When the pandemic hit, it looked like the end of an era for all-you-can-eat buffets. Some chains around the country even shut their doors. But that outcome has changed. The buffet has hit a resurgence, with some pundits touting a return that’s bigger and better than ever.
Casa Tapas & Cantina serves dinner from Monday to Saturday and all-you-can-eat brunch on Sunday. Photo / Tallahassee Table
Of course, buffets differ greatly. While these feasts offer a ton of food and variety, the quality often suffers at some restaurants. I was hesitant to try the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet at Casa Tapas & Cantina on Apalachee Parkway, but my husband and I and our friends decided to give it a shot. We were pleasantly surprised.
It helps that Casa Tapas, former home of Marie Livingston’s Steakhouse, is an attractive, upscale setting with a warm ambiance and helpful staff.
There’s lots of meat on the brunch buffet at Casa Tapas. Photo / Tallahassee Table
The restaurant is owned by restaurateurs Genaro Ramirez and his wife, Claudia, who also own C|G Margaritas & Cocina, at 800 Thomasville Rd., and their original restaurant, Casa Grande Bar & Grill at 3212 Apalachee Pkwy.
For a Casa Tapas buffet outing, wear clothes with lots of room, then make a plan. It’s easy to overeat — and waste a lot of food — so before you load up (I know it’s hard to wait), scope out all the tables to determine what dishes you definitely want to try.
One setting offers a range of appetizers, fruits and baked goods, even soft pretzels. Photo / Tallahassee Table
Casa offers a good selection of Spanish, Cuban and American dishes. A common mishap at buffets: trays are left half empty or the items cool down. That wasn’t the case here. Entrees were frequently replenished so the food was hot.
The setup also worked, with items spread out so there weren’t a bunch of people in one spot jostling for a bunch of bacon or a plateful of guava turnovers.
Just one of our full plates at Casa Tapas. Photo / Tallahassee Table
Between the four of us, we chose croquetas, empanadas, scrambled eggs, sausage, deviled eggs, biscuits and gravy, beans and stuffed peppers. Two of our favorite entrees were flavorful, tender beef oxtail stew and roast pork.
Tres Leches is among the brunch desserts available along with flan bites, pictured at the top of the story. Photo / Tallahassee Table
While we were stuffed, we left some room for Cuban pastries, fruit and desserts, including luscious flan bites and tres leches. If you want a breakfast cocktail, Casa Tapas has a full bar as well as coffee and juice.
The all-you-can-eat buffet is $25 for adults and $15 for kids (2 to 10). It certainly helps if you have a big appetite but considering the array of food and quality, I think $25 is a fair price.
I haven’t been to Casa Tapas for dinner yet but the regular menu specializes in small plates from Spain and the Mediterranean.
I’m already adding Casa Tapas to my list of brunch cravings.
One of the pleasant settings at Casa Tapas. Photo / Tallahassee Table
When you go … Casa Tapas & Cantina is at 2705 Apalachee Pkwy; 850-765-1770. It’s open for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday for brunch
FYI: The special Halloween brunch on Sunday, Oct. 29 will be $35 for adults and $15 for kids. Be scared, be very scared …. of just how much food you can devour at one sitting! Casa Tapas is also presenting a Halloween Noche Latina on Saturday, Oct. 28.