My mom is coming to town and we have a tradition of midday buffet followed by evening movie. She will pay for me and my boyfriend, so I don't want to something above $45/per person.
For the sake of variety and tradition, buffet is crucial (vs 3 course prixe fixe that a lot of places offer)
A few years ago when she came we went all the way to the Mission Inn in Riverside, CA because I couldn't find a decent buffet closer by that wasn't $$$. The atmosphere was very nice but the food was meh. Especially the desserts.
Last year, I went with friends to Shanghai Reds in Marina Del Rey. Again, atmosphere nice, the free flowing "champagne" included was very nice. The variety was mindblowing (do we really need sushi and omelets on thanksgiving?) but the food was meh again.
Now I'm obsessing over the new choices and I've googled my fingers off, cross referencing Open table's helpful suggestions:
Seems like the finalists are:
The Odyssey in North Hills $35/pp with chamagne
The Reef In Long Beach (same I think)
In Ventura there's a Crowne Plaza Hotel that got some buzz
The Clubhouse in Costa Mesa (far from me in Culver City)
The Back Bay Bistro (ditto......for some reason the far ones seem so promising)
Anybody have any experience to add? Recommendations?