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Going Local: Seven Days, Seven Buffets in Las Vegas

This is why gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins….

In the city of excess, our favorite way to indulge was definitely with the food. But when a six-inch Subway sandwich runs you ten bucks, the best bet is to splurge on the buffets – dollar for dollar, they definitely give you more bang for your hard-earned buck. But with nearly 100 buffet options, how is one to choose? So we decided to try a new buffet every day. And it was our ideal Sin City adventure – think sushi spreads, pizza and pasta parties, omelet stations, steak and burgers grilled to order, and most importantly, those decadent desserts. Bring it on!

SUNDAY: Bally’s Sterling Brunch Buffet, $85 per person
If you are a high roller or want to pretend you are, start the week out right with Bally’s Sterling Brunch Buffet – a tablecloth and silverware deal that offers up everything from made-to-order omelets and waffles to lobster, roast duck, rack of lamb, caviar and ostrich tenderloin, plus unlimited champagne. Dessert is a high end affair, too, with rich chocolate-covered strawberries, cheesecake, and chocolate mousse among the options. But this optimal indulgence does cost a pretty penny – at $85 a head, so perhaps starve yourself beforehand.

MONDAY: Carnival World Buffet, at the Rio, $16.99 for lunch
Off the strip, but worth the trip, The Rio’s Carnival World Buffet is often voted the best in town – and rightly so. The Rio’s super-sized spread – 300 dishes daily – features enough variety to leave even the most trained buffeteer flummoxed, from dim sum and teppanyaki, to fresh seafood, sushi, a Mexican taco bar, a made-to-order grill and pasta stations. We made several observatory go rounds to narrow down our options before actually piling up our plates with piping hot pizza (veggie for me, pepperoni for Navdeep), barbequed ribs, sushi, pasta and burgers. Plus watermelon – in the middle of winter! But we made sure to save room for dessert, because Rio offers up more than 70 sweet selections, including decadent chocolate cakes, piping hot pies and a gelato station with more than nine flavors. With bite-size mini-renditions of your favorite indulgences, like red velvet cake and pecan pies, it’s easy to score big here.

TUESDAY: The Buffet at Wynn Las Vegas, $22 for a weekday lunch
Pricier than some for a weekday lunch buffet, the Wynn Las Vegas spread is worth the extra pennies, with a warm, garden-y atmosphere and 17 super-sized action stations serving up fresh culinary treats like wood-fired pizzas, Kansas City barbeque and even a tasty tandoori fish. Add to that springy salads, lots of seafood options and carved meats, and you’ve got enough to get you through several platefuls. But dessert here is a must – cream puffs, tiramisu, decadent chocolate cakes, made-to order crepes, gelato and quite a few sugar-free options to boot.

WEDNESDAY: Le Village Buffet, Paris Paris, $17.99 for lunch
With a warm, old village atmosphere and categorized by the five different provinces of the French culinary empire, this Francophile extravaganza features tender roasted duck l’orange, salmon in a creamy leek sauce, braised beef, saffron-laced mussels and many other must-tries. On the desset menu: fresh made-to-order nutella crepes, crème brulee, French pastries and tarts, bananas Foster at Le Flambe station, and frozen custard, yum yum!

THURSDAY: Cravings at the Mirage, $17.95 for lunch
Clean, contemporary design marks this Wynn favorite, which has 11 cooking stations that often change to increase variety. And with fresh dim sum and made-to-order noodle dishes, grilled-fresh paninis, hot and plentiful pizza, pre-peeled shrimp and pre-cracked crabs, Cravings does its best to make your buffet experience easy – after all, you are on vacation. Plus, you can watch the chefs prepare your indulgences on big-screen behind-the-scenes TVs scattered throughout the cavernous café.

FRIDAY: The Buffet at the Bellagio, $36 for weekend dinner
With its stellar reputation on the line – they serve more than 5000 people daily –  the Bellagio’s buffet pulls out all the stops, making it an excellent place to gain a few pounds in one sitting. There are the standards options, like snow crab legs and prime rib, but here you’ll also indulge in ostrich steaks and elk, made-to-order sushi rolls, Kobe beef and lots of lamb chops. Don’t skip dessert – the apple pie rolls, fudge brownies, white chocolate-covered strawberries, red velvet cake and tarts are worth the extra weight.

SATURDAY: Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood, $23.99 for the weekend champagne brunch
With its international theme, Spice Market’s weekend brunch buffet aims to please the most discerning palate. There’s plenty of seafood – Navdeep went to town on the steamed crab legs and shrimp – and ethnic specialties like lamb kebabs and chicken tikka at the Middle Eastern station. The made-to-order burgers are worth the wait. I got mine topped with fresh mozzarella, grilled mushrooms and onions. Yum! Dessert includes bourbon-infused made-to-order crepes, delicious tiramisu, mini crème brule, freshly-baked chocolate soufflés and freshly-spun cotton candy!

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