Jake FIshman/Sun Staff Writer

An elaborate spread at the Taverna Banfi weekend brunch.

March 21, 2023

Banfi: The Best Brunch Buffet Ever

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I learned about a special brunch experience when I first got to Cornell. I was taken to Banfi to get lunch in the middle of the week and found a beautifully displayed buffet. “If you think this looks good, come back on the weekend for brunch,” our waiter told us. A brunch buffet at The Statler Hotel? I could not believe my ears. The buffet spread for lunch looked very impressive; if lunch looked like that, my mouth was watering at the thought of what brunch on the weekends would look like. While I did not get any food from the buffet my first time at Banfi, the possibility of going was keeping me up at night; I couldn’t wait to try it. As a brunch connoisseur, I immediately added brunch at the Statler to my bucket list. 

After a special visit from my twin sister this past weekend, I knew we had to go to the Statler, as the love for brunch runs in our blood. We didn’t have a reservation, yet we were directed to our table immediately. Our waiter told us that there were two rooms to grab food from — the breakfast buffet room as well as the lunch buffet room. I was shocked when I heard the buffet had two rooms. 

The breakfast buffet was held in a smaller, cozier feeling room while the lunch spread was placed in a larger ballroom-looking room. The breakfast buffet room was the closest to our table and thus it was the first room we visited. In front of us laid a variety of different options from scrambled eggs to waffle lollipops with a crepe chef on standby to take orders. We were very impressed with the decadent display of breakfast food. I grabbed two large plates to separate sweet and savory breakfast options. My sweet plate consisted of a croissant, a crepe, granola, banana bread, a cinnamon bun and a waffle lollipop. My savory plate included the eggs and potatoes from the breakfast buffet. I then grabbed a berry smoothie to enjoy and made a trip to the lunch buffet.

Somehow the lunch buffet was able to top the breakfast section. It was even larger with more options than you could imagine. The lunch featured a meat carving station manned by a Statler employee , a large variety of salads and charcuterie, pasta, shrimp and desserts. The crème brulée glistened in the overhead lighting and I was intrigued to try it. My sister and I grabbed more food from the lunch buffet and made our way over to the feast we prepared on our table. 

I took a few pictures to remember this glorious meal before diving in — as they say, the phone eats first. My favorite breakfast items were the waffle lollipops and banana bread. The waffle lollipop was one of the most unique and memorable foods I have ever eaten. In fact, I grabbed a few more before leaving. My sister also loved the waffle lollipops and the cinnamon buns. My favorite part of the lunch section was the pasta and crème brulée. I probably could have eaten all the crème brulée if nobody else was there. It had a rich vanilla flavor with a sweet, crisp sugar-coated top. 

My sister and I thought it was unique to see students working as servers in the restaurant. It made the experience even more special. The food was excellent and I was definitely very full after. My sister loved being able to eat both waffles and salad in one sitting. She also liked that they separated the breakfast and the lunch to very clearly show we were given both options, which I agree with.

Brunch at Banfi in The Statler Hotel is a must-do. It was a delicious brunch with something for everyone. My sister and I could tell the food was high quality from its exquisite taste and we got more than our money’s worth with the amount we ate. We both preferred the breakfast options over lunch — likely because we’re just a breakfast family. However, both the breakfast and lunch rooms were lovely and provided a variety of unique options. The price, at $30 per person, was reasonable for the number of options provided and I would definitely go again. Who’s coming with me?

Jake Fishman is a sophomore in the Nolan School of Hotel Administration. He can be reached at [email protected].