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“Good Indian pity it's only a buffet”
Review of Spice Junction

Spice Junction
Ranked #54 of 143 Restaurants in West Columbia
Cuisines: Indian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Child-friendly
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Seating, Takeout
Gilbert, Arizona
Level Contributor
52 reviews
50 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Good Indian pity it's only a buffet”
Reviewed 11 August 2013

My favorite Indian so far in this area. Food is really good and good value. Pity it's a buffet only which makes it less than indeal for Saturday nights, great place for lunch. If you like Indian get it on your list to try

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank gilbert h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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47 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Columbia, South Carolina
Level Contributor
183 reviews
118 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
“Ambience Improved, Food Still Great!”
Reviewed 2 August 2013

I have reviewed Spice Junction before and liked it very much the first time. They've decorated a bit so it doesn't feel quite as much like a college cafeteria as it did! The food selection has changed some too but it's still great! The people who run Spice Junction are friendly, attentive and will keep you supplied with fresh naan. The facility is spotless both in the restaurant area proper, the restrooms and a peek into the kitchen showed it to be the same. Some people shy away from buffet style restaurants but you'll be missing a wonderful meal if you do.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank David R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Columbia, South Carolina
Level Contributor
10 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Great food, great price”
Reviewed 24 April 2013

I've been here over a half dozen times, and I keep coming back because it's one of the best deals for good food in the area. The price is very reasonable for an all-you-can-eat buffet, and overall the food is quite good. It's VERY family friendly, offering discounts for children on the buffet and free buffets for small children. Service is always friendly, though at this buffet it mostly consists of just bringing fresh naan.

The "atmosphere" is non-existent: a standard strip-mall cafeteria buffet look, with plain tables, a couple televisions, and some India-style pop generally playing quietly. But the food more than makes up for it. Also, while the space may look spartan, it is always kept impeccably clean.

There's always a nice variety of dishes: two types of rice, a couple chicken curries, a goat dish (usually biryani), at least 3 or 4 other vegetarian curries or other entrees, chicken and vegetarian samosas, parantha, tandoori chicken and vegetables, a good selection of tasty sauces and chutneys, and fresh naan brought to order at your table. There are usually a few other Indian cuisine items on any given day, including at least one dessert, usually a sweet semolina dish.

The quality of the Indian dishes can vary a bit, but I usually find at least 3 or 4 excellent curries or entrees on any given day (along with good rice), which is more than enough to make a great buffet.

A previous review from about 18 months ago described the curries as too "greasy" and much of the other Indian food as not great or barely spiced. I didn't start going here until about 6 months ago, but I would say things have probably improved significantly since that review. The curries are not very greasy at all compared to a lot of Indian restaurants in the U.S. (with the exception of the "butter chicken" that is usually on the buffet, which seems to be deliberately made to be very rich). The rice and biryanis are actually quite heavily spiced and very flavorful, and on occasion when kheer (rice pudding) is on the buffet, it is heavily spiced with cardamom. (Some people might think it was too much cardamom, but I found it to be really quite good.) The samosas still aren't that great, probably from a freezer, and the parantha is fair, though the fresh naan is quite good. Tandoori chicken is often not terrific.

Even with these exceptions, the food is still leagues ahead of most Indian restaurants I've encountered outside of major U.S. cities with large Indian populations. There are always some really amazing things, and the rest is good enough to satisfy your Indian craving -- at a very reasonable price for this amount of variety.

In addition, there are generally some miscellaneous Asian oddities among the buffet choices: spring rolls are almost always there, and I've sometimes seen noodles that look like lo mein. I haven't really tried these because my goal in going there is to eat the Indian cuisine. There are also a few lackluster choices: fruit cocktail dessert obviously from a can, lemon juice packets (though fresh lime slices are generally available). I'm willing to ignore some of these minor issues because of the quality of the rest, though.

A final quirky aspect of this restaurant that has been mentioned in other reviews: note the "no waste" policy. I completely understand such a policy at a buffet, though it always feels a little awkward when the owner reminds people of it when they arrive. I appreciate this policy, though, because it keeps costs down for everyone (and obviously also doesn't waste food unnecessarily).

In my experience, the policy is not strict. It's not like you need to "lick your plate clean." The matter has never even come up for me. But if you go to pay and have 3/4 of your plate still heaping with food, you will be charged extra. Just be reasonable and try little bits of everything on your first pass at the buffet. Then find what you like and heap your plate high on the second pass. This is reasonable behavior for any buffet. If you fill half of your plate with something that you aren't sure about and then throw it away, it's just a waste for everyone. At first I thought this policy was weird and awkward, but now I wish it were common at more buffets.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Bob J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Columbia, SC
Level Contributor
289 reviews
238 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 174 helpful votes
“It was just average”
Reviewed 26 March 2013

I was very excited to try a Indian restaurant I have not tried before in the Columbia area. Unfortunately the Spice Junction was just average and did not live up expectations.

I thought the service was friendly and they made sure we did not run out of Naan, which was clearly the best thing about the meal. Each made to order basket was a piping hot buttery delight.

The Tandoori chicken was a huge let down with what seemed like small square pieces of chicken and very little Tandoori sauce. Most of the other dishes were better, but suffered from a light hand with the spice.

I was also disappointed in the desert offerings. Normally I would expect to see Gulab Jamun and a rice pudding plus others. What was offered appeared to be nothing more than canned pineapple with a yogurt sauce.

Over all the meal with Just about average.

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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Helpful?
Thank Mountaineer_Steve
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Bad service and rude!”
Reviewed 23 January 2013

My friends and I went to the restaurant and we just decided to take the buffet. But we're surprised that the food was very grossy and it taste is horrible! When we were checking out the lady charged us TWICE for each plate we didn't eat! Considering the yucky food that we had! This restaurant is a disaster! Not recommended at all!!

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Dan2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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