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Toronto’s Top Three All You Can Eat

Friday, August 25, 2006

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Hungry? For real food this time?

Tanya fills us in — and up — with the best All You Can Eat dining destinations to be found in our fair city. So if you’re feeling peckish, give one of these places a try.

Little India
255 Queen St. W.
From 11 am until 3 pm

Little India is the best Indian buffet in Toronto, hands down; it’s available only at lunch for only $8.95. It isn’t the biggest buffet Toronto has to offer, but it boasts four or five main dishes, a wide variety of salads, and the little extras like mango ice cream and fresh fruit that make it a great choice. The quality of the food is amazing, and I believe it’s the best butter chicken I have ever tasted. Beverages are a little pricier than I’d like, but the Chai tea is freshly made with real ginger, and its spicy flavour really complements the food. The staff at Little India are friendly and beyond courteous, and they pay attention to the level of water in your glass (to me, that is of the utmost importance if you’re not having any other beverage). They also refill every item before it runs out, so that you’re rarely left waiting for a particular item. The naan runs out sometimes, but the waiters bring it fresh to your table when it’s ready. The only downside to eating at Little India is its popularity. The tables are almost always full, and you usually have to wait 5 – 10 minutes before being seated. But trust me, it’s worth it. Oh, and extra points for real tablecloths on the tables and cloth napkins, as well as the fancy water pitchers. Best Item – Butter Chicken.

Sushi Island
571 College St. W.

Sushi sushi sushi! Going to Sushi Island requires some planning. First, eat here only if you are definitely hungry, because for the price, you should get your money’s worth. The menu has three levels, depending on how many options you want. Pay $12.99 for a decent selection of sushi and vegetarian sushi options. The second, at $18.99 is the one I usually go for. It gives you a selection of anything on the menu excluding the sashimi and nigiri items. This includes appetizers (of which there are plenty delectable choices) and desserts. I recommend the bananas with green tea ice cream. I have yet to try the banana pancake for two, because I’m usually too full when the time comes to order. The third option at $20.99 is everything including the sashimi and nigiri, with a few exceptions for the fresh raw stuff. Take into account who you will be dining with, because the whole table has to pick the same priced option. Remember also that Sushi Island is all you can eat, but you have to eat everything you order. It’s best to go with at least one other person who will share with you, because most orders are 8 pieces, and you can become full without sampling a variety of options. The downsides — don’t be in a hurry because the service can be really, really slow, and it can take forever to get a refill on tea or water. UPDATE: It appears Sushi Island has really gone downhill in terms of service since this review was written. I still think the sushi selection is good, but it might not be worth it if service is a high priority for you (see comments below).

Best item – Jade Island Roll (tempura shrimp and grapes, plus a few other things).

The Hot House Café
35 Church St.
Wednesdays starting at 5pm

For a great buffet when in need of some comfort food, or “down-home cookin’,” go to The Hot House Café on a Wednesday night. I can’t begin to explain how many great things they have to eat in this place. You walk up to the buffet and it’s sort of overpowering – it makes you want to hop from foot to foot with an empty plate in your hand, savouring the delight of eating so much. To start — soups, fresh rolls of various colours and flavours, cold salmon, and a selection of fruits and cheeses. There’s a really great pasta salad, and a really delicious potato salad — oh and the Thai salad! God, I wish it was Wednesday today. And for main courses – cheese lasagne, mussels, BBQ chicken, ribs, and roast beef. The buffet is $17.95, and they’ve raised their prices since I started going there. The service is usually really good, and the dining room is nicely decorated. They recommend that you make reservations, and I would also suggest calling ahead because it can get very busy. Bonus points for the crazy wax build-up candle sticks on the bar. Downside — it’s really far from my house, and afterwards I’m almost too full to walk back. Oh — and they have a Sunday Breakfast Buffet as well. I just haven’t tried it yet, because I’m afraid it would be so good that I’d have to go every Sunday. Best Item – Everything.ydennekaynat

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30 Comments leave one →
  1. Jimmy Lee permalink
    Thursday, July 5, 2007 2:47 pm

    hey there you may want to revisit your review of sushi island. many details including the price and what’s included in each price segment is inaccurate. For example you do not get sushi for 16.99.

    I went last night based on your review and I was terribly disappointed. the service was rude, the rice was undercooked and the manager actually interrupted our meal to tell us specifically that we only have an hour 30 minutes to eat. That’s an understandable rule but who actually goes around telling people that?! It was a very unpleasant experience and I will not be back there again.

    FYI we got the 20.99 menu just so we could try everything. needless to say that was a waste of money.

    • oaznigel permalink
      Wednesday, April 15, 2009 5:11 pm

      try Aji Sai on Queen Street — much better, I’ve switched completly

  2. James17930 permalink
    Friday, July 6, 2007 10:08 am

    Oh oh — looks like you’ve got some ‘splaining to do Tanya. Although, you do warn about the service.

  3. Tanya permalink
    Friday, July 13, 2007 12:17 am

    Well Jimmy, I did truly warn you about the service. And sadly, Sushi Island did not enter into an agreement with me to keep their prices the same as they were when the review was written (last August). Those bastards.

  4. pete permalink
    Saturday, August 25, 2007 11:53 pm

    Some friends and I went to Sushi Island.The service sucked so much that we left the restaurant without eating.Talk about unbelievingly rude waitresses and managers.

    We chose the most expensive AYCE at $20.99 ($22.99 because we were there on a weekend) because we wanted sashimi.The manager was shockingly rude!One of the first sentences she said to welcome us was “You are given 1 1/2 hours to order & eat & then you have to leave because it is packed today”. We understood there is usually a time limit to AYCE but saying it in such a rude way before you even sit down is just plain rude!Then, we tried to order 30 pieces of salmon sashimi for 8 and the manager said, “I think 30 pieces is too much. Why don’t you try take 15 instead?” So we decided to be nice and was okay with the salmon and we proceed to order 20 pieces of red snapper on top of the salmon and she said, “Why don’t you order other types of sashimi and less of this because you have to take other customers and tables into consideration”. At this point, we were like “What?!”. First, we have to be told in a rude way that we have to finish 1 1/2 hours on the dot. Second, she cuts down the portion on whatever we want to order and third, we have to take other customers/tables into consideration on what we want to eat?Geez how ridiculous!Needless to say, at this point we decided that we had enough and walked out of the restaurant. I have never been to a restaurant that is so rude and arrogant in my life. When we told her we had enough and we were leaving she said “FINE!” like it doesn’t really matter anyways. Think twice before you go to this place! Even if the food is good, with such service you don’t really have any appetite left to eat at the end! And do not go there when you are celebrating a special occasion unless you want it ruined!

  5. tanya permalink
    Wednesday, September 5, 2007 10:35 am

    Well it seems like Sushi Island is not up to par these days. I withdraw my recommendation. Go to Hot House Cafe instead.

  6. Thursday, September 6, 2007 1:26 pm

    Well, if it makes you feel any better, “Pete” left the same review over at Resaturantica. His name was “Cheryl” then…maybe some gamesmanship between local businesses?

  7. igs permalink
    Thursday, October 25, 2007 9:26 am

    Wasabi
    plaza south east of Pacific Mall nice

  8. Kappy permalink
    Saturday, December 29, 2007 2:33 pm

    I was at Sushi Island last night and the service was formidable. I have never had bad service there. Perhaps the commenters have misinterpreted efficiency as rudeness.

  9. alex permalink
    Friday, January 11, 2008 2:13 pm

    For sushi buffet (or sushi in general) hit Annex….Mariko I think is the name of the buffet and is very decent and priced under $20.

  10. sushi man permalink
    Monday, February 4, 2008 3:03 am

    well for sushi,, i knw this place..
    NATURAL SUSHI ( yonge and bloor) all i did was walk on the left handside when i got off the subway…

    i can guarantee the following.. for 11.99(lunch)

    its a very homely place.. i mean great service..friendly chefs..very friendly waitresses. service is simply amazing.. and ofc the sushi is amazing too…

    for 11.99 u get quite a few to order.. and ther is a 17.99 which practicallly gives you everytin including sashimi…

    and Best part of all ther is no time limit haha.. i go ther almost 2 times a week. with friends.. and i stay ther for like 3-4 hrs max….( cuz we go ther to discuss assignments and ofc eat sushi)

    regards
    vik

  11. James17930 permalink
    Monday, February 4, 2008 4:09 am

    Yes! I used to live in that area and have been to Natural Sushi many times. It’s on the west side of Yonge just south of Charles st.

    I highly recommend it as well.

  12. tgjkennedy permalink
    Monday, February 4, 2008 10:21 am

    I also go there for a quick bite before I watch movies at Varsity. I recommend the veggie sushi platter – ooh and the deep fried banana fritters there are excellent.

  13. Anonymous permalink
    Friday, July 18, 2008 11:55 am

    Masi sushi all you can eat, on Isabella and younge street. All you can eat for between 17 and 20 dollars.

    You never get rushed, and you can order anything off the menu from sushi to shrimp etc., I have seen some light attitude to BIG eaters, but they keep it coming.

    They do make mistakes, and they “forget” things all too often, which I think is their cost cutting measure..>BUT, food is decent and atmosphere is good.

    Avoid lunch, too limited menu, dinner best.

  14. joanna permalink
    Tuesday, February 9, 2010 6:29 pm

    Hi there,

    We went to Sushi Island a few days ago- we were invited by some friends, so we couldn’t actually tell them it’s a bad choice based on your reviews.
    Unfortunately, it was a terrible experience indeed.
    We were told about the hour and a half as well..but that was nothing; when it came to ordering, it didn’t matter we were trying to order for all of us, not one by one, and indeed we were told that we’d better order less…sooo insulting, when you have the option of all u can eat, which in this case was “ALL U CANNOT EAT” for the money we were spending in their place.

    Terrible, miserable experience – same opinion as the rest.

    • tgjkennedy permalink
      Wednesday, February 10, 2010 12:52 am

      I’m really sad to hear that… I was hoping the really rude service thing was just going to be a phase for them or something. I’ve been frequenting Natural Sushi on Yonge Street instead, or Bikkuri (King and Church or Queen East locations).

      Hopefully the Sushi Island Rolls are still good at Sushi Island though. Then at least they will have one thing going for them…

  15. David C permalink
    Friday, April 2, 2010 6:41 pm

    Someone else mentioned it above, but you should really try Aji Sai. I’ve been going there for 5 years whenever I’m in Toronto, starting at the Yonge St location. The last time I was there, in ’08, only the Richmond Hill/Thornhill location had the buffet. They seem to have poor reviews since then on Google, whereas the Yonge St location appears to have the buffet again and has better reviews on US. I’d definitely go there if you can. Their kidney bean ice cream was great too!

  16. Miranda X. permalink
    Sunday, June 6, 2010 2:06 pm

    Hi there everyone,

    I went to Sishi Island a couple of weeks ago thinking I would have the best time of my life on my 30th birthday there. Unfortunately I was wrong. I go in with a couple of friends and they say “You have this amount of time to eat and leave” and I was like how rude. Second, I had to use the bathroom and the bathroom is around the corner of the kitchen. I go into the bathroom and one of the man chef is drunk as he can be in the womens bathroom. I immediately told him to get out or I will tell his manager. He didn’t listen to me. He started jerking off his long inch penis. He had the key to the bathroom and locked me inside with him in the bathroom while holding me down. I was raped in the bathroom and I was told if I ever do tell his manager he will kill me. I immediately ran out of the bathroom and alarmed everyone saying someone just raped me. They called the ambulance and I was taken care of. So NEVER NEVER NEVER go to Sushi Island. True Story

    • Sunday, June 6, 2010 5:21 pm

      But how was the food?

    • NO NAME permalink
      Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:46 pm

      WHAT A BUNCH OF BULL SHIT!

      • James permalink
        Wednesday, July 28, 2010 2:10 am

        Can you be more specific? Do you mean us or the sushi? Or are you being literal? Should we be calling the health inspection office?

  17. Wednesday, August 11, 2010 9:54 am

    Hey, just wanted to let you know in Opera, your site is showing 3 errors based around dhtml – just thought you should know

    • Wednesday, August 11, 2010 7:01 pm

      Thanks for the info — though I have no idea what that actually means.

      • Wednesday, August 11, 2010 7:50 pm

        It means you talk to spambots.

        • Wednesday, August 11, 2010 10:06 pm

          Dammit! I blame Akismet.

          Although give them credit — it fooled both of us (me and Akismet).

          • no name permalink
            Thursday, January 13, 2011 4:14 pm

            I AM NOT A SPAM BOT!

  18. Anonymous permalink
    Wednesday, August 31, 2011 2:20 pm

    I have no idea what everyone is talking about!! Last time I visited Sushi Island, my first too by the way, I had a splendid experience. The food arrived within minutes, and our waitress was civilized. Nobody came up to our table and told us about a time limit. Maybe it’s because the three of us went a bit later on in the evening. It was still packed and very busy, so unless they have a sushi making machine in the back, I’d say the service was up to par. The sushi and appetizers were amazing. We had ordered a multitude of variations, our whole table was filled with plates and bowls we had to start stacking empty dishes right away. I would recommend going back. Actually, I’m heading off to go down there as of this minute.

  19. Anonymous permalink
    Wednesday, August 31, 2011 2:21 pm

    Aji Sai is pretty amazing too, but I’ve heard rumors that one of their best locations has been closed down.

  20. Big time Sushi fan permalink
    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 2:28 pm

    HEY? Sushi Island has a lot of competition along College alone, let alone other streets in the area. I’m amazed at how many all you can eat sushi places there are along College street! How do they all pay their rent with that much competition so close together?

    I think the BEST sushi can be found at Keele and Finch! I forget the name of the place, but I love their Sushi, and thier Sushi Pizza MUCH better than Sushi Island, PLUS there is a “help yourself” buffet to go with the sushi food that you order seperately (included in all you can eat — $18.99)

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