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Dec 6, 2007 07:42 PM

Your favourite AYCE in GTA

The Toronto Star is running Amy Pataki's review of all-you- can-eat buffets this Saturday. Thought I'd get us all a jump ahead on the discussion. I like Il Fornello for a good reliable lunch buffet, lots of variety and great thin-crust pizza.

Anyone else? What's your favourite AYCE?

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  1. I just walked by the Danforth Ill Fornello and saw the ad. Didn't realize they had a brunch. Pretty cheap too, $10.95!!! Which one have you been to Jamie? Generally I don't do AYCE's because I eat way too much and feel bad afterwards.

    5 Replies
    1. re: millygirl

      I don't do AYCEs either because I just can't eat a lot at one time. I love the whole small plates concept and long lingering dinners where you just keep eating and nibbling and sipping and talking for hours.

      However, I have to go the the Il Fornello on Yonge at St Clair from time to time because it is my company's go-to place for birthdays, farewells, holiday lunches, etc. And I do generally enjoy all on offer, especially the pizzas, pastas and mussels.

      They do brunch at the Yonge/StClair location too but I've never been. The nice thing about this location is the bright large upper-level room with a huge window facing out onto a side street. And the patio is also on the side street under a shady tree so you don't get directly exposed to Yonge Street traffic fumes and noise.

      1. re: JamieK

        Yes the St. Clair IF is nice and I do love their thin crust pizza. In fact, it would be nice if they started delivering. I just thought of an AYCE that, when I was working in Markham we would visit from time to time. Moti Mohal Indian buffet. Man it was good but again, I would pig out and just wanna go home to bed once we rolled outta there. And the price was right too, something crazy like $8.95. Hmmm butter chicken, fresh naan, spinach pakoras, dahl, paneer. I could go for some right about now. I better sign off, I'm starting to drool over the keyboard.

        1. re: millygirl

          That reminds me, I do love Little India on Queen for their delicious and inexpensive lunch buffet.

        2. re: JamieK


          Il Fornello
          1560 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4T2S9, CA

        3. re: millygirl

          millygirl...we've been to the Danforth Il Fornello AYCE on many occasions and while the selection is small (and NEVER seems to change), its one of the best AYCE's I've been to. The small selection means everything goes fast and is freshly prepared often. Fantastic mussels, always a veg and pepperoni pizza, meatballs, several pastas and a salad bar. Really recommend it!

        4. I might get slammed for this being un-chow-ish, but I love Masa's AYCE sushi.

          It's comforting, close by, and has a good atmosphere. It probably helps that I've had great evenings with friends there in the past.

          15 Charles E, Toronto, ON M4Y2A1, CA

          3 Replies
          1. re: xtal

            The Great Khan in Markham.

            Mongolian Grill
            7131 Kennedy Rd, Markham, ON L3R0T4, CA

            1. re: xtal

              Masa is a nice place to dine but the lunch AYCE selection is so limited -about 20 items? do they have more for dinner?

              1. re: Teep

                There are definitely more items on the evening menu. Nothing too exotic though. I understand that there is better selection for the same price elsewhere in the GTA (Maison du Japon, for one), but when it comes to proximity (I live in the neighbourhood), company (I have some close friends who are big fans of the place) and atmosphere (comfortable, with some nice decor), Masa fits the bill.

                Oh yeah, I have never had a problem with the freshness of their items. That to me is a total deal-killer.

            2. So the Star reviewed four AYCEs – Dhaba, Ivory Thailand, Red Violin, Genghis Khan Mongolian Grill - with Genghis Khan coming out shining followed by Ivory Thailand. The other two fared poorly.

              Red Violin
              95 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1N2, CA

              Genghis Khan
              900 Don Mills Rd, Toronto, ON M3C1V6, CA

              309 Dhaba Indian Excellence
              309 King Street West (across from Hyatt on King), Toronto, ON M5V 1J5, CA

              Ivory Thailand
              81 Church, Toronto, ON M5C1K9, CA

              3 Replies
              1. re: JamieK

                Is Ivory Thailand where Young Thailand use to be? any relation?

                1. re: orangewasabi

                  Yes, it's where Young Thailand used to be. People have posted comments on it in a thread of the same name. Unfortunately I don't know if the same people opened this one.

                2. re: JamieK

                  I used to like Dhaba and went there a few times in its "heyday" for the lunch buffet. The first time my wife and I went (2002?) we agreed it was one of the best we had been to, and the many (at the time) recent reviews agreed. But, a visit in 2006 was not good, and have heard some further grumblings about the place on this board... but Pataki's review has clinched it: never headed back. Much better AYCE Indian Buffet's on Queen West these days.

                3. Chef of India's lunch buffet is hard to beat. Best Nan I've had too.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Davwud

                    I like Chef of India too.

                    Chef of India
                    30 Eglinton Ave E, Toronto, ON M4P1A6, CA

                  2. AYCE vs AYCS? (all you can stomach!)
                    I claim I am torn on this concept. I grew up as poor farmers and hence latched onto quantity versus quality concept very early in life. Bigger is better! I think I have shaken that? It is still very hard to convince my father (and siblings) that a "large" buffet is not a "great" buffet. So the general AYCE concept now tends to revolt me.
                    My turning point was in first year university when I visited my roommates family in Chatam and we hit the local surf&turf for a AYCE friday night. My roomates father steadfastly stuck to crab legs! No potato, no veg, no steak, no bread. He understood that he was not there for quantity: he was interested if a few well cooked crab legs. He did not over eat. He picked out the special offerings and enjoyed a reasonable quantity.
                    Later in life I mirrored the experience: we were in Virginia beach and hit an AYCE that had crab legs. I remember watching patrons heap crab onto their plates in a feeding frenzy. Heeding my university experience, I grabbed a single set of hot legs. I ate it hot. Yum. I waited until a fresh serving came out. I watched heaping plates travel by. I grabbed 1 more set of legs. I ate another hot set. I looked around the room and saw many patrons with stacked plates of cold legs that they were picking at.
                    Catham rules! I had actually learned something.
                    BUT: My blind side is Indian buffets. I seem to love them. I recognize the food, but do not know the names, nor the ingredients. I load my plate. Shame on me. I can not get enough!
                    How do I go about learning the actual names, ingredients & cooking style? I claim there is a conspiracy! Seems like the Indian restaurants in T.O. don't want me to know.
                    Bigger is better!

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: dancingTimmy

                      I think Indian and for that matter, middle eastern foods lend themselves very well to the AYCE concept because those cultures generally eat a variety of smaller dishes and more communally.
                      I tend to agree with you as well. I too come from a family that feels that a large buffet is a great buffet. I try to keep to the things that are simpler and therefore easy to make in quantity.
                      My one real problem is I see peel and eat shrimp and seem to forget that on a AYCE bar, they're always lousy.


                      1. re: Davwud

                        Smaller dishes & communally == tapas?
                        I do agree with your observation, but my tapas conclusion seems to go in a very different direction>

                        1. re: dancingTimmy

                          I was thinking tapas as well but having never had the pleasure, I didn't mention it.


                          1. re: Davwud

                            I'd have to vote for The Host Indian Buffet. I could just eat nhan all day!

                              1. re: Davwud


                                14 Prince Arthur Ave, Toronto, ON M5R1A9, CA

                      2. re: dancingTimmy

                        Dhaba (309 King St West at John) has name plates for each dish. Write them down, and then ask the informative waiters...