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2009 WSOP Preview: A Banquet of Las Vegas Buffets

Las Vegas Strip

Welcome to Las Vegas. Welcome to the World Series of Poker. Now let’s eat! The choices for high-quality cuisine during your trip, to say the least, are plentiful.

There are a few true “five star” restaurants in Las Vegas. There are many four-star eateries in most of the high-end hotels. Then you get into the local three-star places and on down to the two-star antacid joints and slew of good ethnic places. And in nearly every casino/hotel you will also find the often maligned, yet forever popular, buffet.

Here is a tour of the best and the not-so-best buffets of Las Vegas.

Since there is so little agreement on what constitutes “the best” buffets, these are what many long-time patrons consider the top ten or so. Please note that I’ve considered quality and not price in our review.

Bellagio: I have to say the famed buffet at Bellagio is well off the brilliant perfection it once held, when it was the queen of Vegas buffets. That being said, the selection and variety at Bellagio still has to place it at or near the top of any list of the best. Try the weekend champagne buffet brunch for a treat you will not soon forget.

Planet Hollywood: The Spice Market Buffet was clearly the best offering in town a few years ago. It has fallen back a bit but still offers so many different ethnic stations that you must consider it in your buffet feast. There are lots of discount coupons available for this buffet, so check the in-room magazines for those.

Village Seafood Buffet at the Rio: Since you’ll be at the Rio for the World Series anyway, we can highly recommend the Seafood Buffet there. Be aware that there are two buffets at the Rio, this one and the Carnival World Buffet. Many WSOP media regulars prefer the Seafood Buffet to the Carnival version, but the Carnival one has made many a “top ten” list. So we will simply leave it at: If you are only going to eat one buffet at the Rio, we say try the Village Seafood; far left of the casino floor (to the east) as you come from the tournament area.

Wynn: First of all, the Wynn Buffet eating areas are divided into many smaller rooms, which is truly so much nicer than most of the gymnasium-size eating arenas of other buffets. Second, the buffet itself is divided into seventeen separate stations, which means the clumps of hungry diners tend to disperse more easily. As for the food, well, we recommend anything that even hints of the ocean or the stream, right down to the salmon benedict for breakfast.

Paris: Le Village Buffet is quite simply the best all-French buffet in Las Vegas. Even if it weren’t the only all-French buffet in Las Vegas, we would still put it on our list. A discerning diner can sample from literally dozens of famous French dishes, all in one sitting. And true to the name, the chefs at the Le Village really know their French cooking. After Bellagio, this received more first-place votes for Best Buffet among our avid pollsters than any other buffet.

Mirage: Cravings, The Ultimate Buffet Dining Experience is not the ultimate, but it belongs on the list. The only negative here is that there seem to be a lot of coupons and specials out there for this one and the lines tend to be long. But our collection of gastronomes say it is worth the wait.

Also, to be tried:

The Feast at Green Valley Ranch or Sunset Station. Same owners, same menu and the best of the off-the-strip buffets.

Flavors Buffet at Harrah’s is the hands-down favorite of two of our contributors. Several visitors personally found the salad bar (smoked salmon and asparagus) to be very creative.

Finally, I would be remiss if we did not tell you of the All Day, All You Can Eat offer at Excalibur. For $25, you get a bracelet that will let you enter and reenter the Excalibur buffet for the entire day. I provide you this information without further comment.

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