5 All You Can Eat Buffets in #yyj

Who doesn’t love a buffet? Tell me you don’t feel giddy by the words All You Can Eat? Of course, I enjoy a sit down meal with full table service too, but given the freedom to browse a surplus of foods, to come and go, pick and choose and mix and match as I please? That’s just pure fun.

The buffet experience is very much a players game. You are there to WIN (Are you not?). It’s you against the buffet. Are you brave enough handle that mystery dish? Are you savvy enough to pace yourself and start off with small(er) portions? Or, are you the fool that rushes in to pile on the spareribs before you’ve surveyed and sampled to find your favourites?

When I was a kid, going for smorgasbord was a real treat. It meant I could eat what ever I wanted, however much I wanted and I got to choose! I could eat dessert and dinner at the same time, if I felt like it. Oh, those were the days.

So, what is it about buffet’s that get people so excited? When I see a buffet I feel like a kid again. I instantly survey my surroundings and begin forging my plan to conquer. Truth be told, I am not a kid anymore and going to a buffet as a grown-up means business (especially if I’m paying for it). Unfortunately, buffet’s can turn problematic for some people, myself included. You see, I suffer from what I call “buffetanitis.” Once I start, I can’t stop. It’s not even that I have a tendency to overeat, but rather, I have a physiological fear that I’m missing out; have I seen everything there is to offer? Are there new items being brought out that I might have missed?! It’s a real struggle.

On the other hand, there are certain buffet-attendees with one goal in mind: to make sure they eat more than what they’re paying for, or more simply put, to eat as much as they can. After all, we are talking about “all-you-can-eat.” Right? Take Bill Wisth for example. The Wisconsin man was on his thirteenth piece of fish at an all-you-can-eat fish fry when he was kicked out. Wisth protested against the restaurant claiming “false advertising.”

I still consider a buffet to be a treat. Meaning: not something I do everyday. I couldn’t sustain the stress! However, going out for all you can eat is good fun. Variety is the spice of life and it’s a great way to sample a multitude of dishes in one go. You don’t have to stuff your face and overeat, and perhaps you don’t have to beat the buffet (I’ll leave that up to you) to have a good time. Rather, why not regard the buffet as an opportunity to try new things. Sample here and there and eat dessert first!

Here are my top All You Can Eat buffet’s in Victoria.

Brunch

The Marina Restaurant

1327 Beach Drive

(250) 598-8555

Sunday: 9:00am – 1:00pm

Adults -$34.95

Seniors -$28.95

Under 12 -$17.95

This is a buffet that can’t be beat and it’s worth every penny too. The Marina offers a deluxe brunch buffet every Sunday with numerous items to choose from. Along with traditional and feature Eggs Benedict’s, house made scones, Belgian waffles, french toast and real maple syrup, the buffet serves a wide selection of cheeses, salads and fresh, (always ocean wise) seafood. There is a hot a carvery station and even sushi. The Marina is known for its great service and exceptional food. If you’re looking for a buffet with a wow factor, this is it.

Lunch

Shima Village Japanese Restaurant

1218 Wharf Street

(250) 590-7370

Monday-Friday 11:30am – 9:00pm

Lunch: $15.00

Dinner: $19.00

Shima Village is located on Wharf Street, in the historical James Yates building, built in 1860. The space is inviting with high ceilings, floor to ceiling windows and natural rock walls. While Shima offers an all you can eat sushi  lunch (and dinner), each item is made per order and they do have a few rules to consider: First, there is a 1.5 hour limited seating time (though who needs more than that?). There is an extra charge for leftovers and food wastage (which makes sense because waste is bad). There is a sashimi limit of 8 pieces per person. During my visit our table ate 24 pieces of tuna, which was plenty. The lunch buffet is slightly smaller with fewer dishes, though the best bang for your buck. The menu features miso soup, spring rolls and gyoza, sashimi, nigiri sushi and several rolls including spicy salmon, tuna, California and vegetarian rolls.

Sizzling Tandoor 

637 Johnson Street

(250) 388-5450

#123-3600 Uptown Boulevard

(778) 265-7775

Monday – Friday 11:00am to 3:00pm

Saturday & Sunday 12:00pm to 3:00pm

Price: $13.00

Featuring traditional North Indian cuisine, the Sizzling Tandoor buffet is a great way to sample a wide variety of the restaurant’s menu items. With 12-15 vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, this buffet offers enough variety to satisfy and peak your interest. Items shift daily, though you can expect to find classic dishes like butter chicken, lentils (dahl), rice and several (often vegetarian) curries. The pakoras are gluten free, made with chickpea flour. Customers come in hoping to find the house favourite, tandoori chicken. In the salad bar you’ll find several chutneys, kachumber salad and mixed greens. Perhaps best of all, the all you can eat naan bread is prepared in a traditional clay tandoor oven, and made fresh per order.

The Purple Garden Chinese Restaurant

#138-1551 Cedar Hill X Road

(250) 477-8856 or (250) 477-8820

Monday to Friday (Closed Tuesday)

Lunch: 11:30am – 2:30pm – $12.95

Dinner 5:00pm – 9:00pm – $15.95 (Fri, Sat, Sun $16.95)

Quoted the “biggest buffet in Victoria,” the Purple Garden offers a huge selection of Cantonese and Chinese cuisine. For the price, you really can’t go wrong. If you’re up for the challenge, this is one buffet you’ll be hard pressed to beat. There is a good balance between the meatier dishes (noted on my visit) such as BBQ pork fried rice, ginger beef, sweet and sour chicken and non-meat items like Mapo tofu, braised green beans, spicy eggplant, chow mein and hot and sour soup. The salt and pepper squid is a welcome addition to the buffet along with egg foo young, dumplings and wonton soup. The price includes a soft drink, coffee and dessert (ice cream, cake and jello).

Dinner

The Bengal Lounge (Fairmont Empress)

721 Government Street

(250) 389-2727

Sunday to Thursday 6:00pm to 9:00pm and Saturday 6:00pm to 10:00pm

Dinner: $34.00

Lunch: $30.00

A long time favourite among Bengal Lounge patrons, is the authentic curry buffet. If you haven’t tried the buffet yet, or had a drink in this iconic lounge, now is your chance as it will be permanently closed by the end of April, 2016. The curry buffet features pakoras, dahl, tandoor chicken, lamb curry, vegetable curry, naam and papadams. Accompaniments include, fresh salads, yogurt raita, pickled vegetables and chutneys. There is also a selection of house made desserts to finish your meal such as fruit tarts, creme brulee and rice pudding. Looking forward to seeing the newly renovated space!

Please note: hotel renovations in the Empress Dining Room have made it necessary to relocate services to the lounge. Therefore, the usual 19+ entry restrictions have been lifted for all dining times (breakfast, lunch and dinner) until 10:00pm when the lounge with be restricted to licensed adults 19+.

Written By:

Holly Brooke is a true B.C. gal. Having lived on the west coast most of her life, except for several years in the Kootenay's where she canoed and fished and lived in a tipi, she's very much at home outdoors and in the kitchen. ...

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