Birthday Buffet Dinner at Niu By Vikings

For my birthday a few weeks ago, I didn’t really plan a big and grand celebration. I wanted to save money and I just had one simple wish: to eat sushi! Lots of sushi! Well, I got my sushi, all right… but I got so much more than that. I got to feast on all sorts of delicious local and international dishes… for free!

Vikings is one of the biggest affordably-priced buffet restaurants in Manila, and is a popular choice especially for birthday celebrants because of their “birthday promo,” wherein birthday celebrants can dine for free. Mike and I have eaten at Vikings countless times already, so I thought that we could “level up” for my birthday this year by dining at the more upscale version of Vikings: Niu By Vikings!

“Niu” is a Viking word meaning “nine,” and the restaurant is named as such because the owners want customers to feel like they are on cloud nine as they indulge in the food on the nine buffet stations.

If you’ve been to Vikings before and are seeing Niu by Vikings for the first time, you will really feel the difference as soon as you walk in and see the elegant interiors of the restaurant. The plush violet seats, chandeliers, sparkling crystal ornaments, and the live music being played on the grand piano really give off a more deluxe feel.

I was one of the lucky bloggers who got to do a food tasting when it first opened many years ago, and I remembered it to be quite impressive. It was Mike’s first time to try it, and also my first time in a really long time, so for both of us, it was a “niu” (new) experience!

Like I said, all I wanted for my birthday was to eat sushi, so the first section I went to was the sushi section, of course!

Make your own sushi palette! This is better than a birthday cake!

I didn’t get to take too many photos of the sushi section because every time I went back to it, it was always almost empty and just about to be replenished. I guess it’s one of the more popular sections!

Japanese cold appetizers
Spicy tuna
Yummy maki

The sushi selection was a bit limited. In fact, it seems like there are more choices for sushi in Vikings than in Niu. It’s fine though, because though they don’t have much, what they do have are mostly tasty. It’s all about quality over quantity, right? Also, the salmon sashimi (the most important item in any sushi section, in my opinion) is really good and juicy! We could really taste and feel the freshness, as compared to the ones we had in Vikings just a few weeks before visiting Niu. I’m not sure if the price difference had anything to do with it, or if it was that way because we went to Vikings a little later, which meant that the food wasn’t as fresh as it probably would have been had we went earlier.

For appetizers, they also have these:

Cold cuts
An assortment of more cold cuts
Red wine marinated brie
Prawn rolls
Turkey slices
Caviar station
Seafood bucket with shrimps and mussels

For New Year’s, Mike and I went to Spiral at Sofitel Manila, known to be the best and classiest buffet restaurant in Manila. One of the reasons why I was willing to pay PHP 2,000++ to have dinner at Spiral was the foie gras! I don’t approve of the unethical method of preparing foie gras, but I can’t deny it — it’s really heavenly! (Sorry!) Good news for those who want to have foie gras but do not want to shell out so much cash for it: this luxurious delicacy is available in Niu! It wasn’t on display when we went (probably because it’s so expensive that it’s by request only), but you can just ask for it and the waiters will serve it to you.

Foie gras
Japanese food section

Tonkatsu and korokke
Different kinds of tempura
Teppanyaki corner
This Salmon Teppanyaki was outstanding!
Earl Grey Miso-Shrimp Flan

Pan-Asian station
Noodle Soup station
Shabu shabu


Sweet and Sour Pork


Cook your own seafood!
Grilled items
Pork, Vegetable, and Chicken Satay
Garlic Oregano Sausage and Lamb Kofta
Leg of Lamb, Beef Ribs, Karubi Beef, and Angus Chuck Eye
Italian section
Riso Pasta with Salsiccia, Potato Gratin, and Corn on the Cob with Paprika and Garlic Butter
Stromboli & Turkey Calzone
Beef & Mint Rice Pilaf and Pork Ham Hock with White Bean Sauce
Grilled Vegetable in Garlic and Aceto Balsamico, Lamb Pot Pie, and Chicken Ballontine with Balsamic Gelee
Some award-winning lechon that people are lining up for

After all that food, did we still have room for dessert?! What kind of question is that? Of course we did!

It seemed like the biggest section at Niu was the dessert section. We Filipinos do love our dessert, so this section is like a wonderland for us! Too bad we were already stuffed, so we couldn’t try them all!


The chefs can make crepes for you.
The kid in me was so happy!
Bread and butter pudding
Just to let you know that they also have Filipino desserts!
More Filipino desserts
White chocolate fondue
Cream Puffs and Death by Chocolate
Now that is good Key Lime Pie! This was our favorite dessert at Niu.
Creme Brulee
Chocolate Lava

Matcha Cheesecake
Matcha Mille Feuille

Strawberry Shortcake
Summer Berry Cheesecake and Food for the Gods

More desserts that I didn’t get to try!
I don’t know what those egg-looking things are but Mike said they’re good.

At Niu, you can drink to your heart’s content because they have a wide assortment of beverages.

An entire row of juices, iced teas, and flavored waters

But when I say “drink to your heart’s content,” the drink I had in mind was more like these ones:

Woohoo! It’s party time!

If you came here to eat, you’ll surely be satisfied. If you came here to eat AND drink, then you’ll definitely be getting your money’s worth because you can enjoy unlimited wine, cocktails, beers, and sake. I asked for a glass of Moscato and Asti. A bottle of Moscato would cost PHP 500+ or more, while a bottle of Asti would cost around PHP 700+. With that alone, I already got back whatever we paid for. Haha! So if you really want to maximize your trip to Niu, just keep coming back to the drinks section!

Wines and spirits
A fridge full of cold beer
Japanese Sake
My drinking buddy and his beer
The sake was too strong for me so I gave it to him.

I’ll be lying if I said that I was not expecting some sort of birthday tribute from Niu. After all, from what I remember about Vikings, the waiters would put a Viking hat on you while carrying a huge “Happy Birthday” sign and singing and dancing for you (which is fun or awkward, depending on how you see it). After all the sweets I’ve eaten, yes, I was still hoping that there would be a special birthday cake. Haha! Well, just like Vikings, the staff at Niu also gave us birthday celebrants a nice birthday tribute — but their style was more toned down and sophisticated! No wearing of Viking hats, big-ass happy birthday signs, or gyrating and loud singing here. Instead, the lights were dimmed, and the waiters were all in formation as they walked slowly around the restaurant, with classical music playing in the background while bringing a plate of cake with a birthday candle on it. When the lights were turned back on, everyone — the waiters, receptionists, and chefs — sang “Happy Birthday” for all the birthday celebrants in the restaurant. And then the chefs went around each table to personally greet us and shake our hands.

Here’s how Niu celebrates with the birthday boys and girls!

Happy birthday to me! After eating about 5 cakes in one sitting, here’s another one! I had to take it home though, coz I was so full!
“Geraldine” is my real first name.

I wasn’t expecting much from the free birthday cake. After all, it’s free! Surprisingly, it was good! It was like chocolate mousse that was soft and fluffy, and not too sweet. We only got to eat it the day after we went to Niu but it was still good.

Before we left the restaurant, I went to the bathroom first and I was so amused to see that even their bathroom / powder room was classy! I love the feminine, romantic, and Victorian details of the bathroom!

So did Niu really transport us to Cloud Nine? You bet! This might just be our NIU favorite affordable buffet restaurant now! Overall, this is what we think of Niu:

  • It’s a great place to celebrate your birthday! If you go on your actual birthday, you only need to bring one full-paying adult to be able to eat for free. Mike only paid PHP 1,509, so basically, he just paid for his dinner because I didn’t have to pay for anything. So that’s only PHP 755 per person if we split the bill!
  • Vikings or Niu? Niu all the way! Of course, it’s more expensive, but it’s also more stylish and exquisite, and it’s definitely cozier. There are less people dining at Niu, so we felt more relaxed, we enjoyed our conversations more because we didn’t have to fight through the noise, there was more room to walk around, and of course, there’s foie gras and unlimited wine and cocktails! You can’t get that in Vikings! Also, it seems easier to make reservations at Niu. Every time I try to make a reservation at Vikings, we’re always on the waiting list and when we get there, sometimes, we don’t even get a good table until I talk to the manager in charge.
  • If you love fine dining or eating at hotel buffets, you’re going to love Niu. While it is still not as fancy and luxurious as eating at 5-star hotels, it is a good alternative for those days when you feel like having a meal in a more formal and posh environment without having to pay a ridiculous amount of money.
  • Is Spiral in big trouble? Okay, Niu is excellent, but it’s still no Spiral. Between the two, of course Spiral is still our favorite because there are more food choices, the ambiance is still more magnificent, and the quality and taste of the food are unbeatable. But we’re not millionaires, and we can’t just keep eating at Spiral all the time!
  • Vikings is perfect for friends and families. Niu is perfect for friends, families, and dates! I’d say that it’s a better place to bring your older companions, as there is more space for them, especially if they’re in wheelchairs. Less waiting time for them too! It’s also a nice date place, since the mood here is pretty mellow, plus, there’s a pianist who can play your favorite love songs for you!
  • Dinner starts at 5:30, and it’s advisable to go as early as you can so you can pace yourself and eat as much as you can without having to rush and gorge on everything in a short amount of time. Also, the earlier you come, the fresher the food will be.

Have you eaten at Niu by Vikings? If you have, what dish was your favorite? And if you haven’t, what dish would you like to try first?

Niu by Vikings
Address: 6th Floor, SM Aura Premier, 26th Street Corner McKinley Parkway, 1630 Taguig.
Phone: 478-3888 or 847-3888
Rates: See full list of rates here:
Birthday Promo: Celebrants can eat for free ON THE DAY of their birthday on both lunch and dinner, as long as accompanied by ONE FULL PAYING ADULT. Celebrants can eat for free for ONE MONTH on both lunch and dinner per day, as long as it is within the month of his/her birthday and accompanied by FOUR FULL PAYING ADULT. Bring your original and valid government ID.

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  1. Ivy says:

    I LOVE the buffets in Asia- I usually don’t like buffets because I can’t eat that much in one sitting but it’s so fun walking around checking out everything they have to offer. It’s the BEST when they serve fresh seafood- I would’ve eaten all the prawns and crab 😛 I’m a dessert freak so I would’ve made it a mission to try every single kind haha. It’s so nice for them to offer a free meal for the birthday girl/boy! Happy belated- so awesome you had a great time!

    1. That’s always the problem: not being able to eat everything! Although that has never stopped me from going to buffets. Haha! 🙂 Oh, the seafood! If you really want to get your money’s worth, the seafood section is where it’s at! Thank you for the greeting, and yes, it’s nice of them to let us celebrants to eat for free! 🙂
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  2. My goodness my mouth is watering! I usually try to stay away from buffets because I have no self away and always eat way more than I need to at buffets but sushi is healthy right? 😜😋 I never thought about the perk of being able to get free food on two days with a Feb 29 birthday! That’s pretty awesome! Oh and happy belated birthday!

    1. No! Don’t stay away from buffets! And yes, sushi is healthy, so you can eat as much sushi as you want. Thank you! 🙂 Being born on a leap year does have its perks!
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  3. That’s a great idea to make your own sushi plate. I am fond of vegetarian Sushi. Yes those are a reality in India. I am so obsessed with sushi that I have bought special Japanese rice, vinegar and sushi mat and learnt to make it myself.

    1. Vegetarian sushi?! That’s pretty cool! But it’s even cooler that you have learned to make your own sushi. That should save you money instead of buying from outside 🙂
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  4. Only By Land says:

    I agree, quality is more important than quantity especially when it comes to sushi and sushi rolls. Nui gave you a memorable birthday and the cakes looked delicious. All the food you photographed looked delicious in fact!
    Only By Land recently posted…Utrecht to AmsterdamMy Profile

    1. With sushi, freshness and quality are the most important things to consider! Yes, I am thankful that they gave me a birthday that I will never forget 🙂
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  5. clare says:

    Looks like a great place to eat, I love how the place is done out. The food too looks amazing and I could try all those desserts. Great that you got a cake and they sung happy birthday 🙂

    1. It really is a great place to eat. And for the variety and the quality, the price isn’t too bad. 🙂
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  6. Miranda says:

    Happy Birthday, a little late! Looks like you had such an amazing time! I am a sushi lover also, its the one thing I ask for most often when we go out to eat. The bathroom vanity is so stunning, I love the sink bowls! Thanks for sharing an honest review!
    Miranda recently posted…What is Bipolar Disorder?My Profile

    1. Thank you! 🙂 Sushi is LOVE! I think you will be happy here coz of all the sushi. I don’t normally photograph bathrooms, but their bathroom is pretty gorgeous so I couldn’t help myself!
      Scenes From Nadine (Nadine Smith) recently posted…What Will Happen To Your Blog When You DieMy Profile

  7. Phoem Ponce says:

    Oh vikings! My go to birthday place! But I never knew that there’s a Niu by Vikings. Definitely gonna try to eat there. May I just commend how beautiful you took those pictures? It made me hungry I swear. HAHAHA! Those food plus a perfect shot. Oh my. My hypothalamus is hitting me!

    1. You should really try Niu by Vikings next time. I think once you do, you’ll never go back to regular Vikings. Haha! On your next birthday, perhaps? Thanks for appreciating the photos. 🙂
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  8. Joanna says:

    This restaurant is amazing and I can’t believe that you got to taste all of those different foods for free! Now that’s what I call a proper birthday celebration (I’m a foodie as well!). I wish there was such a restaurant where I live too but unfortunately there isn’t. No all you can eat and no free meal for your birthday. 🙂
    Joanna recently posted…How to save for a holidayMy Profile

    1. Exactly! What better way to spend your birthday than by eating all this amazing food, right?! If you ever come to the Philippines, make sure to go to a buffet. You’ll find plenty of buffet restaurants here because we Filipinos love to eat! Maybe you should come here on your birthday so you can eat for free too! 😉
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  9. Niu is probably the closest to Spiral buffet restaurants could get. Sure, it is expensive, but it comes with quality. While Vikings chain is more for the mainstream market, and I mean those who could afford, Niu is more for the upscale market. On the choice of Spiral or Niu, I think there is no comparison as one is bound to enjoy the food in both. It is not likely that we would go to the same restaurant all the time as we like variety too.

    1. That’s right, Niu is the closest to Spiral if you want an affordable 5-star buffet option. Niu is definitely the better option if you are celebrating a special occasion, in my opinion. Spiral is still my favorite, but of course, it’s not like we can eat there everyday. And if we did, we might get sick of it. Too much of something is bad!
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  10. Jill says:

    Wew! Scrolling down and looking at all the food presented made me hungry. I was able celebrate one of my birthdays in Vikings here in Davao. The food selection is really broad. So broad, that I didn’t get to taste all of them. I wish I have a endless tummy! LOL

    1. I know, right?! I wish we could try everything! Next time, try Niu by Vikings 🙂
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  11. Pia says:

    i’ve been to niu by vikings a couple of times and you’re right – it is definitely a more sophisticated version of their usual buffet. I think it’s a wonderful place to celebrate special occassions. 🙂 ofcourse having unlimited alcohol makes things especially festive. Hehehe. Anyway, Happy birthday! Glad you got your sushi on your special day:)

    1. I’m with you on celebrating special occasions at Niu. Vikings is okay too but after trying Niu, I think I’m always going to go to Niu from now on! And yes, the unlimited alcohol is worth the higher price! 🙂 Thank you for the greeting 🙂
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  12. Bhushavali says:

    The hotel is just mind blowing! The array of food is so much! I’m so glad that you got to eat as many sushi as you wanted on your birthday! Btw, with my sweet tooth, the desserts section looks too appetizing for me.

    1. Oh, it’s not a hotel. It’s a restaurant. 🙂
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  13. Paula says:

    That is seriously one of the most impressive buffets I have ever seen. The Japanese sections look brilliant. So much variety but when you got to the dessert bar I was amazed. All my favorites.

    1. They really put a lot of thought in the Japanese section. 🙂 But yes, the dessert bar is pretty great! People with sweet tooth will really enjoy this!
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  14. Whoa!!! Im so blown away with those delicious food. I love buffets, i usually pig 2-3 times a month. This place is heaven especially those BBQ. Wow! I cant imagine me dining at Niu. Im definitely gonna check them out on my Manila trip.

    Now Im hungry, gotta get something to eat. Ciao!
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    1. Wow! 2-3 buffets a month?! You are living the life! In that case, Niu will be like paradise for you 🙂
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  15. Rosie Benton says:

    That’s awesome that you get to dine for free on your birthday! The food looks delicious too, I like the sushi art. I think I would choose Niu so I could drink lots of cocktails!!

    1. The sushi art was my favorite too! It was so fun to make. And yes, of course, the cocktails. 😉 Probably one of the best things about this place!
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  16. I’ve never tried Niu yet I may treat Lloyd here for His birthday even if he has already eaten there. I prefer their way of greeting over Vikings. I don’t think Lloyd will feel embarrassed anymore. Thank you for the valuable tip by the way. I’ll make sure to order foie gras. Lloyd loves it. By the way, I love how you danced in the video. It was great meeting you 🙂

    1. When is his birthday? Since you guys are foodies, I think you will have a ball at Niu. Hahaha! Yes, no awkward greetings here. The greetings are classier, less loud, and more subdued, and all the celebrants are greeted at the same time. Haha! Glad you’re entertained by my weird dancing. It was nice meeting you too 🙂
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  17. Indrani says:

    First of all a very happy birthday to you! 🙂 With so much and such a lot of variety to eat your birthday is made! I too love sea food and would love to taste the spread. The food has been presented well and you did good food photography too.
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    1. Thank you for the greeting! 🙂 We are both seafood lovers! You will have a hard time deciding on what to try first. 🙂 Thanks for appreciating the photos!
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  18. This made me drool over the food! I tried eating here once and wow, it really
    Didn’t disappoint. I love how they also serve cocktails and international brands of beers. And for seafood lovers, their crab is to die for. Hehe. What I hate at the buffets though is the crowd. Like there are many people walking around. Glad you enjoyed your bday. I will surely come back here to eat again. Try four seasons next! Hehe
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    1. Nadine Smith says:

      Aww, I didn’t get to try the crab! I don’t like the crowds at buffets too, but here, there weren’t too many people when I went so it was a good experience. 🙂 I will try Four Seasons one of these days! I heard they have “healthier” options there. 🙂

  19. Ferna says:

    I honestly love how they present their birthday gift to the celebrants and its personalized, it is with the name of the celebrant. I am thinking of spending my birthday there especially that I haven’t tried this place. Love the photos too, looks promising and delicious!

    1. I really like their way of honoring the birthday celebrants as well. It’s so intimate and classy. I’m excited for you to try this place for your birthday. You are going to have a grand time! 🙂
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