Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Orlando buffet roundup!

Last week the four of us went to Orlando. What a haven for those like me who love inexpensive buffets! We tried several, but the three below are all prominent chains in Orlando, so I thought I'd compare them. Thankfully, all three had mac and cheese in abundance for the boys!

CiCi's Pizza:

The good (CiCi's Pizza):
The cheapest of the bunch. The hot pizza came steadily with a variety of toppings. I loved the chewy crust! A mere $23 fed our family of four, so the value was amazing.

Salad bar at CiCi's

To be desired (CiCi's Pizza):
The dessert section had only three or four items and overall the selection of foods was the slimmest of the three buffets here. The chicken was finely diced into little cubes--so small you wouldn't guess it was chicken. With the bright colors and games surrounding the eating area, I felt like I was at a Chuck E Cheese.
CiCi's pizza: Yes, those little cubes you see are chicken

Golden Corral:
Meatloaf at Golden Corral

The good (Golden Corral): 
The desserts were great! They had two chocolate fountains--one dark, one white--and a caramel fountain. The selection was amazing (what other buffet includes liver and onions?), running deep on breakfast and lunch items just before the noon hour. They offered us as many pint-sized cartons of milk as we wanted, even including chocolate milk.

The chicken was fall-off-the-bone tender at Golden Corral

Pick your pasta! There's a lot of it at Golden Corral

The lasagna at Golden Corral was the best of the buffets I tried in Orlando

The cakes were delicious! I wished I had the room for all of them.

The chocolate fountains were A-OK at the Corral!
A couple of boys found what they were looking for at Golden Corral.

To be desired (Golden Corral):
The service was friendly, but not prompt. We were already almost done with lunch when the server asked us if we wanted anything to drink.

Wood Grill:
The ribs at Wood Grill were top notch.

The good (Wood Grill):
The pork ribs were terrific! The barbecue sauce caramelized deliciously into a sweet, burnt crust on the meat. I'd have that sauce with ribs any day of the week. Also, the fruit pies came with a delicious, flakey crust. The selection of meats, which included chicken cooked at least four different ways (by my count), steak and burgers was good.
There was a great variety of fresh fruit available at Wood Grill.
The salad bar was equally comprehensive with three different types of leafy salads and a fine selection of fruit including grapes, honeydew, cantaloupe, oranges, apples and pineapple.

The grill at Wood Grill was always cranking out meat.
Of the three buffets, this one was the proverbial clean, well lighted place.

You could pick any pie at Wood Grill and wouldn't go wrong.
To be desired (Wood Grill):
The most expensive of the restaurants reviewed here. At $46 for this family of four, Wood Grill can't be considered cheap. Also, there wasn't open access to the chocolate fountain. So, you needed help from behind the counter, which wasn't always well attended.
The beans at Wood Grill were right on, but the hamburger was a little overdone. It was great that they had individually wrapped hamburgers and cheeseburgers, though.

And the winner is...Wood Grill! The pork ribs were simply amazing. (Without the ribs, I would go with Golden Corral with their outstanding variety and desserts). Also, the roomy, clean environment made this a great spot for any occasion. I could meet friends here, for example, and feel confident that I picked a venue that would please everyone.
The chocolate fountain at Wood Grill looked great. It's too bad, though, that frequently nobody was there to help you access it.