Ya see? You can totally find other things in the SGV aside from Chinese food! And it’s hard to argue with unlimited hummus, especially when the hummus is as good as it is at Wahib’s. Party hardy with the buffet lunch for a glorious $10.95 (or $15.95 for dinner), and don’t forget to eat a thousand pounds of the house pickles (or kebabs, if that’s more your thing).
While you could go to Fogo de Chão and spend all the money you have to your name, you could also head over to M Grill and get some dank Brazilian meats (try the picanha cut, which many people swear is better than FDC’s) for less than half the price. In addition to BBQ, you can also hit up M’s hot buffet full of tasty snacks like fried plantains, collard greens, and mashed yuca. It has discounted prices for your (unfortunately) vegetarian friends, too.
We can all agree that the only thing better than brunch is, well, more brunch. If you’re looking to brunch hard, Cafe Sierra does a Saturday brunch buffet (for a cool $32) from 10am-2pm. Though it’s pricey, the options are excellent, and include specialties like corned beef fritters, Chinese sweet buns, har gow, and all the breakfast specialties you’re craving. Not fancy enough for you? Check back on Sunday for the $50 brunch buffet, which features live jazz, hand-cut prime rib, and more seafood than you can shake a stick at (though we don’t recommend doing that).
From Tuesday to Friday, you can swing through the beloved Culver City spot for a nearly unbeatable $12.95 AYCE lunch buffet ($15 on the weekends). Get up close and personal with Mayura’s Kerala fish curry and masala dosas (big pastries stuffed with potatoes). Oh, and that Jonathan whatever-his-name-is guy seems to love this place too.
These days, most Angelenos seem to be fiercely allegiant to a particular K-Town BBQ spot. We’re not ready to pick just one favorite, but when it comes to AYCE, HJC definitely rocks the house. Expect not-so-typical meat options like spicy BBQ chicken, hot dogs, and intestines (seriously, try them if you never have) as well as other goodies like kimchee fried rice, radish wraps, and miso soup. Do it up at lunch for $21.99 and dinner for $23.99.
Don’t come to Rajdhani expecting the popular Indian food you already know -- Rajdhani is so much more. Specializing in vegetarian, Gujarati-style eats, Rajdhani lets you stuff your face with delicious treats like potato & green bean curry, yellow dhokla (a spongy snack made from rice and chickpeas), and a ton of excellent rice dishes. Those bad boys (and so many more) can be yours for an under-$15 AYCE price. Bingo.
On the other hand, do come to India’s Restaurant expecting the popular Indian food you know and love. It features a killer weekday $10.95 lunch buffet full of the classics, like the knockout saag paneer. If you’ve yet to explore this strip mall outside of Thai favorite Wat Dong Moon Lek, you’ll be very glad you did. (And don’t worry -- what India’s Restaurant lacks in a creative name is made up for by the food.)
Chris Oh’s Korean BBQ spot has been crushing it in Culver City with a menu packed full of wonderful meats and banchan, as well as nutso house specialties like uni-topped steamed egg pots, and bone marrow corn cheese (#reallife). Now, all day, every day, you can put your appetite to the test with Hanjip’s new all-you-can-eat menu. Lunch will run you $18 (for nine items), and dinner can either set you back $25 (for 14 items) or $30 (for 20 items). We’re not gonna tell you which one to choose, but we will tell you that the $30 deal includes beef bulgogi and rib-eye. So, yeah, guess we are telling you which one to choose.
Sixteen dollars will score you an AYCE pass at Happy Family, where you can just keep ordering more things until your DNA changes into actual Chinese food. Though this San Gabriel Valley fave rocks a mostly vegetarian menu, meat eaters constantly give Happy Family respect. Try the house “chicken” (made of mushroom), squab (actual squab) lettuce wraps, stir-fry spinach, and well, everything else, 'cause you can order it all.
It might seem like $32 is expensive for an AYCE Mexican seafood buffet (though really, can you put a price on beauty?), but it might help to sway your mind knowing that price also includes an all-you-can-drink option. La Paz sets up a taco bar, plus specialties like baked salmon, fried whitefish, ceviche, and even a full dessert station. One word: no-brainer.
HB&G kind of goes nuts with salads -- in the best possible way. There are tons of ‘em, like hummus (because that totally counts as a salad), shirazi, cabbage, and pretty much all the other tasty morsels you want. Lucky for you, that means there are tons to gobble up, as more will be brought to you the second you finish any of ‘em. It’ll run you $12 without an entree, or $7 with one.
Vegan or not, it’s impossible to say no to the spread at Rahel Woldmedhin’s (formerly of Messob) vegan Ethiopian spot, which is unlimited from 11am to 3pm every single day. If the combination of her heavenly injera and greens don’t bring a tear (or several) to your eyes, then, well, we just don’t know about you.
Playa del Rey
You like steak, don’t ya? Of course you do, you’re a human being with a heart. Playa del Rey’s own Bacari PDR does “Beefsteak Sundays," which is an AYCE petite filet extravaganza (also served with fries, onion rings, and an OPEN BAR). Hit it up every last Sunday of the month for $40 per person.
Some people seem to have no limit to the amount of sushi they can eat -- present company very much included. If you’re one of ‘em, stop by The Sushi by Jin for three rounds of ordering whatever you want (smaller portions, but truly whatever you want) on the menu for a chill $22.95 at lunch and $27.95 at dinner. Caution: You’ll get charged for whatever you don’t eat, so start training your body and mind for the task.
Roy Choi’s popular former-IHOP spot is always a winner-winner, especially when that means an unlimited chicken dinner. Head in on Sundays from 5-10pm to do just that and chow down on your choice of Cracklin Beer Can Chicken, Mochiko Chicken, and Korean Chicken Wings. That $23 price is a steal, especially since it’s all served with farmer salad, corn on the cob, togarashi fries, Hawaiian rolls, and house sauces.
Culver City sure knows how to eat. Check out Bella Vista for yet another appetite challenger, featuring pizza (even sweet pizza, like the Brigadeiro Com Morango, with chocolate, condensed milk, and strawberries) and salad. Cost runs you $12.99 & $15.99 for weekday lunch and dinner respectively, and $17.99 all day on weekends.
1. Wahib's Middle East Restaurant910 E Main St, Alhambra
2. M Grill3832 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles
3. Café Sierra555 Universal Hollywood Dr, Universal City
4. Mayura Indian Restaurant10406 Venice Blvd, Culver City
5. Hae Jang Chon3821 W 6th St, Los Angeles
6. Rajdhani18525 Pioneer Blvd, Artesia
7. India's Restaurant4366 Fountain Ave, Los Angeles
8. Hanjip3829 Main St, Culver City
9. Happy Family Restaurant500 N Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park
10. La Paz Mexican Restaurant4505 Las Virgenes Rd, Calabasas
11. Hummus Bar & Grill18743 Ventura Blvd, Tarzana
12. Rahel1047 S Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles
13. Bacari PDR6805 Vista Del Mar Lane, Playa del Rey
14. Sushi by Jin6010 Laurel Canyon Blvd, North Hollywood
15. A-Frame12565 Washington Blvd, Los Angeles
16. Bella Vista Brazilian Gourmet Pizza10826 Venice Blvd, Culver City
When a hunger for hummus strikes, it hits hard, my little chickpea. Alhambra’s Wahib’s Middle East Restaurant, opened in 1979 by immigrants from Beirut, understands this, offering unlimited amounts of the creamy spread to diners. The generosity doesn’t stop there: an all-you-can-eat lunchtime buffet features tender kebab meat, falafel and slow-roasted lamb.
Brazilians know their steak, and this churrascaria serves all-you-can-eat with sixteen prime cuts brought out hot on skewers. In line with popular steakhouse chains like Fogo de Chao, just less expansive and more modest, M Grill specializes in picanha, a sirloin cap cut of beef that is a point of national pride. A stocked salad bar and hot buffet waits for those wanting fresh greens, fried yucca, or collards, but stick to the meat: you won’t have room for much else.
Even if you’re not in need of lodging, consider ducking into Universal City’s Hilton for weekend buffet lunches, dinners and brunches of Vegas-stye proportions. Lunch and dinner amount to a surf ’n’ turf avalanche: cocktail shrimp for days, Alaskan crab legs on ice, sushi and sashimi, fried dumplings, baked salmon, Italian sausage, jerk chicken, spare ribs, sautéed zucchini and roasted potatoes, and even all the bad-but-good eats like french fries and onion rings. Come full, and rest easy know if you’ve rendered yourself incapable of movement after, the option of a nap in one of the rooms upstairs is always an option.
Indian buffets are de rigueur, but this Culver City staple stands out for atypical reasons: while the expected meat dishes are just fine (chicken tikka and the like), the menu truly shines in North Indian vegetarian fare prepared in a seperate kitchen. Taste the spiced cauliflower, eggplant masala and dosas. Serve yourself all-you-can-eat, and sink into one of the booths, or circular four-tops in the simple, strip mall dining room.
Koreatown’s Hae Jang Chon offers a varied AYCE KBBQ menu with 27 options to choose from, including both unmarinated and marinated meats, seafood, vegetarian selections like kimchi pancakes, and more adventurous options like beef intestines. All dishes are cooked on two-inch-thick Korean stone grills, and because of the perpetually large amount of humans inside, things can get real smoky at Hae Jang Chon, nerve-wracking because the décor is mostly mahogany wood. Get there early to avoid the detested long wait.
Rajdhani has risen to a Los Angeles favorite without the comfortable appeal of lamb vindaloo or meat-filled samosas: the vegetarian spot along Pioneer Boulevard in Artesia’s Little India specializes in Gujarati fare from Western India. Appetizers, sides and curries are switched out regularly and plates are filled quickly by attentive servers (rather than buffet-style). Rose ice cream makes a sweet finish to meals here.
A mini-mall in East Hollywood is home to India's Restaurant, a popular delivery spot that also offers all of the pan-Indian buffet specials you'd expect. The saag paneer, a creamed spinach harboring scattered cubed cheese, is a standout, and unlimited naan during the lunchtime buffet proves necessary when a spread of chicken tikka and eggplant curry is before you. Just be sure to top your lamb samosas with the spicy plum chutney.
From celebrity chef Chris Oh and restauranteur Stephane Bombet (Terrine, Faith & Flower, Paiche), Hanjip is a modern Korean barbecue restaurant that's made for groups, especially those without vegetarians. Hanjip's menu resembles a how-to guide for barbecue: you choose your meat (sliced brisket, pork belly, bulgogi) and sides (kimchi fried rice, seafood pancake, beef poutine), and a server grills your meat table-side. The Culver City space is trendy with sleek wooden booths and black-and-white wall art.
Chinese food buffet usually doesn’t mean a boon for vegetarians, but at Monterey Park’s all-you-can-eat Happy Family Restaurant, that’s exactly what it means: the menu is exclusively meat-free. Those craving a sticky mountain of General Tso’s chicken shouldn’t walk out: a meatless version made with a mushroom mixture elicits sighs of relief from even ardent carnivores. The traditional vegetarian plates (fried tofus, spring rolls, bean sprouts with celery) are countered by other meatless imitations made with wheat gluten that conjure the likenesses of shredded pork or sweet & sour chicken.
A typical American looks for certain things in a Mexican restaurant: tasty tacos, lots of tequila and, yes, live mariachi. La Paz brings it all and then more, with 140 bottles of tequila and a menu of Mexican seafood specialties with a Yucatan tilt. Mariachi on the weekend during a brunch buffet makes for a tornado of food and music.The seafood buffet will put some beans in your maraca: not only is it all-you-can-eat, with a taco bar and fish specialties (ceviche, baked salmon, fried whitefish), but it’s all-you-can-drink. One margarita, two margarita, three margarita, four.
Hummus Bar & Grill is so much better than the pita chips and hummus you had planned for dinner tonight. This large, high-ceilinged authentic Tel Aviv-inspired menu offers delicious Middle Eastern options like 8 types of hummus (you can't find at Trader Joe's), fried cauliflower bites, Lacheme Bajeen (flat bread with steak), and tender Kabab Halabi (lamb, beef, and tomatoes). Whether you order vegetarian or not, every dish is best eaten with the piping-hot homemade bread, an outstanding mix between lavash and pita. They have some great wine, like the Gamla Chardonnay from Israel, and a standard list of draft beer. It's worth the drive to this strip mall in Tarzana for the all-you-can-eat side salads alone, but thankfully they also deliver.
A vegan beacon in the Little Ethiopia neighborhood off Fairfax Ave near Carthay Square (debatably the only one), Rahel serves authentic Ethiopian the way it should be done: on a large injiera sourdough pancake, to be eaten with your right hand. A lunchtime buffet allows you to try all of the vegetable dishes, from split lentil stew to mild chickpea stew, under green umbrellas hanging upside-down from the ceiling. Don't leave without a slice of vegan cheesecake and a cup of telba flax seed tea.
Bacari PDR is a cozy little wine bar in an oddly shaped building on the main strip of sunny Playa del Ray that serves Italian cicchetti (similar to tapas). You will find small but filling options like a stacked shrimp, mushroom, and juice-soaked bread tower, tender glazed pork belly, cheesy mushroom pizza, a thick burger covered in molten cheese, and hot clams. Whether you go for bottomless brunch, the 90-minute open bar, Beefsteak Sundays (unlimited hangar steak with fries, onion rings, and an open bar), or just the great wine list and gourmet small plates, you will happily waddle out to your car. Like the restaurant itself, the parking lot is small so make sure to have a plan!
If you’re going to gorge on raw fish, it better be quality, and North Hollywood's The Sushi by Jin offers an all-you-can-eat deal that satisfies. The oysters may be served overdressed, but the rolls and pieces aren’t overstuffed with rice: most iterations are rice-less or light on the rice, putting the emphasis on the fish. Test the elasticity of your stomach in three rounds over the course of an hour (but the staff seems to be flexible on that one). Try the garlic edamame and be nice; there’s Green tea ice cream on the house in it for you if you are.
This Hawaiian Culver City eatery from the Roy Choi is an Asian-fusion collaboration in a totally refurbished IHOP, hopped up with a picnic-type patio and light wood-clad walls. Food's meant to be utensil-optional, with inventive dishes like green curry and a poké sampler including choices like tuna with gochujang sauce, sesame leaves & oil, cabbage, seaweed, and nori, as well as tuna with kukui nut chili pesto and Parmesan.
Bella Vista is a patio-abetted Brazilian-style pizzeria with a unique rodizio-esque all-you-can-eat option. Of course you can still order a la carte specialty pizzas like the Calbreza Pizza (smoked sausage and onions), the Berinjela Pizza (grilled eggplant, green olives, and mozzarella), and the Stroganoff Pizza (beef stroganoff and potato sticks), but bottomless slices is definitely worth it—what other pizza place has flavors like these? For dessert check out the Pizzas Doces like the Banana Com Canela Pizza made with mozzarella, cinnamon and banana, or the local favorite Romeo E Julieta Pizza which is just mozzarella and guava paste. Decked out in Brazilian paraphernalia, Bella Vista is also a great place to catch a “futebol" game.