HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Brewing beer, curing meat, or making cheese? Get great advice

seafood buffet in orange county?

Julian Hsu Sep 14, 2004 10:35 PM

Hi Hounds,

I've had a request to take a friend to a seafood buffet, but I don't know of one in Orange County.. In fact, I don't know of any outside Las Vegas..

I live in West Irvine, near Tustin, and would like to take them on Thursday for either a seafood dinner (preferable) or seafood brunch. Any help would be ~greatly~ appreciated!



  1. w
    Wendy8869 Sep 14, 2004 11:43 PM

    My two cents, don't know if their worth much but....Todai is a chain with japanese style buffet including lots of seafood. It is pretty good. There is one located in the Orange Mall in Orange.


    The other location I know of-The Orange County Mining Company - is not a "seafood buffet" but during their Sunday Champagne brunch they do have a seafood station with snow crab legs, shrimp and lox. All of the food is good along with an absolutely beautiful view.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Wendy8869
      buffetlover Sep 8, 2007 11:59 PM

      I would avoid the TODAI in the orange mall. They advertise it as an all youc an eat but are guilty of fraudulent advertising. They advertise lobsters but will only provide one tray of lobster for every hour so if you happened to get in line late you have to wait an hour for them to bake another tray which held about 20 half lobsters, not even a whole lobster. If you wanted to savor a whole lobster you have to wait around another hour.... :-( I ate there one time and will never return, this created a hectic scramble when the lobster came with crowds clamoring to get in line for the few lobsters they provided. I would expect a better experience at a restaurant that charges $25 a head but was disappointed.

    2. c
      Curt Sep 15, 2004 12:14 AM

      Although I know nothing about it, but you might check Sumo Sushi & Seafood Buffet, on MacArthur, near South Coast Plaza.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Curt
        Jenny Sep 15, 2004 04:58 AM

        This is not an endorsement. But there is a Sumo sushi buffet much closer to your stated location in Irvine on Culver and 5, in the Heritage Plaza shopping center (next to Caspian and Denny's). The location here is better than the one on Macarthur but that's like saying Cheez Whiz is better than Velveeta.

        1. re: Jenny
          MzMaggie Sep 15, 2004 10:41 AM

          This has recently changed hands and the food is truly awful!

          1. re: MzMaggie
            Curt Sep 15, 2004 11:08 AM

            There you have it!

            Is it worse than Todai?

            1. re: Curt
              Xericx Sep 15, 2004 02:25 PM

              I went once about a year and a half ago to Sumo. It was truly horrible. Worse than Todai!!!!

              1. re: Xericx
                bernardo Sep 15, 2004 10:24 PM

                A better option for frugal sushi lovers is Bristol Farms. Bypass the ready made stuff in the case & ask the sushi chef to prepare your order fresh. Variety of choices from handrolls at ~$3 apiece to larger selections & bowls in the $6 to $7 range. Usually something's on special too. Anyway, chow it down in Bristol's Cafe, not the fanciest digs, but perfectly comfortable.
                I'm especially partial to spicy yellowtail handrolls myself. In any case, come early as some stuff tends to run out. Also, quality & selection is noticeably better at certain stores than others (personally, I prefer NB). However, management everywhere will try hard to resolve any issues should the chow not meet your satisfaction.

                1. re: bernardo
                  Curt Sep 15, 2004 11:11 PM

                  That's more of a cafeteria than a buffet...........

                  1. re: Curt
                    bernardo Sep 16, 2004 12:30 PM

                    Agreed. Just suggesting some quality alternatives to sushi buffets that are not likely to break anyone's bank.

                  2. re: bernardo
                    torta basilica Sep 9, 2007 08:52 AM

                    Bristol Farms also has a poke bar now, too. They spell it poki, but whatever...

        2. b
          bernardo Sep 15, 2004 01:27 AM

          Japanese & Chinese seafood buffets abound, some mentioned already. All are middling quality, although some of the sushi & salads at Todai in HB are OK while the hot food is just plain blah.
          Most of the Sunday buffets, including Sutton Place, RC & Hyatt Newporter offer a fair amount of seafood, & Khoury's in LB has a so-so version on Friday nights. But that doesn't help much for Thursday.
          Think about the ecomomics. Maybe Nozawa & Sal get it a bit cheaper, but you'd pay $10 to $20/lb for superior quality fresh fish retail in SMS, Gelson, Bristol or equivalent. No wonder seafood buffets with all you can eat quality fresh fish are a vanishing species.
          My advice to you is forgo the quality seafood buffet idea. Instead go to Cal Fish in Cypress for simple & inexpensive but good fresh fish. In the moderate range try Bluewater in Newport. For Chinese seafood in your neck of the woods get stuff straight from the tank at Sam Woo's on Culver. In the upscale range, try Roy's or Clae's.

          1 Reply
          1. re: bernardo
            brekkie_fan Sep 9, 2007 08:50 AM

            I believe Sutton Place is no longer (sniff ~ miss the holiday buffets) and don't know if its replacement kept the same tradition of ginormous buffets.

            CA Fish Grill is also in Irvine off Culver/Barranca by the Mervyn's.

            Much more expensive, but I love Blue Coral at Fashion Island.
            Wildfish off MacArthur is also pretty good. Also Maestro's Ocean Fish Club in Corona del Mar. All very uppity locales.

            I'll probably get dissed for this, but how about China Garden for dim sum, and just order some other stuff off the regular menu? Or in the same plaza, there's the local Taiko for sushi.

            I guess seafod + buffet mostly equate to the resort options. Hope you are able to satisfy you and your guest, wherever you choose.

          2. c
            captainspify Sep 15, 2004 12:55 PM

            the ritz in laguna has a wonderful seafood buffet every friday night and they have a chocolate buffet as well. I do know that bacause of the renovations starting that they are going to stop the buffet (and sunday brunch) soon, but I do not know when excatly.
            The food is great and the desserts are wonderful.
            they have live music and a pasta station, it is really great!

            1 Reply
            1. re: captainspify
              Funwithfood Sep 16, 2004 07:03 PM

              We had that once and loved it--great value too!

            2. scottca075 Oct 3, 2011 12:17 PM

              Wow, this is an old topic. There used to be a lot of great Japanese sushi buffet places, Edioko in Orange, Kyoto in Newport Beach, which was super high quality, especially their Sunday brunch, but then junk came in. Sumo Sushi, Todai, O'Nami..... are there Japanese restaurant in Orange County, that even if they don't have buffets, have great lunch time deals? There used to be a good sushi bar in Lake Forest that gave you 10 orders of sushi, with tea, rice and salad for like $15. It was a great deal.

              Sumo Sushi
              1490 E Daily Dr, Camarillo, CA 93010

              2 Replies
              1. re: scottca075
                Servorg Oct 3, 2011 12:32 PM

                While I haven't been I have a friend down in Orange County who is legendary for throwing nickles around like they are manhole covers and he swears by Fukada in Irvine: http://fukada2go.com/home_eng.html

                Fukada Restaurant
                8683 Irvine Center Dr, Irvine, CA 92618

                Scholarship, Irvine, CA 92612

                1. re: scottca075
                  Das Ubergeek Oct 3, 2011 02:17 PM

                  For Sushi? Ehhhhh... but there's a great deal to be had on sets with excellent udon at O-Udon in Fountain Valley.

                Show Hidden Posts