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Mar 20 2011

The Beauty of Buffets – Bring on the Food!

AYCE Buffets in Raleigh on Foodalicious FolliesWhile I usually go for quality over quantity when it comes to food, there are some days when you just want to fill up for lunch! Lunch buffets are a volume business: lots of food, lots of choices and lots of people. Yes, buffet food won’t be amazing. Yes, you’re better off with a to-order meal. But buffets will get you in and out fast, and if you choose the right one, it’s really not a bad meal at all. Up on Capital Boulevard, you’ll find three dee-licious buffet options that span the food continent, Royal India, Hibachi Grill and Supreme Buffet and Casalinga Ristorante. I guarantee you, you won’t be leaving any of these three places hungry!

Up north in the same plaza as CompUSA is the ultimate Chinese buffet, Hibachi Grill and Supreme Buffet. Hibachi Grill is a large space and it’s all buffet, all the time! Inside there’s a lot of day-glo colors overlooking the huge buffet area. We’re talking about ten buffet islands full of steamers along with a sushi bar and mongolian grill. For $7 (lunch) you can have at it all, and there’s a lot to have here at Hibachi Grill. Food choices range from Chinese-American to American and a LOT more.

Trays of carbs like fried rice and lo mein noodles will get your meal started. I really enjoy their coconut chicken, barbecue ribs and beef-broccoli! While I am a huge fan of more authentic Chinese food, the Chinese-American fare at Hibachi Grill Buffet certainly hits the spot, too. And if you can’t find anything you like at the buffet trays (highly unlikely), go for a to-order dish of Mongolian BBQ. Choose your raw ingredients, a sauce and have the cooks whip up a delicious lunch on the spot. Or check out Hibachi Grill’s sushi bar where, simple but decent rolls are self-serve. And then finish off with some fruit and ice cream at the large dessert bar but to be honest with you, I rarely get this far.

You really can’t beat the array of food offerings at Hibachi Grill and Supreme Buffet. There’s no way you won’t find a bunch of items that will quickly become your faves. And the place is very clean, the staff keeps both the buffets and space tidy. They seat you quickly, the drink refills are regular and you can get out pretty fast if you’re in a pinch for time. But lets face it, you could spend LOTS of time here if your appetite is on high because the food at Hibachi Grill is plentiful and fresh.

Further up on Capital Boulevard, Royal India has been on of my go-to Indian restaurants for the last two years. And they do a fine buffet for lunch time if you want to get your curry on. Inside, Royal India’s cozy space is decorated in white walls and red hues. Pictures of Indian royalty dot the walls, along with wooden ornamental pieces. The place has been around for over 20 years so unfortunately, there’s some wear and tear to the interior. But no worries, just sit yourself down and get ready to eat! They’ll start you off with a basket of fresh naan and then head over to the line of steaming copper urns. Start off with some cold dishes (salad, chaat), pile on some chutneys in those little steel bowls and you’re good to go.

 

Royal India does a decent hot buffet focused on vegetarian-friendly dishes and chicken, about ten choices in all. They’ll typically have some carbs like fried onion pakoras, Indian rice, stewed lentils, spinach-cheese and mushroom-peas. But of course I loves the meats, so the curry chicken always makes me happy. And Royal India also puts out a platter of tandoori chicken, yum! Just don’t expect to find chicken tikka masala here, I’ve never seen it in three visits. The selection here dosn’t change much so if you have a favorite buffet dish, you’ll typically find it there later. Bring your over-flowing buffet plate back to the table, grab some naan and dig in. Service at Royal India has always been very good for me, they fill up your soda and water glasses frequently, if you need more naan just ask. It’s not a super-cheap meal, typically about $11 but Royal India will have you leaving spicy, happy and full! And I’m sure their dinner service is a bit more upscale if you’re looking for something different.

 


Now what if you’re looking for something a bit more European? Well how about some Italian at Casalinga Ristorante? Located in the sprawling Mini-Market plaza across from Target, Casalinga is really easy to miss. Small storefront and sign, I’m pretty certain Casalinga started as a basic pizzeria and outgrew itself with its foodie success. Step inside and you’ll first notice the many celebrity pictures on the walls of Casalinga. Tony Danza, Joe Pesci and other Italian luminaries who have eaten at Casalinga, cover the walls. “I’m funny how, I amuse you? I mean funny like a clown”? Hah, if it’s good enough for Pesci, Casalinga should definitely be good enough for you!

 


Seat yourself, the service is attentive at Casalinga and they’ll have a drink at your table quickly. While the buffet is not that large, there’s plenty of excellent choices. Start off with some garlic knots, pizza or some calzone. Casalinga does a nice thin-crust pizza with airy crust, excellent stuff. Move on to some creamy pasta, sauteed cabbage, meatballs and sausage. Or keep it healthy with their salad and cold bar. While I’m sure Casalinga puts out some excellent food for dinner time, even the food at their buffet is above average and satisfying. And for under $10 you could do FAR worse in the area. So make sure you get out and try this hidden Italian gem. While the dinners at Casalinga fall into the higher price range, the lunch buffet is a great deal and opportunity to sample their fare.

 


So you don’t always have to be a food snob, especially when it comes to lunch. When you’re talking about great Chinese food at Hibachi Grill Supreme, spicy Indian at Royal India or rib-sticking Italian food at Casalinga, it’s hard to go wrong. Buffets are not an every day deal but every now and then, the perfect cure to eating light and healthy. Just punch that extra hole in your belt because all three of these places will have you eating far too much, bon appetit!

Beauty of Buffets- Raleigh
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Royal India Restaurant (Indian)- Raleigh
Hibachi Grill and Supreme Buffet (Chinese)- Raleigh

Casalinga Ristorante (Italian)- Raleigh
Hibachi Grill & Supreme Buffet on Urbanspoon

4 comments

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  1. Erin Welch

    >I've been wondering about Royal India for awhile! Good Indian is hard to find in Raleigh, so next time I'm up that way I'm definitely gonna check it out!

  2. Ron W.

    >Ahh, there are actually some good choices for Indian in Raleigh, Erin! Royal India is a decent one and Taj Mahal is right up the road for them. Check out my other posting on just Indian food too, sorry for pimping it out..

    http://www.triangle-restaurants.com/2010/06/curries-biryanis-and-naans-oh-my.html

  3. Feather Chucker

    To me Hibachi Grill is the Golden Corral of Chinese Food. Yeah there’s a huge selection but all of the food is at the lowest quality. Thanks for the review of Royal India. I’ve been meaning to try Indian food for awhile.

  4. Ron Wen

    Haha, well I confess to liking Hibachi Grill! I regret it afterwards but…

    Definitely try Mantra’s weekend buffet. I’ve been hearing very mixed things about Royal India of late but can say that Mantra is doing a great job still….

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