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Is there such thing as good Italian buffet...

hungryabbey Nov 9, 2006 08:23 PM

Ive heard of two in the GTA: Vinnie Zucchinis and I think Frankie Tommatos, and I just wonder to myself, is it possible that these are any good? Probably not. Im not usually into buffet, but its a good option when you have kids coming down for the holidays and you need something simple everyone can eat instead of your typical Manderin buffet. Anyone tried either of these places?

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  1. pescatarian RE: hungryabbey Nov 9, 2006 08:28 PM

    Vinnie Zucchinis is terrible. I would avoid it.
    I haven't been to Frankie Tomato's in years. It was ok as far as a buffet goes. Not in respect of Italian food, in general.
    I don't know what it's like now.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pescatarian
      Suresh RE: pescatarian Nov 9, 2006 08:30 PM

      There was a time years ago when Frankie Tomato's used to be fantastic. There used to be a great Town & Country around the corner at the same time, early 1990s...then T&C disappeared and Frankie's dropped to mediocre and now? (I haven't been back in a few years)

    2. l
      lmc1971 RE: hungryabbey Nov 9, 2006 08:29 PM

      I've been to both years ago...if I had to choose one, I'd say Vinnie Zucchinni's...fresher and the restaurant has a better layout which meant easier access to the buffet stations.

      1. n
        Nyleve RE: hungryabbey Nov 9, 2006 08:44 PM

        Do not go to Vinnie Zucchini unless you happen to be treating a midget hockey team to a celebratory meal. It's not good. At all.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Nyleve
          hungryabbey RE: Nyleve Nov 9, 2006 09:00 PM

          hahaha I figured this much

          1. re: hungryabbey
            Tour boi RE: hungryabbey Nov 10, 2006 03:21 AM

            I wouldnt even touch Frankie Tomatoes. I would only go if you where gonna pay for my meal. Kinda bland, and the meatballs where the frozen kind, all you can eat in a meat sauce that tasted like the tin can. Tour boi

        2. c
          ctl98 RE: hungryabbey Nov 10, 2006 03:35 AM

          Mt aunt and DH went to an Il Fornello lunch buffet and they were pretty happy. I haven't tried it though.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ctl98
            sierramum RE: ctl98 Mar 5, 2007 06:59 PM

            I LOVE the Il Fornello lunch buffet at the Eglinton location. We used to go there for lunch all the time when I worked in the area and were never disappointed. I know they have lunch buffets at the Danforth location as well, but I've never tried it.

          2. mainja RE: hungryabbey Nov 10, 2006 12:08 PM

            on wednesdays hot house has a dinner buffet, i've never been, but maybe someone else could comment

            1 Reply
            1. re: mainja
              hungryabbey RE: mainja Nov 10, 2006 12:24 PM

              hmm thats interesting, as far as kinda 'big establishment' style italian, I have never had a bad meal at hot house

            2. j
              junior RE: hungryabbey Mar 5, 2007 11:54 AM

              Well this will be the 12th time in 13 years that my wife and I have gone to frankie tomatoes for our anniversary dinner, it's a great atmosphere, with great food & good prices. The frist anniversary dinner was at vinnie zucchini and it was our last -- blah

              1 Reply
              1. re: junior
                pescatarian RE: junior Mar 5, 2007 11:57 AM

                what other restaurants do you frequent?

              2. Finnegan RE: hungryabbey Mar 5, 2007 11:56 AM

                Q. "Is there such thing as good Italian buffet..."

                A. No

                12 Replies
                1. re: Finnegan
                  Splendid Wine Snob RE: Finnegan Mar 5, 2007 12:29 PM

                  There's no such thing as a good buffet period.

                  1. re: Splendid Wine Snob
                    pescatarian RE: Splendid Wine Snob Mar 5, 2007 12:31 PM

                    I agree

                    1. re: Splendid Wine Snob
                      Teep RE: Splendid Wine Snob Mar 5, 2007 01:55 PM

                      I went to a buffet at Kind Edwards Hotel once and it was not bad, was about $40. However a $50 Father's Day buffet at Lai Wah Heen was not worth it, very ordinary food, very small pieces of lobser were doled out one by one.

                      That having said, it depends on one's perception of "good". If you expect to get a quality of food proportional to what you paid for, you can find perfectly edible food, though maybe not the freshest. But if you expect the same quality at a $20 buffet as a meal you would pay $40+ for, of course there is no such thing. I can say that I've been to a $20 buffet that's equilvalent to a good $20 meal (e.g. China Buffet King a few years ago.)

                      1. re: Splendid Wine Snob
                        Davwud RE: Splendid Wine Snob Mar 6, 2007 03:22 AM

                        Go to Chef of India for their lunch buffet and then say that.


                        1. re: Davwud
                          Splendid Wine Snob RE: Davwud Mar 8, 2007 05:59 AM

                          Catherine Jheon from CBC radio's "Beyond Burgers" just reviewed the buffet at Chef of India this morning.

                          Hmmm...this is why I like this board. It reminds me to keep an open mind ;)

                          1. re: Splendid Wine Snob
                            Davwud RE: Splendid Wine Snob Mar 8, 2007 02:01 PM

                            So what did she have to say???


                            1. re: Davwud
                              Splendid Wine Snob RE: Davwud Mar 9, 2007 06:01 AM

                              That the food was prepared fresh (no use of "left-over" food) and overall it was a favourable review. She mentioned that the atmosphere was nice and the price is very decent as well. I think I recall her saying that the lunch buffet was $9.99???

                              This might be a problem. I have a serious weakness for good Indian food.

                              1. re: Splendid Wine Snob
                                Davwud RE: Splendid Wine Snob Mar 11, 2007 06:26 PM

                                I was there for lunch on Friday and the place was packed. I guess a lot of people were listening.


                        2. re: Splendid Wine Snob
                          syoung RE: Splendid Wine Snob Mar 6, 2007 08:39 AM

                          Generally but not always true. I went to a dinner buffet in Hong Kong that was excellent and there are some pretty good ones in Vegas as well. In Toronto, have you tried the Sunday brunch buffet at the Avenue in Four Seasons? It's very good but not cheap.

                          1. re: syoung
                            Splendid Wine Snob RE: syoung Mar 6, 2007 08:41 AM

                            I provided an earlier reply to my dislike of buffets, but the Chowhound editors didn't like it, so it wasn't posted.

                            I'm tired of being 'EDITED" for no reason.

                            1. re: syoung
                              pearlD RE: syoung Mar 19, 2007 04:08 PM

                              I agree with Las Vegas as a good buffet choice...My husband and I stayed at the Bellagio in June '06...loved the buffet so much we went 3 times in the course of our one week stay...not cheap but quite reasonable by Vegas standards. Lots of choices, usually fresh tasting and fresh looking....BIG..lineups after 6:30 p.m. In the 'old days'...the Towne & Coutry on Mutual Street in Toronto was THE place to go!!

                            2. re: Splendid Wine Snob
                              foodyDudey RE: Splendid Wine Snob Mar 8, 2007 02:17 PM

                              There are very few good buffets now but one I really liked was the Sunday buffet brunch at Doctor's House in Kleinburg, in the early eighties. (1980 - 82 or so). That was a great buffet!


                          2. f
                            food_lover RE: hungryabbey Mar 5, 2007 12:45 PM

                            there used to be a good Italian buffet last year called Tre Fontane. But unfortunately they closed down...oh i do miss the food there....

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: food_lover
                              climacus RE: food_lover Mar 5, 2007 01:27 PM

                              Frankie is serviceable these days. Good food? Not really. But it is edible as long as you avoid the pizza and the bread. Bellagio it is not. Only worth it if you're paying $9 for the lunch buffet.

                              1. re: food_lover
                                cupcakez RE: food_lover Mar 5, 2007 06:54 PM

                                me too. reminded me of my own italian grandmothers cooking.
                                the veal was great, espeically for an 8.99 buffet. they came over and talked and actually served customers and were so cute. i wonder what happened...

                              2. a
                                Amber RE: hungryabbey Mar 5, 2007 07:26 PM

                                They used to close in the summer (or was it winter?) to go back home to Italy every year. Perhaps they decided to permanently retire.

                                1. Googs RE: hungryabbey Mar 6, 2007 10:26 AM

                                  I can't rec a buffet, but as I recall Michelangelo's has no trouble accommodating children's tastes and isn't far from you.

                                  All real family run/oriented Italian restaurants will modify their dishes to suit.

                                  1. DockPotato RE: hungryabbey Mar 11, 2007 01:14 PM

                                    Sheez! For what we paid when last there Tomatos was fantastic! Go when it's busy. It's "buffet" only for the cold items like salads, pickles, shrimps, mussels, desserts, etc. but the pizza, ham, salmon, roast or whatever mains were carved and served from stations at a steady pace - as close as you can get to home cooked and home served as you could find in Toronto. There was no chance for the items to congeal.

                                    You have kids coming?... it's a great kids' place! Good, plain cooking for a very small price. We were closer to Vinnies when in Toronto but never tried it. Still sorry about that.

                                    1. c
                                      cherrypuppy RE: hungryabbey Dec 30, 2007 08:39 AM

                                      I go to Frankie Tomatos all the time for lunch. I will give grade 8.
                                      it's a great atmosphere & service and good price for lunch
                                      the only thing is they don't change the menu hardly ever but pretty good food.
                                      I am glad this place is in town
                                      I also tried Vinnie Zucchinis few times. in over all the food is too salty & less variety

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: cherrypuppy
                                        caitlink RE: cherrypuppy Dec 30, 2007 03:44 PM

                                        Frankie's great for children's birthday parties. I take my daughter and her friends there every year for her birthday. Everyone gets to eat what they want - including dessert.

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