You know that place where you get the cheap Swedish furniture? Well, it doubles as one of Dain’s favorite places to grab lunch. Seriously. Swedish furniture. Swedish meatballs. Welcome to the Dainiverse. The rest of us just happen to be living in it. Dain brings up Ikea’s food every time we are within a five mile radius, and he intentionally plans our trips around a mealtime. All for a plate of 15 teeny tiny meatballs with lingonberries and mashed potatoes. Where else can you get all that for $3.99? Probably nowhere. Which is why we thought the Ikea restaurant was worthy of Foodie Friday.
We are lucky enough to have an Ikea in Bloomington right next to the Mall of America, which is about a twenty minute drive from our house. It is wild in the streets over there on a weekend. And that’s almost always when we go. Usually as part of a marathon errand spree. When we are older and wiser, we will go on weeknights. For now we grin and bear the throngs of people. Before we get our shop on, we hit the restaurant. It is on the second level at our Ikea, right before you run the gauntlet on the showroom floor. Much like the rest of the store, it has a fun and frenetic feel.
You grab a tray and then walk through the line with your selections. I honestly held out on eating here for a few years until Dain finally wore me down after he had to get in on the action that he was seeing in the advertisements for the meatballs. He was kind of joking too at first, but now he’s hooked. We even have little cut outs of pictures of the meatball plate taped around our house since it has now turned into quite the joke for us, and we get an Ikea flyer weekly. And they almost always choose the meatballs to advertise the restaurant. Big seller.
The food is decent, and the prices are amazing. The meatball plate is $3.99, and to add a drink and a soup or salad brings the total to $5.99. They have a salmon plate for $6.99 and vegetarian crepes for $2.99. So it definitely fits in with Ikea’s theme of affordability.
And it’s kind of fun to eat in a cafeteria again. On our last trip (when we picked up the fabric for our t.v. art cover and a few more frames to complete our frame wall), I chose the new summer salad with a sweet potato soup and a side of mashed potatoes.
I was impressed by the salad quality and color. The poppy seed dressing was excellent.
Dain doesn’t have to look at the menu, as he always picks the meatballs. Apparently they are too good to pass up. It is a generous portion of meatballs along with the lingonberries and potatoes and gravy. Dain topped it all off with a lingonberry soda and a side salad.
It was good as always. We ordered more than normal thinking it was one of the weekends where you can deduct your restaurant total from you store purchases (over $100), but of course it wasn’t until we were at the checkout that we realized we were one week too early for that. It happens. But those are sweet weekends to go if you are planning to spend over $100 since you essentially eat for free.
After your feast, they even have a stacking tray receptacle that plays ABBA songs*. And it’s kind of like being home for us. See that leaf pattern on the white background with the oranges in the middle there? Well, they have fabric panels hanging for decoration, and we have that exact same fabric in our basement hanging on the wall. Thanks to two square canvases with that stretched over them we received as a gift.
Dain is hoping to drag me there again soon. But on a Wednesday night because on Wednesdays they offer a rib dinner for $6.99. And the only thing Dain loves more than meatballs is barbecue. And if we ever really out do ourselves with an early start, the breakfast is 99 cents for eggs, bacon and potatoes. Pretty cheap fuel for a shopping bonanza. And anyone who has been to Ikea knows that it can take some patience and stamina. At least if you walk the path and hit all the stops.
*There may or may not be actual ABBA songs playing. It’s so hard to differentiate between the real music and the background music in your head during your Swedish adventure.