I ate everything at Ikea's restaurant, and this was by far the best dish

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I ate everything at Ikea's restaurant, and this was by far the best dish
I ate everything at Ikea's restaurant, and this was by far the best dish
A love letter to Ikea's gravlax, which is by far the store's best dish, even beating out the chain's iconic Swedish meatballs.
  • I ate everything at Ikea's restaurant, including soup, salad, veggie balls, salmon balls, meatballs, a salmon dinner, chicken tenders, gravlax, coleslaw, and two kinds of cake.
  • While the meatballs were a classic, I fell madly in love with the gravlax, or traditional Scandinavian cured salmon.
  • Its fresh, quality ingredients and impeccable combination of flavors made gravlax stand out from all the other dishes, so I decided to write a love letter to it.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Dear Ikea's Gravlax,

I still remember the moment we met.

I had taken a tray from the tray stand, passed the dessert case (which was at the beginning of the food maze for some reason), and approached the cold foods case.

You were sitting there in a gaggle of your identical siblings. I almost didn't notice you at first — you all looked so similar. But there was just something about the sheen of your salmon and the flair of your green leaves. And I couldn't believe that you were only $5.49.

I took you out and placed you on my tray.

IKEA restaurant lox
Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Sure, I was seeing others when we met. A lot of others: blackberry salad, salmon dinner, veggie, salmon, and meat balls, as well as a regrettable fling with chicken tenders and two kinds of cake.

The meatballs came close to winning your place in my heart. They were a childhood sweetheart, and I had a lot of savory-soft, melt-in-your-mouth meatball memories from my years visiting Ikea. When we reconnected, there was definitely still something there.

But I knew you were special from the moment I saw you, gravlax. You looked fresh and refreshing, vibrant and full of life. I trusted your dill marinade before I even put you on my fork.

IKEA restaurant lox
Irene Jiang / Business Insider

And that trust paid off. Gently curled on my fork, you adorned yourself with green leaves and dill honey mustard sauce. That first taste swept me off my feet.

Read more: I ate everything at the Costco and Ikea food courts, and there's one big reason why you should go to one over the other

You tasted like you had jumped out of the ocean onto my plate. Fragrant dill mingled with your natural scent and tempered the taste of the sea with garden freshness. After I had tried all the others, I came back for more. I made a quick meatball detour, but in the end, I returned to you.

Every bite was as good as the first. I marveled at how perfectly your dill honey mustard sauce tied all your flavors together, how the crisp of a green leaf provided contrasted with your tender fish. I know you've been off the boat for a couple years, that you probably tasted different back in your homeland. But I like you the way you are now.

And I'll be back soon.

IKEA restaurant lox
Irene Jiang / Business Insider
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