IKEA doesn’t need an introduction. Just mention their name and it will evoke bright yellow and blue filled memories of building your very first BILLY Bookcase and trying to decipher the instructions. And while IKEA are renowned innovators of affordable flat packed furniture, their restaurant is just as famous.
The company’s founder Ingvar Kamprad decided to open a restaurant in 1956 in the first IKEA in Älmhult, Sweden because “It’s difficult to do business with someone on an empty stomach”. The restaurants have become so synonymous with the IKEA experience that many of us visit the store mostly for the food.
The menu is ever-evolving and constantly being developed. New items get added all the time, but there are some old-faithfuls that never change. Swedish meatballs and the Salmon are all-time favorites all over the world.
But what happens when you’ve finished shopping and are famished after hours of “following the feet” on the ground? The newly revamped Bistro area is where you can fill up on your favorite grab-and-go snacks. Not only are the chicken shawarmas delicious, they are extremely affordable. Don’t take our word for it, IKEA sells thousands of them every day. You can also have your pick of hotdogs, potato wedges or ice cream.
But what really teases your olfactory senses on your way out is the smell of freshly baked bread and pastry. Your brain is not playing tricks on you, the newly opened bakery is just across the checkout section. The pastries and baked goods are made to global standards. And would pass the inspection of any master pâtissier. They’re produced and frozen to be shipped to Kuwait, then the baking takes place right in front of you. Yes, please!
You can watch the berry and custard filled pastries rise in the oven behind the glass door while they are being baked. They need
about twelve minutes to cook and are made in small batches so you will always be getting the freshest, buttery, doughy goodies. The pastries are flaky, you can see the layers inside after the first bite. The shells are crusty and crunchy on the outside, but they are as soft as air inside. A perfect croissant is supposed to melt in your mouth not crumble in your hands, and these ones deliver. They’re in the Goldilocks zone of pastries, not too big, not too small, just right. You can sample all of them without feeling guilty or over-stuffed. You can order a dozen of them to take home for tomorrow’s breakfast or munching on the ride home. bazaar tip: you can always buy a box from the IKEA 365+ food storage series to make sure they arrive safely without being squished.
And on your way out, grab a baguette or two to enjoy at home. While you can enjoy them on their own, head over to the Swedish Food Market for the rest of the ingredients that you need to make a Smoked Salmon and pickle sandwich. If you have more of a sweet- tooth, you have a great selection of jams to choose from. Everything in the store is either IKEA’s own brand or specially made for them in Sweden. The range is unique and cannot be found anywhere else.
The market is your number one destination for all authentic Swedish ingredients and frozen dishes. You can make vegetable cakes and cheese and leek pies at home. If you are a fan, grab a bag of frozen veggie meatballs and the secret sauce to make at home. You can even get a bag of frozen KANELBULLAR, that’s Swedish for cinnamon buns. All of the baked goods can be found frozen in the market so you can stock your freezer. Friday mornings will never be the same again!
Everyone needs to have a secret stash of comfort food for emergencies. Our stash includes biscuits, chocolate, candy and Lingonberry juice, all available in the store. Skip the single-use bag and instead, get one of the reusable insulated bags. That way your frozen goods will stay frozen until you get home and doing good for the environment. The bags are available inside the main IKEA store and in the Swedish Food Market. They’re part of IKEA’s larger commitment to being environmentally conscious.
“Nothing goes to waste” is part of their ethos and the seating area for the bistro features a recycling station where paper, plastic and organic waste can be sorted in. Everything is recycled, even organic waste is turned into compost. It is a comfortable area furnished in beautiful leather IKEA sofas covered in cushions for a comfortable time. As with the rest of IKEA, you get free Wi-Fi and there are even wireless charging stations to charge your device. One of our favorite features of the space are the industrial light-bulbs that are available for sale in the store.
The soft-serve ice cream machine is still there, but now you can also create your own personalized froyo. Start with vanilla, blueberry or raspberry frozen yogurt, then add your favorite combination of toppings. If you would prefer a warm drink, the beverage dispenser offers you tea and coffee as well as the more interesting cardamom latte and tea.
It’s cozy, inviting and very Swedish. The perfect place for a FIKA (coffee break) after a long day of shopping. But we have a confession to make, sometimes we just go to IKEA for the food.