When we hear the word "buffet" it always means one of two things: Grandma's Sunday roast or a subpar spread of tasteless food designed to lure people in for quantity over quality. Despite the bad rep and association with bland airline food, Auckland does have a very impressive buffet restaurant selection. In fact, if you check out the places on our list, you'll find high quality food in large quantities, so perhaps "banquet" is a more applicable term. Sounds good doesn't it?
Eight talented chefs, eight interactive kitchens, and near enough to eighty items on the menu, Eight is not your average Pink Panther and fries-style buffet. If it gets to the point where you're so ravenous after a long day that you put last night's green curry on a slice of Vogels (don't worry, we've been there), it sounds like you need to splurge on an evening out at The Langham's exclusive fine dining buffet restaurant. With different stations serving authentic Indian curries with naan made to order, the freshest seafood and sashimi, Asian-fusion noodle dishes and an American-style grill, you'll be spoilt for choice, and the best part is that you can try everything. Just make sure you save room for the chocolate fountain.
It's always a worry when you lose count of how many times you've nabbed a dish off the sushi train. 100 pieces of rice-roll goodness later and your entire daily budget has been dunked in soy sauce in under 30 minutes. What if we told you there is a place in Auckland that serves all-you-can-eat sushi? You might also like to know that this Japanese feast also includes karaage chicken, beef tataki, edamame, miso soup and even more seasonal dishes. Haru No Yume's itamae (chef) Rex Chang is renown for his ability to create an abundant menu of traditional Japanese dishes which will tantalise your tastebuds and make deciding how to fill your plate a tough one.
Heading to Sandringham for dinner on a week night is the perfect way to escape from the mundane. From the gaudy fairy lights, and jazzy shop fronts, there is never a dull night and the warm liveliness is always inviting. Leave the Bolognese until tomorrow, and instead awaken your senses with the delicious Northern Indian food of the ever popular Paradise. After the successful Sandringham chain opened their brand new takeaway store, in addition to the a la carte and buffet editions, there have been queues outside each night ever since. With vats of copious amounts of dhal, channa masala, beef vindaloo, chicken korma and aloo gobhi, there's never a hungry soul to leave the restaurant. Did we mention there's unlimited naan bread?
Paradise is a popular name on the buffet scene. Tucked away on Hobson Street you'll also find a Korean barbecue restaurant, which unlike Sandringham Paradise, is a little more secretive despite putting on a cheap and impressive feast. A selection of barbecued meat including scotch fillet, beef brisket and pork belly can be complimented with some zingy kimchi and dumpling soup. Each table is provided with scissors and a hotplate to chop up and fry your own meat at the table in a shared dining experience. While BBQ is usually associated with a meat-heavy menu, Paradise Garden also offers a full vegetarian menu which is $10 cheaper, making it the perfect place to dine out for groups with alternate dietary preferences. It's also BYO.
Attend any class at The Loft from Monday to Thursday and you'll be rewarded with a hearty vegetarian meal upon completion. You'll receive a vegetable starter, warming chickpea or lentil curry, endless rice, and a sweet treat (usually a saucy chocolate brownie with vegan ice-cream). The meals are made with organic, home-grown produce from the Hare Krishna farm in South Auckland, so each dish is made with the highest quality ingredients and a lot of love. Make sure you arrive hungry because this veggie feast is super filling.