When road tripping, there are a few things that can be hard to manage and eating healthy is certainly one of them. In Europe, one chain store can be helpful with that and it’s…. drumroll…. IKEA!
Yes you are reading me well! IKEA. And you’re thinking ‘but it’s a furniture store, so what the fudge?’ Well, it’s simple: IKEA has a restaurant in every store and it’s not bad!
OK OK it depends of your standards of course, but we’re talking here about, a quick stop, for a decent meal, on the road. Like you, I would like to only eat at 5 stars Michelin restaurants (I know, I know, restaurants can only get 3 stars!). But since it’s not really an option, instead of having yet another highway station sandwich, I believe IKEA is something you should consider.
Hey, this is not a sponsored post!! I do not own shares in IKEA and I’m not related in anyway to the owners, shareholders, blablabla… so read on!!
This is exactly what we did in Germany on our way back from Norway. We were on the road, our stomachs were growling, the chocolat reserve was low and options seemed limited. We knew we would get too late, to the hotel, to have diner there. We avoid fast food restaurants, as much as we avoid shopping on black Friday! Getting off the highway, to potentially not find a restaurant in the nearest small town, would have make us arrive at our hotel even later… So when we saw the IKEA sign, we immediately thought: “By Jove, why not!!” and cheerfully took the next exit. At that moment, we were so hungry that finding a proper place to eat, felt like finding the promised land!
So if you are road tripping in Europe and find yourself in a similar situation, do consider stopping at IKEA for a meal. There are severals good reasons:
- Their stores are easy to find. They are always located near a highway exit or main hub and the signs highly visible from a distance.
- The stores open fairly early and close fairly late. 8AM to 10PM is usual but not everyday and not in every country. You obviously need to check but since the stores are so close to the highway exit anyway, it’s easy to just stop without loosing much time.
- They serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and Fika, which is Swedish for coffee break and this means they have lots of different pastries and cakes!
- They often have many organic options, more and more actually!
- It’s fairly easy to accommodate a vegetarian or vegan diet there, without compromising i.e. you don’t have to just eat bread and french fries or salad!
- They offer Swedish specialties. Eating there is almost like travelling!
There is one pitfall with this: stopping at IKEA just for lunch, could end up taking all your afternoon, if you are not careful! You may think you’re just going to have a look at this or that, but in reality you will end up browsing the whole store!! Yes, you know it happens even if you promised yourself to not buy anything!!
To avoid this terrible situation 😉 as much as possible, check the floor plan at the entrance of the store, locate the shortcut to access the restaurant, and head straight there. Good luck 😉
Additional note: I would avoid going there on a Saturday for lunch… Way too crowded! But that’s just me.
There are 255 Ikea stores in Europe. If you’re into cool maps, check out the work done by designer Mike Baker. It’s a pretty good animation! It stops in 2014 but you can still cleary see the high concentration of IKEA stores in Europe.
So tell me:
Have you ever stopped at IKEA for a meal on a road trip?
What’s your favorite place to stop? Highway station? Local restaurants?
What tips would you share on staying healthy on the road?
Comment below, it’s free!!