By Elizabeth SanFilippo
Going out to eat is often about trying new foods you don’t have time to make in your own kitchen. All-you-can-eat buffets are the perfect way to try a sampling of different foods on your to-try list without breaking the bank. A plethora of buffets can be found throughout Chicago. Whether you have a hankering for a big breakfast or a boatload of sushi, you’ll find a spot to eat all you want and leave with money in your wallet.
Best Asian Buffet
9560 S Kedzie Ave
Evergreen Park, IL 60805
Buffet: Mon to Fri 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
While Chi Tung’s menu boasts Chinese, Thai and Japanese entrees, its roots are decidedly Chinese. But while all these entrees are filling and worthy of sharing with family and friends (if you don’t want to keep all the delicious food to yourself), the all-you-can-eat lunch buffet menu is hard to beat. Priced at only $6.25, the buffet offers a wide array of Asian cuisine Monday through Friday between 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. If that doesn’t sound cheap enough, children under 10 can dive into the buffet for only $4.25. With this deal and such a plethora of good eats, it’s no surprise Chi Tung has been recommended by “Check Please!,” CBS Channel 2, Phil Vettel of the Chicago Tribune and Pat Bruno of the Chicago Sun Times.
Best Breakfast Buffet
3901 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60653
Buffet: Daily Open – 12 p.m.
Pearl’s Place may be the home to Southern cooking, but it also impresses for its stellar buffets, particularly breakfast, which is offered every day of the week. These all-you-can-eats are $10 Monday through Friday and $12 on Saturday and Sunday. Many items from the buffet are made on request, so feel free to sample all sorts of dishes from simple pancakes to delicious, country-fried steak. With free parking at the hotel behind Pearl’s and great food to boot, this is one buffet not to miss.
Related: Chicagoland’s Best Buffets
Best Salad Bar
233 S Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60606
Buffet: Mon to Fri 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Market Creations isn’t only about salads. It offers a huge array of food in its four Chicago Loop locations. On one side, get a fresh turkey sandwich, on another, a dollop of Chinese food. Insider tip: If you purchase an entree after 2 p.m., you will receive a discounted price. And then, of course, there’s the salad bar, with every possible fresh salad topping you can think of. Choose how much you spend, because the price of all items, whether from the salad bar or the breakfast buffet, is based on weight. The cafeteria-style restaurant offers plenty of seating, but with these biodegradable containers, you can also easily take it to go.
Best Indian Buffet
59 W Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60610
Buffet: Weekdays 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Weekends 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
India House has an incredibly large menu with over 200 sweet, spicy and curry choices and counting. The lunch buffet reflects the huge variety in options. Even when you’re not ordering off the menu but stepping into the buffet line instead, your meal gets started off right with a complimentary serving of Tandoori Chicken and Naan. Once you’ve cleared your plate, don’t forget to go back for some delicious dessert, including such items as mango ice cream, deep-fried milk balls in saffron and rice pudding.
Best Sushi Bar
House of Sushi and Noodles
1610 W Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL 60657
Buffet: Mon to Thurs 12 p.m. – 2:30 p.m and 5 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., Fri 12 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. – 10 p.m., Sat 12 p.m. – 10 p.m., Sun 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.
While not your typical buffet since you don’t go up and choose your food, House of Sushi and Noodles does offer all-you-can-eat sushi for just under $20. This includes a whopping 40 different options off the buffet menu. As if that isn’t enough food, everyone who orders from the buffet also gets an appetizer, guaranteeing that you’ll be absolutely stuffed when you leave. The buffet closes one hour earlier than regular business hours, so plan your meal accordingly. Click here for restaurant hours.
Related: 5 Picks for Outdoor Brunch
Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not writing about food, she’s scribbling novels, and TV show reviews and recaps. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.