Drink At A Sauna-Themed Bar in San Francisco’s Scandinavian-Inspired Food Hall

Come for the Swedish meatballs, stay for the plant-forward fare.

<p>Albert Law / Saluhall Market</p>

Albert Law / Saluhall Market

Scandinavian design meets San Francisco's colorful, flavorful, and diverse food culture at Saluhall — the city's newest food court. The two-story space, owned by Ingka Centres — the real estate group that operates 80% of the world’s Ikeas — is located right next to San Francisco’s Ikea, providing easy access to the Swedish home goods store from the market’s second floor.

In what feels like a breath of fresh air, Saluhall offers a much-needed community space to San Francisco’s Union Square, a neighborhood in the city’s downtown that has suffered economically post-pandemic. Since opening in April, the 25,000-square-foot market has been a go-to for quick coffees and large group meals alike — and for the city's many tech workers, it's a great place to set up with a laptop to work all day long.

Related: Eat Chicken Stock Ice Cream and $10 Wagyu Burgers at San Antonio's Newest Market

The market abounds in choices: It has 11 plant-forward culinary concepts, serving a higher ratio of vegan options than you’ll find elsewhere in the city. About half of the eateries are operated by KERB, Ingka Centres' partner, which specializes in operating food halls such as Seven Dials Market in London and KERB Berlin. The bright street-level floor with sky-high ceilings is where you’ll find KERB’s delightfully Scandinavian-named bars and food stalls, such as Burgare Bar, a fully plant-based burger stand with a tight yet enticing menu where everything is under $15 — a rarity in a notoriously expensive city where sticker-shock feels more real with each visit. There’s also Snöberg, a soft-serve stand conveniently located near the exit so you can grab a sweet treat as you head out the door, and Smörgåsland, a bakery and eatery with Nordic-inspired pastries and brunch items.

Upstairs, though, is where the real tastes of San Francisco come to life. There’s La Venganza, a vegan taqueria out of Oakland that serves full-flavored tacos, burritos, and nachos filled with meat alternatives and main-character vegetables. And Curry Up Now, an Indian street food stall, offers flaky kathi rolls, tender naans, and generous rice bowls topped with proteins such as tikka masala paneer and chicken.

On a recent visit, I enjoyed a bowl of springy, bouncy noodles with savory peanut sauce and spicy marinated chicken thighs from Momo Noodle and washed it all down with a tart and sweet passionfruit lemonade from Casa Borinqueña, a Puerto Rican stall that reopened in Saluhall for the first time since having to close its Oakland location in 2023. Opening in Saluhall is also a comeback for Kayma, a previously closed Algerian halal eatery serving up stunning mezze plates and verdant salads.

Related: Ikea Is Expanding Its Plant-Based Menu with This New 70-Cent Offering

Beyond the expansive food offerings, Saluhall is also home to multiple bar spaces — perfect for post-work drinks, considering the market is a close walk from the city’s financial district. A personal favorite was the aptly named Sauna Bar, inspired by the Scandinavian love of saunas, whose cozy wood paneling evokes the inside of a sauna. (But don’t worry, the drinks are entirely refreshing and the room is comfortably air-conditioned.)

<p>Albert Law / Saluhall Market</p> Cooking Skola is Saluhall's innovative culinary education space.

Albert Law / Saluhall Market

Cooking Skola is Saluhall's innovative culinary education space.

Saluhall is also home to Cookery Skola, a new cooking school headed by Kirsten Goldberg, the former culinary director at San Francisco Cooking School. The Cookery Skola is located in a stunning state-of-the-art facility located on the hall's second floor. “Putting a cooking school in a food hall feels right and teaching people to make tasty food before sharing a communal meal is another form of hospitality,” says Goldberg. It will offer a range of classes for groups and individuals — from cooking fundamentals like knife skills and how to bake Nordic pastries to cooking and hosting an entire vegan feast. "The hope is that it can be a place where people either start or finish their time in Saluhall.  Maybe meet a friend for a coffee and Frøsnapper before coming upstairs for a class, or take a class in the evening with a coworker then have cocktails in the Sauna Bar.”

While the food at Saluhall is much more diverse than the classic Ikea cafeteria fare, there are Ikea touches everywhere. The dishes are all served on Ikea dishware, and the comfortable Scandinavian-inspired furniture was designed by the firm Stiff + Trevillon and manufactured by Ikea exclusively for Saluhall. If you’re craving meatballs, though, the Ikea cafeteria is just a few steps away from Saluhall.

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