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Old 11-17-2018, 08:42 AM
Urbanredneck Urbanredneck is offline
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Ever been to a "good" buffet?

Most buffets emphasize quantity over quality. Yes, there is lots of food but often little is very good.

Wife and I went to a chinese buffet last night. I like those because I can never get enough crab rangoon. Anyhow the food was a big disappointment and on top of that, the price was double because they had crab legs and other seafood (like shrimp and squid). But I dont like those.

Honestly we havent done a buffet in a few years because we dont like to overeat.

In my life the only "good" buffets have been at Pizza Ranch, which has lots of fried chicken, good pizza, and other items on their buffet. And their is an Italian and a Middle Eastern buffet near us which is pretty good.



So have you ever been to a good buffet?
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Old 11-17-2018, 08:53 AM
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Most buffets I've been to I would consider 'good', even the cheap ones. I love chinese buffets because I like all the chicken (esp general tsos) as well as crab rangoons.

But most buffets I've been to have been good. The ones that aren't I only visit once.

I've only been to a handful of great buffets though, and those are usually more expensive (around $20 a person) but still worth it.

Ironically I've been to a pizza ranch in Iowa city and wasn't impressed by it.
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Old 11-17-2018, 09:26 AM
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The Wynn Casino, Vegas - expensive but worth it.
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Old 11-17-2018, 09:32 AM
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I've been to lots of good buffets, even great ones. Thing is, they aren't $10 buffets. The $10 buffets are okay when I'm with a group of people who want to eat cheap and can't all agree on some other cheap meal but they aren't anything I'd choose - I fell like I can get better food for $10 in a non-buffet place. The best buffet I ever went to was at a catering hall - every Wednesday they had the "Italian wedding" buffet. I think it was $30 person 15 years ago. Casino buffets are generally good- but they tend to be $20-$50 depending on the location, the day, the meal etc
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Old 11-17-2018, 09:42 AM
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Plenty. The one I've been to the most is the Borgota buffet in Atlantic City. The casino buffets I've been to range from decent to excellent.
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Old 11-17-2018, 09:55 AM
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The Polish buffets are usually pretty decent, and cheap. Until about ten years ago, there was one in my neck of the woods called Bobak's where you could stuff yourself silly for about $10. Polish food happens to work well buffet style. It's a lot of sausages, stuffed pasta (pierogi), dumplings, sauerkraut, pork chops, potatoes, etc.

Also, the Indian buffets I've been to all seem to be pretty decent. Once again, many of those types of foods stand up well to the buffet treatment.
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Old 11-17-2018, 10:18 AM
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Like 15-17 years ago, my aunt took me to brunch buffet in Silver Spring, MD (or thereabouts). I had been expecting something on par with Old Country Buffet, so I was floored. That food was off the chain, which is why I remember all these years later. But I can't remember the name of the place.
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Old 11-17-2018, 10:20 AM
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A few, actually.

Back "home" in Springfield, Illinois there's a place that has a Sunday brunch buffet. It's not going to win any James Beard Awards, but it's worth what you pay for it and then some. Also in Springfield is a hotel that has a mini buffet (1-2 soups, 2-3 entrees, 3-4 sides, etc) whenever the chef feels like it. Again, it's not going to earn a Michelin Star, but it's leaps & bounds better than most other buffets.

I've also had delicious buffets on cruise ships, at Walt Disney World, at riverboat casinos, and at the Wynn in Vegas.
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Old 11-17-2018, 10:28 AM
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Buffets in Las Vegas are generally excellent.

I used to like Old Country Buffet while they were here. They had a good selection and the food didn't stay out too long.
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Old 11-17-2018, 10:54 AM
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Telemark's example was a good one.

We usually only eat buffets in Vegas, and we are pretty picky there. The best ones are Wynn, Studio B at M Resort, Wicked Spoon at Cosmopolitan and Bacchanal at Caesars.

Around here the trend is for a really good Chinese buffet to open, build up a good rep, and then be sold to family members who promptly cheap out and run the place into the ground in a year. Lather, rinse, repeat.
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Old 11-17-2018, 10:55 AM
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I've occasionally had pretty good buffet dinners. The best, back in the day was at a branch of the New Orleans House in Lexington, KY where you could load up on raw oysters and other goodies. They eventually went out of business and the reason isn't hard to explain - it was too good for what they charged.

Chinese food buffets are a mixed bag. And I've gotten leery of potential food poisoning hazards in stuff that sits out a long time.

One thing I will never partake of again - a Thanksgiving restaurant buffet. I've done that twice; the first time was OK, the second time there was a huge line, not so fabulous food and no opportunity to get seconds. Not very relaxing when you're spending a large proportion of the time on your feet.

Last edited by Jackmannii; 11-17-2018 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 11-17-2018, 10:59 AM
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I've been to some excellent breakfast buffets in hotels. One in Helsinki was so excellent (and the food in Helsinki so expensive) that we basically ate two meals every morning, and skipped lunch. That may have been a bad idea because the kids got a little cranky mid-afternoon.

Indian buffets are usually good. The food holds up well to sitting on a steam table, and it all costs about the same, so you don't really pay a surcharge for it -- and you get more variety.

I went to one of the touted buffets in Vegas, and didn't like it at all. Second-rate smoked salmon, second-rate shrimp, mediocre fillet... for the same price I could have gotten a reasonable portion of excellent food, instead of free access to tons of expensive stuff that wasn't as good as it should have been. If I had been younger and poorer and hungrier when I went, I probably would have liked it more.
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Old 11-17-2018, 12:14 PM
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Boma at Walt Disney World is pretty good. I'd still rather eat at Jiko around the corner, but its more atmosphere than food.

And I agree that Indian buffets are really good.
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Old 11-17-2018, 01:02 PM
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The Wynn Casino, Vegas - expensive but worth it.
Seconded. I can't say that I've hit ALL the buffets in Vegas, but the Wynn is definitely the best I've been to.

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Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
Buffets in Las Vegas are generally excellent.
I disagree. To each his own, but to me, most buffets in Vegas are mediocre. The typical buffet may have one or two "good" items, but the rest are generally kind of lame - like school cafeteria lame. The difference from the school cafeteria food is that the buffet food tends to "look" better.
This is why a buffet like the Wynn really sticks out.
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Old 11-17-2018, 01:35 PM
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The Grand Concourse, in Station Square, Pittsburgh. We've been there for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and sometimes for brunch. It costs the same as, or even a bit less than, a meal at someplace like Ruth Chris, and boy do you get your money's worth.

Holiday meals have the usual lineup (turkey, ham, roast beef, sides), plus a huge assortment of desserts (cheesecake bites, yay!), including an ice cream bar and donuts made on site. I love to watch the machine work. Brunch has pancakes and French toast and waffles made fresh, eggs and omelets made to order, bacon, hash browns and so forth, an assortment of fruit juice, an array of muffins/breads, and the same dessert panoply, including the ice cream bar and donut machine. Alcohol is the only thing that's not included in the flat rate, but it's available. And of course we tip generously!

We're not going for T'giving this year because we've been invited somewhere, but we're doing the brunch on the Sunday before Christmas. I usually semi-fast for two days beforehand. The first time we did T'giving there, we almost didn't make it back to the car. If not for the coin-op massage chairs in the shopping center we walked through on the way, we might well have collapsed and been found comatose.

So, yeah, if you're ever in Pittsburgh, try to work in brunch at the Grand Concourse. It's a refurbished train station, and it's stunning just for the architecture. And the view from the River Room.
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Old 11-17-2018, 01:40 PM
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I've been to the Cosmopolitan buffet in Vegas, and can testify it was excellent.
Christmas day we went to a buffet in a hotel in New Orleans which was amazing.
When our kids were little we went to brunch buffets at Scanticon and the Hyatt on Route 1 in Princeton, both of which were excellent.
And when I was in Madrid my hotel had a breakfast buffet which must have covered an acre, with about fifty types of meats not to mention other things.
Most buffets are mediocre, and you have to find the one or two good things, but great buffets exist.
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Old 11-17-2018, 01:58 PM
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(Re: Grand Concourse, I should have said, all this is three- or four-star quality. We're talking chefs, not defrosted bulk food.)
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Old 11-17-2018, 02:06 PM
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The Trail's End Buffet at Fort Wilderness in Disney World was an excellent buffet. By Disney standards it was reasonable, though as pricey as a good meal in most places. Even their ribs were good.

Just to comment, Old Country Buffet was terrible, truly terrible, all the crappy school cafeteria quality food you could eat.

I've been to a decent Chinese Buffet, but only decent and they got worse over the years.

The Golden Coral has OK food, not good.

Sizzler & Ponderosa were both terrible.
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Old 11-17-2018, 02:06 PM
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I've been to excellent buffets many times. I used to go to the Phoenician, where they had an enormous variety of choices, all of which were excellent. The meal was capped off by a visit to the dessert room - a sugarholic's dream.
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Old 11-17-2018, 02:13 PM
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The Trail's End Buffet at Fort Wilderness in Disney World was an excellent buffet. By Disney standards it was reasonable, though as pricey as a good meal in most places. Even their ribs were good.

Just to comment, Old Country Buffet was terrible, truly terrible, all the crappy school cafeteria quality food you could eat.

I've been to a decent Chinese Buffet, but only decent and they got worse over the years.

The Golden Coral has OK food, not good.

Sizzler & Ponderosa were both terrible.
I forgot a good one, in California there is the Soup Plantation, called Sweet Tomatoes in the south instead. They were good, but they seem to be slowly going down hill over the last 30 years.
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Old 11-17-2018, 02:22 PM
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There are at least 3 excellent Indian lunch buffets available here in Las Vegas.
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Old 11-17-2018, 02:27 PM
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The salad bars at Churrascarias are usually awesome.

These days I'm less interested in a $60 endless torrent of meat than I am in $15 all-you-can-eat antipasti.

Indian buffets are usually pretty great, too.
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Old 11-17-2018, 05:00 PM
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I avoid buffets like the plague, because my experience with buffets is that they almost always suck. I will give a pass to five star hotel breakfast buffets, because they're usually excellent and don't attract people that taste test the dishes with the serving spoons.

Those same hotels, though, often have dinner buffets, and while the behavior of the guests doesn't bother me, warmed-over buffet food is never as good as something made while you're waiting.

There is an excellent brunch buffet a little ways away from me on the St. Clair River, but since that, strictly speaking, is a hotel, I guess it follows my first paragraph. It's a well known restaurant that attracts non-hotel guests, though.
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Old 11-17-2018, 05:10 PM
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I've been to some excellent breakfast buffets in hotels. One in Helsinki was so excellent (and the food in Helsinki so expensive) that we basically ate two meals every morning, and skipped lunch. That may have been a bad idea because the kids got a little cranky mid-afternoon.
Hotel buffets are generally going to be your better ones. I worked in hotels for a number of years, and the fact that we also provide buffet dinners for weddings and buiesses conferences and such means that we have to make sure that our quality is pretty high for the general buffet as well.

We also put out holiday buffets for Mother's Day, Easter, and Thanksgiving that were "good".

Of course, I am assuming that the OP is not talking about actual wedding or conference buffets, but only ones open to the general public, or I would include most wedding buffets as "good" buffets as well.
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Old 11-17-2018, 05:16 PM
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The dining room at the hotel (https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/ch...y/wuhrw/dining) I stayed at in Wuhan, China had a buffet for breakfast and dinner that was very good. I think they essentially divided it up into Chinese, Japanese and "Western" sections. Everything was exceptional.

They had a more traditional Italian restaurant that was surprisingly good, but I didn't eat there often because it was kind of surreal. Huge, but completely empty except for me and more than a dozen staff standing around. Made me feel a little uncomfortable. Most people used the buffet restaurant.
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Old 11-17-2018, 06:15 PM
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Now I'm craving a good buffet.
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Old 11-17-2018, 06:32 PM
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There are actually some really good ones in Chicago, especially around the holidays.
This year for Thanksgiving I'm taking the kids to either Shaw's (PDF): http://bucket2.shawscrabhouse.com/wp...iving-2018.pdf
Or The Clubhouse (PDF): https://www.theclubhouse.com/wp-cont...?ddcdb8&ddcdb8

Unless they insist on Fogo de Chao - AGAIN
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Old 11-17-2018, 06:44 PM
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Nope. Never been to a good one either.
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Old 11-17-2018, 07:41 PM
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Nope. Never been to a good one either.
If, however, you meant a bad buffet when you said a "good" buffet, then i must revise my answer to yes. All of them.
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Old 11-17-2018, 08:03 PM
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The best buffet I've ever been to was in Vienna. It was a breakfast buffet, but it could have served for any other meal as well. Lots of choices of meats, cheeses, pastries, eggs and juices. I left the buffet every morning, and didn't eat again until a late dinner.

The one in Amsterdam was nearly as good.
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Old 11-17-2018, 08:27 PM
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I haven't been for awhile, but the Sunday bunch buffets at both the Ahwahnee (now the Majestic Yosemite Hotel) and The Furnace Creek Inn (now the Oasis at Death Valley) were quite excellent. Both of their offerings changed from morning to afternoon and I liked to time my meal right about when they started bringing out the prime rib, trout and alaskan king crab legs.

Last edited by blondebear; 11-17-2018 at 08:27 PM.
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Old 11-17-2018, 08:35 PM
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I have been to a few good ones. A large hotel near work does a Christmas buffet in one of their dining rooms. Several times we have had our work Christmas dinner there and it is a far better, more varied spread than any other Christmas dinner I have ever had.

In my experience, most affordable Chinese buffets are the absolute pits, really bad food but lots of it. Once in a while, I will be fooled into trying one and halfway through a plate of poorly prepared food will remember why I haven't eaten at a Chinese buffet for a long time.
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Old 11-17-2018, 09:31 PM
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Yes. My own small town has a very good Chinese buffet.

There is also an excellent high end buffet (~$25/per) in the Orlando area that I used to go to every now and then when I lived in Central Florida. Not sure if it's still open, but it was called Crazy Buffet.

I love the country style buffets as well. There's one in Saraland, AL called Barnyard Buffet that I would recommend to anyone who likes down home style.
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Old 11-17-2018, 10:47 PM
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Buffets are awful, the one exception is Everest on Grand in the Twin Cities.
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Old 11-17-2018, 11:16 PM
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Hotel buffets are generally going to be your better ones. I worked in hotels for a number of years, and the fact that we also provide buffet dinners for weddings and buiesses conferences and such means that we have to make sure that our quality is pretty high for the general buffet as well.

We also put out holiday buffets for Mother's Day, Easter, and Thanksgiving that were "good".

Of course, I am assuming that the OP is not talking about actual wedding or conference buffets, but only ones open to the general public, or I would include most wedding buffets as "good" buffets as well.
I've had good, very good, interesting, and for-the-love-of-God-BAD at Hotels.

The best (the best) steak I've had in my life was at a hotel buffet. And it wasn't even steak night: it was seafood night, and the chef just had some of his dry-aged steak on the buffet for people who didn't really want lobster.

But I wouldn't depend on it, because I'm seared by the badness of at least one of the hotel buffets I've experienced, and at some of the others, I can see the money, but I'd just as soon be eating at home.

In general, the good buffets I've been to, I pay more than I would for a good meal, and I get better food. The only better meals I've had, I've straight up paid $150 $300 for the food,

Last edited by Melbourne; 11-17-2018 at 11:20 PM.
  #36  
Old 11-18-2018, 12:24 AM
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All i know is one time, several years ago, I was in Florida for a bodybuilding competition. Competitions require months of extremely strict dieting (as well as hard training), where food almost becomes like a drug. Oh you crave it. You just daydream about the biggest, greasiest pizza with everything on it. And doughnuts. Oh doughnuts...Anyway, when it finally did come time to have that first, glorious post-competition meal, I found myself in a situation with limited options, as I had no car and the people that I could get a ride with (fellow competitor and his girlfriend) were for some reason dead-set on going to this all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet.

It was definitely not my first choice but at that point, any food with enough fat, salt or sugar sounded like heaven to me. Aaaaaaaaand, I could barely eat this garbage. Even in the semi-starved, depleted state i was in! I had binged on Tums tablets earlier in my training leading up to this competition and those were fucking delicious. I thought to myself, "why have i never discovered these delectable treats before?" Just a reference point as to how non-discriminating my palate was during that time.

That buffett was still too awful to eat. Tums? Delicious. But Chinese buffet? Revolting. I went back to my hotel and raided the vending machine to get 6 packages of Oreo Cakesters instead. So that was my dinner. I've never considered going to another buffet since.

Last edited by Ambivalid; 11-18-2018 at 12:25 AM.
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Old 11-18-2018, 12:27 AM
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The buffet at the Aria in Vegas is good. I suspect you will find the premier Vegas resorts have good buffets. You're also paying $40 a head.

A local restaurant here, the Water Street Cooker in Burlington, had an outstanding brunch buffet. I haven't been in five years, but it sure was amazing back then.

This being the Toronto area, you can find some pretty good Indian buffets. Indian food is especially suited to buffet style eating because so much of it it too goddamn complex to cook for a family of four, so a buffet is a great place to enjoy a lot of different tastes.

Canada has a buffet chain called Mandarin and serve a very large buffet. It's perfectly fine food and, because it's very popular, always fresh.
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Old 11-18-2018, 12:35 AM
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I put myself through college working at one, if you're talking about the kind of buffet with the chef standing at the end of the table with at least one big chunk of meat, carving off slices for people who want them. Usually we had beef and turkey, and sometimes ham; for parties with more than about 200 guests, the beef would be a baron (cow femur) and if not, a roast. We had our usual side dishes, along with dinner rolls, fruit or vegetable relish trays, etc.; we did not bake wedding cakes, but yeah, if there was one, we'd always find a way to grab a slice for ourselves.

Our Sunday buffet was widely variable; a surprising amount was leftovers from Friday's or Saturday's buffet, heated up and served to guests.
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Old 11-18-2018, 01:17 AM
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I forgot a good one, in California there is the Soup Plantation, called Sweet Tomatoes in the south instead. They were good, but they seem to be slowly going down hill over the last 30 years.
They are called Sweet Tomatoes in the Bay Area. Almost more a salad bar with soup and a few other things than your normal buffet. Pretty good for the price, though.
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Old 11-18-2018, 02:14 AM
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Canada has a buffet chain called Mandarin and serve a very large buffet. It's perfectly fine food and, because it's very popular, always fresh.
It depends on the location. The Mandarin on Finch is mediocre at best, for instance.

There used to be an all-you-can-eat sushi/Chinese buffet place called Wasabi in Richmond Hill that I thought was pretty good, but it closed down.
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Old 11-18-2018, 08:00 AM
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The cruise breakfast buffet on Royal Caribbean was quite good in 2015. This year I didn't think it was as good.

The dinners were not technically buffets, but you could ask for seconds or our case the waiter brought some of the crew food (Indian) which was quite good (the regular dinners were generally good as well)

Brian
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Old 11-18-2018, 10:41 AM
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I've occasionally had pretty good buffet dinners. The best, back in the day was at a branch of the New Orleans House in Lexington, KY where you could load up on raw oysters and other goodies. They eventually went out of business and the reason isn't hard to explain - it was too good for what they charged.
There was a New Orleans House in Indianapolis. I never realized there were others, but pretty much the same story... they had really good seafood but ended up out of business.

I've been go a few other good buffets in Vegas as well.

Not my own personal experience, but two of my kids (technically adults now) went on a trip to Singapore recently. My wife lived there and knew that you could get a service apartment at the Shangri-La at a decent price and have full hotel amenities. This included free breakfast. The place they were supposed to get it from was having some upgrades made so they got to go to The Lines instead. Needless to say they ate very well, and the Mimosa line was also very popular with them.

https://www.thebestsingapore.com/bes...ngri-la-hotel/
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Old 11-18-2018, 12:37 PM
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I went to a buffet a few years ago where they featured Alaskan Snow crab. It was very good with several other good entrees and I think it was under $25.00. I watched a man fill his plate with snow crab at least 6 times. This guy weighed well over 300#. Should a restaurant have some kind of limit for people like this?
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Old 11-18-2018, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urbanredneck View Post

So have you ever been to a good buffet?
Jimmy's concerts always give good buffet. Short on beverages, tho; you have to bring extra "t".
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Old 11-18-2018, 02:07 PM
lingyi lingyi is offline
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I think most people, myself included, view buffets as a chance to 'beat the house', by eating more than they could get for same amount of money at a regular restaurant. I could get a great prime rib dinner for $40 or good, not great prime rib, fish and chicken at a buffet for the same amount, plus some kind dessert on top.

Given that criteria, I've been to some great buffets where I beat the house by eating more, of good or very good, though not great things I could get for the same price in a regular restaurant.

In addition, at least for me, buffets are usually reserved for dining with friends that allows for something for everyone, especially being able to share to experience of sharing food without having to take it from your personal plate.

The only time I would go alone to a buffet alone was to Todai (part of a Japanese chain and now closed, though reopened under another name) here in Hawaii. Good at best, Japanese food, but a bargain for lunch at a $13 resident rate. I'd go primarily for the sushi which would cost me at least $20 anywhere else.
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Old 11-18-2018, 03:02 PM
lingyi lingyi is offline
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Anyone have recommendations for good $50+ dinner buffets in Hawaii (Oahu)? Last year around June I wanted to take my co-workers out to a good dinner with the criteria: this person doesn't eat meat, this person doesn't eat seafood. I'd been to and liked The Oceanarium - closed and Prince Court, which became 100 Sails and focused on Thai cuisine (not my favorite cuisine), and Hakone was Japanese, so difficult for the non-seafood eater. We could have gone to Pagoda or Makino Chaya, but that was too pedestrian.

We ended up going to 3660 on the Rise and I pre-ordered several appetizers so we had a variety, great food and a great evening. Going back to my premise stated above, the total (drinks, tax, tip) for going to The Oceanarium or Prince Court would have been about the same, but I would have felt like I got the better end of the deal if we had a buffet of really good to great food.

A quick check at what's available now, I see 100 Sails has changed to continental cuisine and Hakone is closed. The only other choice seems to be Tbe Buffet at The Hyatt. Anyone been there or know anywhere else?

Last edited by lingyi; 11-18-2018 at 03:03 PM.
  #47  
Old 11-18-2018, 03:25 PM
Quimby Quimby is online now
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A place where I worked used to have their Christmas party at a very fancy buffet that was inside a luxury hotel. It required a jacket and tie and had carving stations for Prime rib, Spiral ham, and turkey. Also lobster. There were also other find foods and deserts. It was very very good but also expensive (I looked into going there for New Years and it was almost $200 per person).
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Old 11-18-2018, 03:47 PM
eenerms eenerms is offline
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Intercontinental Hotel champagne brunch, Doha, Qatar.
  #49  
Old 11-18-2018, 04:17 PM
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silenus silenus is offline
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Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
They are called Sweet Tomatoes in the Bay Area. Almost more a salad bar with soup and a few other things than your normal buffet. Pretty good for the price, though.
Yes they are. The lack of hot dishes other than soup and pasta disqualify them as being a buffet to me.

In fact, we're having lunch at a Souplantation tomorrow.
  #50  
Old 11-18-2018, 04:19 PM
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silenus silenus is offline
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I went to a buffet a few years ago where they featured Alaskan Snow crab. It was very good with several other good entrees and I think it was under $25.00. I watched a man fill his plate with snow crab at least 6 times. This guy weighed well over 300#. Should a restaurant have some kind of limit for people like this?
John Pinette on buffets.
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