My family, including me will be rather busy end of the month with schedules and work commitments each of our own. So we’ve brought forward my birthday family dinner planned late month as part of my early birthday celebrations this year. This time it’s based on my mum’s recommendations to try out the international buffet at the Vienna international seafood and teppanyaki restaurant.

Located in the basement of United square right in front of the food junction entrance, you can’t miss the restaurant by the line of white gold-trimmed tables, not to mention crowds evident in the place always on weekends and dinner time. I’ve always had the impression of the it being a steamboat restaurant of sort when passing by always, little do I know only upon closer look on my visit where it’s actually a buffet joint and man do the people always come flocking in for it!

Price
For about $37++ a head, realistically you are paying about $40 per head plus all the extras. A price not that bad for a full international buffet menu. You also get a choice of 1 of 5 complimentary drinks (fruit punch is the most sought after). The place is run by a Taiwanese boss, who desires a typical flair of luxury, a typical of the restaurant royal furniture theme setting and extensive gold lit lighting fixtures.

Food quality
Personally, I am surprised by the quality of the food, especially the seafood which is always fresh and firm to the touch, you will get an assortment of snails, baby lobsters, crayfish, not to mention fresh oysters and clams (all firm, dry and fresh, not watery!) as well. For those who demand a little flair in taste there are specialty prepare and cooked clams with cheese just to name a afew. I’ve tried the seafood at Ritz Carton, but with the exception of a smaller spread and no free flow of large lobsters, amazingly I can say that Vienna seafood quality standard is actually slightly better, and for half the price you pay at Ritz, it’s simply a bargain!

I mean it’s amazing having it beat my seafood benchmark at many other hotels as well (mandarin, pan-pacific, calton, alson, furama, traders, swissotel, etc..) Ritz was always one of my favorite. Looks like things can change!

The buffet serving area
Food quality is actually quite good
Shot of the restaurant at closing

The other amazing thing is that they can even deliver this consistent food quality throughout the night in a full house packed Saturday, normally restaurants which are so loaded will tend to compromise on quality of the food, this is an exception!

Theres is quite an assortment of Japanese sushi and maki as well, not to mention lots of sashimi and exotic octopuses and tentacles. The Chinese menu is rather adequate with the usual blend of vegetables and meat dishes normally found on restaurant al-lacarte, there is also mandarin duck wraps and sharks fin soup as well.

Their western dishes however, are like simply non-existent. You only get a taste of western from a small beef corner tucked with cream soups and the free-flow teppanyaki section for all your “on-the-spot” chicken chops and grilled fish prepared and served to you. So you if you looking for lots of variety prime cut meats, sauces and deep fried foods, you are quite out of luck.

If the complimentary drink is not enough for you, there is quite an assortment of free flow drinks noticeable some cocktail ones served in shot glasses and even test tubes interesting touch indeed, contrary to drinking them as opposed in chemistry classes you’ve ever taken in high school.

The desserts section is rather adequate with an assortment of cakes you can find in budget hotels, but disappointing is the fruit and salad sections which are dwarfed in small serving plates as compared to the rest, the ice cream section is descent with the exception of it being also littered by cheaper “potong” ice-creams, now you can slowly see the budget side of the place.

When is the clash of several dominant cuisines the battle of cuisines collide there are definitely some interesting touches which can make a visit to Vienna an experience different from other, . is the clash of several dominant cuisines such as sharks fins icecream or

Service
Service if exceptionally good though the staff do not talk much or approach your table as welcomingly as managers in hotels. Here it’s simply just “get the job done” which I can say rather effective- plates are all cleared at an instant when you are done and never had I ever had the chance to pile my plates up at all. I can commend that to the large (and presumably cheaper as compared to hiring locals) Taiwanese Chinese speaking staff who work there (so make sure you go with a Chinese speaking friend if you don’t). Interestingly, they even have staff distributing dinner plates out to patrons going out for food.

Low downs
The main low down of the place will definitely be the ambiance- If a nice up class restaurant is a place you are looking for to spend a nice quiet or romantic evening, you are quite out of luck. It is almost like a “jumbo seafood” or “long beach” kind of family-kids joint, which tends to be frequented by most middle classes, not to mention a “seoul garden” to student gatherings and such. It simply just do not go in hand with the posh looking furniture and restaurant setting. So if putting up with screaming kids and baby prams blocking the narrow passageways not quite your cup of tea (not to mention crowd noises), you will have to find better luck elsewhere in an upper class hotel buffet, after all if ambiance is what you don’t mind paying for, this will just justify the price gap in comparison.

Overall I will recommend the place to people who don’t mind the bad neighborhood and desire the quality in seafood, topped with Japaneses and Chinese dishes.

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