Cheap Eats: Best Buffets
207 N. Delaware St., 317-634-6060; 830 Broad Ripple Ave., 317-253-6060; indiagardenindy.com
Buffet hours: Mon.–Sat. 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
The scoop: On the spice continuum, buffet items err on the mild side. Request a dish of chili oil to add some heat.
Go back for more: Palak Paneer (spinach and cheese), soft slabs of naan to dab up the juices on your plate, and rice pudding by the dish.
El Puerto de San Blas
3564 Lafayette Rd., 317-291-2800
Buffet hours: Mon.–Fri. 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Price: $6.99 ($8.99 on Fridays)
The scoop: Though not on the buffet, tortillas and desserts are available if you ask for them. On Fridays, the restaurant known for its seafood sends out extra bins of shrimp flautas, chipotle shrimp, and soups.
Go back for more: Mole chicken and baked enchiladas.
5353 E. 82nd St., 317-578-9722, indythaitaste.com
Buffet hours: Thurs. 5–9 p.m.
The scoop: The place gets packed very quickly, so come prepared to wait for a table. This is especially true on the first Thursday of each month, when all of the offerings are vegetarian.
Go back for more: Red curry chicken, garlicky mussels, and spring rolls.
201 N. Delaware St., 317-638-8272, barcelonatapas.com
Buffet hours: Mon.–Fri. 11 a.m.–2 p.m.
The scoop: The smallish buffet has a quick turnover. If you don’t see something you want among the Spanish-style small plates, stick around for the next batch to come out. Nearly half of the menu features meat-free options.
Go back for more: Fried artichokes and stuffed medjool dates.
2104 W. Michigan St., 317-631-0340, judgesbbq.com
Buffet hours: Mon.–Fri. 11 a.m.–1 p.m.
The scoop: Pay at the counter before you eat, and do not pass by the self-serve sauce pumps without filling up. IUPUI students get a 10 percent discount at this spread, which looks like a church-basement pitch-in.
Go back for more: Cornbread casserole and rib tips.
Photos by Tony Valainis
This article appeared in the August 2013 issue.