Maria Cecilia believes that writing is a pleasure and at the same time a challenge to her flexibility.
Popularity Continues to Rise...
Vikings' popularity is really amazing. It's a bit expensive, and you almost always need a reservation. To be accommodated, customers should get to the restaurant about an hour before it opens so that you can get on the waitlist.
It was already 5 p.m. when I reached Vikings. It wasn't open yet, but customers were already seated on the waiting benches just outside the restaurant. I approached the woman handling the reservations and asked her to list myself and three companions.
It was 5:30 p.m. when they opened and started to welcome customers. Those with advance reservations were the first to enter the restaurant. A few minutes later, the reservations lady started to call waitlisted customers. Although my group was number 24, I really didn't feel like we waited long before our number was called.
I Would Absolutely Go Back.
A Quick List of the Pros and Cons and What I Liked/Didn't Like
Best Part: The dessert bar. It had everything I wanted, and I really liked the strawberry-flavored things.
- Good for groups
- A huge variety of food
- Generally loud/busy
- If you're on the waitlist, you don't get to pick where you sit (so you might sit with strangers).
What I Liked:
- Veggie tempura
- Salmon gravlax
- Farmer's galantine
- Hot pot/shabu-shabu
What I Wasn't Impressed With:
Vikings is such a huge place with an unbelievable number of luxurious foods that are presented in buffet-style tables. The place is spacious, but it still gets too crowded for me. There were lots of customers walking here and there, feasting their eyes on all of the tempting food. The tables and chairs were elegantly arranged and combined with fancy lights and shades, which made the restaurant look cozy. The sad part is that you can't choose a table if you're on the wait list. My group and I were guided to a long table that accommodated 14 people, meaning we are going to share with 10 other customers. Sharing a table with strangers was uncomfortable at first, but it never prevented us from enjoying our dinner.
The Buffet Tables and Bars
Like I said, the buffet tables and bars were attractively arranged. The dessert station will be the first one that you're going to see because it's the closest to the entrance, as if inviting customers to try them first. This is immediately followed by the appetizer bar and salad bar. The salad bar lets you make your own salad, including Asian, Caesar, or even Sicilian options. Potato salad is also available. Next to them or almost at the same bar are the mouth-watering cold cuts and cheese. On the next bar are Japanese dishes, followed by the drinking stations. The drinking station offers all types of beverages:
- fresh juices in variety of flavors, like fresh dalandan juice and four seasons (a bit like a tropical fruit punch)
- smoothies or shakes
- soft drinks
- brewed coffee
- draft beer
Vikings has a long line of buffet bars that are organized according to the country they represent. Across the bar in the middle part of the venue is the large buffet of assorted sushi and maki. Honestly, there were too many inviting foods and dishes. Even with humongous appetite, it is still impossible to try everything the restaurant has to offer.
The Dessert Bar
One of my criteria for "best buffet restaurant" is their dessert station. Vikings passed my standards with flying colors because they had desserts beyond my imagination. It was like being in my own fairy land. They had my favorite mousse and panacotta in small glasses, all placed inside the glass cake rack. Next to those were cakes of different varieties, three chocolate fountains (dark chocolate, white chocolate, and strawberry), sweet side dishes, and candies that you can mix with ice cream and yogurt. Aside from that, fresh fruits were also available.
Although I love desserts, I tried to be selective and pick what I was craving most. I chose strawberry panacotta, strawberry mousse, a crepe with blueberry filling topped with strawberry-flavored Ice cream, some dragon fruit, and something that I thought was a cream pop.
I always love strawberry mousse; it is something that I don't usually find at the nearby popular cake store. The crepe with blueberry filling with strawberry-flavored ice cream on top was a perfect flavor combination. Dragon fruit is one of my favorites, but it's usually quite expensive at the supermarket. That's why I really indulged when I saw it at the dessert station!
Whenever I am at a buffet, I have made it a rule that I always start with a dessert and end my meal with another dessert.
The Appetizer Bar
I think I enjoyed the appetizers a lot because my second and third servings were assorted ones that I really enjoyed. At the dessert station, my favorite flavor was strawberry; at the appetizer bar, I was craving something cheesy and new. Queso fresco ahumada and mussel fresco ahumada satisfied my craving for something salty and very tasty. I loved the deviled eggs too. They were just a simple egg stuffed with flavorful egg yolk, but I was so crazy about it. The salmon gravlax and farmer's galantine were also very delicious. My third serving was another set of appetizers from the cold cuts and cheese bar. It was basically just a repetition of my second serving.
They tasted so good that I think I ate too much. I will definitely return to Vikings to experience their distinctive taste again.
Japanese and Sushi Bar
Next to the cold cuts and cheese bar was the Japanese bar that served tempura (shrimp, fish, and vegetables). I ignored the teppanyaki group and skipped the large buffet table in the middle of the venue that had deliciously arranged maki, sashimi, and sushi. I ended up getting one piece of vegetable tempura and another piece fish tempura. I liked the vegetable tempura. It somehow made me hungrier.
Steak, Fried Rice, and Soup
My buffet experience wouldn't be complete without trying the steak. I got the top-blade steak. It was combined with a delicious sauce, but I forgot the name of the sauce. I also tried to sample the lamb chops, but they didn't have any when I asked. Instead, I went to the Chinese-dishes bar and got a less than half serving of fried rice. My meal wouldn't be complete without some soup, so I got half a cup of "minced pork with century egg" soup.
I guess I got the perfect meal combination here. The top-blade steak was a tasty compliment to the fried rice. The soup was also good. These delicious dishes added to my list of reasons why I want to come back to Vikings.
Chinese Cold Cuts, Appetizer, and Dim Sum
Going in, it was my plan to try the dim sum. At my last buffet experience at another luxury buffet restaurant, I was already full when I got to taste the siomai and dumplings. So I promised myself that next time, I would make sure to get to the dim sum before I was full. At the dim sum bar, I got a few pieces of my favorite chicken feet, three dumplings, and one piece of siomai. Chinese cold cuts and appetizers are an old-time favorite of mine, but I only got one piece of pork and two century egg pieces. The chicken feet were fine, but I didn't enjoy the dumpling. I think the dough may have been thicker than the ones I had eaten in the past, so I didn't really like it. I don't know why I didn't like the siomai. It was probably because it reminded me that it was the last thing I had eaten when I got sick two weeks ago. Anyway, I won't give up on Vikings just because I didn't enjoy the taste of the siomai and dumplings.
Hot pot, or shabu-shabu, is an all-time favorite, but I didn't plan to include it in my meal. The youngest person in the group insisted that we get shabu-shabu, and I am really grateful that she suggested it because the hot soup automatically made us feel less full and ready for more food! As expected, the clear broth was tasty all by itself—and was even made tastier by the seafood and vegetables that we soaked in it.
Aside from enjoying the soup, I also like the portable-heat pot. It's like having mini shabu-shabu at our table.
While waiting for our soup to boil, I decided to get my final dessert: few pieces of dragon fruit, a glass of strawberry mousse, and some mangosteen.
Two More Servings
Vikings Buffet Restaurant Promotions
Vikings is popular not only because of their luxurious foods, but also because of their customer-oriented promotions. The Vikings' promo page will have the most up-to-date information.
- It's Your Birthday: The birthday promo is the most common promo. You can eat for free on the exact day of your birthday, but you must bring at least one adult who pays for a full-price meal. If you dine any day during your birthday month, you can eat for free, but you must have at least four adults with you who are buying full-price meals. You just need to bring government issued ID or any ID that has your date of birth for verification. To maximize the customers' enjoyment, Vikings has a group of waiters assigned to sing a happy birthday song to each celebrant. They brought a colorful birthday backdrop and a small- or palm-sized birthday cake, which is Vikings' additional gift, with them to the table.
- A BIG Group: The buffet restaurant offers tiered group discounts. They start at 25% off for a group of 30 people, and the discount goes all the way up to 40% off for 100 or more people.
- 20/2 and 10/2 Discount: If you bring increments of 10 people, one person gets to eat for free. So you'd have 10 paying guests and one eating for free for a total of 11 guests. The caveat to that is bringing 12 people! If you bring 12 people, 10 pay, and two get to eat for free.
Tipis for New Customers
- Get There Early or Get a Reservation: Vikings is very organized when it comes to their customers and reservations. They accept reservations via phone, and those who do not have reservation can go to the restaurant before it opens in order to get on the wait list.
- Get Lunch Instead of Dinner: Prices are a lot cheaper during lunch time, which is around 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. After that, Vikings takes a break to prepare for the dinner service, which starts at 5:30 p.m. and goes to 9:30 or 10:00 p.m. Buffet rates are also cheaper on weekdays than weekends, holiday lunches, and dinners.
- Bring the Kids and/or the Elderly: They don't charge kids below 3ft in height, and they charged 50% less if the kids are 3 ft to 4 ft. Plus, people aged 75+ get a special 50% discount.
Would I Go Back?
Overall, dining with friends at Vikings was time well spent. Aside from the food and drinks, we also enjoyed the discounts. And we had fun with the waiters that sang and danced with us.
Except for the part that you can't choose table when you are on the wait list (unless you wanted to wait longer until you got the best table for you), I think Vikings is one of the best, if not the best, buffet restaurant in the country today. For me, a good buffet restaurant has the following characteristics:
- Big, spacious seating with more than enough to accommodate a large number of customers
- Polite, courteous, and helpful staff and waiters attending to the needs of the customers
- Serves international dishes
- Has large quantities of delicious, high-quality food
- Offers unlimited drinks and beverages that are included in the meal price
- Countless choices for fancy desserts
- Maintains cleanliness and orderliness in spite of the large number of hungry and excited customers
Vikings has all of these things, and now I know why it's so popular.
Will I return? Of course! And I'll have a detailed plan on what to eat first and how not to get too full so easily...
Latest Rates and Promotions (as Provided by Vikings at SM-Marikina Mall)
The amounts below are in Philippine pesos. The average adult weekday lunch meal is about 15$ USD. And the dinner service is about 20$ USD.
- Adult Weekday Lunch: 738 plus 5% service charge = 774.90
- Dinner/Weekend/Holiday: 938 plus 5% service charge = 984.90.
- Kids below 3ft are free of charge.
- Kids between 3ft to 4ft: Weekday Lunch: 208 plus 5% service charge = 218.40 Dinner/Weekend/Holiday: 308 plus 5% service charge = 323.40 Kids between 4ft to 4ft6inches:
- Weekday Lunch: 418 plus 5% service charge = 438.90
- Dinner/Weekend/Holiday: 618 plus 5% service charge = 648.90
- Senior Citizen 60 to 74: Less 20% Weekday Lunch: 553.50 Dinner/Weekend/Holiday: 703.50 Senior Citizen 75 and above: Less 50% Weekday Lunch: 387.45
- Dinner/Weekend/Holiday: 492.45
Questions & Answers
Question: What are the buffet hours at Vikings?
Answer: For lunch, they start at 11 am and close at 2 pm so they can prepare for dinner. Dinner starts at 5 pm to 10 pm.
Question: How much is the buffet for senior citizens 60-70-years-old, for a weekday lunch at Vikings Buffet Restaurant?
Answer: Senior citizens are entitled to 50% discount.
Question: How can I reserve a table at Vikings in Marikina?
Answer: You need to call the Vikings' hotline to make the reservation.
Question: What is the meaning of the Vikings "A Feast from the Sea" restaurant logo?
Answer: Looks like a Chef who represents foods from all over the world
© 2012 Maria Cecilia
Maria Cecilia (author) from Philippines on December 04, 2012:
Bob thanks for your comment, in case you visit the Philippines now you know where to go....
Bob Zermop from California, USA on December 04, 2012:
Well, it certainly looks delicious! Thanks for sharing - because of your photos I'm hungry again! Marikina is a bit too far for me (I'm in California), but this hub triggered a memory of a great buffet place near me that I now want to return to. Voted up and interesting!
Maria Cecilia (author) from Philippines on November 18, 2012:
Hi Richie Mogwai thanks for your comment. Yes don't miss going to vikings if you visit Philippines.
Richie Mogwai from Vancouver on November 18, 2012:
What a feast! I will definitely try the Vikings buffet when I have a chance to visit the Philippines. Your pictures, as always, are spectacular to match your writing.