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Grand opening of IKEA in San Francisco Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

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Everything to Know Before You Head to San Francisco’s New Ikea for Swedish Meatballs

Ikea opened its new Market Street location on August 23, along with three new Swedish-inspired restaurants

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Dianne de Guzman is a deputy editor at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, upcoming openings, and pop-ups.

On Wednesday, August 23, the doors opened to San Francisco’s first location of the Swedish mega-furniture retailer Ikea. It’s a store that’s been in the works for at least the last three years, and Ikea is the anchor tenant and first business to open inside the larger Livat mall at 945 Market Street. The multi-level food hall, Saluhall, is still set to debut in early 2024, Ikea is already selling its own food inside the 87,000-square-foot space.

While the Bay Area is no stranger to Ikea, which already has locations in East Palo Alto and Emeryville, there are some differences to note about the new store and its food offerings. Here’s everything to know before you go.

A view of the counter and ordering kiosks at Swedish Deli inside San Francisco’s Ikea. Dianne de Guzman

Where do I go to eat?

There are three food areas inside San Francisco’s new Ikea. Swedish Deli is the main restaurant located on the second floor of the store. Much like the Ikea Swedish Restaurant at other locations, this restaurant serves both hot and cold food, beverages, and desserts. This area features 68 seats for diners and is outfitted with Ikea tables and chairs, of course.

Swedish Food Market is, well, just what it sounds like — a market highlighting Swedish and American culinary goods. It’s situated on the second floor, adjacent to the Swedish Deli, amongst a few kitchen item aisles. There are freezers filled with salmon fillets and shredded potato pancakes, fridges with jars of marinated herring, displays of milk chocolate bars, and even Ikea-ized, designer-y bottles of ketchup and mustard all available for purchase.

Food items displayed at the Swedish Food Market at Ikea San Francisco.
Swedish Food Market
Dianne de Guzman

Swedish Bite is the smallest of all three spaces, but the food consists for the most part of cold items from the Deli, conveniently pre-packaged for a quick grab-and-go option. There’s also a hot drink station serving coffees and specialty lattes. It’s located on Ikea’s street level, near the central staircase for the other floors, but an ordering kiosk will allow diners to check out with relative ease so diners can be back on the street in minutes. If you want to stay and eat, there is a handful of bar-height tables to stand and have a bite.

How do I order?

Much like Swedish Bite, the Swedish Deli on the second floor has a screen ordering system, with large interactive kiosks to peruse through and pick out your meal. Upon submitting and paying for food, diners are given a number to pick up orders at the kitchen in the center of the restaurant, with a television monitor indicating which counter to wait at. Items from the Swedish Food Market can be purchased at an Ikea register, much like any other item you’d find in the store.

Different dishes from Ikea San Francisco’s restaurant Dianne de Guzman

What is the food like?

The food options are reminiscent of other local Bay Area Ikeas, with a strong presence of plant-based options. The popular Swedish meatballs, for instance, are available at the Swedish Deli in their typical meaty variety — but there are also two types of vegetarian “meatballs” dubbed Huvudrolls. There are “veggie balls” and “plant balls” made with “pea protein, oats, potatoes, onion and apple.” There’s also a veggie dog along with a meat version, and the soft serve is vegan.

That’s not to say the menu shies away from meat. Smoked salmon is prevalent in a few items, such as the Stockholm salad, the marinated salmon wrap, and the salmon fillet dish; the Skagen croissant sandwich also highlights wild-caught shrimp in a lemon-dill cream sauce.

There do seem to be some familiar items missing from the opening menu, however. Ikea’s pizza slices, chicken tenders, Caesar salad, or breakfast items, for instance, are nowhere to be seen, though there’s no reason these dishes can’t be added on later down the line.

As mentioned, Swedish Bite specializes in cold food and drinks. Although they weren’t in place on opening day, there were labels and price tags for items including the Skagen croissant sandwich, salads, and wraps, so expect those sorts of dishes to be available on future visits. Other items such as slices of almond chocolate butterscotch cake or cheesecake were in the store’s two fridges Wednesday, as were sodas, water, La Croix, and Ikea’s own bottled ciders. There was also a large display of packaged Gifflar Kanel cinnamon rolls for fans.

The ordering kiosk at Ikea San Francisco’s restaurant Dianne de Guzman

How much does it cost?

The pricing remains relatively true to Ikea’s ethos of affordability, meaning it’s relatively inexpensive to grab a bite. The best bargain seems to be the veggie dog, which, as of Wednesday, goes for $1.15 (the hot dog costs just ten cents more, $1.25). The coffee drinks are also a bargain, with an Americano priced at $1.50 and specialty drinks such as a latte costing $3.

On the pricier side of the menu, there’s the salmon fillet with pesto and peas for $12.99, while a 12-meatball combo with mashed potatoes, peas, and lingonberry jam goes for $11.49. Rest assured, however, there’s also an eight-meatball combo for $9.99 and a 16-meatball version for $12.99, depending on how much more or less food you want.

When will the food hall open?

The rest of the Livat mall was sectioned off from curious visitors at the opening event, so no word on how the upcoming food hall is coming along just yet. Stay tuned.

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