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Bob Keyes

Bob Keyes has written about the arts in Maine since 2002. He’s never been much an artist himself, other than singing in junior high school chorus and acting in a few musicals. But he’s attended museums, theaters, clubs and concert halls all his life, and cites Bob Dylan as most influential artist of any kind since Picasso. He lives in Berwick.

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Posted: December 29, 2016

Get a three-course meal and garlic knot with each one at DaVinci’s lunch buffet in Lewiston

Written by: Bob Keyes
A vintage bicycle rests under the specials board at DaVinci's in Lewiston. Photo by Jill Brady/Staff Photographer

A vintage bicycle rests under the specials board at DaVinci’s in Lewiston.
Photo by Jill Brady/Staff Photographer

The lunch buffet is always a dilemma. To indulge or not?

I found myself in Lewiston a few weeks ago with an hour between appointments and a craving for Italian food. Baked ziti was the front-runner in my mind, with chicken parm closing in fast. Then again … lasagna.

When I settled in at the bar at DaVinci’s Eatery at the Bates Mill, I ignored my cravings and opted instead for the daily lunch buffet ($10.95), which includes none of the above. At DaVinci’s, the lunch buffet includes a limited selection of soups, salads and pizza, all you can eat.

My reasoning was sound, at least by my thinking: Pizza offered the bad-food indulgence I was craving, and the salad made me feel less guilty about it. The soup — chili, it turns out — was just to warm me up. The buffet, available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays, was good value, given the quality of the food.

Fresh veggies and various salad items line the buffet at Davinci's in Lewiston. Photo by Jill Brady/Staff Photographer

Fresh veggies and various salad items line the buffet at Davinci’s in Lewiston.
Photo by Jill Brady/Staff Photographer

I started with soup and salad, and appreciated not just the warm temperature of the chili (it was a blustery day) but also its bite. It was spicy hot, but not overly so. Generally, I stay away from spicy-hot foods, and this chili was just right. It was chunky and thick, with a nice blend of meat and beans. I added crackers for more sustenance.

The salad bar featured a small array of expected lettuces and vegetables, as well as potato and pasta salads. There were no surprises, and there was nothing exceptional about it. If anything, I judged it short on variety and inventiveness. But what DaVinci’s offered was fresh and crunchy. I loaded my plate with a mix of lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, celery and a few other items and lathered it with one of the unmarked dressings that looked the most like ranch. I guessed right.

For pizza, I chose slices of pepperoni and cheese. There were two other choices, including a veggie pizza of some kind and what appeared to be a dessert pizza. The dough was thin and chewy, and the ingredients generously proportioned. I especially loved the pepperoni, which was thinly sliced and not at all greasy. The cheese pizza was gooey and stringy, just as I like it.

The other bonus of this meal were the garlic knots, which my attentive bartender offered along with a tall glass of water as soon as I took my seat. DaVinci’s is known for its garlic knots, and I was pleased to be given a basket of three. I ate one with my chili, one with my salad and one after I finished my four slices of pizza.

I didn’t satisfy my craving for ziti or some of my other favorite Italian plates, but I still managed to indulge, and didn’t regret a single bite.


WHERE: 150 Bates Mill, Lewiston;; 207-782-2088
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday
WAIT: No wait for the lunch buffet
PARKING: Plenty of parking the Bates Mill complex

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