Toronto

Proud to be Canadian: Mandarin Buffet

Can I be 100% real for a moment? Mandarin Buffet was pretty much a staple of my childhood growing up. Every weekend (Sunday to be exact), my dad would take me to the Mandarin Buffet where we would chow down and catch up on life. You know: like good parents do.

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Fast-forward to 2014: here I am at the Mandarin Buffet with my home-girls Yuli (lead photographer in life) and writer, Carly. Since we took a road-trip, we find ourselves at the Mandarin Buffet in Niagara Falls and can I say, it doesn’t feel like much has changed since I was a kid. This isn’t a bad thing though because creature comforts, for the win.

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As we step into Mandarin, we’re greeted with a warm and friendly: “Welcome” from three of their hostesses all dressed in kimonos. The big fish pond near the entrance is still there with gold-fish bigger than my head. We’re taken to our table (each room in Mandarin has a different ‘theme’) where there is a huge cherry blossom tree jutting out from the ceiling. It’s uh, pretty epic.

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One thing that has changed is they just recently offered up a ‘Celebrate Canada’ menu (available until July 31) which has some pretty bad-ass offerings like poutine, potato skins, maple-glazed salmon and tourtiere. As if we weren’t already feeling overwhelmed by options, now we had this whole other layer added on to it. Oh, lest we forget that Friday to Sunday is Crab Leg Celebration. The choices!

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As we made our way through the buffet aisles, we loaded up our plates – not once, not twice but three times. Each trip was like a whole different discovery including sushi (uh, they had a BLT roll!), general tao chicken (also another new menu item), potato skins, sweet & sour chicken balls, wonton soup and shrimp shrimp and more shrimp.

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First things first, the food is actually pretty decent. I mean, it’s a buffet and Mandarin takes the quality pretty seriously, from what I could tell. For example: great attention is taken to items like the maple-glazed salmon which can go stale quickly under hot-lights. The salmon was actually pretty flakey and tasty. Also, the amount you pay ($28.99 Fri-Sun for dinner, $21.99 Mon-Thurs for dinner) is actually pretty fair. You get a huge amount of food while eating in an entertaining atmosphere. It’s no wonder we saw so many families while we were there.

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The Mandarin buffet has something for everyone and with the launch of their Celebrate Canada menu, it really does include a bit of cuisine from everywhere. Check it out and create some memories for you and your loved ones over a set of sweet & sour chicken balls.

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