If you’re about to plan a cross-country trip, you’re likely looking to add buffets to your list of pit stops.
You’re going to want to come hungry! Did you know the average buffet customer consumes only about $2.50 worth of food at a $13 buffet? So, if you want to get your money’s worth, get ready to eat fives times as much as you’re used to.
But how do you know which buffets are worth the trip, and loosening your belt buckle for?
We got you covered with the top ten best buffet restaurants in the country.
10 Best Buffet Restaurants in America
When you’re traveling, you want to find the best places to stay and the best spots to eat. When it comes to where to eat, a good buffet can satisfy the entire family.
But when you think buffet, you might just think Las Vegas or Atlantic City. Think outside the casino. There are hidden buffet gems across the country.
Here are some of the top-rated picks.
1. Gaia’s Garden
Located in Santa Rosa, California, this eatery is considered to be one of the best vegetarian spots in Sonoma Country. You’re going to want to stop here the next time you go wine tasting. Gaia’s international buffet is complete with homemade bread, curries, salads, soups, desserts, chai and much more.
There’s an array of rotating entrees that include stuffed cabbage, eggplant parmesan, lasagna, quiche, and coconut tofu. And the best part? Nothing on this menu has any artificial flavors, colors, hydrogenated oils, corn syrup, nitrates, or dough softeners. So, you can feel good about what you’re eating.
Gaia’s Garden also just started serving the Impossible Burger, a now Instagram-famous vegan patty that looks and tastes like a real beef one. Gaia serves up this patty made out of wheat, coconut oil, and potatoes with savory pesto aioli and vegan coconut “bacon,” in a house-made whole grain bun. That’s right: All the bread here is baked in house daily.
Gaia’s Garden may just be the healthiest buffet in the country.
2. King Buffet
It’s easy for Chinese buffets to be a disappointment, but King Buffet in Los Angeles is a hit. For only $8.99 for lunch or $13.99 for dinner, you get delicious, fresh Chinese food.
The selection is vast, from different types of brown rice to beef and pork ribs, coconut chicken, baked salmon, Mongolian beef, orange chicken, baby clams with onions, crab legs, pork dumplings, and even sushi. This spot also just went through an impressive remodel.
People on Yelp love King Buffet.
One reviewer said they’ve been twice in the last two months because they can’t get enough. Another said it’s worth the price and that everything from the Korean BBQ to the sushi is top-notch. King Buffet is hands-down one of the best Chinese buffets out there.
3. Molly Pitcher Inn
Nestled on the mouth of the very hipster town Red Bank New, Jersey (think Mason jars and Edison bulbs), you’ll find this charming historic boutique hotel with stunning harbor views.
Molly Pitcher Inn was built in 1928 and has only 106 rooms. Amenities include waterfront dining, live music, fresh coffee and muffins in the morning, an outdoor pool and even a marina.
But you don’t have to be staying at the Inn to enjoy its famous brunch buffet. This delightful meal is available on Sundays from October to mid-June, or on holidays. The menu is complete with chilled seafood, antipasti, hot and cold appetizers, and a carving station.
4. Red Apple Buffet
This Chicago Polish restaurant has not one, but three full rooms of buffets.
Here, you’ll find a wide selection of potato pancakes, pierogies, sausage, blintzes, roast beef, stuffed cabbage, roasted duck or turkey, pork shanks, and potato dumplings. Our best advice is to pace yourself, so you can get a taste of everything from this massive selection.
And for Fat Tuesday, if you’re trying to track down a paczki, Red Apple in one of the few spots in Chicago that has you covered. Their paczkis are a little more spongy, stuffed with a lemon-orange icing. A $1.50 apiece, you can even call ahead and order a dozen.
5. Charley’s Buffet
If you ever find yourself in the middle of Lincoln, Missouri, then you’re going to want to visit Charley’s.
This eatery is well known by locals for its homemade bites. Think fried chicken, baked ham, steak, macaroni and cheese, and mashed potatoes, and that’s just the standouts.
Save room for dessert, though. You can’t miss Charley’s homemade pies. Charley’s serves all sorts of pies from your classic apple to cherry, blueberry, and even coconut cream. Keep in mind they’re cash only, lines tend to be out the door, and they are only open Fridays and Saturdays until 8 p.m.
6. Brook Shaw’s Old Country Store
This Jackson, Tennessee eatery looks exactly how the name sounds. It features a wood-paneled exterior, checkered table clothes, an old school soda fountain, and even a store with barrels of candy for sale.
This old fashioned “whistlestop” has been serving up delicious home cooking since 1965. Here, you’ll find country favorites like turn-up greens, cracklin’ cornbread, fried chicken, sweet potato casserole, pulled pork, country ham, pickled okra, fried catfish, ribs, and cheese pie.
They’re also even open on Christmas Eve, so you can enjoy home cooking even if you can’t get home for Christmas.
If you love some country cooking, you don’t want to miss Brook Shaw’s.
New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria hotel is known for its high-class amenities, so it’s only appropriate that this hotel would have one the best Sunday brunches in the city.
And that’s no surprise. We’d trust this hotel, where Oscar Tschirky invented The Waldorf Salad. Yep, that melody of walnuts, apples, celery, grapes, and tossed in a creamy dressing over a bed of lettuce was made here, so surely they do a decent brunch.
The Sunday brunch buffet at Peacock Alley takes brunch to a whole other level. A giant raw bar with Long Island oysters, five types of house smoked salmon, shrimp, lobster, four types of caviar and littleneck clams.
For a more traditional breakfast experience, this buffet also serves thick cut bacon, made to order eggs Benedict, pancakes, and breakfast potatoes. There are also hot entrees like pan-seared fish, quiche, braised short ribs, beef Wellington, pasta, and roasted leg of lamb.
Then there’s dessert, so save room. Here you can get made to order baked Alaska lollipops, croissant bread pudding, limoncello tiramisu, and Norman Love truffles.
Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, of course, all of this comes with a price. It’s $98 for adults and $65 for children, which might be worth it for a special occasion.
8. Golden Corral
This family style restaurant first opened in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in 1973. Now there are multiple locations across the country. Called America’s number one buffet and grill, and we’d have to agree.
Here you’ll find a menu with options like steak, burgers, fish, pork and fried chicken with salads and desserts included. There’s even a kid-friendly menu of spaghetti, pizza, macaroni and cheese, and mashed potatoes.
And some locations are even seeing renovations. Dayton, Ohio just saw Golden Corral’s next generation remodel and renovation.
Golden Corral also has theme nights like All-You-Can-Eat Fish or Steak Night. Some locations only serve breakfast on the weekends, while others always serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
9. Old Country Buffet
This is another chain buffet that does not disappoint, as you can find food for the whole family. Old Country has fresh fish, fried and baked chicken, mashed potatoes, rice, macaroni and cheese, french fries, soups, fresh vegetables, and salads. Your choice of hot or cold beverages gets free refills.
You’re going to want to try their signature hot fudge sundae cake. Or visit on a weekend for hot and cold breakfast items like waffles, eggs, pastries, pancakes, and fresh juices. You’re going to want to check out Old Country Buffet’s while you still can, as many locations are closing.
Check out their website to see what’s available at a location near you.
10. Bayleaf Authentic Indian Cuisine
It might come as a shock that one of the best Indian buffets is located in Birmingham, Alabama, but trust us.
Each week, this restaurant brings in 30 gallons of whole milk to a boil and makes paneer, so you know the food is fresh.
Here, you’ll find authentic Indian dishes like tandoori chicken, seafood, lamb and homemade soups and curries. Of course, there are a ton of vegetarian options and plenty of naan and basmati rice.
Try a Buffet Today
Now that you know all about the best buffet restaurants in the country, try out your favorite today.
It’s always good to read reviews and do your research before you make the trek. When done properly, a good buffet can be worth the price and the journey.
Browse our online magazine for some more healthy lifestyle tips!