Buffet Dining at its finest

By , on November 1, 2013

Vikings offers over 300 food selections to whet your appetite.
Vikings offers over 300 food selections to whet your appetite.

Everywhere you go in the metro, you’ll find buffet restaurants. And, this isn’t a surprise anymore, as we, Filipinos, love to eat—much!

I, for one, am a fan of buffet restaurants, regardless of who I am with (but I prefer to be with my husband so I can eat for free!). These restaurants appeal to me, because I can eat a variety of foods/cuisines in one day. Imagine that, sampling a handful of cuisines from all over the world!

But hey, buffet-eating requires us to follow certain techniques so we can conquer the odds—one of which is the fullness of our stomach. So, here, I will share with you some techniques that I’ve learned from some buffet warriors I know:

  • Don’t wear tight-fitting clothes so you can eat freely without worrying that your buttons will pop open (or dislodge!) in the middle of the buffet war.
  • Take a light meal (or don’t eat at all) before eating in a buffet restaurant, so you can eat as much as you want to (those succulent foie gras are waiting for you).
  • Start from light to heavy. Have a light appetizer in the form of green salads, and then attack the roast beef.
  • Ignore foods/cuisines that you can normally eat at a regular restaurant so you can have more space for classic and not-your-day-to-day cuisine.
  • If you get full right away, drink hot water.
  • Change your plate. Pace yourself.
  • Relax and talk to your friends. Enjoy the ambiance. Get ready for yet another round.

Depending on your budget and food preferences, here are some of the most popular buffet restaurants in Manila.

Hotel Buffets (P1,600-P3,000+ per plate or CAD$40-$75)

Spiral at Sofitel. As you walk into this restaurant, you will be greeted “Bonjour, Mabuhay!” by its costumed employees. You can choose from their wide-ranging food selections that include North Indian, French, Japanese, Chinese dumplings, lobster, sashimi, 19 types of cheeses and 20 types of charcuterie. (but expect a rate that fits its abundance and quality—-a whopping P2,400-P3,000+ per plate or CAD$60-$75!).

Circles at Shangri-La Makati. If you want a cheaper version of Spiral, you can go for Circles. At P1,671 (CAD$40), you can already enjoy a great weekday lunch, with quality, ambiance and presentation that its more expensive counterpart is known for.

Spectrum at the Raffles Hotel. Here, you can find international cuisines with a Filipino twist. You can enjoy lechon kawali sushi or chocolate calamansi cake, among others.


Affordable buffet restaurants (P245- P1,000 per head)

Cabalen. This 26-year-old Filipino buffet restaurant continues to give the best value for your money. For just P298 (CAD$8), you can enjoy their wide-ranging Filipino buffet, and if you prefer a Filipino-Asian buffet, just add P100 (CAD$2.50) to the Filipino buffet rate.

Buffet 101. If you want a hotel ambience at a lower price, this buffet restaurant is for you.  Their lunch buffet costs P699 (CAD$17) per head and their dinner buffet is P950 (CAD$25).

Vikings. Food bloggers described it as the cheaper version of Spiral. For P800-P1,000 (CAD$20-$25), you can already enjoy 300 selections of  your favorite cuisines. Kids who are below 3 feet can eat for free, while senior citizens are given a 50% discount. But you will need tons of patience as you will have to wait outside before you can dine in. But it is worth the wait.

Yakimix and Sambo Kojin. Here, you can already enjoy sukiyaki the hotpot style and eat beef sukiyaki all you want at P500- P600 (CAD$12-$15) per head.


Kowloon House. If you want authentic Chinese cuisine at an affordable price, this buffet restaurant is a must-try. At P298 (CAD$7.50), you can already sample exciting selections. It also has a romantic ambience and relaxing music—ideal for first (second, or third) dates. Kowloon also holds wedding receptions, and this is why (maybe) the ambience is one of love.


Tramway Buffet. Perhaps, it is one of the most affordable buffet restaurants in Manila. At P245 (CAD$6), you can already enjoy Chinese cuisine that includes sweet and sour pork, dumplings, noodles, fried rice, sushi and some Filipino desserts on the side.


A last piece of advice: Exercise. So you can eat buffet style again, of course.


Happy eating, foodies!