We didn't hear the trumpets as we entered Ikea on our second visit like we...I...did on our first visit. Because we don't have room in our postage stamp place to buy furniture, Ikea is a different store for us -- a place for contemporary, interesting, and/or inexpensive doodads and utensils, and, most importantly, a dining destination.
Ikea sits atop the highest hill in the ~100 acre Robinson Town Centre, a mega shopping mall. Their dining hall is a spacious cafeteria on the second floor, surrounded by two walls of glass and outdoor seating with a gorgeous view. Unfortunately, I didn't think to take a picture.
At the front of the line are self-serve refrigerated cases with plates of desserts, salads, and appetizers, followed by warm items served upon request, then a self-serve salad bar. Cups are given for water and soda at the register.
Beckoning from behind the cold glass door was a beautifully dressed plate of Najad salmon ($4.99), cold smoked and cured with dill, served with lime-marinated root vegetables. Along with a small bowl of salad greens, the substantially thick slices were supple and filling; a perfect traveling lunch that did not weigh heavily in my belly. The vegetables were decorative and didn't add much flavor.
Bug ordered the Swedish meatball meal ($3.99), which includes mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam. For $1.00, he received another 5 meatballs. The meatballs are firm but not rubbery, evenly textured, and have a spiced and oniony flavor. Lingonberry jam augments the meat with a sweet and tartness that is akin to a bite of a Thanksgiving feast with dressing, gravy, and cranberries.
Apple pie with vanilla sauce ($2.99) concluded our trip to Ikea. The vanilla sauce doesn't have very much flavor just sweetness so it is unnecessary to enjoy the spiced apple pie. On our first visit, the apple pie looked neater, but this was still quite presentable.
A nice incentive at the store is a free meal when $100 is spent. The price of the meal is taken out of the total purchases made.
I am not going to say that the food is "just like grandmother's," but the dishes are tasty and phenomenal for its price point. We don't normally purchase soda, but I had to try the lingonberry soda offered from their drink dispensers. I regret not buying lingonberry syrup so we could make the sweet-tart soda at home.
2001 Park Manor Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15205
Tel: (412) 747-0747