Sure, ordering off the menu at restaurants is great. But you know what else is great? Buffets, where you don't ever have to order at all.
We asked Yelp for the most popular hole-in-the-wall local buffets around America — which they measured using an algorithm that looked at the number of reviews plus the star rating for every business on the site. To be clear, these aren't big chain buffets like Sizzler. Rather, they're buffets filled with local character that serve up delicious eats — and are also a great way to get a peek into local life.
So here are 25 buffet options that prove that sometimes, you really can have it all.
1. New India Gate, Chandler, Arizona
"I came in for the lunch buffet ($7.99 weekdays; $8.99 weekend), and was immediately greeted, offered naan or garlic naan, and shown to my seat. The buffet was clean and full of curries, gravies, rices, and chickens — and I believe there was even salad at the end of the buffet. But I do not go to Indian restaurants for salad!" — Yelper Sheridan R.
"The buffet had a good mix of vegetable, fried, and meat dishes, like saag paneer, chicken tikka masala, chicken curry, biryani, and malai kofta." — Yelper Karen W.
2. Ruby's Fast Food, Chicago, Illinois
"Ruby's is my type of hole in the wall. I have been craving lechon for awhile, and, to my surprise, Ruby's had a weekend buffet. All you can eat (AYCE) lechon?!??!! Yes, please!" — Yelper Phillippe F.
3. Fonda Santa Rosa, Houston, Texas
"The weekend brunch buffet here is absolutely amazing, packed with everything you could want and need — and it has made-to-order eggs." — Yelper Stefanie S.
"Every dish is full of earthy spices, stewed/braised to perfection, and made from scratch. Homemade tortillas, cinnamon coffee and sweet tamales for dessert." — Yelper Adrienne R.
4. Mint Restaurant, Laguna Hills, California
5. D'cracked Egg, Chesapeake, Virginia
"You can order off the menu, or have the small buffet. We went with the buffet to try different items: eggs made to order, potatoes two ways, and, bless my Southern heart, sausage gravy and toasted biscuits. Clean my plate good." — Yelper Katharine M.
"Breakfast is always delicious, but the dinner buffet is even better. It's all classic Southern food: ribs, baked pork chops, meatloaf, baked chicken, baked mac 'n' cheese, cabbage, collards, rice, baked beans, yams, carrot soufflé, and more." — Yelper Felicia H.
6. Umma's Lunch Box, Seattle, Washington
"You are charged by the size of your container, not the weight of your food. My box ended up being less than $8 for a bunch of delicious Korean-American side dishes. Try the fried chicken, spam musubi, and japchae!" — Yelper Jessica L.
"You get $1 off your next meal for bringing back the packaging. Hooray discounts for being eco-friendly!" — Yelper Xander S.
7. India House Restaurant, Buena Park, California
"Even though their selection isn't abundant, their food is tasty. Garlic naan is deliciously fresh, and you get a free soda with Yelp check-in for those who like soda. Their rice pudding, though on the extra sweet side, is yummy — and tastes even better with their freshly-cut fruit." — Yelper Lily T.
8. The Secret Garden, West Columbia, South Carolina
"We had the opportunity to talk to the owner about the place. They grow all their veggies, and 'Momma' cooks it. It far surpasses ANY Southern food restaurant around." — Yelper Kristi E.
"Gives definition to the words 'home cooking.' Fresh-from-the-garden vegetables and homemade desserts. All buffet style, but it truly reminds me of eating my grandmother's cooking." — Yelper Jimmy P.
9. Veggie Express, Frisco, Texas
Cuisine: Vegan Chinese
"Veggie Express is a Chinese buffet at lunch, and a sit-down Chinese dinner in the evening — AND IT'S ALL VEGAN. Delicious." — Yelper Shalonda H.
10. M.Y. Chock Dee Oriental Market, Universal City, Texas
"It's an authentic, homestyle Filipino buffet that absolutely does not disappoint! There is a large variety of foods to choose from, from sinigang, pansit, adobo, dinaguan, and much more! The weekend buffet is the best version of their buffet." — Yelper Elle W.
"One of the best Filipino buffets I have ever been to. Huge selection. Everything tasted good. Buffet is in the back of a grocery store. Tables are very crowded and close together." — Yelper Kim T.
11. Saaz Restaurant, Pomona, New York
12. Sweet Veggie, West Covina, California
Cuisine: Asian Fusion
"This is really a kitchenette type of eatery. AYCE is $7 per person, and they offer six dishes with choice of white or brown rice, soup and a vegetarian meat sauce that is typical of Taiwanese food. No MSG is used." — Yelper Chrystal S.
"Best bang for your buck for an AYCE restaurant. Dine-in buffet is a dollar more than their bento boxes. If you choose the bento, you get to fill it up however you like. Dining in gets you access to their sweet barley tea." — Yelper J T.
13. La Nacional Mexican Buffet, Columbus, Georgia
"The mole chicken, quesadillas, the build-your-own nachos, and the great fresh guacamole were all good. Plus, it's only $8.99, which is a fantastic deal for AYCE Mexican food!" — Yelper Sam K.
"Everything on the buffet is amazing, but the guacamole is the standout. It's unlimited guac! You might miss it it you didn't know it's there, but it is to die for. Everything from the main dishes to the salsas are homemade with care." — Yelper Graham J.
14. Village Indian Cuisine, San Diego, California
"I had the masala, paneer, green daal, korma, tandoori chicken and rice pilaf — basically every single lunch buffet item. I was incredibly delighted at how flavorful and spicy everything was here." — Matthew H.
15. Brazil Marin, San Rafael, California
"It's a very small buffet, but everything in it is refilled and deliciously, authentically Brazilian. When I was there, there were about ten options." — Yelper Lindsay B.
"What a refreshing hidden gem of authentic Brazilian cuisine in downtown San Rafael! Good variety of dishes using fresh ingredients. Fill up your plate, and take it to the cashier to weigh. They'll keep an open tab until you're done." — Yelper M G.
16. Govinda's Natural Foods Buffet, Tucson, Arizona
"If you want to dine with koi fish, brightly-colored macaws, peacocks, and Hare Krishna monks, this is your place. We sat outside on the patio, next to the macaws, by a rippling fountain, and I felt like I was on vacation under the lit palm trees." — Yelper Christy F.
"Govinda's is my favorite place to eat in Arizona. They have the best vegetarian buffet I have ever been to with the best service. I drive 100 miles from Gilbert just to eat dinner here." — Yelper James H.
17. Thai Pepper, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
"It's the best Thai I have found in Baton Rouge, a city not renowned for its Asian delicacies. The Pad Thai is spot on, the rice dishes are wonderfully fragrant and piquant, and the rolls are minute-ago fresh." — Yelper Ira W.
18. Tassa Roti Shop, Marietta, Georgia
"My husband and I love good food and good vibes, and this hidden gem has both! The roti skin, mac 'n' cheese, rice and peas, and the stew chicken is so good! For an $8.99 buffet, you can't go wrong." — Yelper Kim C.
"Amazing tastes of the Caribbean in North Georgia. We got the buffet and sampled everything on it. It was like we were in the Bahamas again. Authentic and delicious." — Yelper Aimee H.
19. Copacabana, Astoria, New York
"My fave buffet-style Churrasceria in the city. Great selection of BBQ meats, salad bar, desserts, and beverages." — Yelper Crystal G.
"This is my go-to spot for Brazilian BBQ. Very nice assortment of food in the buffet itself. However, the best part, IMO, is the meat on skewers behind the counter." — Yelper Norman C.
20. Mildred's Resturant, Ardmore, Alabama
"The cabin-like restaurant has rocking chairs on the porch; it's all very inviting. The food is always good, and my favorite day to go is Sunday for the turkey and dressing." — Yelper Allen W.
"The buffet is $8 per person for AYCE, with a tea and endless salad bar included." — Yelper Bailey B.
21. Red Orchids Restaurant, Stockton, California
Cuisine: Filipino, Asian Fusion
"It was like being home with family coming over for a get together. The food tasted so good, like it was homemade with love." — Yelper Charlie L.
"My personal favorite is the BBQ pork on rice, but they also make a terrific pansit — and I can't wait to try the paella!" — Yelper Michael A.
22. Kohinoor Cuisine of India, Tempe, Arizona
"Great buffet on a budget! $10 for AYCE that has a nice variety of chicken and vegetable dishes. On my regular Thursday evening visit, I see no fewer than six different types of curry!" — Yelper Eugene L.
"This is the best Indian Food in Phoenix, my friends. Their menu is great, but I always load up at the buffet. Their shai paneer, palk sag, and channa masala are just a few dishes that rule the desert. " — Yelper Tyler M.
23. Bubby's BBQ, Corbin, Kentucky
"Great place, for both the homestyle buffet, and BBQ. Huge buffet, with lots of good homecooked side dishes (like fried green tomatoes, when they're in season). BBQ is on the buffet." — Yelper Beach T.
"The buffet is only $9.99 for adults for dinner, which includes ribs. Everyone loves the mac 'n' cheese. The corn tastes like it's been freshly cut off the cob. The pulled pork is outstanding." — Yelper Josh C.
24. Asian King Buffet, Hurst, Texas
"There are lots of choices, and they're always adding new items to the menu. There's a salad bar, a sushi bar, three regular lines, a dessert bar, and a hibachi grill. It's really fresh, and they're always bringing out new food!" — Yelper Karis H.