LAS VEGAS -- As Las Vegas resorts continue to go upscale, their
dining offerings have followed suit. Even the ubiquitous buffet --
long a staple of the Vegas quantity-over-quality experience -- has
gone haute as hotels strive to compete for upper-end business.
Food snobs who've previously belittled the all-you-can-eat model
may now eat their words -- along with 5,000 additional
The following upscale dinner buffets offer quality fare and
• The Buffet at Bellagio: True to expectations,
this is an upscale affair.
The de-rigueur cold seafood is taken up a notch here as the
shrimp are large and meaty. A pantry station offers specialty
salads such as Caesar, duck with arugula and radicchio/endive, and
the selection of bread and rolls is diverse.
Roast buffalo, venison, Kobe beef and wild boar are some of the
exotic meats offered on weekends, when the price inches up seven
dollars to $31.95.
Side dishes are plentiful here; a favorite was the
Curacao-infused mashed sweet potatoes.
This spread is as close to gourmet dining as a buffet can get.
Service is outstanding and attentive. Dinner: $24.95. Note: Be
prepared for long waits on weekends.
• Le Village Buffet at Paris: Set in a
re-created French village, Le Village Buffet wins points for
originality and food quality.
Once past the salad bar featuring cold crab legs and shrimp,
guests are in for a rare treat: French cuisine served at five
separate and extensive food stations, each representing a region of
Chefs were imported from Alsace, Brittany, Burgundy, Normandy
and Provence to add authenticity to the dishes at their respective
stations, where dishes are prepared in small batches to ensure
Be sure to visit the two new live-action stations: La Raclette
(melted cheese with a medley of cured meats, steamed potatoes,
assorted vegetables and French bread) and La Grillade (grilled
skewers of meat, seafood and vegetables).
A varied selection of soups, pastas, roasts and ragouts
complements an assortment of crusty French bread and rolls, and
topping it all off are French pastries and a live-action dessert
crepe station. Dinner: $24.95.
• Cafe Lago at Caesars Palace: A compact and
classy affair, Cafe Lago's dinner buffet epitomizes the
Featuring subdued lighting, aqueducts and floor-to-ceiling
windows overlooking the Garden of the Gods swimming pool, the room
is a fitting backdrop for the cuisine presented.
Creative salads served in Italian pottery, specialty breads,
soups, pastas and quality cold seafood are all perfect starters.
The Chinese station excels with shrimp fried rice and vegetable egg
Main fare includes roast meats and side dishes, and the dessert
highlight is a coconut macaroon. Exacting, professional service
complements the elegant atmosphere, and David Osborne plays piano
to entertain diners. Dinner: $21.99. Note: 24-hour menu service
also is offered here.
• Spice Market Buffet at Aladdin: A kitschy
Arabian Nights decor is the backdrop for five separate food
stations plus a salad bar with steamed clams, mussels and cold
The ethnic-themed stations are Asian, Italian, Mexican, American
and Middle Eastern. The Middle Eastern fare is typified by lamb and
chicken skewers, hummus and baba ghanoush.
The wait here is typically shorter than at other buffets, which
results in fewer strained nerves. Service is warm and attentive
without being overbearing. Dinner is a quality feast at a bargain
• Village Seafood Buffet at Rio: A slightly
frenetic atmosphere pervades this seafood extravaganza, but seafood
lovers don't seem to mind all the action.
Like clams? Have them steamed, fried, baked or in a chowder.
Oysters on the half shell cascade on a hillside of ice next to a
mountain of crab legs.
Sushi chefs prepare a variety of the delicacy, served with
appropriate garnish. Landlubbers haven't been left at the dock
here, with fare such as prime rib, chicken and BBQ short ribs.
Arrive early on weekends (before 6 p.m.) to avoid long lines. As
the evening progresses, the wait can be arduous -- but it is
entertaining, as the Masquerade Parade passes right above the
queue. Dinner: $34.99.
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