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Looking for Central Florida buffets

Bob Mervine Sep 3, 2006 04:09 PM

I'm looking for Central Florida-specific buffet restaurants. Not just all-you-can-eat or family Asian, either.

And just because a restaurant is named after Jimmy Buffet doesn't count . . .

My definition of a buffet is somewhat, uh -- flexible -- as you'll see from those I've tracked down so far.

Any that I've missed? Perhaps your favorite.

This is complicated by the fact that personally I cannot, for the most part, tolerate buffet-style dining of any kind.
In addition, many of my formative years were spent eating and regularly viewing what went on in the kitchen of Malcolm's Hungry Bear restaurant on Colonial Drive (next door to the old Dancing Waters restaurant).
Remember the famous "Mustgo Stew"? Should've gone yesterday, but must go today. The meatballs? The clam chowder, flavored by the single live clam who was tethered but allowed to swim, and sweat, in the pot to add clamflavor?

I'm confined to Orange , Seminole, Lake and Osceola County for this one.

I appreciate any additions (or comments) on these locations.

* La Coquina at Hyatt Grand Cypress
* Atlantis at Renaissance SeaWorld (not sure still doing Sunday buffet)
* Mission Inn Sunday Brunch (Howey-in-the-Hills)
* House Of Blues Gospel Brunch (Downtown Disney)
* Crazy Buffet, Altamonte
* Texas de Brazil, International Drive
* Chan's in Orlando for dim sum
* Disney Crystal Palace (Magic Kingdom), Cape May (Yacht & Beach) and Boma @ Animal Kingdom Lodge
* Boston Lobster Feast, I-Drive
* Buddy Freddy's, several locations
* Holiday House, Lee Road
* Bill Wong's, I-Drive
I've listed Buddy Freddy's, and I want a national chain or two. Bob Evan's is on the short list, but I'm also looking at Barnhill's

I don't have a small family-run Asian buffet, and would solicit any such restaurants that Chowhounds have had good luck with on an ongoing basis. They need to be reasonably clean, serve fresh food that is frequently replenished, much of it Asian, and be inexpensive.

Thanks in advance for your help.


  1. b
    Big Bad Voodoo Lou Sep 3, 2006 05:48 PM

    Bob, my roommates and I have all had very good experiences at China Jade on Colonial Drive, behind the Toys R Us and next to Fashion Square Mall. It isn't nearly as good as Crazy Buffet for fanciness or depth of selection, but I think the actual Chinese food is better (as opposed to the sushi at Crazy Buffet, which blows away any other all-you-can-eat buffet sushi I've ever had).

    1. p
      Podie1956 Sep 4, 2006 02:22 AM

      New China Buffet is on West Colonial Drive just west of Hiawassee (Home Depot Shopping Center) and is a decent buffet with loads of selections including a Mongolian BBQ. It's been there about three years and is pretty good.

      Also, Renaissance SeaWorld is my favorite buffet. Our family has been meeting there for Christmas for about 15 years (even when it was Stouffer Orlando) and have never found one we like as much. Just the sushi, crab, shrimp, and mussels are enough reason to go! (Last time I went was New Years 2006; I sure hope it's still around!)

      1. r
        rudykins Sep 4, 2006 06:58 PM

        I don't have anything great for you, but The Grove in downtown Winter Garden has an extraordinarily popular lunch buffet--fried fish, mac' and cheese, macaroni salad, etc. It's about $6.95 and people are lined up out the door every day during the lunch hour.

        At lunchtime, a lot of the Indian places have buffets. Memories of India and Clay Oven did at one time and still may.

        Neither of those are strictly buffet restaurants, I know. Still thinking ...

        1 Reply
        1. re: rudykins
          Podie1956 Sep 4, 2006 10:22 PM

          Does Disney count? Because I really like the buffet at Boma at the Animal Kingdom Lodge - so many different things to try!

        2. hatless Sep 5, 2006 01:32 PM

          I'm usually not keen on Indian lunch buffets, but down here in Broward I've had good luck with ones that lean toward South India. There's a South Indian vegetarian place that just opened down here but also has a location in Orlando, called Woodlands. The one here was startlingly good for a $6.95 lunch buffet; not sure whether the Orlando one does a buffet. Dosas, iddly, etc., very different from the Mughal stuff at most Indian places in the US.

          They've got a website. http://www.woodlands-usa.com/

          1. Covert Ops Sep 5, 2006 01:51 PM

            I've done the breakfast character buffet at Cape May Cafe at Beach Club. (I think the better restaurants, like the Steakhouse and the Galley, are next door at the Yacht Club. Always had fantastic meals there.) It's, well. . .a Disney character buffet. Mickey-shaped waffles, eggs, breakfast meat, 1 carving station, lots of kid-friendly items you normally wouldn't see at breakfast, like mac n cheese, chicken fingers and pizza. Plus normal stuff like fruit and cereal.

            Overall response: Eh. Not a destination, unless the bambini want to see Mickey and you don't want to pay the $60 cover charge for park dining.

            1. Jason Dumo Sep 6, 2006 08:18 PM

              La Crepe, of course in Champions Gate! AWESOME sunday buffet.

              1. m
                mountdorahound Sep 7, 2006 01:51 PM

                Hey Bob,
                I know of a couple,,
                1.Stacey's Buffet in Orange City,,Never been there. if anyone has comments lay it on me.
                2. The Lakeside Inn here in Mount Dora ,,I heard this one is good in the winter time or "season" as we say here on the mountain.
                3.Cafe Stella,,,An Italian lunch buffet on 441 that has all sorts of stuff! Bring your appetite and an empty stomach.
                4.El Potro ,,, A mexican lunch buffet with REAL Homade tamales.


                1. Bob Mervine Sep 8, 2006 04:57 AM

                  Help me with the location of El Potro and Cafe Stella. I think I know El Potro, but the one I'm thinking of isn't in your neck of the woods.

                  BTW, thanks for the reminder to Jason about Le Crepe and hatless for The Woodlands, which I forgot about their buffets.

                  As a confirmed carnivore, I remain amazed at how good the vegetarian fare at the Woodlands is !


                  1. m
                    mountdorahound Sep 8, 2006 02:22 PM

                    El Potro is a chain owned by a mexican family. They have locations in Apopka on 441 just south of 436,Deland at 17&92 next to publix and 1792 and lee road in Winter Park.

                    Cafe Stella is just before Hwy 19 on 441. It used to be a Shoney's. It is set back off the raod a bit. When you cross eudora road, it will be on the left next to KFC and a Quality Inn.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mountdorahound
                      Big Bad Voodoo Lou Sep 10, 2006 04:09 PM

                      I've also been to El Potro for their lunch buffet, the one on Lee Road and 17-92. It's right near the dollar movie theater and K-Mart. It is AWESOME. The food was all fresh and delicious, and they had a wide variety. For $8 or something like that, it's a great bargain if you're willing to eat a huge lunch and be sleepy at work all afternoon. I, for one, am all for that.

                    2. m
                      mountdorahound Sep 8, 2006 02:31 PM

                      I forgot about Sweet Tomatoes as well!

                      1. Eddie Nickell Sep 10, 2006 04:58 PM

                        WOOPS I hit enter to quickly
                        The Capriccio Grill Sunday Brunch is doing amazing things and I love your posts BTW

                        1. s
                          specialkdb1 Oct 16, 2006 04:57 PM

                          Hey Bob, my favorite non-chain chinese buffet is Meridian Court in Oviedo. Its off of Alafaya Trail in the old world gym's plaza. They don't have the biggest selection but I think they are the tastiest chinese buffet in the city. Very well run buffet. I am getting hungry thinking about them . I think I will go eat there right now LOL

                          1. Bob Mervine Oct 26, 2006 03:25 AM

                            I have.

                            I agree.

                            I would suggest that you have to pick a day that the hotel isn't full with a convention group -- because that dynamic somehow throws the whole experience out of whack.

                            Is that just on Sunday?


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