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Chicagoland’s Best Buffets

January 24, 2011 8:17 AM

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Red Apple

Table service is one of the reasons people go to restaurants, but sometimes it’s nice to be the master of your own dining destiny and take a more proactive, do-it-yourself approach. That’s when it’s time for an all-you-can-eat buffet. Buffets are great for when you just want to hit the trough and pig out, but they’re also ideal for controlling portions and sizing up the quality of food before it makes it to your plate. In addition, buffet-style dining is great for sampling new and unfamiliar ethnic foods without having to order blindly off a menu and taking your chances.

For a variety of cuisines, there are plenty of buffet options to choose from in and around Chicago. Here’s a selection of Chicagoland’s best.

Gaylord

100 E Walton St.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 664-1700

555 Mall Dr.
Schaumburg, IL 60173
(847) 619-3300
www.gaylordil.com

Gaylord has been a popular spot for fine Indian cuisine since 1972 in Chicago, with locations in the Gold Coast and Schaumburg. Both locations serve lunch buffet-style with seasonal varieties seven days a week for $11.95.

Old Lviv

2228 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 772-7250

Winter is the ideal season for digging into the kind of warming comfort food that can be found at the Eastern Eurpoean style buffet at Old Lviv. Their bargain buffet is authentic and vegetarian-friendly, with particularly good borscht. It’s places like Old Lviv that keep Ukrainian Village Ukrainian.

Pearl’s Place

3901 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60653
(773) 285-1700

For buffet-style soul food in Bronzeville, Pearl’s is the Place. The buffet serves up a variety of classic homestyle items for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with Sunday brunch being the big draw.

Red Apple Buffet

3123 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 588-5781

6474 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60631
(773) 763-3407
www.redapplebuffet.com

Red Apple’s two locations on Milwaukee Avenue have an old-school vibe, with well-tended buffets serving traditional and contemporary Polish fare. There’s a particularly large selection of salads to choose from to balance out the heaviness of some of the other items. It is advised that diners arrive with stomachs as empty as possible.

Reza’s

432 W. Ontario St.
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 664-4500

5255 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 561-1898

40 North Tower Rd.
Oak Brook, IL 60523
(630) 424-9900
www.rezasrestaurant.com

A full variety of Middle Eastern cuisine is served at longtime Chicagoland favorite Reza’s. To dig in buffet-style, visit at lunchtime. Reza’s lunch buffet is served at all three locations, and dinner buffet is only available weekdays at the Oak Brook location.

Sorrento’s Village

2318 N. Mannheim Rd.
Melrose Park, IL 60164
(847) 455-9440
www.sorrentovillage.com

Sorrento’s has been serving up quality Italian cuisine for 45 years in Melrose Park. Their lunch buffet has been a popular one for quite a while, too. Buffet selections vary daily, but you can count on a solid selection of pizzas, pastas, salads, desserts and more.

Texas de Brazil

51 E Ohio St
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 670-1006

5 Woodfield Mall
Schaumburg, IL 60173
(847) 413-1600
www.texasdebrazil.com

The carnivorous carnival is literally on parade at Texas de Brazil, but there’s a lot more to the menu than skewered meats. The buffet portion of the churrascaria experience offers a fresh array of salads, cold cuts, cheeses and gourmet appetizers and sides to accentuate the entrees and to keep vegetarians from running for the door.

Thai Classic Restaurant

3332 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 404-2000
www.thaiclassicrestaurant.com

You can’t throw a chopstick without hitting a Thai restaurant on the north side, but none of them offer a knockout buffet like the one at Wrigleyville’s Thai Classic. You have to be there on a weekend day, though, as the buffet is Saturday and Sunday only, from early to late afternoon.

Greg Wahl is a Chicagoan, a freelancer, a grad student, and a seeker of all things awesome & interesting throughout the city and beyond.

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