Las Vegas is synonymous with the buffet.
Spoon University (Yep, that’s a thing), the Cooking Channel and even Business Insider all name Nevada’s state food as not one thing, but all things — the buffet.
This got me thinking… if you’ve got to try at least one buffet when you visit Vegas, would hitting five be even better?
As a local in a town where more is almost always better, I knew I had to try theBuffet of Buffets. This is just what its name indicates — a culinary tour across Vegas where you pay one price and get access to up to five buffets for a 24-hour period. Upgrades are available it you want to visit the premium Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace or have the expanded seafood option at Carnival World & Seafood Buffet at Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino.
I figured there was only one way to fully evaluate this deal: Belly up to the biggest food challenge Las Vegas has to offer.
Buffet of Buffets Day One: Dinner at Caesars Palace
Buffet of Buffets Las Vegas: Carne Asada Tacos
Buffet of Buffets Las Vegas at Caesars Palace
Buffet of Buffets Las Vegas: Cucumber Shooter
Buffet of Buffets Las Vegas at Caesars Palace – The Vegetarian Options
Buffet of Buffets Las Vegas: Flavorful Lamb
Buffet of Buffets Las Vegas: Flavorful Pork Belly
First off, I decided I would attempt a modest four buffets in 24 hours. Five would be pushing it for time and belt notches. Plus, I wanted to see if I could truly have a different buffet experience at each stop. I started with dinner at Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace because — let’s be real — it’s the best buffet in town with hundreds of delicious items. I wanted to hit this first with an empty stomach, in case four buffets turned me off from eating all together. Ha. There wasn’t much of a chance of that, living in the culinary wonderland that is Las Vegas, but I didn’t want to risk it.
Another great thing about starting with the Bacchanal Buffet, is that this is the Harvard University of buffets. Once I was done, I had a Ph.D. in buffet dining to ready me for my next three stops. Here are a few pro tips I picked up.
Visit the live-action stations to sample custom creations. There are multiple stations including sushi, sashimi, made-to-order Chinese soups, wok-fried dishes and more. I’m a street taco fan so I was excited to see a giant wheel of a grill where a chef was grilling up meats and tortillas. I tried the chicken and carne asada varieties and scooped as much guacamole, onions and cilantro onto them as their tortillas could hold. The result: hot and fresh tacos prepared to my own specifications.
Sample as many of the small plates as you can. Bacchanal is known for its unique presentation of small plates, more in the style of fancy apps at a restaurant than your standard buffet fare. The glazed pork belly over mashed potatoes and the rich and flavorful lamb were standouts as was the watermelon and feta salad, which I paired with a palate cleansing cucumber shooter. This seemed far too healthy for a gluttonous buffet so I soon switched to onion rings and truffle Parmesan fries, both served in cute little metal dishes. It may sound hipster pretentious but the quality of each warranted the fun serving dishes.
Green tea chocolate-covered strawberries at the Buffet of Buffets
Dessert and Treats at the Buffet of Buffets
The desserts at the Buffet of Buffets are impressive
Don’t worry about “saving room for dessert.” It’ll only take one glance down the rows of gorgeous gelato, cookies, cakes and pastries for your second dessert stomach to kick in. I easily found room for waaaaaay too many desserts despite being pretty stuffed already. Bacchanal took chocolate covered strawberries to a whole new level with green tea white chocolate and milk chocolate salted caramel varieties. Basically, you can’t go wrong with Bacchanal desserts so fill up your plate and know that they’re all so delicious you’ll have no trouble finding room.
Buffet of Buffets Day Two: Breakfast in Paris
I chose to have breakfast at Le Village Buffet at Paris Las Vegas not just because it sounds elegant, but because I secretly hoped to pull off the Vegas buffet insider trick of coming for breakfast and staying for lunch. Some buffets stay open continuously during their hours of operation so that means when you’re finishing up your omelet, they’re rolling out the carving station meats for lunch service. Score! Another awesome feature of the Paris buffet — you can make a reservation. It’s the only buffet in town to offer reservations and it really comes in handy during busier hours or if you have a show to catch.
Buffet of Buffets Las Vegas – Omelets with Potatoes
Endless bacon at the Buffet of Buffets Las Vegas
Creme Brulee at the Buffet of Buffets Las Vegas
So what power buffet moves did Le Village Buffet teach us?
It’s all about the meat and potatoes. The Paris buffet is known for its large array of breakfast meats so don’t skip out on anything. The slab bacon was decadent as was the ham and various sausages. With all this meat, I needed some potatoes. Luckily, Le Village Buffet has about as many types of potatoes as it does meat so I was in heaven. From the standard crispy hash brown triangles to seasoned fingerling potatoes to au gratin potatoes to Lyonnaise potatoes… well, you get the picture. Usually potatoes aren’t a star of a buffet experience but let’s just say everything’s better in Paris.
Crepes are a must. If you’re going to have crepes on your Vegas vacation, have them here. The banana Nutella one I had was so delightful I may have eaten — OK I did eat– the entire thing. There’s a list of sweet and savory made-to-order crepes and trust me on this, there’s no wrong way to go.
Sweet crepes at Paris Las Vegas buffet
Endless desserts at the Paris Las Vegas buffet
Macarons come in all flavors. For the uninitiated, macarons are meringue-based sandwich cookies with assorted fillings. They are sometimes confused with macaroons, which often contain coconut. The pastry chef at Le Village Buffet let us in on a little macaron secret: The colors do not indicate flavor. All of the rainbow-colored cookies taste the same but their filling flavors vary. The raspberry and the Smurf blue ones with strawberry filling were very yummy but the coffee-flavored ones were off-the-charts good.
Buffet of Buffets Day Two: Lunch at Planet Hollywood
The Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood is just the place to be bold and find your next favorite thing. In addition to seafood, soup, salad and carving stations, this buffet boasts some major international flair with everything from Mediterranean munchies to Italian specialties.
Cheese plate at the Spice Market Buffet Las Vegas
Try something new. Step out of your buffet comfort zone and be a little adventurous. Get the tandoori skewers, baba ghanoush and dolmas with feta from the Middle Eastern section. Try the handmade brick oven pizza with a topping combination you’ve never tried before. Grab a steamed pork bun with a side of drunken noodles. You could just stay in your lane and get the usual meat and potatoes, but where’s the fun in that? Expand your waistline horizons.
Eat your veggies. I know it’s not your standard gluttonous buffet recommendation, but I really enjoyed the grilled and roasted vegetables at this buffet. The grilled zucchini and onions paired really nicely with the flame-broiled flank steak at the carving station.
Desserts should always be this fun. If your dessert isn’t conjuring up fun childhood memories, well, I’m sorry for you. Stick your face into freshly spun cotton candy and hit the mini cupcakes hard because they’re all winners. I promise not to judge you if you too find yourself saying “holy cannoli” in your head when you realize there are actually cannoli cupcakes, along with red velvets and a palate-cleansing mint chocolate chip variety.
Buffet of Buffets Day Two: Dinner at Rio
The last stop on my Buffet of Buffets adventure was the Carnival World & Seafood Buffet at Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino. I didn’t think I would have much steam left but, as I mentioned earlier, with that separate dessert stomach, good food has a way of making you eat it whether you’re hungry or not. It was time to finish strong!
Seafood Buffet at the Rio Las Vegas
Buffet of Buffets at the Rio Las Vegas – Pizza Oven
Burgers at Buffet of Buffets at the Rio Las Vegas
Endless Italian dishes at the Las Vegas buffet at the Rio
Asian cuisine at the Rio Las Vegas Buffet
Buffet of Buffet at the Rio Las Vegas
Get the seafood upgrade. The Rio buffet boasts a wide variety of more than 300 dishes, which span the globe. There’s a $20 upgrade for the additional 70 fresh seafood items you can tack on but let me tell you, it’s worth it. If you’re a seafood fan, you’ll enjoy all the king crab legs, snow crab legs and all the shrimp you can eat.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t really know how to properly shell a crab? Just ask! The staff at every buffet I visited was willing to help with questions about food items or how-to instructions. The friendly staff also came in handy at the extensive Asian food station, which featured a teppanyaki grill and a build-your-own noodle soup bar. The noodle chef gave me a great primer so I could feel confident straying from my familiar pho and try some tasty new noodle, broth and meat combos.
Try dessert first, or at least not only last. Once again, the desserts, including some heavenly cookies and creamy gelato, were outstanding and made me regret not interspersing them between food courses. Who says you can’t have dessert first and in the middle of your meal? Nobody’s stopping you from having your meal in any order you want. If you’re on a mission to sample as many decadent desserts as you can, consider getting a head start and don’t wait until the end of your meal.
Las Vegas buffet desserts at the Rio Las Vegas
Small dessert pastries at the Las Vegas buffet
Gelato at Rio Las Vegas Buffet
Bottom line: I ate, I considered unbuttoning my pants, but I conquered. If you’re at the blackjack table, there are times when you want to double down. If you’re going to hit a buffet while you’re in town, quintuple, or at least quadruple down with this uniquely Vegas experience. Put Buffet of Buffets on your Vegas bucket list and pack your stretchy pants.