In May I asked my readers what their favorite places in the Raleigh area for brunch are (and congratulations to Jennifer K. for winning the $25 gift card to Target for her suggestion.) I received numerous recommendations and have tried to eat at most of the places suggested. So finally, after many, many months of research, I’ve come up with some of my favorites. Because I like so many places I tried, I’ve decided to divide this post into two separate parts: Buffets and Menu Only.
This part concentrates on some the buffets I visited in Raleigh, which are only open on Sundays. I actually prefer ordering from a menu rather than going to a buffet, mainly because I tend to eat too much because I want to try everything in sight. I then wind up feeling miserable for a few hours. Oh the things I do for this blog!
Here are four of my favorite Raleigh brunch buffets.
Paparazzi Ristorante Italiano (8450 Honeycutt Rd., Raleigh, NC 27615) $19.95, children 12 and under $9.95. Hours: 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Paparazzi has traditional breakfast fare such as Eggs Benedict, made-to-order omelets, fresh fruit and nice crisp bacon, breakfast breads, etc. It offers a variety of chilled salads, including an awesome mini Caprese salad that is fresh and goes great with the yummy pizzas that are made in wood-fired oven or with one of the offerings from the pasta station. There is also a carving station (on my visit it had ham and beef) as well as a dessert section where you can get cheesecake, cannolis, etc.
Coffee, tea, juice, sodas and bottomless mimosas come with the meal, or you can visit the Create Your Own Bloody Mary Bar ($5.00) Overall this is my favorite Sunday brunch buffet. I like the variety and quality of food, the atmosphere of the restaurant, the way they buffet is laid out and the service. Oh, and those bottomless mimosas!
Buku (110 East Davie St., Raleigh, NC 27601)$19.95, children under 12 $9.95. Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Buku has a wide variety of offerings including the usual breakfast food such as eggs, homemade pastries, bagels with works, sausage, bacon, etc. as well as omelet, waffle and carving stations. You can also dish up globally inspired cuisine. On our trip this included Mediterranean fare with grape leaves, hummus, etc., Chinese food with dumplings and spring rolls, Indian offerings, vegetarian burritos, etc. We’ve been a few times and the place is always packed. Brad likes the array of desserts – I’m always too full to try them. This was Brad’s favorite buffet (he tried all of them except Paparazzi.) Mimosas are $7.50 – the pour is nothing special. Bloody Mary’s ($8.00) are made with Absolut pepper vodka. Coffee, tea, juice and sodas start at $2.50.
I recommend that you make reservations to ensure a seat – this place is quite popular and the buffet line moves slowly at times, partly because of the crowds and partly because of its layout. Outside seating is available. Service overall is OK.
The Oxford (319 Fayetteville St., Raleigh, NC 27601) $15.50, children 10 and under $7.50. Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
The Oxford has a nice spread of breakfast and lunch items on its brunch buffet. It has your traditional scrambled eggs, or at least I think it does – the pan was empty each time I went to the buffet. Oh well, the fruit was fresh and the bacon was nice and crisp — the best I’ve had on a buffet. I also had biscuits with sausage gravy that was awesome. Brad had a made-to-order omelet with ham and cheese that he liked. There is also a pancake/waffle station and a carving station.
I tried the fried chicken, which was great. So was the mac and cheese – the top of it was browned perfectly. I had a small salad with some fantastic bleu cheese dressing – we’re talking big chunks of bleu cheese. Brad had had a red velvet cupcake concoction that he thought was yummy – unfortunately I did not have room.
Oxford’s Bloody Mary bar ($5.00) has lots of good garnishes such as celery, cukes, olives, horseradish, hot sauces, etc. You can have Zing Zang Bloody Mary mix or homemade juice (although they were out of the homemade mix – it must have run off with the scrambled eggs.)
We sat outside, which was nice for a mid-October day. The service was good, not outstanding, but server was pleasant enough. I would go back.
Tir Na Nog Irish Pub and Restaurant (218 South Blount St., Raleigh, NC 27601) $11.95, children $6.95, children under 5 free. Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
I’ve been to Tir Na Nog’s brunch buffet a few times over the years and have enjoyed each visit. It has a breakfast and lunch bar, carving station, omelet station, salad bar, dessert bar and one of Raleigh’s first Bloody Mary bars, with great garnishes and a bunch of different hot sauces.
We took the kids and they definitely got their money’s worth (especially with the bacon they consumed and the desserts they shoveled down.) I had to agree with them on the bacon – nice and crisp! I tried most of the salads, which were all flavorful and fresh, and had some pico de gallo that was out of this world. Good pour on my mimosa as well!
I love the atmosphere of this place, the service was quite good and the price is so reasonable, especially compared to other buffets.
OK, so here’s my brunch list so far. Please stay tuned for Raleigh’s Best Brunches: Part 2, where I recommend a number of places that you order from the menu, some of which serve brunch on Saturdays as well as Sundays. I’ll be posting that in the next week or so.
BTW – there are still a few brunch buffets in Raleigh that I want to try, including Babylon and Hibernian. Other suggestions are welcome!
Eat, drink and be merry!