Saturday, February 09, 2008

Restaurant Review - IKEA Orlando, 4092 Eastgate Drive, Mall of Millenia area, Orlando, FL

IKEA OrlandoAs promised, I visited the recently opened IKEA store in Orlando to check out their restaurant and food. Oh, and their furniture and stuff, too. I had tried the IKEA restaurant in NJ so I was eager to see how the Orlando store compared.

First of all, I was pleased to see that the Smaland (kid's supervised play area) in Orlando was bigger and accepted children between 37" - 54" in height. This had been a problem at the NJ IKEA because my older son was too tall. Here, both boys were able to go inside. There is a comfy TV area where the kids watched Spongebob and then Meet the Robinsons, a rock climbing wall, a ball pit with fun activities like trying to get the balls into cuckcoo clocks, and an art area where kids can draw. You sign the kids in and you have a pager so the counselors can reach you. When I went, we could only leave the kids for 60 minutes (and since IKEA is so big that meant we only did one floor). I don't know if that is variable depending on the day you go.

Once we picked the kids up, we headed to the restaurant on the second floor. On weekends, there can be a pretty long line at the cafeteria but it tends to move quickly. I saw that the OLB loved pushing the tray cartrlando IKEA didn't have kid-sized trays like the NJ one did but we did pick up a fun "tray shopping cart" that LB was very excited to push through the line. It is a wheeled cart that holds three trays on it and it was very helpful so the kids didn't have to carry their trays themselves. The first thing you reach in the food line is the refrigerated cases with the desserts inside. Since both boys said they wanted the 99 cent Macaroni and Cheese for lunch, I figured I could splurge on dessert so said okay when they both asked for their own Daim cake ($1.79) which is like a toffee cake with a Swedish toffee candy included. Oh, and I got an Almond cake ($1.29) for myself. Grandma and Grandpa decided to split a Swedish Apple cake ($2.29).

Entrees range from $2 - $6 and include ham and cheese sandwich, chicken caesar salad, chicken marsala, Swedish meatballs, and salmon. The kids' menu consists of PB&J with a fruit cup and drink ($1.99), five Swedish meatballs with fries or potatoes and a drink ($1.99), or the 99 cent mac-n-cheese with a drink. Note that the PB&J kids meal is entirely pre-packaged - the sandwich is like an Uncrustable and the fruit cup is canned fruit. I grabbed the Gravad Lax (smoked salmon slices with a salad) for $4.99 and Grandma and Grandpa decided to share the 15 Swedish meatballs plate ($4.99). I grabbed glasses for the drinks for all of us -- turned out that I could have asked the cashier for plastic cups for the kids. I ended up going back after we sat down when I saw another table with the plastic cups. One strange thing, there are no straws available. My kids did okay with the plastic cups but you may want to bring your own straws if your kids are not ready for drinking from a cup yet.

Plastic utensils and microwave availableI drank the lingonberry juice available at the fountain Kid's dining areasince they don't have iced tea while BB had Pepsi and LB had water. There is also milk and orange juice and even baby food for sale if you forgot to bring any. In the dining area, there is a kids' eating area with a TV playing videos, some toys and blocks, and small tables for them to eat at. There is also a "family convenience center" that has plastic utensils and bibs for the kids as well as a microwave in case you want to heat up the baby food.

My Gravad Lax ($4.99) had more pieces and was thicker than what I remembered at the NJ store, but I didn't like the sauce - seemed like just regular mustard with dill mixed in and wasn't light enough to accompany the fish well. Most pieces of the Gravad Lax were pink and tender and melted in your mouth. One piece was tough and seemed like it would be chewy so Gravad Lax - smoked salmonI passed. I picked up that piece and saw it was brown on the bottom - maybe the skin? Grandpa said last time he came, almost all of his pieces were like that so he was very disappointed with the quality of the salmon. I was full at this point so didn't mind - I didn't even eat the mixed greens salad that comes with the dish because I knew I still had to eat the Almond cake. Both boys' Mac-n-cheese was real macaroni not the slender noodles characteristic of the Kraft version. They ate almost all of their portions. Grandma and Grandpa were very happy with the meatballs.

Almond cake in front, Daim cake with candy in backTime for dessert! My almond cake was loaded with slivers of blanched almonds and was light, not too rich at all. Grandma really liked the apple cake with the fresh apple taste. It came Swedish apple cake with vanilla saucewith a vanilla sauce and is served cold. I wished it was served warm because I think that would complement the cinamon and spices better (but I am a sucker for apple pie a la mode with a warm pie). Both kids started in on their Daim cakes - BB ate most of his while LB just ate the candy that came with it because he said the cake was too "crunchy". Oh well, I'll know not to get the whole cake next time and just buy the candy in the Swedish food marketplace.

Of course, almost anything in the restaurant was available for sale in the store, from the utensils, to the tables and chairs, to the glasses and plates and even the food. The Swedish food marketplace is right past the check-out counters and I picked up a bag of the frozen Swedish meatballs to make for dinner later that week.

Breakfast at IKEA:
IKEA also offers breakfast in the mornings, starting a half hour before the store opens. I arrived right at 9:30 am, when just the restaurant was open, and found out that IKEA offers free coffee before 10 am everyday.

Breakfast items are limited, there is the regular breakfast for $1.99 which is scrambled eggs, potatoes, two slices of bacon, and three french toast sticks. The small breakfast for 99 cents is the same thing, minus the french toast sticks. This is still cafeteria style so all the food is made in advance -- no special orders that I could tell. Also on the menu is a cinnamon bun for $1 and Swedish Pancakes for $1.99. I also saw bagels but no price by them. I ordered the Swedish pancakes and the small breakfast and picked up a coffee for free (normally 50 cents, still a great bargain). So, all together, my breakfast came to $3.17, including tax. Take that Denny's!

All this for $3.17!Everything was a large portion and the scrambled eggs were nice and fluffy. My only complaint was the bacon - I prefeSwedish pancakes with lingonberry saucer extra crispy and this was not. The Swedish pancakes are really three crepes, folded into fourths, and then accompanied by a large scoop of lingonberry sauce. Again, I could tell these were not freshly made to order and had been sitting for awhile. The crepes were a little thicker than I expected and had a slight eggy taste but were pretty good, especially with the lingonberry sauce. All in all, a great value for a good breakfast.


Deborah Dowd said...

I have friends who live near DC and they practically lived at IKEA while they were getting settled in their new house. They thought the food was simple with good quality and a great value!

Anonymous said...

I was deathly ill after eating one of the multigrain vegetable wraps at IKEA Orlando. I live in Savannah, GA and had to stop several times to vomit profusely! Believe me, it was definitely the wrap that sickened me. I think I determined it was the sprouts that were less than fresh in the wrap. Learned a valuable lesson that cheap isn't always smart when it comes to food.

Copyright © by Restaurant Mom. All rights reserved.