China Buffet

2900 Wilmington Pike
Dayton, OH 45419

There are a lot of Chinese places in Dayton, and the generically named China Buffet could not be more basic. It’s got a big variety of dishes in its extensive buffet, but the place unfortunately leaves much to be desired. With bland dishes and uninspiring flavors, China Buffet is every bit as forgettable as its name. I love buffets and I’ve probably visited a few too many in my life. They have a definite charm. There are good buffets in Dayton, but this is unfortunately not one of them.

There is a huge variety of dishes to sample at China Buffet. Plenty of chicken and seafood items, especially. There are plenty of crab, clam, scallop and shrimp dishes. Some of them are good. The crab legs are prepared particularly well. The crab rangoon is decent. Unfortunately, it’s all just so basic. There is nothing unique or distinct about the flavors.

There are also a lot of chicken dishes, and again a few of them are good. The honey chicken has a great sweet flavor to it. I like pepper chicken recipes, and this version had a good texture. Sadly they suffer from a different kind of bad; the variety of preparation styles is not paired with a variety of flavors. The different kinds of meat taste the same. Grilled chicken? Ribs? Wings? Yeah. They all taste like the same thing. The general tso’s chicken, a mainstay of Chinese cuisine, might as well be grilled chicken with some teriyaki sauce from a bottle poured on it. Really very difficult to like.

The biggest problems come from the way the food is managed. They don’t seem to circulate food once it’s been out for awhile. Generally businesses do this to keep bacteria from growing on food after it’s been out for too long. I’m not concerned about that, what worries me is, even during a busy dinner hour, the food here stays in the trays until someone picks it up. THe result is often dry and unappetizing. While this might not be so bad in fried dishes, it also means things like sushi end up disgusting on the plate. They had frog legs, which I sampled for the first time. Dry. The stir fry was dry. The lo mein was dry. It really kills the appeal.

The environment is unremarkable, and it’s about what you’d expect from a Chinese restaurant. The service is fine, too. People seem pleasant enough, save for the language barrier. Prices are about average, at around $8 for dinner.

There really are too many problems with the food for me to recommend this place. The food just does not match up to the competition.


  • If this place appeals to you, try coming in during a lunch or dinner rush, so you’re most likely to get fresh food.
  • Some of the seafood is good, but most of the chicken dishes are unremarkable.
  • Avoid the sushi. There are plenty of better places to try it.

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