Camellia Buffet Cooks Up Feast Fit for FamilyFeatures Inside Feature
April 13, 2014
Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: Nathalie Walker
The “thrill of the grill” keeps generations of diners flocking to Camellia Buffet as they have done for the last 30-plus years, and the popular establishment continues to attract customers of all ages with quality Korean-influenced cuisine prepared yakiniku style at every table.
The spacious restaurant, which is appropriately named after a stunning flower that remains in bloom through all seasons, is situated conveniently on McCully Street and offers ample parking. The bountiful buffet is available daily during lunch (10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.) and dinner (2:30-10 p.m.).
The all-you-can-eat buffet remains affordable for the whole family, and offers an enjoyable experience for patrons, whether it’s dinner for two or a large birthday party, wedding celebration or special gathering. The lunch buffet costs $17.95 per person and $25.95 for dinner, while children ages 4 to 8 receive discounted rates of $13 and $15, respectively.
Diners celebrating a birthday eat for free when joining a party of 10, and as a reminder, this can’t-miss offer is not combinable with any other discounts. Camellia Buffet also is an ideal location for families celebrating Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and reservations are recommended as space fills up quickly (coupons or other discounts will not be honored on these two celebratory days).
“Yakiniku refers to the Japanese term for tabletop cooking, but we offer a wide range of traditional Korean-style dishes,” explains manager Kelly Park. “Some people like their meat cooked a certain way, and with the grills at each table, you can prepare each item the way you like it.
“You can keep going back for more — eat as much as you like for one price. We have plenty of space, so large families and big groups can get together,” she says.
More than 50 selections grace the buffet line, including kalbi spare ribs, barbecue beef, barbecue pork, spicy chicken, Korean pancake, teriyaki chicken and multiple kimchee varieties. The dinner buffet also includes ribeye and flank steak, calamari, spicy fried chicken and various desserts, including ice cream from the ever-popular self-serve machine.
Park explains that Camel-lia Buffet recently added pork belly to its lunch and dinner spreads. The meat is similar to bacon, although it usually is enjoyed lightly grilled so the meat remains tender and soft — and the pork belly’s natural salt content pairs perfectly with one’s favorite beverage. Beef brisket also is a recent addition to the dinner menu, and is delicious when combined with a host of fresh vegetables including bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini and garlic.
Camellia Buffet also serves up local favorites, including fried rice, orange chicken, mandoo and onion rings, which are all made fresh in-house, and have become popular among children, and those young at heart. Park also recommends chow mein for the keiki to enjoy while meats are cooking on the grill.
“The onion rings and the orange chicken go really quickly — those are easier to munch on while you wait for the meat to cook,” says Park. “We also make our sauces with traditional Korean recipes and flavors that are passed down from many generations.”
The buffet also features an array of side dishes that add unique flavors and textures to the dining experience. Diners may select from fresh and hot soups, including seaweed soup, miso soup and red bean porridge, as well as a slew of offerings including pickled onions, edamame, green salad, seaweed and macaroni salad. The eatery also offers beverages from its full-service bar, and customers can indulge in Korean sweet tea, a popular after-meal drink made fresh and served daily.
“If you’re looking for a different kind of dining experience, I would ask customers to come in and give us a try,” Park says. “If you haven’t been here in a while, we have some new items on the buffet, as well as original favorites. We’ve been able to keep our prices low without sacrificing the taste. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, and you get to enjoy as much food as you want.”
930 McCully St.
Daily Lunch: 1 0:3 0 A.M.-2:3 0 P.M.
Dinner: 2:3 0-1 0 P.M.