Banzai prides itself as the “biggest teppanyaki buffet restaurant in the world.” Hearing a bold claim like this makes me both skeptical and excited. I knew I gotta check it out! Just in time, together with blogger friends, we had lunch here yesterday.

Banzai: The Great Teppanyaki Theater in Seaside Boulevard has a colossal area of 1200 square meters and a maximum seating capacity of 300 people. True enough, this place in the vicinity of SM Mall of Asia just beside Buffet 101 is huge! Bringing Little Tokyo in the heart of Metro Manila, Banzai started its course of business last February 2014 and opened two worlds in one go: freshly cooked a la carte and signature Japanese cooking on one hand and unlimited eating on the other. Let’s see how their food has fared on my taste test.

Review of Banzai: The Great Teppanyaki Theater (SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City)

Ambiance: ★★★★★

Banzai’s interior design is another one that reminded my sister and me of restaurants we used to design in Restaurant City (Facebook app). If you’re also familiar with the game, you may recall that there are plenty of Japanese-inspired items such as lanterns hanging down from the ceiling, the Japanese room dividers and zen-like plants and indoor decors. Those have great similarity with the items displayed and put together in Banzai Japanese Restaurant.

Banzai features a modern setup with the following food stations: Teppanyaki, Sushi, Sashimi and Rolls, Pizza, Takoyaki and Kaniyaki, Gohan, Noodles and Ramen, Yakitori and Grill, Tempura and Tonkatsu, Salad, Desserts and Beverages. I liked how organized each is arranged. Each station exuded a unique appeal that separates from the rest. There are some spaces that are intended to be really blank to showcase minimalism.

There are also functional areas such as the castle, sumo arena, restrooms, cashier, reception, Dotonbori, Nautilus and the trick art gallery where guests can borrow Japanese costumes and pose as a sumo wrestler and/or geisha against the fanciful and playful backdrops.

Customers may choose where to be seated from the different kinds of seating available across the entire dining room. We preferred seats at the side of energetic walls (lights are turned on at night which give a livelier ambiance).

Service: ★★★★★

Banzai prepares food the Japanese way: food are cooked upon request and there’s no warming of dishes. This is not the typical buffet restaurant where food entrees are ready to be taken by the diner from the heated trays. Rather, customers are to select and order food from the selected stations. They may either watch how it’s cooked while engaging with the cooks as they prepare or wait at their table until food is ready to be served.

If there are way too many people in queue though, I suggest going for the second option. In that case, a number card will be given to the customer, and the staff will deliver the plated food to the table. Cooking time is relatively quick, so there’s no need to worry about long waits.

I commend the staffs in the stations for being very friendly and accommodating. I’m not speaking for myself alone; as I stood there in the middle of the buffet stations, I also observed how they treated other dining customers. Yup, they’re consistent in giving warm service all throughout.

What’s even better is that there’s no additional service charge in Banzai. Thumbs up!

Management Team

Food: ★★★★★

Banzai features quite a lot of Japanese food choices. Since I was not able to munch on everything given the time (I had to go back to work immediately for a scheduled meeting) and limited capacity of my digestive system :lol:, I’d just be sharing here a rundown of my favorites.

First off the bat was the Spicy Tuna Salad. Admittedly, I’m not a salad freak but the combination of salad and tuna plus the mayonnaise in this starter dish tasted like heaven. It can be best compared with the version of Omakase. I declare that this is the Spicy Tuna Salad of my dreams, and maybe of yours as well when you get to try it.

Next up: okonomiyaki, kaniyaki and takoyaki, which to me pretty much had the same taste, topped with a riot of condiments. Okonomiyaki is like “Japanese pizza,” a thick pancake filled with bits of seafood and vegetables. On the other hand, takoyaki and kaniyaki are made in the form of balls. Still hot from the pan, these balls had me reveling in the fried, battered goodness as they deflated into soft innards, with crabmeat and octopus at the core. The inside remained mostly gooey, while the outside had a little crisp.

A Japanese restaurant will not be complete without the sushi platter. The sashimi-topped round of rice (tuna and salmon) is quite possibly my single favorite food item in the world, when it comes to Japanese cuisine. And oh yes, I like the tamago sushi as well. The varieties of Banzai’s sushis are nothing special but are also nothing short of savory.

For teppanyaki, I had ebi, squid and salmon. The freshness and harmony of flavors left me deeply sated. I appreciated the food more as I became witness to the process of preparation. The seafoods’ tastes were amplified with the inclusion of the vinegary, pungent and citrus-flavored ponzu sauce and the chili sauce with sesame edamame. Super yummy!

Soft drinks, iced tea, juices and iced Milo are available at the Beverages station. Since I dislike soda and synthetic fruit juices, I walked to the coffee machine located at the Desserts section instead and pressed Caramel Macchiato (hot) for a warm coffee boost and a layered taste of deliciousness. The drink was infused with cream, rich caramel and low sugar. I’d like to take this machine home any day. :mrgreen:

Ah, desserts! Everything was a picture-perfect sight. ♥ The green tea flavor in the Mini Matcha Cake was not too deep or potent. With right amount of bitterness, it played off with the bitter and fruity flavor of the Chocolate Tart which felt light—a reason to follow it up with another…  Much like the green tea cake, the Red Velvet Cake was made with layers divided with lightly sweetened whipped cream. Fluffy and intensely intricate.

Price for Value: ★★★★☆

You might not want this for lunch or dinner every day, but as a reasonably priced meal with lots of variety, Banzai: The Great Teppanyaki Theater is one of the best-valued options you can have.

Lunch rate on a weekday is at PHp 699; dinner rate on a weekday is at PHp 899; and lunch/dinner rate on weekends and public holidays is at PHp 1088. Banzai charges for leftover food though (PHp 1288), so be sure to finish everything you take. Children whose height is below 4.5 feet are charged with PHp 499 each, while those whose height fall below 3.5 feet can enter and eat for free. Birthday celebrants can eat for FREE during their birthday week (3 days before, day of birthday and 3 days after) as long as they’re accompanied by 3 full-paying adults.

Now, I’m still excited and skeptical—but not anymore on how and why Banzai claims itself as the biggest teppanyaki buffet restaurant in the world, but on how all the food I’ve yet to try (like the various flavors of Japanese ramen and some more teppanyaki) could fit into my stomach in my next visit!

With hefty, super-filling portion of quality and authentic Japanese food, I can just close my eyes, take a bite and suddenly imagine I’ve made it in Japan. 🙂

Bldg J, By The bay Leisure Park, Seaside Blvd., Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City
For inquiries, contact 09177067328 or 5527368
Date Published: 04/01/2014
19 / 20 stars

About 

An IT person by profession; Foodie by nature; Wushu athlete by training; Dancer by heart; Writer by passion; Hasn't met a piece of cake she didn't like 🙂

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94 Responses

  1. Debarpan

    Me too liked their food after reading about the process behind them.They took so much care to make these foods,that’s a great thing.

    Reply
  2. Prince

    Oooh! The prices seem justified by the ambiance, service, food and the experience itself! And if all those things make you feel like you’ve made it to Japan, I guess it’s even cheaper by comparison. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this review. It’s very useful. Who knows? Perhaps one of these days my budget could make it. Lol. A humble treat would mean no harm, right? 😉

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yeah! If budget is a problem then dine in there on your birthday so you can eat for free. 🙂 They have an ongoing promotion now also – check out their Facebook page and see the “5+1.” For sure, a humble treat is always nice.

      Reply
  3. Deb

    you indeed made a great review of that mall.Pictures of such delicious dishes you have here,yummy!!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      I just think that many Filipinos do appreciate Japanese food. It’s delicious and has plenty of variety so Japanese restaurants, especially those who prioritize quality over quantity, are impossible to ignore. 😀

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      All things Japanese are very popular now in the metro but the food business is too saturated and you may think that this is just another restaurant serving the typical Japanese food. Yeah the price may be considered tad pricey but I think it’s mostly the experience you’re paying for here – and I assure you, it’d be worth the price. 🙂

      Reply
  4. KPR1983

    BANZAI!!!! I always love Japanese cuisine and those images just made me wanna go to the nearest Japanese restaurant. Trumps Tokyo Tokyo for sure.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Of course this is nothing like Tokyo Tokyo and other mainstream local fast food. Banzai features Japanese standards that are modernized and adapted for the Filipino market, with a unique touch – and that is, its way of cooking for buffet.

      Reply
  5. Irish

    The foods looks so yummy and Japanese cuisine is one of my favorite. But I avoid eating in buffet restaurants. I don’t eat too much so 899 will be a waste for me.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      We’re the same; I’m a light eater as well and I can’t take more food than I wish to because I get full very easily. However, I still opted for Banzai for the dining experience and I didn’t regret it. 🙂

      Reply
  6. Yette

    The place looks really great! Banzai! Reminds me of that Karate Kid movie, lol. The food looks delicious too! Will surely suggest this place to my family when we decide to eat out one of these days. 🙂

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Ah haha yeah you can say that – it reminds me of Karate Kid movie too mostly because of the ambiance. Sure, bring a group of your family and friends here. 🙂 Have fun!

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Oh yeah I haven’t been to Nanbantei but I’ve known that it is one of the pioneers to introduce authentic Japanese charcoal grill. As well, guests can watch the chefs, enjoy the sights, sounds and smells, until their hot, fresh food is ready.

      Reply
      • Franc Ramon

        I think being able to watch the Chef prepare your food is a nice experience and you get to see how it’s prepared too.

      • Rochkirstin Santos

        Yes, definitely! It’s a one-of-a-kind experience since not every Japanese restaurant allows guests to see how they prepare the dishes. 🙂

  7. Mindy

    I am not a huge fan of Japanese food, but i really really love sushi (and onigiri) and constantly crave for them! All of the food you featured in this post looks yummy though! Looks like a very nice restaurant! The ambience looks really nice as well

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yup, presentation and cleanliness are big things here. The sushi platter and teppanyaki were an exceptional deal. Banzai has a good combination of everything Japanese.

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Haha no, the dress is not mine. Guests can borrow outfits and take shots. There’s the sumo wrestler costume which I also wore but then lighting there was not so good so I didn’t post the picture here. Still, I uploaded it on my FB photo album of Banzai. 😀

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      With super entertaining chefs, delicious and fresh sushi, really cool atmosphere, friendly service, and a wide variety of drinks and desserts, it’s hard not to like this Japanese restaurant. 🙂

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Not quite near if you ask me; it’s not a good walking distance. The Food Club is along Macapagal, while Banzai is located by the bay across SM MOA at the back. Whaha two buffet meals in one day? Okay fine! 😀

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      This is a great teppanyaki place if that is what you are looking for. Great decor and a fun place to eat lunch with your work team or dinner with family/friends.

      Reply
  8. Genzel

    They really have a very spacious spot there. I wanna visit this soon too. I have a friend who also happened to be at Banzai a few days ago, she’s also a blogger, know Monica? You might have met her there.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Monica…hmm..wahaha sorry I don’t know her or maybe she’s there but I didn’t had the time to mingle with others since I went out first for work. 😛

      Reply
  9. Teresa Martinez

    This place is colossal as you describe it, a good option to the often smaller sized restaurants we have here. Looks like a good place to try Japanese food.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      You bet this buffet restaurant is really big! Plus, every dish is a masterpiece at Banzai. Such dishes are fresh and prepared properly. Look forward to finding satisfaction. 🙂

      Reply
  10. Rhea Bue

    I looove the place and the interior looks really good!!! 😀 As much as I want to visit this soon, medyo lay low muna ako kase na trauma ako sa MOA due to that shooting incident :))

    Reply
  11. Aylin

    I’ve been there last Monday! Big buffet restaurant perfect for big families! <3 I love the desserts counter and of course the teppanyaki show!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Hehe too bad I missed the teppanyaki show! Stacy of TsinoyFoodies told me about it and saw a snapshot of the fire burning on Hana’s post. 😀

      Reply
  12. Pinay Mommy Diary

    Gawd you just made me hungry at 3:30 in the morning! Food looks really delicious! And hey, this is really an awesome review! Thanks for the info!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yes, they offer a lot of ramen variety (tan-tan ramen, chasyu ramen, tonkotsu ramen, miso ramen and shoyu ramen). I was just not able to try any of them because I was too full already hehe.

      Reply
  13. Phylicia Marie Pineda

    So far so good, everything looks great! I especially am excited about the sushi platter, hihi. like you, sashimi is my fave too.

    A great plus is the reasonable pricing. Definitely trying this one out.

    Reply
  14. Alaine

    Very nice interior. I could stay here for hours. LOL! I would love to try their sushi and ramen! Thank you for sharing this.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      You’re welcome! Everything here is very Japanese including the names of the staffs which I doubt are their real names. Some staffs also look Japanese because of their hair styles and chinky eyes. 🙂

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Sure! Remind yourself to make a reservation before coming. Booths are nice to sit in, although the seats are a little higher than what’s comfortable (for me). 😛

      Reply
  15. Keneth Cabasi

    Oh my goodness. The moment that I saw the words “Banzai” “Teppanyaki” and “SM Mall of Asia” I rushed to comment on this post. If only I have seen this a day earlier, when we were at SM MOA and we couldn’t find a decent place to eat in.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Ahh hehe I don’t have a regular restaurant in MOA because I have the habit of not going back to a restaurant I’ve dined in before unless it’s REALLY good. :mrgreen: I recommend Banzai for the pleasant experience you’ll get. I will most likely be back for more!

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      One other thing to watch out for is the Teppanyaki Show. See the first big flame! Haha. I guess it’s the highlight of the dining experience here that makes the name “theater” for this Jap resto. I’m just not sure of the time schedules. Nonetheless, Banzai is really a great place for dinner.

      Reply
  16. cococute

    Wow ! The first photo is really nice, I don’t know why I am feeling great whenever I see lanterns like that and also I really like asian cuisines. Must hunt this place sometimes and have a test on their specials.Thank you for posting and reviewing about it.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Haha I thought the first photo is nice because it has me in it. 😛 But yeah, I totally agree with you – I love seeing lanterns as I’m in love with the Asian culture and designs. You’re welcome and thanks for dropping by here.

      Reply
  17. Ness

    Wow! Another place to indulge. Thanks for the review. Will visit this next weekends and try it myself.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      My advice is to come earlier than the supposed lunch or dinner times so you can get the first cuts of the meats and seafoods. Also, you’ll be the first in queues in every counter. Bring your family in so you can have a more fulfilling and enjoyable meal chatting with them. 🙂

      Reply
  18. Kathy Lacuna

    Awesome! We just love Japanese food. And a buffet at that but cooked to order. Simply heaven. Will definitely try this out this weekend.

    Reply
  19. Algene

    Wow! How I wish I could dine at that place 🙂 For sure, there are great dishes and I will love the attitude of their employees!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yup the employees are super cool. I also got the chance to meet one of the Japanese chefs. Just don’t know if he also knows how to speak in English. 🙂

      Reply
  20. Fervil

    Jap cuisine is one of my fave. Mehn, I wish I was a 3.5 foot-tall child with a monster stomach. :c

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Hmmm ulam is anything that’s available in the teppanyaki section. Rice – well, yes, you can also order it from another section. Ingredients depend on your preference. 🙂

      Reply
  21. jared's mum

    this sure looks likes a very ideal place to go to when you are craving for Japanese food. I love the way you described the place, the food + the experience, makes me want to try to go there now! 🙂

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yup, I know many people who just love collecting experiences in buffets. Definitely Banzai would be one of the newest in the list of must-go buffet restaurants. 😀

      Reply
  22. janine

    The decorations from restaurant city come to life! and I guess i would have the “sumo wrestler pose” hehehe.

    Reply
  23. jay_s

    its value for money; the waiting staff are commendable; the chefs n the cooking stations are very accommodating…try it…

    Reply
  24. daryl

    i just want to ask if i ever want to avail 4 tickets from metrodeal.com and to be discounted.. am i still covered with the free accomodation because i am a birthday celebrant?

    thank you very much

    Reply
  25. Miggy

    Do you know what time are they open for lunch and dinner on a weekday? Thanks. Planning to go there to celebrate my sister’s graduation. 🙂

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Hi Miggy! Operating hours for lunch are from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and for dinner from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. Say congrats to your sister from me. 🙂 Enjoy Banzai!

      Reply

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