Sometimes, a regular menu just won’t suffice. When your appetite is limitless, no words are sweeter than all-you-can-eat. And, in this fine city, unlimited options range from briny seafood restaurants to crispy fried chicken, and from sophisticated French restaurants to smoky BBQ halls. Read on to see New York’s best all-you-can-eat meals.
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Best all-you-can-eat restaurants
Lidia Bastianich’s temple to pasta is one of the Theater District’s surest bets. The “sinfonia de pasta,” an all-you-can-eat deal for $24.95 ($19.95 at lunch) features three preparations that rotate on a daily basis. Recent standout dishes included an ethereal orecchiette with bacon and braised cauliflower, and semolina gnocchi showered with shavings of Grana Padano cheese.
Indian buffets might be a dime a dozen in the East Village, but Brick Lane’s British-Indian fare is the best of the bunch. Their lunch buffet gives a sampling of some of their greatest hits, including their addictive chicken tikka masala and delicately spiced chai tea. Pro tip: you’ll want an order of garlic naan to sop up every last drop of sauce.
Unlimited French desserts from a kitchen run by the famed Alain Ducasse? Sugar fiends should run, not walk, to this sleek Midtown bistro, where, during brunch, $16 will get you access to some of the most splendid confections this side of the Atlantic. Recent offerings included a peach-vanilla crumble, lemon tarts, chocolate mousse and floating islands.
Don’t even think of bringing your vegetarian friends here. This Midtown steakhouse specializes in churrasco, a traditional Brazilian method of grilling meats, and offers diners a never-ending parade of 16 different cuts of meat, including beef, lamb, chicken and pork. For those with an iron stomach, there's also an à la carte dessert menu with more than a dozen options to satisfy a sweet tooth.
There is such a thing as a refined all-you-can-eat buffet and no restaurant does it better than midtown’s Brasserie 8 ½. The Sunday brunch is French-inflected and features everything from a crepe station to a seafood bar with ceviche, smoked salmon and poached shrimp. Save room for the desserts, though, which, at last count, featured over 15 pies, cakes and cookies.
Venue says Join us on Sundays for our endless brunch buffet! Sunday and Monday nights are BYOB with a special prix fixe menu. Book your reservation!
This Harlem institution’s skillet-fried chicken, overseen by owner and chef Charles Gabriel, is one of the tastiest and most famed birds in New York. For those for whom a single drumstick just won’t do, check out the buffet, which includes all-you-can-eat chicken, plus classic Southern sides like macaroni and cheese, collards greens and mashed sweet potatoes.
Is there a better way to start off the week than with unlimited barbecue? Hill Country’s famed “low and slow” meats are available in unlimited portions every Monday night. The $32 deal includes all-you-can-eat brisket, market chicken and pork spare ribs, plus your choice of sides like classic green-bean casserole, a fantastic macaroni and cheese, and sweet and savory corn pudding.
Crustacean lovers know to head out to Sheepshead Bay every Monday and Tuesday night for this seafood palace’s all-you-can-eat crab deal. For $34.95, choose between garlic or traditional Old Bay seasoning and then crack all the claws you can handle. Make sure to ask for a table with a view; there are excellent vistas of the Plumb Beach Channel and the Manhattan skyline.
Koreatown may be ground zero for Asian-style barbecue, but for a true bulgogi bonanza, head to Murray Hill in Queens to feast on Picnic Garden’s all-you-can-eat deal. Choose your raw meats from the buffet (everything from beef to octopus), which your server can help grill, and round out the meal with sides like crispy fried dumplings and seafood pancakes.
Have trouble picking a favorite sushi roll? Sample one of everything at this Koreatown buffet, where dozens of nigiri, sashimi and other fish favorites are all on display. If that’s not enough to sate you, there are also endless varieties of yakitori, ramen, and hot entrées like teriyaki and kimchi fried rice, plus virtually every flavor of Jello ever created.
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/istolethetv