Friday, September 2, 2016

A big, bustling family restaurant where no entree costs more than $6.99

A Smoked Salmon Sandwich is served on a wild-garlic sourdough bun with salad greens, pickled red cabbage, spicy barbecue glaze, and sweet and sour pickles for only $4.99 in the stylish restaurant at IKEA in Paramus, below.


When you're hungry in Paramus -- the shopping center capital of New Jersey -- you can't beat the bargain meals in the restaurant at IKEA, a maze-like home furnishings store.

Swedish Meatballs aren't the only draw.

Breakfast -- eggs, turkey sausage, potatoes, pancakes and strawberry jam -- is served until 11 a.m. for only $2.

Starting at 5 p.m., you can enjoy a dinner entree of antibiotic-free chicken with mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables for only $4.

Baked salmon with a side dish is $6.99.

I met a friend for lunch there on Thursday, when an adult purchasing an entree for $3.99 or more could get two kids' meals for free (regularly $2.49 each).

Predictably, the place was packed with happy families noisily bonding over food.

IKEA calls the enormous dining room a restaurant, but you'll have to grab a tray and wait on a cafeteria line, walking past displays of prepared food in cold cases or wait to be served from a steam table.

Salmon two ways

If you've ever shopped at IKEA for home furnishings, you know the maze-like store requires a lot of energy, and even with a map, many people feel like they are walking in circles.

So, you can look at the inexpensive restaurant fare as necessary to fortify you for the upcoming shopping ordeal.

I went for IKEA's delicious farmed salmon two ways:

A shredded Smoked Salmon Sandwich that combines sweet, sour and savory flavors, and a platter of tasty Marinated Salmon with spring mix and a dill dressing, which was too sweet for me ($4.99 each).

My friend enjoyed the classic Swedish Meatballs swimming in gravy with mashed potatoes and lingonberries, also $4.99. He also had one garlic toast (69 cents).

We washed down our lunches with big cans of carbonated Pear Cider and Apple Cider ($1.99 each.)

About 1:15 on Thursday afternoon, a serpentine cafeteria line at IKEA took about 15 minutes to get through and to pay at a register. There are two separate lines, and tray holders on wheels are available.

An appetizer of Marinated Salmon with fresh dill, spring mix, a lemon wedge and mustard sauce was $4.99, above and below.

A 16.9-ounce can of carbonated Pear Cider was $1.99. Apple Cider also was available.

This bill of fare is displayed at the foot of the escalator that takes you up to the restaurant. Thursday was the last day kids' meals were free every day. Now, free kids' meals, shown on the right, are available only on Tuesdays. The restaurant is closed on Sundays.

IKEA pledges that all food waste is used for composting or biogas.

At the height of the lunch hour on Thursday, a homeless man made himself at home in the IKEA dining room.


IKEA, 100 IKEA Drive, Paramus; 1-201-843-1881. Free garage parking. Closed Sundays.

In addition to the restaurant, the store has a Bistro serving hot dogs and similar items, and a Swedish Food Market, both on the lower level.

IKEA is an acronym made up of the founder's name, and the farm and village where he grew up in Sweden.


  1. Thanks for pulling my coat to IKEA. I'd forgotten that they have a great bargain restaurant.

    1. So did I. I hadn't been there since 2011, when the breakfast was only 99 cents, and served free to one and all on Mondays.

    2. Oh, and back then, breakfast included unlimited coffee.


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