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Jun 13, 2011 07:54 AM

Best Chinese buffet in NoVA?

I loved Chinese buffets in college but haven't really done them since. (Okay, there was that one experience in Front Royal that I like to pretend to forget.) I know there are a bunch in NoVA -- any opinions out there on which are best? I've heard some good things about Green Olive in Alexandria. Bamboo, which is near me (Arlington), seems to have a grisly reputation.

Obviously I'm not looking for fine dining! That said, I'd take quality over quantity -- 20 decent dishes over 200 gross ones. And I care much more about cleanliness than price.

Thanks for any tips!

Green Olive
6681 Backlick Rd, Springfield, VA 22150

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  1. The only one I've even been tempted to try is Uncle Liu's Hot Pot. Alas I've only had the Hot Pot or I just keep going to HKP to get even fresher items off the menu.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Dennis S

      I had the buffet at Uncle Liu's last fall---my in-laws wanted to come back for lunch and try the buffet after having the hot pot for dinner. The buffet had conveniently located all the more interesting Sichuan dishes on the left hand side, and had a small selection of dumplings as well. And, of course, there was the Chinese-American fare, and confusingly, pho.

      All in all, not bad for a buffet. But I'd happily give up the variety for one big dish of the cumin lamb.

    2. Buffets are looked down on with good reason, but if your expectations are flexible and you PICK AND CHOOSE THE BEST DISHES according to each location's strengths, you can do well.

      It's been some years since I went to any of these, but the ones I recall best are:

      Il Mee (that's IL MEE) 7031 Little River Tpke - yes, I know it's Korean. Ignore the tabletop grill (or enjoy it, you're paying for it) and you'll find very very good sushi (and plenty of it), and some very good hot selections (you won't get General Tso's Chicken or the like, but Korean favorites are not so different from Chinese favorites and they're clearly labeled). I'd advise you to put down whatever you're doing and go right now.

      Bamboo Buffet in Bailey's Crossroads. It's usually very busy.

      Green Olive (I know, I know...) 7405 Richmond Hwy Alexandria - you'll have to push the rednecks aside and ignore some egregious choices (dim sum with A-1 Steak Sauce?) but there are some very good dumplings with tapioca-ball wraps, cold items, etc.

      Hokkaido Seafood Buffet 5900 Leesburg Pke (Bailey's Xrds) - brand-new, Tyler Cowen gives it a "meh", I haven't been yet, but it has some fans. Go at lunch.

      Bamboo Buffet
      2010 Veirs Mill Rd, Rockville, MD 20851

      Green Olive
      6681 Backlick Rd, Springfield, VA 22150

      Hokkaido Seafood Buffet
      5900 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041

      1. Thanks for the thoughts, everyone! I'll report back after I get a chance to check one of these places out.