11 eat-all-you-can buffets for less than 500 pesos

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Though most hotel buffets in Manila cost over ₱1,000, these 11 restaurants can satisfy your ideal level of busog for ₱500 or less. Photo from TRAMWAY BUFFET/FACEBOOK

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Every once in a while, we get the urge to eat as much as our stomach can accommodate for many reasons. The most efficient and effective way to satisfy this urge is to gather a group of people and head to the nearest all-you-can-eat buffet to enjoy an endless feast that would allow you to achieve your ideal level of busog.

But where exactly did this all-you-can-eat buffet originate? In the Philippines, it seems as though it could have started in boodle fights — an excessive amount of food stacked on banana leaves usually done by the military — or in barrio fiestas, where classic Pinoy food doesn’t seem to be a scarcity.

Historically, though, it was actually the Swedes who formalized this practice.

In 18th century Sweden, they would have an unlimited pre-dinner meal called “smörgåsbord,” featuring a mix of food — from fish and eggs to fruits and vegetables — that was served for guests. This became popular when the Swedes introduced this style of eating to a wider public at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm.

By the 1930s, Americans were able to experience this in the historic World’s Fair — an exposition that showcases the achievements of nations — and eventually, they adopted the practice. As American influence grew across the globe, all-you-can-eat buffets may have also worked their way to Philippine culture.

Now, most of the buffets in Manila are usually in hotels or restaurants that charge at least ₱1,000. It may not be appealing to those who want to satisfy a certain level of busog but at the same time are looking to save on cash. Here, we list down all-you-can-eat buffets in Metro Manila that are less than ₱500, so you get a lot of bang for your buck.

quezonbuffet.jpg Photo from QUEZON BUFFET/FACEBOOK  

Quezon Buffet Restaurant
Price: ₱499 (weekdays)
Address: Level 2, Fisher Mall, Quezon City

The Quezon Buffet Restaurant’s interiors already make you feel like you’re in the Spanish colonial era in the Philippines, what with a massive photo of preserved historic mansions lining cobblestone streets. Their buffet stays true with this theme, as they serve Filipino-Spanish cuisine such as paella, lechon belly, sisig, tuna, and spanish sardines-stuffed tomatoes.

For more information, visit their Facebook page.

Love Desserts.jpg Photo from LOVE DESSERTS/FACEBOOK

Love Desserts
Price: ₱229
Address: 915 Banawe Street, Quezon City

Known as the “first dessert buffet in the Philippines,” Love Desserts offers unlimited sweets — from crepes and cakes to cream puffs and eclairs. On weekdays, the buffet is only at ₱199, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and if you’re with friends who would much rather eat “proper food” instead, they have a selection of sandwiches and rice meals as well.  

For more information, visit their Facebook page.

tramway-buffet.jpg Photo from TRAMWAY BUFFET/FACEBOOK

Tramway Buffet
Price: ₱258
Branches: Tramway Tea House Banawe, Quezon City; Tramway Garden Buffet, Timog, Quezon City; Tramway Buffet Plaza, Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City; Tramway Bayview Buffet, Roxas Boulevard, Manila

Tramway started in 2001 as a restaurant that served a la carte Cantonese food. The name was derived from the Hong Kong Tramway, which is known to be the most economical mode of transport in Hong Kong. Inspired by this, the owners of the restaurant also thought of providing economical service through a Cantonese cuisine eat-all-you-can model. Tramway then expanded to offer Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino dishes as well. Expect unlimited siomai, fried chicken, sweet and sour pork, buko pandan, and sushi, among many others.

For more information, visit their website.

leehak3.jpg Photo from LEE HAK BUFFET/FACEBOOK

Lee Hak Buffet Restaurant
Price: ₱359 (lunch), ₱399 (dinner), ₱469 (weekends)
Address: Unit No. L2-211, Level Two, Greenfield District Pavilion, Barangay Highway Hills
Pasig

If you’re craving unlimited KBBQ, then head to Lee Hak for their wide variety of meat. They also serve over 100 Korean dishes, and their banchan — the side dishes that are usually served with Korean cuisine — are refillable. If you happen to bring kids with you who are three feet and below, they are free of charge.

For more information, visit their Facebook page.

Buffet in time.jpg Photo from BUFFET IN TIME/FACEBOOK

Buffet in Time Esplanade
Price: ₱488 (regular), ₱228 (time-based)
Address: 2/F JT Centrale, 1686 V. Fugoso cor Felix Huerta, Sta. Cruz, Manila

The buffet offers Western, Japanese, and Filipino dishes. While the regular price is already relatively cheap, you can even pay less whenever they have their time-based promo, which can go for as low as ₱228 as long as you finish your meal within an hour. They only opened in 2017, and so far, they’ve offered different types of promos for different occasions.

For more information, visit their Facebook page.

sweetinspirations.jpg Photo from SWEET INSPIRATIONS/FACEBOOK

Sweet Inspirations
Price: ₱399 (Katipunan branch), ₱420 (Shangri-La branch)
Branches: Katipunan, 311 Katipunan Ave. Loyola Heights, Quezon City; ShangriLa Plaza, Unit 560, 5th Flr. ShangriLa Plaza, Main Wing

Customize your Mongolian rice bowls at Sweet Inspiration’s “crEATe All-You-Can.” The buffet has a broad range of vegetables, sauces, and meats, and the restaurant has maintained a strictly no MSG and no food extenders policy, so if you’re conscious about the kind of food you consume, this buffet may best suit you. They also sometimes offer a breakfast buffet for only ₱260, inclusive of free-flowing coffee.

For more information, visit their website.

finio.jpg Photo from FINIO/FACEBOOK

Finio
Price: ₱135 (breakfast), ₱265 (lunch), ₱295 (dinner)
Address: 220 Tomas Morato Avenue, Quezon City

Finio opens at 6 a.m., so for the early risers or for those who just got out of work, their buffet breakfast — sinangag, eggs, tuyo, and champorado, among others — could satisfy your comfort food cravings. The dishes vary by lunchtime and dinner time, but both offer over 10 main dishes, as well as soup, vegetable salad, pasta, and dessert.

For more information, visit their Facebook page.

shaburi2.jpg Photo from SHABURI/FACEBOOK

Shaburi Japanese Shabu Shabu
Price: ₱399 (weekdays)
Branch: 4/F Uptown Mall, Uptown Bonifacio, BGC

Aside from their unlimited Japanese shabu-shabu buffet, the offer includes sushi rolls too. The restaurant also sometimes serves a shrimp and salmon shabu-shabu plate, along with unlimited vegetables, side dishes, and desserts. Shaburi has a wide range of meats as well — from tender pork and tasty beef to shaburi wagyu and special wagyu. This buffet is only available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. though, so it’s either you head there for lunch or early dinner.

For more information, visit their Facebook page.

samgyups.jpg Photo from SAMGYUPSALAMAT/FACEBOOK

Samgyupsalamat
Price: ₱399 (unlimited pork for lunch), ₱449 (unlimited pork for dinner), ₱449 (unlimited pork and beef for lunch), and ₱499 (unlimited pork and beef for dinner)
Branches: Leon Guinto, Manila; Banawe, Quezon City; Kapitan Tikong, Malate Manila

Samyupsalamat is a play on the words “samgyupsal,” which means “pork belly” in Korean, and “salamat,” which is “thank you” in Filipino. The restaurant boasts of its distinct meat quality and sauces, as they have their own factory that supplies all of their branches. Samgyupsalamat is known for their high-caliber meats, which includes buljib samgyupsal, beef bulgogi, yangnyum yoksal, and beef samyupsal, among others.

For more information, visit their website.

cabalen.jpg Photo from CABALEN/FACEBOOK

Cabalen
Price: ₱298 (West Avenue, Trinoma, Market! Market!, Alabang Town Center, Glorietta 2, SM North EDSA, SM Fairview), ₱398 (SM MOA, Megamall, and Robinsons Manila)
Branches: West Avenue; TriNoma; Market! Market!; Alabang Town Center; Glorietta 2; SM North EDSA; SM Fairview ; SM Mall of Asia; SM Megamall; Robinsons Manila

Cabalen in Kapampangan means “fellow,” and staying true to its Kapampangan roots, the restaurant also offers dishes that come from Pampanga. The ambience is reminiscent of a barrio fiesta, with folk music sometimes playing in the background and with food served on banana leaves. As for the dishes, Cabalen provides a wide set of Filipino food — from adobo to dinuguan — but the lechon takes the spotlight, as always.

For more information, visit their Facebook page.

charaptor.jpg Photo from CHARAPTOR/FACEBOOK

Charaptor BBQ
Price: ₱490 (dinner)
Branch: Kamagong Street, Makati

Charaptor is a charcoal barbecue buffet, so expect smoky, char-grilled meat should you visit. The items — squid, pork chops, cold cuts — are skewered, and customers cook these on a real charcoal grill. The restaurant also offers pork and chicken innards, mussels, and sisig, among many others. The drinks that are usually available are only juices though, and dessert is usually not part of the buffet, so you’d have to scout for other unli-dessert places instead.

For more information, visit their Facebook page.