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Recommendation for parents who like buffets

Help! I'd like to take my parents out to lunch this Saturday but they haven't liked any of my suggestions. I've tried taking them to more upscale places before, but they always thought they were too expensive and a waste of money. They really like buffets, 'cause they perceive them to be a good value, due to the quantity and variety of food (they are old ;)). Their favorite places to eat are Sizzler and Hometown buffet...i'd really like to take them somewhere else, preferably a non-chain restaurant. Oh, and they're not really into ethnic restaurants, except for Chinese.

I've looked into "nicer" buffets like Garden Court, but they're only open on Sunday (plus my parents might think it's too pricey). Anywhere in San Francisco, Daly City will be good, can probably go as far south as San Bruno.

Any suggestions?

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Garden Court Restaurant
8141 Redwood Blvd, Novato, CA 94945

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  1. Fresh Choice in San Bruno
    1202 El Camino Real

    Moonstar in Daly City

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    Moonstar Restaurant
    383 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015

    1. The Claremont Hotel in Oakland has a buffet lunch. A very popular spot for Mother's day and parents in general. If interested, call first and make sure it's available Saturday as well as Sunday (it may be every day, I'm not sure).

      3 Replies
      1. re: pauliface

        The buffet at the Claremont is $56 which is less than the Garden Room($68). I believe that they bump it up for Mother's Day. It's hard to imagine old people eating that much. I certainly can't, anymore.

        1. re: wolfe

          doesn't really seem like something value-oriented people will be interested in

          1. re: vulber

            I'm not sure anyone said it was but I was merely showing how pricey the "nicer buffets" the OP's parents eschew were.

      2. How about a Brazilian AYCE steakhouse? They can get pricey but you get a lot. There's the place on Market/Franklin and a place in San Bruno.

        4 Replies
        1. re: ML8000

          I'm not sure that Espetus, the Brazilian place at Market/Franklin, fits the bill for these folks. It's $50 per person--while you certainly get a huge quantity of food (in addition to the meats, there is a buffet of salads), it's hard to imagine that folks who committed to frugality are going to be able to see that as a place of good value.

          1. re: ML8000

            I was going to suggest this too, and the place in San Bruno is much less expensive than Espetus and without the line. I believe it's called Cleo's Brazilian Steakhouse.

          2. There's also Komei(?) which took over the old Todai location in Daly City and Hokkaido in Foster City

            1. I'm wondering if you should even try to introduce them to someplace else. This is just an opinion, but it seems your parents are in the "food is sustenence" not the "food is pleasure" camp when it comes to eating (the folks posting on ChowHound are in the later camp). Thus they want inexpensive and filling much more than tasty. In fact I'd put forth that tastiness is not something that much comes into the picture when it comes to mealtime (yes they want something they like but it only has to meet a minimum standard). Note that my parents are like this too so I'm not putting down your parents here.

              All that said you might want to try Brennan's Restaurant in Berkeley between third and fourth street.

              5 Replies
              1. re: skwid

                Am I right in saying that people who fit the OP's parents' profile often like Sears Fine Food in Union Square? Not a buffet but a place that resonates with the older crowd.

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                Sears Fine Food
                439 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                1. re: pauliface

                  Good call, pauliface: great food and good portions, and now they serve dinner too. if being buffet-style isn't a dealbreaker, i'd head here. Also: I'm struggling with the name, but there's a Churrascaria; I think on Mkt. St., which might qualify as something they'd enjoy.

                  1. re: mamachef

                    Espestus, I think.

                    My SO's grandparents are like this. If we take them to a nice restaurant, they will order only a cup of soup, because it's too expensive to order more. And then they'll eat six dinner rolls because they're still hungry. It's frustrating/heart breaking but habits learned to survive the Depression and other economic calamities are deeply ingrained at this point.

                    We've slowly come around to taking them somewhere they feel comfortable, and at our next meal (without the gparents), we go somewhere we like. Another coping strategy is to whip out a big restaurant.com coupon and assure them that we're actually getting a really great deal on our meal because we bought the coupon during one of the 80% off sales.

                    A pasta pomodoro/ chow-type place might work, if you can let go of the buffet thing. Or maybe a creperie?

                    1. re: artemis

                      Espetus is right. Thank you. Something else that occurred is a fondue-spot. I don't know if Matterhorn is still there; is there another one you could recommend?Otherwise there's always Fondue Fred's in Berkeley, not too long a stretch. But maybe too funky.

                      1. re: artemis

                        Park Chow wold be a good choice. The prices are reasonable and honestly you can spend just as much at Denny's.

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                        Park Chow
                        1238 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122