During the dark, early days of the COVID-19 pandemic’s complete shutdown of the Las Vegas hospitality sector, the city’s casino-resort managers were relatively sure of one thing: self-service buffets were unlikely to return. After all, the mere specter of hundreds of guests crowded together, hovering over food displays while sharing serving utensils was enough to dampen thoughts of a buffet resurgence.
But alas, it seems that a longtime Vegas mainstay like the iconic buffet couldn't be extinguished. Although some prior buffet venues were repurposed successfully into upscale food halls (ex., Proper Eats at ARIA and Quick Bites at Fremont Hotel & Casino), the city’s top gourmet all-you-can-eat spreads have returned and are once again in peak form.
I’ve surveyed the Vegas buffet landscape and - after about 537 shrimp later - have identified the top four gourmet feasts in the city. Full disclosure: they’re not the bargain they once were, but all still offer a reasonable value proposition, providing that diners take advantage of high-value culinary targets like shellfish, prime meats, and gourmet desserts. Hours of operation vary; check websites for the latest info.
Bacchanal Buffet (Caesars Palace)
Not only did Caesars Entertainment believe that the massive Bacchanal Buffet would eventually return to action, the company spent $2.4 million on renovations during the shutdown to ensure its continued relevance. The city’s largest buffet in terms of geographic footprint (25,000 sq. ft.) and daily menu items (over 500) continues to impress with a massive and Insta-worthy cold seafood station fronting the venue, where diners snatch up lobster claws, crab claws, and meaty crab legs. The vast, nearby carvery features a quality array of meats that would satisfy any carnivore (prime rib, BBQ baby back ribs, smoked brisket), while gourmands seek out the Shakshuka, Shredded Duck Quesadilla and Harissa Grilled Octopus interspersed throughout the venue’s offerings. Although separate from the large dessert station, the Mexican outlet’s Ube Horchata is a deliciously enhanced version of the classic street drink. Dinner: $79.99 - $84.99. Don’t-Miss Dish: The dim sum selections at the Chinese station are varied and authentic.
Wicked Spoon (The Cosmopolitan)
The Cosmo’s hip-on-the-Strip ethos extends throughout the property’s F&B outlets - even to the Wicked Spoon buffet, which started the trend to serve individually-sized portions in mini Paderno pans way back in 2010. And the buffet’s penchant for trendy dishes continues today, with carved pork belly, roasted bone marrow, and beef carpaccio leading the way. Although currently open only for brunch, the all-you-can-eat spread features a wide array of interesting dishes that typically offer more spicy heat than competing venues. The Beef Tataki starter with Duck Egg, Wasabi, and Ginger Ponzu certainly impressed me, as did the Tuna Crudo with Shallot Vinaigrette, Wasabi Oil, Black Sesame, and Bee Pollen. Brunch devotees won’t be disappointed by the Cinnamon Walnut Brioche French Toast with Mixed Berry Compote and Lemon Anglaise. Sweets continue with chocolate-covered strawberries, a nice gelato selection, and a wider array of gluten-free goodies than other venues on this list. Brunch: $45-$52. Don’t-Miss Dish: Duck Wings with Soy Caramel Glaze.
The Buffet at Bellagio
As the progenitor that spawned the modern era of Las Vegas gourmet buffets, The Buffet at Bellagio still has a few tricks up its sleeve to maintain its place in the upper echelon of Vegas feasts. New additions include a fresh-pressed juice bar, featuring 6 varieties including carrot and refreshing watermelon; a shellfish display with cold shrimp, mussels, Oysters Rockefeller, and a seafood boil; and a vast sushi station with made-to-order hand rolls and poke bowls. On the night I visited, the carvery was slicing prime rib, leg of lamb, slab bacon, and the Italian delicacy, Porchetta. A nice selection of pizzas and pasta supplies quality carbs, while the made-to-order taco station and robata grill fill in additional ethnic categories. Desserts are largely cake-centric, with the exceptions being a gelato selection, a crepe station, and deliciously authentic French macarons - in 5 varieties. Weekend dinner features unlimited crab legs. Dinner: $79.99. Don’t-Miss Dish: The made-to-order hand rolls at the sushi station feature quality ingredients that would be pricey if ordered elsewhere.
The Buffet at Wynn
Back with a bang, a remodeled atrium, and a lovely dining area, the luxe Buffet at Wynn pulls no punches as its 16 handsome live-action stations display culinary artistry along with gourmet tastes. At dinner, high-value culinary targets include a caviar station (3 varieties) with traditional accompaniments; a carvery featuring BBQ beef brisket, prime rib, and pork 5 ways (including Kahlua Pork Belly); a Chinese station with honey walnut prawns and 5 varieties of dim sum; an attractive selection of sushi, sashimi, and nigiri; truffle oil pizza; and a shellfish bounty.
And matching the quality level of the aforementioned savory delicacies, the dessert station here is outstanding - a feat rarely achieved in the Las Vegas buffet segment. Although the made-to-order crepes (cannoli filling is a highlight) and gelato wheel (12 varieties) impress, the demi-desserts truly shine. Mini tarts, pies, mousses, and other bite-sized sweets, artfully constructed and bursting with flavor, are the perfect topper for this gourmet feast. Dinner: $74.99. Don’t-Miss Dish: The leek dumpling in the dim sum section of the Chinese station is a flavor sensation.