Article By Mike Leaner
No.33 Wei Yang Road
(029) 8626 8888-6211
6:30am – 10:30am (Breakfast)
Noon – 2:00pm (Saturday/Sunday)
6:00pm – 9:30pm (Dinner)
Average Price per Person /人均消费:78/98/168 RMB
PROS: Nice, varied spread
CONS: When we went, the dim sum was just different shapes of mantou
Buffets tend to stress me out. Eat too little and you’ll feel like you’ve wasted your money; eat too much and you might recoup the costs, but you also might feel like dying. That’s doubly true when it comes to the hotel buffets, where you’ll be scrambling to try and recoup the hundreds of RMB you’ll spend per person.
It’s nice, then, that the Novotel Buffet exists. Located in the Novotel in north Xi’an, it’s just a hop, skip and a jump away from Longshouyuan Station on Line 2. Once there, hop in the elevator and you’ll be brought straight there. The interior is an expansive room with several stations set up full of food and a lot of cozy booths and tables to sit at. There’s just a touch of class in the decorations, enough to make you feel like you’re somewhere nice without making you feel like you’re out of your league.
It’ll cost you 168RMB per person to get in, and the spread they offer is varied without being overwhelming. Admittedly, foods on offer lean a bit to the Chinese side of things. You’ll be able to get some dishes, yes, but you can also get individual hot pot and seafood barbecue if that’s what you so desire. You’ll be able to get a few foreign foods as well; there’s, of course, that smattering of “American” food, like fried potatoes and pizza, but of particular strength is the offering of Japanese foods—there’s sushi and sashimi, and the Japanese-style chicken curry was a highlight for me (be warned sushi-eaters, the wasabi is extra super strong, and I’m not a person who says that lightly). My companion, on the other hand, went ape for the raw bar.
As with every other buffet, the big question is: how much food should you choke down before you hit the dessert table? Novotel has no answers to that, but the thought will tumble over in your mind while the chocolate fountain and imported ice cream taunt you from across the room. Other things you can expect are free-flow drinks, including soft drinks, coffee, beer and even a bit of vodka on ice.
So, is the Novotel Buffet the best in town? Unfortunately no, but even the nice woman who showed us around would be the first to admit that. What it is, however, is pretty good, affordable and a nice splurge every once in a while that should be part of your considerations the next time you feel like going all-out.
Mike Leaner likes to get dirty but not for free. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org