 meatballs, salad, fries and a drink, plus tax. They also have a 1.99 pasta special too that my mom likes, I get the meatball special, she eats half the salad since it is too big for me, both of us to eat lunch, with drinks is under 11 dollars.

                          3. mainja RE: neighborguy Sep 3, 2006 11:44 AM

                            For those in Toronto and area -

                            Has anyone been to the Wednesday night thing at Ikea? I think there is live music and a 'gourmet' meal (set menu) for some very cheap price. I've always been intrigued, but never manage to remember it on a Wednesday night.

                            I've love to hear what it's like, and what it is exactly...

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: mainja
                              thegreatfoodhunt RE: mainja Sep 3, 2006 06:59 PM

                              I love the $1 breakfast and the super cheap hotdogs and icecream :) They need something like that on university campuses...

                              I've always been curious about their Sexig Mat Wednesdays meal too! It seems like a really great deal...$7.95 for an appetizer, main and dessert....plus entertainment :)



                            2. q
                              qtxniki RE: neighborguy Sep 4, 2006 02:42 AM

                              If you like Ikea's food your should buy it all going out the door, and prepare it at home =). Those little tiny meatballs ARE addictve though...


                              3 Replies
                              1. re: qtxniki
                                climacus RE: qtxniki Sep 5, 2006 06:37 AM

                                The $2 meatball pasta is a good deal. Yes the Alfredo sauce is kind of nasty, but for $2 it still beats eating at Tim Hortons.

                                They also have $3 Sushi nights sometimes. All the ingredients come in a box. You follow the instruction and assemble the sushi yourself. :-)

                                1. re: climacus
                                  jennjen18 RE: climacus Sep 5, 2006 10:42 PM

                                  Are you serious? Haha, build it your own sushi! Thats cool, I guess... but is it fresh? And which Ikea is it at, or is it at all Ikeas?

                                  1. re: jennjen18
                                    beckiefd RE: jennjen18 Sep 5, 2006 11:16 PM

                                    Yes, you have to assemble it yourself, they give you a little L wrench.

                              2. b
                                Bacchus42 RE: neighborguy Sep 6, 2006 03:27 AM

                                And for take-out, the frozen shell-on prawns (yes, prawns, not shrimp). Given how far we are from the North Atlantic, not at all bad.

                                The Canada Life cafeteria (Simcoe at Queen) used to be pretty good too, but a bit dearer than IKEA!

                                1. o
                                  ognir RE: neighborguy Sep 8, 2006 10:25 AM

                                  It is just not a trip to Ikea w/out the Manager's Special! Meatballs, potatoes and gravy. Yum!

                                  1. s
                                    Sweet Pea RE: neighborguy Sep 8, 2006 02:36 PM

                                    Hubby and I always plan our excursions to IKEA to start with lunch. I don't eat pork, but I can't resist stealing one of those darn meatballs off his plate! And the lingonberry sauce. I love that stuff. I actually bought a jar and then searched for recipes to use it. Makes a really great sauce for salmon when reduced with a bit of shallot and balsamic vinegar.

                                    1. e
                                      embee RE: neighborguy Sep 8, 2006 06:32 PM

                                      Ikea's food used to be much better than it is now. I remember open face shrimp, gravlax, and roast beef sandwiches that rivalled Denmark's best. Now they're merely OK. But it sure is a deal--especially the giveaway breakfasts!

                                      I was startled by the $5.99 salmon in chive sauce. The portion is very small, but the fish was rich and very flavourful and the sauce tasted much better than its powdered origins led me to expect. They sell it frozen to go, but I suspect it wouldn't be as good cooked at home rather than in one of their high tech ovens. (The veggies were stark frozen mixed variety and the potatoes were, well, potatoes).

                                      I can't say much for their remaining hot food. I think the meatballs are more about the cream and lingonberries than the meat. The sandwiches aren't bad. The soup tastes like over-diluted powder.

                                      They sell a frozen takeout cake called, I think, Almondy, that I find very tasty.

                                      They have truly wrecked their once delicious, flaky cinnamon buns, and their once lovely Swedish coffee has become an excreable brown liquid dispensed from a machine.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: embee
                                        JamieK RE: embee Sep 8, 2008 04:39 PM

                                        I agree, IKEA's food used to be much better. I used to work all hours near the one at Sheppard & Leslie and would go there for lunch or dinner often. I remember fondly those open-face shrimp sandwiches, the meatball & potato dinners with lingonberry, and the salmon wellington, hmmmm, it was so good. The best part was that, yes it was a cafeteria but was so civilized you could order a glass of wine or Heinie with your meal. Miss it.

                                        Edit to add -- I also used to always buy a bag or two of frozen meatballs on my way out. Very handy to have on hand for quick meals or impromptu guests. But they used to also have their gravy frozen for sale. Now it's packaged powder, so I don't bother anymore.

                                        1. re: JamieK
                                          wontonfm RE: JamieK Sep 8, 2008 06:43 PM

                                          I still love the meatball dinner but it has been missing some TLC over the past few years. The potatoes used to be a fairly consistent size, the meatballs were more moist and you'd get a better heaping of ligonberry sauce.

                                          I still love it.


                                      2. c
                                        climacus RE: neighborguy Sep 13, 2006 09:50 PM

                                        A couple of days ago I was there during lunch and the special of the day was a $4.99 rotisserie chicken with fries. I ordered it as a joke, fully expecting dry tasteless stuff. But it was actually pretty good. Better than Swiss Chalet! And the portion was huge.

                                        Apparently they're going to serving dim sum soon.

                                        1. BamiaWruz RE: neighborguy Sep 10, 2008 01:45 PM

                                          I got for a cinnamon roll and tea while I shop but the quality of the cinnamon rolls are so bad now, they used to be glazed properly and now it looks like they skimp it's just "tatooed" on. Shame.

                                          1. Finnegan RE: neighborguy Sep 10, 2008 02:04 PM

                                            Yesssss...potatoes and meatballs and gravy wih a big blob of ligonberry sauce and a big glass of Ligonberry juice. Almost compensates for the frustration I'll be going through later when I try to assemble the furniture i bought there

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Finnegan
                                              Chocolatemama RE: Finnegan Sep 10, 2008 04:56 PM

                                              And don't forget the Daim torte! Yum!!!
                                              Stay away from the $1 breakfast though; it is unimaginably bad! (Even if you are only paying a dollar for it!!!

                                              1. re: Chocolatemama
                                                SusanB RE: Chocolatemama Sep 11, 2008 06:06 AM

                                                I agree about the Daim torte - it's delicious. I always get something with the lox, and it seems fine to me. I say 'always' because we have been renovating our kitchen the last several months. Cabinets are Ikea and we've spent an inordinate amount of time in Ikea. I'm thrilled to say that I think we're done now so I don't expect to be there again in a long time!

                                            2. red dragon RE: neighborguy Sep 11, 2008 02:26 PM

                                              LOL, when I'm at Ikea, I do like the cinnamon bun and coffee special, not at the cafeteria, but the small take-out area near the exit doors. They put the icing on when requested and most times, they're hot/warm. I do "not" like their breakfast specials.

                                              Sorry I can't think of any cafeterias for you; if I hear of one, I'll post back.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: red dragon
                                                pancake RE: red dragon Sep 11, 2008 04:44 PM

                                                Their hot dogs are similar to rubber, in both texture and taste.

                                                1. re: pancake
                                                  red dragon RE: pancake Sep 12, 2008 06:09 PM

                                                  I don't have the hotdogs there.

                                              2. a
                                                ayl RE: neighborguy Oct 10, 2008 07:39 PM

                                                $1 breakfast, shop around, buy a lot of stuff you don't need and leave eating an ice cream cone.

                                                IKEA on a Saturday for us.

                                                1. finefoodfriend RE: neighborguy Nov 5, 2008 12:51 PM

                                                  I was at Ikea this week and was shocked to find individually packed Sara Lee muffins there. When I mentioned it to one of the staff they told me that it's all about costs and and offering low prices means find the cheapest suppliers. No more fresh baked goodies, not even those tasty Swedish almond tarts are offered in the cafeteria even though I would be willing to pay more in order to sit and enjoy one with a coffee break from shopping. Their coffee has also gone downhill. Oh how I yearn for the espresso bar days!

                                                  1. e
                                                    evansl RE: neighborguy Nov 8, 2008 05:27 AM

                                                    Anyone know why Ikea stopped having those nice dinners specials (prime rib, BBQ ribs, sushi, etc) that they used to have?

                                                    1. raidar RE: neighborguy Nov 9, 2008 01:56 PM

                                                      I'm like many of you, and enjoy hitting up the food options at IKEA. Price is great (50 cent hot dogs, organic whole wheat pasta with organic sauce $1.99!!!) Hard to go wrong.

                                                      From the ikea.ca website:
                                                      "IKEA also cares about animal welfare by demanding: Journey time for transporting animals to be minimized; no antibiotics or hormones to stimulate growth, no meat or bone meal in animal feed; and fish farming in as natural an environment as possible."

                                                      I didn't know they followed the above, learn something new everyday.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: raidar
                                                        pancake RE: raidar Nov 11, 2008 09:49 AM

                                                        Those cinammon buns with freshly piped icing deserve praise. Yum!

                                                      2. n
                                                        neighborguy RE: neighborguy Apr 1, 2009 08:43 PM

                                                        I was in Ikea for lunch yesterday and I COULD NOT BELIEVE the soup they had...Curried Coconut Chicken. It was Thai, and not a bad version either! The chicken looked like processed/formed with psudo-grillmarks but otherwise, the soup had flavour and body, and tasted...real. I've never had such good soup in a cafeteria.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: neighborguy
                                                          ferret RE: neighborguy Apr 1, 2009 08:54 PM

                                                          Thai food is to Sweden as Mexican food is to the U.S. There are Thai restaurants everywhere in Stockholm.

                                                          1. re: ferret
                                                            Jetgirly RE: ferret Apr 13, 2009 06:52 PM

                                                            I recall some insanely delicious pre-packaged Thai-inspired soups in Swedish grocery stores.

                                                        2. d
                                                          Dogbite Williams RE: neighborguy Apr 27, 2014 04:00 PM

                                                          I ate at the Burbank Ikea yesterday. The salmon lasagna was absolutely horrible.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Dogbite Williams
                                                            carolinadawg RE: Dogbite Williams Apr 27, 2014 04:48 PM

                                                            I can't imagine salmon lasagna being anything but horrible.

                                                          2. d
                                                            donw9876 RE: neighborguy Apr 28, 2014 10:28 AM

                                                            I've tried the one in Cincinnati. Ikea needs to stick with building and selling furniture and household goods.

                                                            My wife and I went to the cafe one evening. She had a meatball dinner and I had a flatbread sandwich.

                                                            "Meh" sums it up. It wasn't very good, and it wasn't very cheap.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: donw9876
                                                              carolinadawg RE: donw9876 Apr 28, 2014 11:01 AM

                                                              Well, it not designed to be a destination restaurant. Its there to entice shoppers to stay longer and buy more. It must meet that goal, since every store has a cafeteria.

                                                              1. re: carolinadawg
                                                                monkeyrotica RE: carolinadawg Apr 29, 2014 04:52 AM

                                                                Agreed, but this thread is 8 years old. Have you noticed any decline in quality? I have. The breakfast is still a good deal, though, and I've noticed breakfasts getting more and more crowded so, yeah, they must be doing something right.

                                                                There was a piece recently about Ikea in Europe having to discourage customers from leaving their kids there all day as a sort of free daycare.

                                                                1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                  carolinadawg RE: monkeyrotica Apr 29, 2014 07:22 AM

                                                                  I've only been going to Ikea for 5 years, but I haven't noticed any decline in that period. I really think that is most cases, when people say "X" isn't as good as it used to be, its really due to misremembering, getting bored with it, changing tastes, etc., rather than an actual decline or change in the food.

                                                            2. Boston_Otter RE: neighborguy Apr 28, 2014 11:30 AM

                                                              A trip to IKEA has to include a plate of their meatballs and a Chocolate Overload cake. It's a very good deal for what you get.

                                                              Show Hidden Posts