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All-you-can-eat buffets: Where to find them in your city

South Africa’s food scene has no shortage of scrumptious self-service spreads and buffets for those leisurely all-you-can-eat lunches and dinners. Local hotel restaurants, sushi bars and wine farms are pulling out the stops with their abundant buffet options. To make your next indulgent Sunday roast or high tea an easy one, we’ve hunted down some of the country’s most popular spots for a generous buffet helping. From hearty full English breakfasts and spicy curries to traditional roasts and fresh seafood offerings, here’s where to buffet in style in your area.

Johannesburg

Aqua Lounge at BON Hotel (Vaal)
Part of the BON Hotel Riviera on Vaal, the Petit Verdot riverboat is a floating restaurant which is sure to be a treat for the whole family on a lazy Sunday afternoon that’s all about eating, relaxation and floating gently on the water. Look forward to the likes of roast chicken, grilled fish, roast beef and cold meats. R320 covers your lunch and cruise. Reservations are essential and the buffet cruise is on weekends only.

Fresh Farm Fusion (Lanseria)
Set on in the charming organic Monaghan farm in Lanseria, Fresh Farm Fusion is all about simple, wholesome and memorable food, consistent with its location. Organic and ethically sourced stews, steaks, lamb, beef and other main-course options (including five starters and five desserts) are part of the country experience. Prices range from R250 to R350, depending on the buffet menu and the occasion. Reservations are essential.

Moyo (Zoo Lake)
Treat the whole family or your friends to a buffet lunch or dinner at Moyo in a relaxing yet festive setting. While there’s a breakfast buffet served every Saturday and Sunday from 8.30am to 11.30am, the more tempting prospect for those who like to sleep in on weekends is the Budgetarian lunch buffet, comprising no less than 40 different dishes. These include the likes of tagines, venison potjie, three-bean curry, ox tripe, shisa nyama and seafood. There’s no shortage of sides either, including African spinach, phutu and sheba, sweet-potato bake, and samp and beans. The buffet lunch is served between 12.30pm to 4pm on weekends at  R199 per adult, R159 per pensioner and R99 for kids aged between 6 and 11 years. Reservations are recommended.

Chief’s Boma African Dining Experience Restaurant (Fourways)
This restaurant at Indaba Hotel Fourways makes for an excellent mid-week celebratory dinner venue. With marimba music adding to the ambience, the tables laden with more than 120 different types of African dishes make it feel like an authentic feast. Not only is the insatiable local appetite for shisa nyama grills, lamb curry and game stew catered for, but you can also expect ostrich, impala, springbok, kudu, warthog and wildebeest as part of the grill offering. A sublime array of desserts ends off the meal: think Amarula crème brulée, Kahlùa cheesecake and koeksisters. The menu is subject to change daily, so check for your favourite dishes when you make your reservation. Dinner is R235 per person (Monday to Thursday) or R215 (Friday to Sunday), and lunch is R215 on Sundays only.

Carnivore Restaurant (Muldersdrift)
Best known for serving succulent chunks of meaty delicacies such as crocodile and kudu from Masai spears wielded by waiters, Carnivore is an extravagant affair. The restaurant set in Misty Hills Country Hotel, Conference Centre and Spa is true to its name, boasting a huge selection of meat. Start with soup of the day and honey bread, before moving onto an array of mouth-watering salads – three-bean, salsa, sweetcorn, baby marrow and others – placed on a Lazy Susan. These preliminaries ought to ensure that your feasting is balanced. There are also seafood and vegetarian options and the menu does change, so double-check when you book. The Beast of a Feast experience will set you back R285 per person (R145 for kiddies aged between 4–11). Do make a reservation.

Fresh Earth Café (Emmarentia)
Served from 12 noon to 3pm daily, this harvest table is a vegetarian’s paradise. Dish options are hearty and healthy, including salads, basmati rice and veggie stews. You can also order from the menu: falafel burgers, shepherd’s pie or bobotie made with lentils instead of mince, banting-friendly meals, and hand-made and sugar-free ice cream for dessert. The restaurant is warm and intimate, an ideal place to meet for lunch or set up coffice. No reservations are necessary to feast from the harvest table. Prices are dependent on the weight of your serving.

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Fruits & Roots (Bryanston)
Offering a harvest table at lunchtime from Monday to Sunday, the restaurant at Hobart Grove Shopping Centre in Bryanston is a sunny, airy, and welcoming haven for the healthy-food seeker. Feast on vegetarian salads and quiches and get good value in every sense for your money. Reservations are not necessary. You pay by weight.

Pretoria

Blue Crane (Brooklyn)
This establishment awes visitors with its views of birds strutting their stuff on the pond. A daily breakfast buffet offers a continental option at R105 per person; a cooked option at R125, and a full breakfast at R145. The latter includes fresh fruit juice, coffee or tea; a fresh fruit platter with muesli and yoghurt; muffins, croissants and health bread; a cheese selection; and cold meats with cocktail tomatoes; olives, gherkins and preserves. The hot breakfast buffet features scrambled or fried eggs; a vegetarian tartlet; chicken livers; grilled bacon; tomatoes stuffed with mushroom and cheese; and a couple of dessert items such as milk tart and chocolate brownies. The rather luxe lunch buffet on Sundays cost R250 for the whole buffet, or R190 if you should sample from the main course section only. (R40 for children under six and half-price for primary school children.) Starters may include Thai-style mussels and snoek in phyllo pastry with fresh bread and butter. The main buffet features lamb on the spit; traditional chicken pie; oxtail ragu in red wine; various vegetable dishes and salad. Desserts include decadent chocolate pudding, pavlova with berries and cream, and vanilla ice-cream with home-made chocolate sauce. The price includes filter coffee.

The deck at Blue Crane. Photo supplied.

The deck at Blue Crane. Photo supplied.

Geet (Brooklyn)
The buffets here are ideal for 10 or more guests and have to be booked in advance. Pay around R250 per person for starters like honey-coriander naan; stuffed kulcha; anarkali chicken kebabs (chargrilled chicken marinated with pomegranate); and chargrilled lamb samoosas. For mains, look forward to tempting items such as duck curry; quail; octopus; a variety of lamb dishes, from shank to lamb-rack curry; butter chicken; and lamb alleppy, a South-Indian-style preparation of meat cooked in coconut milk tempered with mustard seeds, curry leaves, soured with amchur (sundried mango powder) and tamarind. Vegan dishes include channa pindi masala, a chickpea masala curry flavoured with cardamom seeds, amchoor and anardana powder, and sepu wadi, a crispy lentil cake in a tomato-yoghurt curry. Desserts may feature gulab lamboo scented with saffron.

Vindaloo chops at Geet. Photo supplied.

Vindaloo chops at Geet. Photo supplied.

Monument Restaurant (Groenkloof)
Considering its location at the Voortrekker Monument, it is only fitting that this restaurant should serve boerekos. Open to the public on Sundays only, it seats a staggering 800 to 900 people. The buffet costs R180 per person and comprises a typical rendition of a Sunday meal. There are always two roasts and a couple of meat dishes and stews, such as legendary afval (traditional tripe curry). Mains would not be complete without three vegetables dishes, potatoes and rice. Starters are nicely displayed and include a variety of salads, finger snacks such as samoosas, tiny fishballs, biltong bites, cream-cheese balls and the like. A feast of desserts includes malva pudding, cheesecake, souskluitjies, sago pudding, Lamingtons, koeksisters, and many more.

Sheraton (Arcadia)
The Sheraton in Pretoria offers one of the best breakfasts alfresco, overlooking the historic Union Buildings. The hotel offers full breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets, seven days a week, with a range of vegetarian and Halaal choices. On Wednesdays an Indian buffet is the highlight, while on Thursday evenings the Magnolia Restaurant hosts an Italian buffet. The former includes the likes of tandoori chicken, koftas, aromatic korma shwarmas, saffron rice, naan bread, sambals and poppadums, while the latter features a variety ranging from wood-fired pizzas to delicious pastas. Breakfast and lunch are R295 per person and dinner is R330 per person.

Tatso (Menlyn)
On the other side of the spectrum (and the city) is a slick, modern version of the all-you-can-eat feast. Tatso is the newly opened buffet restaurant in the Time Square Casino. All the food is displayed in custom-made bain maries and warming drawers. Adults pay R175, children aged between seven and 14 pay R90 per person, and those between two and six pay R65. There are no windows, which makes it feel slightly like a conference centre, but the food is delicious and superbly presented. Fresh salad items, cold meats and breads are offered at separate stations, as well as stir-fry with all the trimmings. There’s also an array of beautiful glass-domed warming dishes containing hot stews, curries and lamb-neck bredie. The cheese station offers a good selection, plus fruits and preserves. The desserts are all presented individually in tiny cups for self-service, and include trifle, layered mousses, lemon tarts and many more.

Durban

Bamboo Sushi Lounge (Durban North and Umhlanga Rocks)
The all-you-can-eat sushi buffet is what draws crowds at this popular spot. The offering includes 30 varieties of sushi and sashimi for R185 per person. The seafood feast is offered on Sundays from 11am to 8pm. Thursday is also ladies’ night, when there is a R125 buffet special.

Delish Sisters (Salt Rock)
This wholesome and happy café offers a harvest-style buffet of colourful, seasonal food. Look forward to options like warm salads, pork sausages with sticky onion marmalade, phyllo cigars, quiches and tarts. Food is sold on a weigh-and-pay basis at R22.50 per 100g.

Inside Delish Sisters. Photo supplied.

Inside Delish Sisters. Photo supplied.

Jeera (Marine Parade)
Jeera at SunCoast Towers Hotel hosts a spicy Indian-themed buffet on Friday and Saturday nights for R295 per person. Chef Sandren Govender blends his own spices to create complex, flavourful dishes such as fish curry, butter chicken, tandoori and Indian breads. Diners can also enjoy biryani, dhal, salads, poppadums, an exotic array of sambals and, if there is any space left, sweet meats for dessert.

The Ocean Terrace at the Oyster Box Hotel (Umhlanga Rocks)
This super-stylish hotel does a legendary curry buffet for R390 that offers a wide variety of curry styles. Look forward to the Singaporean fish curry, butter chicken, and lamb vindaloo, as well as local curries like chicken and prawn or the signature lamb version. Tandoori chicken, homemade pickles and chutneys, naan bread, poppadum and roti are the perfect sides. For those wanting an earlier start, there’s also a breakfast buffet with fresh oysters and a selection of hot and cold dishes, plenty of bubbly, and beautiful views.

The Ocean Terrace at The Oyster Box. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The Ocean Terrace at The Oyster Box. Photo supplied.

Lingela at Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani (Snell Parade)
Lingela offers an extensive, old-fashioned buffet every day of the week. Various stations feature salads and cold meats, stir fries, a carvery, curries, line fish and a grill for the carnivorous. These are complemented by various starch options, a choice of around eight vegetable dishes, plus a cheeseboard and an array of desserts. Buffet prices are R310 per person from Monday to Friday, R265 on Saturday and Sunday. Kids aged four to 12 years pay R150.

Sprigs (Kloof)
Sprigs has a reputation for a wholesome, home-made pay-by-weight buffet spread that’s devoured every lunchtime by local foodies. The food is colourful and seasonal, celebrating a glorious abundance of healthy vegetables, grains and pulses. The wholesome harvest is sold by weight.

The sweet offering at Sprigs. Photo supplied.

The sweet offering at Sprigs. Photo supplied.

RJ’s Steakhouse (Morningside)
On Sundays, bring the whole family to enjoy a hearty buffet at this steakhouse. Opt for the breakfast buffet for R65.95 per adult and R32.95 per child under 12, or go for the lunch option for R129.95 per adult and R64.95 per child.

The Sugar Club at Beverly Hills Hotel (Umhlanga Rocks)
This plush hotel restaurant hosts a treat-filled Friday and Saturday high tea buffet from 2.30pm to 4.30pm for R320 per person. The menu includes a selection of savoury bites and sweet treats, served with Ronnefeldt loose-leaf teas.

Vasco’s Restaurant (Durban Central)
This hotel restaurant offers quality buffet-style dining with curry-themed evenings, stir-fry nights and carvery feasts, as well as the Off the Hook seafood buffet (R375), at which guests can indulge in ocean-themed delights. On Sundays, there’s also a South African-themed buffet lunch for R265.

A render of Vasco's interior. Photo supplied.

A render of Vasco’s interior. Photo supplied.

Versailles Restaurant at Blue Waters Hotel (Snell Parade)
This restaurant at the retro Blue Waters Hotel has been offering its legendary Sunday buffet (R195 per person) for decades. Main course options are the highlight and include roasts with the usual accompaniments, lamb curry, pork ribs and a pasta dish. Ask for a window table for blue sea views.

Cape Town

Active Sushi (De Waterkant)
Seafood lovers will be glad to know that this easy-going eatery offers a top-notch eat-all-you-like sushi buffet. Every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, patrons can dive in for a feast of sushi for R199 a head. An additional charge will be billed for sushi not eaten, so best plate up wisely.

Azure at The Twelve Apostles (Camps Bay)
The gorgeous sea views at this elegant hotel are enough to make anyone swoon. The hotel restaurant offers guests and locals a lavish buffet every Sunday for R345 per person, a daily breakfast buffet with bubbly and oysters for R285 per person, and a Tea by the Sea high-tea buffet for R275 per person.

The deck at Azure. Photo by Katharine Jacobs.

The deck at Azure. Photo by Katharine Jacobs.

Harvey’s at Winchester Mansions (Sea Point)
The music-filled Sunday buffet here is extremely popular with locals and tourists. It runs from 11am to 2pm and includes a brunch feast and a glass of bubbly on arrival for R320 per person. During the week there’s also the daily English breakfast from 7am to 11am for R165 per person.

Harvey's at Winchester Mansions. Photo supplied.

Harvey’s at Winchester Mansions. Photo supplied.

Kitima at the Kronendal (Hout Bay)
The legendary Sunday lunch buffet is available from 12 noon to 3.30pm and includes a variety of dim sum, soup, sushi, noodles, several main courses, a carvery and a variety of desserts for R345 per person.

Moyo (Kirstenbosch)
Tuck into the breakfast buffet for R115 per person and enjoy dishes like crunchy granola, cold meats, Cape cheeses, scrambled eggs and pork bangers. Kids aged five years and younger can enjoy the buffet at no cost.

Oasis at Belmond Mount Nelson (Gardens)
Find a spot on terrace overlooking the delightful Nellie gardens or a table in the charming interior and settle down to a Sunday breakfast or lunch feast. The morning buffet offering includes the likes of smoked salmon, eggs done any way you like, fresh breads and baked goodies, plus steaming cups of coffee for R365.

Oasis at the Belmond Mount Nelson. Photo supplied.

Oasis at the Belmond Mount Nelson. Photo supplied.

The Square at The Vineyard Hotel (Claremont)
The breakfast buffet includes a cold selection (R175 per person) of freshly squeezed juices, home-made jams and honey, fresh seasonal fruit, local artisanal cheeses, and a selection of pastries from the bakery. In the hot selection (R215 per person), guests can look forward to scrambled eggs, grilled tomatoes, pork sausages, sautéed mushrooms and bacon. The breakfast buffet runs Monday to Friday from 6.30am to 10.30am, and Saturday, Sunday and public holidays from 7.30am to 11am.

Winelands

Bosman’s Restaurant at The Grande Roche Hotel (Paarl)
Kick off the day with a luxurious breakfast buffet for R205 per person. The elegant setting will make you feel pampered while you enjoy offerings of seasonal fruit, local yoghurts and cheeses, cold cuts, and Danish pastries. Hot items include eggs done to your liking with a choice of hearty accompaniments. If you’re feeling festive, enjoy a glass of bubbly with oysters.

Bosman's at The Grande Roche. Photo supplied.

Bosman’s at The Grande Roche. Photo supplied.

Flavours at The Devon Valley Hotel (Stellenbosch)
Terrace-style eating is offered at this pretty spot nestled in the verdant Devon Valley, but there’s also the cosy interior for chilly days. The Sunday buffet is wildly popular and features around 12 starters, meaty main courses of lamb, pork, oxtail, famous chicken-and-mushroom pie, and various accompaniments. Desserts are a treat, and the cheese platter with pear-and-raisin chutney and excellent coffee complete the generous offering at R265 a head.

The Garden Terrace at NH Lord Charles (Somerset West)
Head to the Garden Terrace restaurant for a lavish breakfast buffet featuring everything from smoked salmon, pastries and cold cuts to grilled favourites, cheeses and breads, at R165 per person. Guests can also tuck into a large Sunday lunch buffet for R295.

Seventeen07 at Erinvale Hotel (Somerset West)
This picturesque Winelands restaurant serves a lavish lunch buffet every Sunday. Expect tables laden with excellent starters, soups, mains and desserts, with a carvery featuring roast pork with crackling and one other meat. (R225 per person). The menu changes regularly.

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