The best buffets and restaurants?

I have two questions: First, what are the best buffets? Second, where are the best places to eat?

Garrett Johnson
(Nebraska)

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Questions about buffets and restaurants are among those we receive most frequently. The answer is... well, there is no one answer. There is such a wide variety of dining options in Vegas that you could ask 10 people and receive 10 different answers, all of which would be equally right. Here is a list of some of my own favorites:

Buffets

The Wynn and the Bellagio have maybe the highest quality in town. Not surprisingly they're also on the expensive end. Figure around $20 for breakfast and lunch and somewhere in the neighborhood of $35 for dinner. The food they serve is consistently excellent.

Paris, the Mirage, Treasure Island and Planet Hollywood also have very good buffets -- some people claim the Planet Hollywood Spice Market buffet is every bit as good as the ones at the Wynn and Bellagio -- and they're usually $5-$10 less expensive.

If you find yourself off the Strip and in the Downtown area, Main Street Station is far and away the best choice. Its prices are similar to Paris and Planet Hollywood.

If you're a fan of seafood and don't mind making a trip off the Strip, the Rio is worth a visit. It's not cheap, costing up close to $40, but they put out a truly great spread. Plan on the dinner buffet if you want to make sure lobster tail is available.

Bally's Sunday brunch is pretty damned amazing, but the price is up above the $80 mark. If you want to splurge on a great brunch, though, it's money well spent. The Gospel Brunch at the Mandalay Bay House of Blues is also a nice spot for a Sunday meal. They load up the joint with mostly Southern-style fare and have a gospel choir for background music, for about a $50 price. It's best to make reservations to either of those in advance.

High-end restaurants

Toss the names of Restaurant Guy Savoy (Caesars Palace), Picasso (Bellagio) and Aureole (Mandalay Bay) into a hat and pick one at random. You're guaranteed a winner. They are all home to world-class dining... with exactly the sort of prices you would guess. Wine aficionados will particularly like Aureole and their 40-foot skyscraper of vino, where "wine angels" ascend on bungees to fetch the right bottles.

Top of the World, atop the Stratosphere, is also a great place for a memorable meal, but I like it more for the atmosphere than for the food. That's not to say the dining isn't great, but the tremendous revolving view of the Strip from there steals the show.

Steak

SW Steakhouse (the Wynn) tops my own list, but Prime Steakhouse (Bellagio), Stripsteak (Mandalay Bay), Carnevino and Cut (both at the Palazzo), and Emeril Lagasse's Delmonico (the Venetian) are definitely equals. All these places are a bit on the expensive side.

Inside Bills Gamblin' Hall, a small, older casino next to the Flamingo, there is a great old-school steakhouse called, appropriately, the Steakhouse at Bills. Prices are usually a little less expensive than those listed above, but the quality of the steak is very close and the decor is one that Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack would have been comfortable with. Fans of classic Vegas should make a point to visit at least once.

A little less costly is the Samba Brazilian Steakhouse inside the Mirage. It's a different kind of dining experience, with waiters strolling around to slice as much as you care to eat of many different kinds of meats. One of the best bargains around is the prime rib dinner at a small hotel/casino called Ellis Island just slightly off the Strip (but within fairly easy walking distance of the MGM Grand). That usually around $10, and it's not just good for the price, it's just flat-out good.

Others

I'm a big fan of Canter's Deli inside Treasure Island. The sandwiches they make are HUGE (two people can easily split one and both get full) and New York-style delicious. The $1.99 shrimp cocktail from the Golden Gate snack bar is better than comparable dishes for which I've paid 10 times as much.

Away from the Strip is an Italian place called Casa di Amore I'm very fond of. The food is usually very good (every so often I've heard of folks being less than impressed, though) but it's the old-school Vegas atmosphere that is the best. Call ahead to make reservations, instead of using their website (casadiamore.com), and they'll provide a limo shuttle to and from the joint.

And if you happen to be out and find yourself near an In-and-Out Burger, stop and have one. Order it "Animal Style" and you'll dream about it for years.

Keep your eyes on the FirstTimeLasVegas Bargains page for any special deals and/or uprgrades for buffets and restaurants.

20 responses to “The best buffets and restaurants?”


  1. jenn said:

    What about fantastic desserts or bakeries?? I have a huge sweet tooth! I love the offerings at carlos bakery in NJ, (show cake boss) anything like that on the stip? I will be staying at the luxor in October, a las vegas newbie. Is there also a site that lists buffets? My husband is looking for one we saw on tv called word something, featured items from, well the world!
    I saw luxor has a deal for about $40 buffets all day, and a buffets of buffets pass for several resorts.. any coments on those. Also can u just stop in for a non alcoholic drink if u have a buffet pass?


  2. Steve the Texan said:

    The M is a very nice place in many ways, not just the buffet. Sports bettors in particular usually love the place, as it has a first-class sports book. If it were located closer to the Strip it would definitely make our list of recommended places to stay. Location is the only knock on the place.


  3. Jeff said:

    I've been going to the studio B buffet at the M resort for the last few years. Although it's a little ways from the strip, it is by far the best buffet you'll find in las vegas.


  4. Steve the Texan said:

    Judi,
    If you're wine fans, I'd strongly recommend Aureole inside Mandalay Bay. They're known for their wine selection and expertise of servers. You wouldn't go wrong scheduling a meal there.

    Other good options to consider are Joel Robuchon in MGM Grand, the Eiffel Tower at Paris and Top of the World at the Stratosphere.


  5. judi said:

    Heading to Vegas for vacation. Where is the best place to have a sit down romantic dinner with a glass of wine?


  6. judi said:

    Taking our first "couples vacation" together. Where is the best place to have a sit down romantic dinner where we can have a glass of wine?


  7. mark said:

    We visit regularly to Vegas
    we always eat breakfast at
    Blueberry Hills
    1505 E. Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89119

    It is a car ride from the strip and it is just an old fashioned diner.

    you may have to queue some days for a short while but well worth it

    A good breakfast for 2people is approx: $18 to $25 dollars


  8. June said:

    I will be in Vegas for the whole time Nascar's Champions Week and would like to get a schedule of events and where they are taking place and where can I get tickets to any of the events. Thx


  9. sarah said:

    Hi

    Coming to Vegas with the girls and looking for somewhere fantastic for a late lunch. Its my friends 30th so looking for somwhere pretty special


  10. Steve the Texan said:

    There are some very good burgers to be found at Burger Bar (Mandalay Bay), Holstein's (Cosmopolitan) and First Food & Bar (Palazzo). There are also In-N-Outs and Five Guys Burgers located in various locations around Vegas. If you happen to pass by either of those they're worth a visit.

    If you're looking for sheer size, Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill (Harrahs) has a giant Big Daddy burger that totals 100 ounces, including fries and a big beer. (If you want to truly challenge your stomach visit the nearby Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville and see if youi can make your way through an order of Volcano nachos.)


  11. Mike said:

    Where can I find the best burger? And where can I find the biggest(monster) burger?
    Thanks


  12. Joan said:

    If you want the best prime rib that money can buy, it is at the 4 Queens on Freemont Street - runs around $6 if you have points on your card - otherwise around $9 - there is always a lineup as the meat is so very tender


  13. Steve the Texan said:

    Jim, you won't find any truly old-fashioned diners in the main tourist areas of Las Vegas. If you really want to visit one, take a cab to Tiffany's located inside the White Cross Drug Store a little north of the Stratosphere. Don't walk there, as the neighborhood is a bit sketchy.

    If you're Downtown, the coffee shop inside the Golden Gate has a lot of old-style charm, but it wouldn't fully fit what I consider to be a diner.

    Here is a link to a section that should help with questions regarding shopping:
    * Shopping in Las Vegas


  14. jim said:

    where can i find a good old fashioned diner in las vegas and where is the cheapist place to shop


  15. Steve the Texan said:

    Jim, if you visit one of the nicer restaurants in town you wouldn't feel out of place wearing nice pants and a jacket, but the dress code tends to be more relaxed at other places to dine, especially buffets.


  16. Jim the Scot said:

    Steve, we usually wear a suit, collar and tie to some restaurants here or a jacket and slacks. Is the dress code more relaxed in Vegas. (shorts, Hawaiian shirt?)


  17. Steve the Texan said:

    Martina,

    Here are links to a couple of articles that may be helpful:

    * Visiting the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam

    * Show tickets: Buy in advance or wait?

    You might also want to take a look at recommendations on what to pack and what to expect from the weather.


  18. martina said:

    hi travelling in aug for 1st time should we book shows etc before we leave or is it possible to get some when we arrive if so wherei s best to get them .hoping to do grand canyon trip any recomedations 4 that too.thanks


  19. Steve the Texan said:

    Alan, if you're looking just for a quick and simple lunch for the wedding party I think the buffet at the Wynn would be perfectly fine for 16 folks (it runs until 3:30pm), or try the Wynn's deli, Zoozacrackers. The food there is good and more than likely they can fit your whole party. (If you want to be courteous, drop by a few hours ahead of time and check with the manager to see if there would be any problems.)

    Neither of those have private rooms, but they are good options. If you want to go a little fancier and get a private area, I really like a pair of restaurants located away from the main part of the strip. The Bootlegger Bistro and Casa di Amore are great old-school joints that can put you and your friends in a private area. Both are a cab ride away from the Wynn/Encore, though.


  20. alan mc said:

    hi there
    travelling to vegas soon about 16 of us renewing vows at chapel of flowers.....got any suggestions for afterwards??what places have private rooms...we are staying at encore at wynn just need feeding probably lunch time then onto a bar in evening...thx

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