All-you-can-eat restaurants haven't disappeared with your local Sizzler, they just look little different to what they used to be. Gone are the salad bars and stale bain-marie dishes. These days, it's all about quality meals and avoiding waste. We've rounded up the best all-you-can-eat buffets and restaurants in Melbourne to full you to the gunwales.
Looking for this year's must-eat venues? Here are the 50 best restaurants in Melbourne right now. If you're are a feed that promises great bang for buck, here are the best cheap eats in Melbourne. Or maybe you just need something hot after midnight? Try one of Melbourne's best late night eats.
The best all-you-can-eat Melbourne restaurants
This is a place for carnivores. Perhaps slightly gluttonous, hedonistic carnivores. The all-you-can-eat menu ($58 on weekends and around public holidays, a quite reasonable $47 Monday-Friday) comprises 12 different kinds of meat, served from huge skewers at your table. Sides are chips, rice, beans and sweet little banana fritters. There is also a buffet in the middle of the room so you can help yourself to salads, pasta and rice dishes.
Given how easy it is to rack up a fortune piling up plates at sushi trains, Tokosan’s all-you-can-eat sushi menu is a economical option. Every Tuesday the contemporary Prahran bar and restaurant lets you eat as much sushi, gyoza, and takoyaki for $29. The dishes are brought out yum-cha style, with diners asked to select what they’d like from each serving dish.
Conservatory is Crown’s upmarket buffet restaurant. There’s seafood, sushi, Indian, salads and mod Oz favourites in at least three sittings per day so you can choose your own adventure for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Remember to leave plenty of room for the dessert bar, they’ve got a killer chocolate fondue fountain that’s just waiting for you to dip whatever you want into a puddle of chocolate.
At Shinbashi Yakiniku, one of the only Japanese restaurants in a sea of red-and-white tablecloths on Carlton’s Lygon Street, from Monday to Wednesday, $60 will get you an all-you-can-eat DIY Japanese barbecue grilling extravaganza, premium cuts included. And at 6.30pm on a Monday, spots are filling fast – both regular tables and the traditional shoes-off floor seats (slippers provided).
There are two things we really look for in a buffet: fresh seafood and a sundae bar. Little Collins Street Kitchen's dinner buffet has both. The star attraction here are the prawns, which are fresh, plump, sweet and yes, unlimited. They are cooked simply and presented in their shells, without adornment, on ice. Staff are extremely prompt about replacing the shell bowls on the tables and whisking away your dirty plates when you get up to revisit the buffet.
Unlike traditional all-you-can-eat situations, dinner at Okami doesn't involve food sitting in bain maries for a questionable amount of time – there’s table service, and the food here is made to order, coming to you fresh out of the kitchen. In a boon for budget-conscious indulgence, you only pay $29.80 per person and you can order anything off the set menu.
Eat all the yum cha you want and still stick to your budget at David's Prahran. For just $40 on Saturdays and $45 on Sundays, you can feast on unlimited serves of dumplings, xiao long baos, pork steamed buns, spicy fried chicken and more.
At this centrally located Japanese restaurant – outfitted with a dizzying amount of red lanterns and posters from the old country – it’s about the simple pleasures of udon, gyoza and sushi. The restaurant offers bento boxes and a basic a la carte menu, but bargain hunters know to head to Tokyo Japanese Restaurant after 5pm for their all-you-can-eat deal. For $29.80 a head, it’s all on for young and old with prawn gyoza, stir fried (and very saucy) udon noodles, chicken yakitori skewers, small sushi and sashimi platters, cooked prawns and crumbed tori katsu chicken thigh fillets.
Vegetarians, you haven’t been forgotten. Run by the Melbourne’s Hare Krishna Temple, the Crossways Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurant provides an unlimited meat-free meal for lunch and dinner. At less than $10 a head, this is a great option for starving students, the cash-strapped and vegetarians. Concession cardholders get to pay a measly $5.95.
In this luxury Southbank hotel you'll find a cornucopia of authentic, modern Asian cuisine, a bounty of seafood, a traditional roast carvery, sashimi and sushi station, Indian tandoor oven, Italian pasta corner, and dessert case. Oh, and did we mention they've got a chocolate fountain? Melba at the Langham is open daily from 6.30am to 11pm, serving a full buffet.
Be a wingman (or woman) every Monday night at San Antone and get messy with a pile of chicken wings smoked for two hours and served straight from the pit. For $25, you’ll get a bucket of 10 smoked chicken wings with buttermilk ranch dipping sauce and a side of chips. Here's the cincher: you can keep ordering more for no extra charge if you're still hungry! You can also choose from a range of sauce options: hot Louisiana sauce, house mild barbecue, house hot barbecue, or go ‘naked’ (sans sauce).