By Sonu Purhar
Once a hot culinary trend, buffet dining has slowly dwindled into obscurity, replaced by farm-to-table dining, organic and sustainable everything, and tapas-style small-plate meals. But who says you can’t enjoy the best of both worlds? We’ve rounded up our favourite AYCE experiences across Metro Vancouver, many incorporating the exquisite platings, cultural diversity and sustainable ethos we’ve come to expect from our food. So, what are you waiting for? Step into those stretchy pants and let’s go.
512 6th Avenue, New Westminster
Dishing up an intriguing selection of Eastern Asian cuisine, Mongo Bongo is renowned for its Mongolian-style stir-fry. You can take advantage of the restaurant’s AYCE lunch and dinner by filling up your bowl with crisp veggies, meats or tofu, piling on the sauce, and then carrying the concoction to the chef, who will cook it up on the grill. Diners with big appetites are free to go back for seconds, thirds or as much as you can stomach (though with complimentary soup and rice also served, we think one trip might be enough). The AYCE lunch costs $11.95, and dinner is priced at $13.95.
1161 West Georgia Street, Vancouver (near Burrard SkyTrain Station)
A culinary celebration of Hong Kong culture and cuisine, Mott 32 incorporates ethically sourced, organic ingredients into its exquisite dishes, each paying homage to traditional recipes while exhibiting modern flair. The restaurant features a spectacular breakfast buffet whose aesthetic array of dishes is just as social media-worthy as it is scrumptious. Highlights include creamy eggs Benedict, made-to-order crêpes and omelettes, meat and vegan sausages, delicate pastries, and artisanal breads paired with charcuterie and cheese. We’re particularly taken with the buffet’s traditional Dim Sum dishes, such as congee with Chinese pickles, and green onion and Chinese donuts.
2080 United Blvd, Coquitlam
Distinguished by an ever-evolving menu and weekly themed feasts (think Mediterranean, Southern BBQ and Indo-Chinese), The Buffet serves as a culinary oasis for casino guests who wish to fuel up before returning to the floor – though the flavourful food is just as appealing to those popping in solely to dine. Colourful dishes, freshly caught meat and seafood and tantalizing desserts abound (read more about The Buffet’s offerings here). Since the buffet is located within the casino, guests must be aged 19 years or older to enter. The AYCE lunch price is $13.99, and dinner costs $18.99.
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15155 101 Avenue #100, Surrey
Korean BBQ is as popular as ever, and Seoul Grill House is consistently named among the best in Metro Vancouver. The food selection is satisfyingly varied with palate-popping meats like marinated pork and chicken, sliced beef and pork belly; and traditional sides such as kimchi, pickled veggies and glazed potatoes. Our pro tip: go for the full monty by completing the meal with a glass or three of sake. Seoul Grill House’s lunch buffet costs $12.99 per person during the week ($14.99 on weekends and holidays), and dinner is priced at $19.99 per person ($21.99 on weekends and holidays).
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Popular among locals for dishing up consistently tasty fish-and-chips, C-Lovers crafts its fare from hand-selected Alaskan halibut and locally grown potatoes – and its menu items are certified OceanWise, which indicates support of sustainable fishing practices. Thanks to the AYCE menu, you can inhale as much as you wish any day, anytime. The price is fair at $14.99, which includes bottomless soda; or $17.99 if you prefer a sleeve of beer instead (kids aged five to 10 years pay $6.99, and meals for toddlers aged 3 to 4 cost $2.99). Numerous locations abound, including Surrey, Coquitlam and North Vancouver.