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Sweet Tomatoes

Name: Sweet Tomatoes
Location: Various; see website for details
Web address: https://www.sweettomatoes.com
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. (check individual location for details)
Cost: Approximately $8, plus drinks
Reservation recommended: Nope
Good for: All-you-can-eat, while still feeling healthy
Insider tip: There’s not a restaurant in Portland, but you can find them in Clackamas, Tigard, Beaverton and Vancouver.

Part of a nationwide chain, Sweet Tomatoes does well on the west coast. When you walk in, you grab a tray and a plate and help yourself to a few ‘base salads’ or types of lettuce/spinach. There are dozens of toppings to choose from, and a selection of other non-leafy salads at the end (assuming you have room on your plate…). If you want to stick on some meat toppings, that’s also available for a buck or two extra.

After you pick up a drink and pay, you can visit the other section of the buffet, which includes a half-dozen different soups, three types of pasta, a potato bar, and a variety of muffins, breads and desserts. There is also a frozen-yogurt machine, although the toppings are sparse.

If you’re the type that likes to try almost everything (like me), go for *small portions*. Remember, if you like it, you can always go back for more.

The food at Sweet Tomatoes is nothing outstanding – but then again, what do you expect for less than $8? It’s one of my favorite places to nosh when I’m in the mood for salad but don’t want to go through all the prep work of making it, or spending $8 a pound at Wild Oats.

There are often coupons in the paper that’ll save you 50 cents, so it’s a popular place with families as well.