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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.

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  1. 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. 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

        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

          "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

            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

              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

          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

            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

              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

                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

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

                  1. re: jennjen18

                    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

                      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

                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. 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

                  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

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

                2. 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. 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

                      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. 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. 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

                          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

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

                          2. re: jennjen18

                            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. 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

                              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. 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

                                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

                                  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

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

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

                                  1. 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. 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

                                        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

                                          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. 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. 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. 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

                                              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

                                                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. 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

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

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

                                                    1. 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

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

                                                      2. 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

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

                                                          1. re: ferret

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

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

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Dogbite Williams

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

                                                          2. 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

                                                              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

                                                                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

                                                                  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. 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.