How great is IKEA? Greatest place ever, right? Well, I love IKEA too- but not for the reason most people love it. Sure, the cheap furniture is nice, and building our IKEA entertainment center was probably the greatest “building” accomplishment of my life- but the real reason I love it is for the food. Seriously… the food at IKEA is awesome- and dirt cheap. (Picture of IKEA meatballs to the left is courtesy of eggrollboy on flickr )
Of course I was skeptical at first. Those signs as you walk in, encouraging you to eat Swedish meatballs in the IKEA cafe… for $3.99? I’m not eating that crap. Who eats at IKEA? Well, I will tell you who… people who spend the entire morning moving into their new apartment- but still want to take advantage of the van that is due back at U-Haul that night. So you drive out to Elizabeth NJ, and are so hungry that the IKEA Restaurant is your only option. That was the first time I ate at IKEA. The next time- our “shopping” excursion to IKEA, was just an excuse for lunch. If you’ve never tried the Swedish meatballs with gravy and lingonberries- you don’t know what your missing. And if you don’t like it- you’ve wasted $4. Not that big a gamble…
With that in mind, you can imagine my excitement when I read about the new FIKA Swedish Espresso Bar on RestaurantGirl.com… Even though they are called an espresso bar- they also have sandwiches, salads, and Swedish meatballs. How can you go wrong??? More pictures, and the +/- after the jump…
FIKA’s menu has 5 sandwiches, 3 salads, and 3 “lunches”. The Swedish meatballs with lingonberries ($11) are served pre-packaged and cold with a creamy potato salad- so I opted for the Swedish Meatball sandwich. At $9 it is more then twice the price of lunch at IKEA, but it was a pretty tasty sandwich. The meatballs (also cold) came on a crusty french bread type of roll, and were covered in a fresh beet salad and fresh greens. I don’t normally like beets- but this creamy beet salad was pretty tasty. The menu says it is flavored with “horseradish” but there was no real kick to the mayo-like horseradish that is mixed with the beets.
My wife ordered the chicken & capers salad. All the ingredients (and the dressing) were fresh and delicious- but at $12 it also seemed a little bit expensive for a take-out lunch. There are about 8 stools, spread between two counters… but as the place gets more popular I’m sure these will fill up quickly. The menu said there was supposed to be potatoes in the salad, but we didn’t find any. All in all it was a delicious lunch, but a little on the pricey side. Despite the price, I will go back to try some of the other dishes… including a smoked salmon roll-up kind of thing that looked delicious.
There is no question that there are cheaper sandwiches and salads to be had in Midtown for lunch, but if you are looking for something totally new and different, and don’t mind spending the money- the food at FIKA is really fresh, interesting and delicious. They also told me they are planning on adding a few hot dishes, and soups in the next few weeks… I am excited to see what they add- but not as excited as I would be for a Manhattan IKEA!
Fresh, delicious ingredients. (You can taste the real honey in the honey mustard dressing)
If you are sick of the same Salads and Sandwiches, this is something totally new… I’m pretty sure there is nowhere else in Midtown to get fast Swedish food to go.
Um… Swedish meatballs! Hello!
- The price. It is a little pricey for a take-out type of lunch…
- Not a lot of seating. There’s only two counters with about 8 chairs… so I would recommend going alone (or with one other person) or you can just take your food to go
- Bouchon Bakery in the Time Warner Center is right around the corner- and has a larger selection at their take-out counter. I could see how most people would prefer that for their expensive sandwich, salad or soup fix…
- It’s no IKEA. 🙂
FIKA Swedish Espresso Bar, 41 W. 58th St. (btw. 5th+6th), 212-832-0022