I will start off by saying I am a little biased to favouring buffets. Mandarin and Ye’s Sushi are two of my fiancé’s favourite places to eat out and very rarely do I object (I like them a lot too)! I’m all for buffets because I find that they are often the best option for satisfying all palettes and ensuring there is something that everyone can enjoy. No matter what mood I’m in or what I’m craving, the buffet will provide (or at least offer something similar that I can indulge in).
The buffet experience is very much like impulse shopping. You cruise each buffet section and load up your plate with whatever looks tasty (and let’s be honest, a good portion of that food is deep-fried and there’s probably very little ‘green stuff’ that you choose – at least from my experience). And of course you go back for rounds two, three and maybe even four, with one of those courses being the justified healthy salad and soup course (and some dessert if your tummy can take it). And often there are special feature items that you can try (some for the first time) for holidays and special events, which keep things interesting. You know many of the food choices are bad for you, but it’s just so good!
Or if at an ‘order and serve’ style buffet (like Ye’s), you get to look at all the mouth-watering pictures of food and pick and choose what appeals to you…. And like over-buying when you go grocery shopping hungry, you are much more likely to over-eat when you go in starving (which is what many of us tend do to – eat as much as fast as possible to maximize the value of price paid, even if you want to call it a subconscious decision). Have you ever heard of the expression “Don’t have eyes bigger than your stomach”? Take this advice seriously! If you are not careful, you order way too much food to handle (which you realize while the orders are still coming in). This has happened to me on numerous occasions… You end up forcing yourself to finish because you get charged extra if you waste what you’ve ordered. If you don’t make plans for loose-fitting pants in advance, you end up barely being able to walk away, feeling bloated and way too uncomfortable to sit in a car for the drive home. In that instant, I definitely don’t feel like it’s worth it. These types of restaurants should offer a digestion lounge!
.Other all-you-ca-eat options like Mongolian Grill are also a neat concept because it is like a buffet, but it leaves time in-between rounds for digestion and also allows for some food creativity from the customer. You get to mix-and-match pasta, meat/seafood, veggies, herbs and sauces to make your own concoctions. And while it is being grilled up, you can digest your last serving – very smart for the restaurant (because you realize sooner that you are full and eat less) and better for the customer in terms of not over eating [as much].
Pros for Buffets
Cons for Buffets
In some cases, restaurants combat the sanitary issue by offering hot towels before and after service, but I still cringe when I think of how many people that night have touched the serving spoons. I admit, knowing that not everyone washes their hands after visiting the washroom makes it a whole lot worse.
Do I like buffets and the concept of buffets? Yes, minus the not-so-sanitary aspect
Will I continue to go to buffets? Yes, but with better awareness of how much I eat/order and what I order (with no promises that my choices will be healthy ones each time...)
Best tips for dining at a buffet style restuarant? Wear loose pants (elastic waistband ideally), pace yourself and wash your hands/sanitize between courses
I'm a 20-something woman working my way through life in Canada, traveling when I can afford it and seeking out my passions one day at a time.