Eat Your Way from Asian to Vegan at Tampa's Popular Buffets
By Skye Rodgers
Tampa Local Expert
When you're traveling with picky eaters or are short on time, sometimes a good buffet is the perfect answer. Everyone gets exactly what they want, at the portion size they want and usually at a decent price. Luckily, Tampa has many quality buffet options to choose from. To help you find the perfect buffet, 10 Best has put together a list of the city's best buffets representing a variety of cuisines, locations and price points.
Perhaps the most convenient option, one that is available all day, is the Fresh Harvest buffet located in the Seminole Hard Rock Casino. This full-cuisine buffet is regularly restocked with an ever-changing and slightly overwhelming variety of delicious dishes. Located just off I-4, it's easy to find even if you're not interested in taking advantage of the games and entertainment. Maybe just one run at the slots?
Ethnic buffets are very popular and a good way to introduce hesitant diners to a new cuisine. Go out on a limb and try Tampa's Queen of Sheba. Offering a weekday lunch buffet, this restaurant serves traditional Ethiopian fare. If you like spices and don't mind eating with your hands, this is a perfect choice.
Come along with 10Best for a tour of the best buffets in Tampa. You will see that sampling buffets in Tampa doesn't mean skimping on quality, originality, or the dining experience.
Abby's Health Food - Cafe Eden
Focusing on natural and healthy foods and personal care products, Abby's Health Food and Caf� Eden has been a Carrollwood landmark for over 13 years. Opened by Abby Sayler, well-regarding local nutritionist, Abby's is a full-service store stocking organic produce, bulk foods, beer and wine, raw foods, and gluten-free products among others. Their on-site deli features delicious, organic and natural dining options including vegetarian, gluten free and raw dishes prepared fresh daily. Their fresh wheatgrass, organic vegetable juices and smoothies are also very popular. Abby's is a great spot for a quick and healthy lunch or an early dinner. ((813) 265-4951)
Sweet Tomatoes is an all-inclusive buffet-style cafeteria that specializes in soups and salads. Great family dining that provides healthier alternatives for both adults and kids. This restaurant features an open and airy atmosphere with tons of booth seating. The menu varies each month providing a new variety of salads, soups, pasta dishes and specials to choose from. The salad bar features 50 fresh ingredients as well as specially prepared and tossed salads. Items are made from scratch each day including their moist muffins and fresh focaccia bread. Finish off your meal with a selection from the dessert bar which features a self-serve ice cream bar. ((813) 874-6566)
Make no mistake - though this is a cheap buffet option, it won't leave you wanting for quality or quantity. The popular Tampa Buffet boasts the largest Chinese buffet in town and has everything you could ask for in terms of Chinese cuisine as well as selections of American, Italian, Mongolian, Korean & Japanese dishes. Featuring a total of 12 buffet bars, highlights include a sushi bar with a wide variety of options, and a Mongolian BBQ grill to tempt your palate. Travel the world as you to customize your lunch or dinner. Don't forget to save room for the dessert bar! (813-805-2929, 813-837-2692)
Texas de Brazil
Texas de Brazil is a Brazilian-American churrascaria, which is the Portuguese word for "barbecue," and has its origins in the campfire cooking of the gauchos of Southern Brazil. Be prepared for a different dining experience. You start your meal with a trip to the 50-60 item salad bar area that includes appetizers, soups, salads and other traditional side items. Once you return to your seat, the real fun begins. Each diner is provider with a two-sided card; green on one side, red on the other. You use the green side of the card to summon waiters, known as Passadores, to your table. The Passadores will then arrive with knives and a skewer speared various kinds of meat such as pork, filet mignon, lamb, chicken, or sausage. This is called "rodizio" service. This is an all-you-can-eat dinner, so make sure you come with a big appetite. ((813) 871-1400)
Queen of Sheba
If you're looking for a first-time experience in your buffet dining, Queen of Sheba might be your best bet. This popular Ethiopian restaurant offers a weekday lunch buffet. Ethiopian cuisine is quite different from almost any other food, using unique blends of spices on traditional meats and vegetable dishes like lentils, collard greens, and potatoes. The food is served on a type of flatbread called teff and diners use pieces of bread to scoop up the various dishes for eating. There's something for everyone and the service staff is more than happy to help those who are new to the Ethiopian game. (813-872-6000)
Taste of India
When you're in the mood for good times and great cuisine, be sure to checkout Taste of India. The restaurant is located in Brandon, just a short drive from downtown Tampa, and is known for its delightful staff and superb cuisine. The menu at Taste of India features a wide array of great selections, made from only the freshest and highest quality ingredients, with something sure to please every member of your group. Taste of India has established itself as one of the area's favorite culinary destinations and is sure to offer you a pleasant and unique dining experience every time you visit. (8136894040)
One of the great buffet options in south Tampa is Hao Wah. This spacious Pan-Asian restaurant is spacious and family-friendly. Reliable, quality food at a reasonable price is the name of the game here. The options are wide-ranging, from a broad sushi offering to staple Chinese and Vietnamese dishes like Peking duck and pho, there is something for every fan of Asian cuisine and culture. You can also order off of the menu and be guaranteed to have enough to bring back for leftovers. They also do a brisk take-out business for those who would rather eat on the go. (813-253-2095)
The first thing you notice as you enter Oystercatchers is the amazing view. This seafood restaurant, nestled among lush, tropical landscaping, takes full advantage of its location at the edge of Tampa Bay. Inside, the decor is bright, simple and modern, serving as the perfect backdrop for both the views and the expertly prepared food. The star of the lunch menu is a selection of locally sourced fish served wood grilled, blackened or sauteed. Not only are the dishes inventive and fresh, they are also gathered with conservation in mind. While the food and the view will cost you (around $20 for a fish entree), the experience cannot be beat. Part of the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, Oystercatchers has cemented itself as one of the great restaurant spaces in Tampa. (813-207-6815, 813-874-1234)
The recently renovated Amalie Arena boasts one of the finest buffets in town. Their on-site restaurant called the Firestick Grill opens their buffet two hours before any event and features a revolving menu that rotates with each event you are there to see. Jam-packed with a variety of different dishes, the buffet also features three "action stations" available, including a carving station, a taco bar, and a pasta station. Finish off with a dessert or a drink in the Bacardi OakHeart Lounge and you should be well-fueled to cheer on the Lightning or your favorite performer in concert. ((813) 301-6926)
As anyone who has visited Las Vegas knows, the buffet is a central experience to the casino culture. Luckily our local casino, the Seminole Hard Rock, didn't forget this when they established Fresh Harvest. Everything is top-notch at the Hard Rock and Fresh Harvest has gained the reputation as the best full-cuisine buffet in town. Diners can take a tour around world sampling everything from brick-oven pizza to dim sum is available, cooked fresh in seven live-action kitchens. With an open kitchen area, you can even watch the food being cooked before it's brought to the line. The perfect place to scratch that buffet itch! (813-627-7625)
About Skye Rodgers
Skye has lived in Tampa for over 16 years and spends much of her time exploring the region and discovering its hidden treasures. As a native of Canada, Skye has happily embraced the no cold, no snow climate and enjoys basking on the beautiful beaches of the Gulf of Mexico and navigating the waters of Tampa Bay. When not out exploring Tampa, Skye is a freelance writer and public relations professional. She currently provides public relations counsel on a freelance basis to non-profits, social enterprises and small business.
Read more about Skye Rodgers here.