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Admit it....You go to Ikea just for lunch.

I do. As big as a pain in the butt it usually is to park there....sometimes I hit it up just for the meatballs. They are so GOOD!!!! And it's, what, five bucks for 10 meatballs, potatoes, veggies, a roll, lingonberry sauce AND a drink?? In these times of recession, you can't ask for a better deal!

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  1. What do they call Swedish meatballs in Sweden? Plus I doubt they eat them anyhow. Same as chop suey was invented here (America) and no one knows it in China

    10 Replies
    1. re: gafferx


      Smörgåsbord, on the other hand, is also traditional, but something which has been in decline in Stockholm and eaten primarily by tourists now.

      If I'm starving at Ikea, I'll get an ice cream cone, hot dog, or a children's special, with meatballs. I used to buy the bags of meatballs before I decided to make them myself.

      What's not to like about meatballs? Most cuisines have a version of it. Kefta. Fishballs. Falafel (ok, not meat, but a ball shaped food). Serve them savoury or tart, on their own or in sauces, over rice or with potatoes, in a sandwich or embellishing a soup, on top of spaghetti, all covered in cheese (I lost my poor meatball, when somebody sneezed).

      1. re: Caralien

        Yes you are right that meatballs are a cross cultural phenomena. Many cultures figured out that it's a good way to eat meat. I've had kefta in a felafel type sandwich. but just in America so who knows what meat was actually in the kefta. Fishballs in China Town. They're OK

        For me a conscientious pizzeria can make the best hot meatball parmigian sub and there is one near me. Making good Italian meatballs is an art& science. Up there with making good pho and good pizza

      2. re: gafferx

        En Sverige det kalle dem kjottballer. (translation: In Sweden they call them meat balls.) And yes they eat them. The ground beef is so lean one has to put butter in a frying pan to make hamburgers. We look around, eat, especially lox and the shrimp open face sandwiches and buy foods to take home (herring, flat bread, jams, cheeses, lox, and ligonberry concentrate.)
        I just wish there was one closer than a 7 hour drive.

        1. re: Passadumkeg

          Next time I go there I will ask for the kjottballer to see what happens. You mention lox where they should really call it gravlax

          1. re: gafferx

            Got me on the gravlox; I just wasn't feeling grav. Forget asking for kjottboller; no one speaks Svenska in US IKEA's

            1. re: Passadumkeg

              Right. Most of the people working in the San Diego location are Hispanic.

            2. re: gafferx

              If my memory serves me correctly, the little card calls it gravad lax.

                1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                  wikipedia entry sez--->>

                  Gravlax or gravad lax (Swedish), gravad laks (Danish), gravlaks (Norwegian, Danish), graavilohi (Finnish), graflax (Icelandic) is a Scandinavian dish consisting of raw salmon cured in salt, sugar, and dill. Gravlax is usually served as an appetizer, sliced thinly and accompanied by hovmästarsås (also known as gravlaxsås), a dill and mustard sauce, either on bread of some kind, or with boiled potatoes

                  1. re: gafferx

                    I was just funnin'. I lived in Norway and Finland for 10 years and speak fluent Norwegen. I ulearne to make my own gravlaks in Norway and still do. We bought our eldest son's crib and baby stuff at the Oslo IKEA in 1981. As Headmaster of a Diplomatic school in Helsinki, we supplied furnished housing to teachers and I bought it all at.....IKEA. We we returned to Maine and bought a house. I borrowed a lobsterman buddy's big pick up truck, drove down to the IKEA in Elizabeth (the closest ant the time.), rented a big U-haul trailer and filled up the truck and trailer w/ a houseful of furniture in 1 trip.

          2. I tend to agree. The deals are hard to beat and you can fill up for cheap. I adore the lingon berry juice.

            1. Meatballs are not bad. Breakfast is one of the vilest things on the planet.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Harters

                ooh yes. I had their bfast once when I was there just before opening. AWFUL!

              2. The meatballs are good. Not sure if I want to know what is in them though...

                1 Reply
                1. re: AndrewK512

                  according to the packaging on the frozen ones, it's pretty much meat and spices in the meatballs themselves. The sauce is a different story.

                2. I am dense, I admit. Is this the assemble-your-self furniture store?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: chownewbie

                    It is the self-assembly furniture store, yes. They have two different eateries: There's the full restaurant, the one with the Swedish meatballs, at the halfway point of the store. You see, the store is laid out in labyrinthine format so you see everything unless you take a shortcut. The restaurant acts as a sort of intermission so you can relax after wandering the showroom, and collect your thoughts before proceeding into the main merchandise area. Once you've paid for everything, on your way out there's the Bistro, which sells hot dogs for fifty cents, cinnamon rolls for $1 (or six for $4), frozen yogurt, and other snack type things.

                    Swedish meatballs : IKEA :: Free samples : Costco
                    50¢ hot dog : IKEA :: $1.50 hot dog and drink : Costco

                  2. I don't go for lunch but did go for 99 cent breakfast once. It was OK, but did not come with toast. And I thought the coffee was weak.

                    But I do get a couple packages of the oat cookies dipped in dark choc on the way out.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: pengcast

                      I know I can't leave without having some pear cider!

                    2. Since I recently heard they will babysit my kid in the ball-room for 45 minutes, and also learned they have a shuttle bus from the subway, and now having read this thread reminding me there might be some interesting eats there... yes, I am tempted to go to IKEA just for lunch! The kid can eat some ginger thins on the way home ;)

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: julesrules

                        Hi Julesrules, just a heads up! The "small land" at the Ikea in Etobicoke is currently undergoing renovations and is closed. I made the mistake of going there counting on dropping my kids off for some play time while I did some window shopping, we were all very diappointed!

                      2. Every once in a while I get feeling a bit homesick for the old Mensa back at the university in Munich. An Ikea opened nearby a few years ago and I was -thrilled- to discover that they had almost perfectly reduplicated the experience: cafeteria setup, staff speaking no known language (in germany it was usually romanian or polish, here I haven't a clue), almost no choice of food, uniform brown tint to everything and covered with sweet gravy, uncomfortable seats, and bus your own trays. Everything except having to buy a little colored token beforehand to use to pay.

                        So yes I do go to Ikea just for lunch. Or more accurately, for the nostalgia.

                        1. My wife and I have "smuggled" bottles of white wine in the Elizabeth, NJ store. We sit and have our shrimp smorbrod and gravlax and watch the planes take off from Newark Airport and dream about to where we'd like to be flying. It was also a good break from my mom and we would wax nostalgia for NooorrrWAY!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                            That might be the cutest thing I have ever heard.

                            1. re: schrutefarms

                              I was trying to think of a way to write in words my reaction to this Passadumkeg, and I think schrutefarms said it perfectly.

                          2. Ikea occasionally does a free breakfast promo which should be AVOIDED AT ALL COSTS. Really, it's worse than the Denny's Free Grand Slam Breakfast promo: lines, crowds, one big mess.

                            I usually stick with the hotdogs, since Costco stopped doing Hebrew Nationals and raised the price.

                            1. IKEA is one of the biggest slippery slopes the world has ever known. I went to the Sports Authority in Paramus to get some new rollerblades, saw IKEA next door and, feeling hungry, decided to just quickly go by the "marketplace" counter for a dog. I accidentally parked on the level closer to the cafe, though, and thinking that I might as well sit down while I eat, had a plate of lox there, instead. On the way out, I bought a cheese grater, fish-shaped ice cube trays, a picture frame, herring in dill sauce and various other things that I did not really need.

                              I *meant* to go there just for lunch, but IKEA had other plans for me. :)

                              1. I don't have one close enough for lunch breaks.

                                But we always stop at Ikea when driving between NC & NY for a coffee break. Clean facilities, close to the interstate, fun people watching, ok coffee and those sweet rolls...

                                1. You got me.

                                  I will often meet girl friends there for lunch or, in the afternoon for coffee and crispbread.

                                  And when they'd let me order the kids meal for myself? Chicken tenders with mac and cheese and a drink? Perfection.

                                  Sadly, they no longer allow that, but the prices are so reasonable, the food quality surprisingly good, we're still pretty darn happy.

                                  P.S. My mom has severe allergies and can't eat stuff with tons of additives or ANY corn syrup. They pulled out their ingredient book for me and? Many things there are surprisingly unadulterated!

                                  1. P.P.S. Yes the breakfast is not their shining moment.

                                    It's the only meal my husband has ever eaten there - and because of it he refuses to go back.

                                    He thinks my happy food lunch reports are unduly influenced by friendship. He should know better - I'm nice, but I'm also picky! ; )

                                    1. 32 replies and only one mention of the cinnamon buns? These are the only reason I can be talked into going to IKEA.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: joe777cool

                                        This is my main reason for going back to Ikea. Well that and the Daim candies. But I don't think they carry that anymore.

                                        1. re: joe777cool

                                          Well I'll mention it for you. One of the gals I meet for lunch? If she's in the area, she'll stop by the market/snack bar and grab a pack. 50% off the half hour before closing. And if you reheat them by slicing them in half and grilling them with a bit of butter... Killer.

                                        2. I used to meet my mom at the Elizabeth Ikea, and we'd watch the planes landing & taking off while we ate. The meatballs were ok, but I always liked best the open-faced shrimp sandwich. And the lingonberry juice. Mmmm.

                                          The cinnamon buns at the downstairs counter always smelled much better than they actually were.

                                          1. Of course! The closest Ikea is about 75 minutes from me but I make the trek about once every month or two for a cheap, delicious meatball platter and almond cake! I'd love to make that cake at home...

                                            1. *Raising hand* Me!!

                                              I really like the veggie crepes they do. They're really tasty. And cheap. I take my 4-year-old there on occasion and we have a nice little meal out that is really super cheap. He loves the meatballs.

                                              But what I die for is the chocolate overload cake. It's without a doubt the best chocolate cake (mass produced) ever. EVER. I basically throw a whiny tantrum when they don't have it.