Would we go back:
2424 University Ave NE
• Buffet $8.95
This place is not too far from our house and every time you drive by it has a pretty full to full parking lot, well now I know why. They have a cheap buffet that is 8.95 with drink and they have a lot of food on the buffet ranging from Middle Eastern favorites such as hummus, tabouli, spankopita, falafel etc, to American favorites such as meat loaf and ribs. So almost anyone can go there and be pleased.
The night we went it was packed, so the concept is working. I wish now I tried something from the grill and not did the buffet. Not that the buffet was bad, but interestingly the good items were the more American items and the middle eastern choices were not great at all and I wonder if it was made fresh from the grill, if I would have liked it better. But I had the buffet and my favorite item was the meatloaf which was the best I have had, the ribs were ok, the french bread was good, but the pita bread was dried out and not great, although it looked like they got it from Crescent Moon, so I know in general that is good pita bread.
Overall if you are looking for cheap food and a lot of it or if you have a hankering for meatloaf, this is the place. The did bring over a Baklava type of dessert it had a creamy coconut filling instead of nuts, and it was awesome, so I think I may go back some day and order from the grill.
• Buffet $8.95
Seems like it’s not too hard in Minnesota to set out a buffet for under $15 and attract a crowd. Marina is another one of these free-for-alls. Build it and they will come.
So for $9 they have a long buffet, much of which is merely average overall, and some items surprisingly below average (the pita bread shockingly stale the busy Saturday night we visited). But we’re spoiled in NE Minneapolis with Holy Land Bakery and Deli (the gold standard), Crescent Moon Bakery, and Emily’s Lebanese Deli, among others. Marina can now be added to the list as good, but not great, with plenty of quantity and good variety on their buffet. We also overheard another table speaking highly of their normal service portions, if buffet isn’t your style.