Photo Courtesy of Waldorf-Astoria
In America, we believe that it’s our God-given right to eat as much as we want, whenever we want to, and all-you-can-eat buffets are the perfect manifestation of that ethos. Thankfully, there are plenty of great places to live out that dream, and we’ve tracked down America’s 14 best.
Gaia’s Garden / Facebook
Gaia's Garden is one of the best vegetarian restaurants in Sonoma County. It’s an international vegetarian buffet, serving delicious curries, soups, homemade breads, fresh salads, desserts, chai, and more. Rotating dinner entrées include lasagna, quiche, enchiladas, coconut tofu, stuffed cabbage, and eggplant Parmesan. None of the items here contain artificial colors, flavors, corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, nitrates or nitrites, or dough softeners, and breads are baked in house daily. Not only is this one of the best buffets in the country, it also very well might be the healthiest.
Yelp / Sue V
The Chinese buffet is usually somewhat of a toss-up; you tend to get what you pay for, and as they’re usually very inexpensive, the quality tends to be hit-or-miss. Not at King Buffet in Los Angeles, though: Even though it costs only $8.99 for lunch and $13.99 for dinner, the food is delicious and is constantly refreshed by attendants. Dozens of items are available, including several varieties of fried rice, coconut chicken, beef and pork ribs, baked salmon, orange chicken, Mongolian beef, baby clams with onions, pork dumplings, crab legs, shrimp cocktail, sushi, egg tarts, and peach buns. It’s the Platonic ideal of a Chinese buffet, and it’s the best there is.
Facebook/ Molly Pitcher Inn
At the elegant boutique hotel the Molly Pitcher Inn, located in upscale Red Bank, N.J., guests may come for the sweeping views of the harbor, but the stay for the astounding buffet arrangement. The brunch is only available on Sundays from October through mid-June and on special holidays such as Easter, Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Christmas. Highlights include the carving station, chilled seafood, and a variety of hot and cold appetizers, and antipasti.
Facebook/ Red Apple Buffet
This sprawling restaurant is home to three full rooms’ worth of buffets, and while there are plenty of American and international specialties, for all intents and purposes Red Apple is a Polish buffet. Pierogis, potato pancakes, schnitzel, Polish sausage, blintzes, pork stew, roast beef, stuffed cabbage, pork shanks, roast turkey or duck, potato dumplings, and a huge array of desserts await you, but there’s only one problem: trying everything you want to before filling up.
Self-described as being “in the middle of nowhere,” this oasis is legendary in the area for its bounty of fresh-cooked homemade specialties. Steak, mashed potatoes, fried chicken, baked ham, macaroni and cheese are all standouts, as is their wide variety of fresh-baked bread and homemade pies. If you choose to make the trek, know a couple things: They’re cash-only, only open Fridays and Saturdays until 8 pm, and lines tend to stretch out the door. .
Eleven stations at this buffet in the relatively new Aria serve a rotating selection of fresh fish; naan straight out of a tandoor oven; grilled, smoked, and roasted meats sliced to order; diner fare like grilled cheese and tomato soup; a killer salad bar (select your items and they toss it for you); authentic tacos, made-to-order pasta; cured meats and artisanal cheeses; dim sum; scratch-made soups; and rice congee with preserved eggs and BBQ pork. There’s also an option for bottomless beer, wine, and sangria.
Every casino–hotel in Atlantic City boasts a buffet, but the one at the Borgata just might be the best. The Borgata is the largest hotel in New Jersey as well as the top-grossing casino in Atlantic City, and the buffet is reasonably priced and really has something (multiple things, in fact) for everyone. The meat section alone is worth the price of admission, with options ranging from sirloin steak and prime rib to grilled chicken, beer-braised pork belly, barbecue pork ribs, and pork chops. The seafood section is also expansive, with fried snapper, mahi mahi, salmon, clams, sushi, shrimp cocktail, and seafood pasta. Rounded out with a selection of Italian dishes, Chinese food, burgers, fried chicken, and macaroni and cheese as well as surprising finds like roasted marrow bones, this is a buffet that’s impossible to dislike.
Yelp / Glen F
Picture in your mind’s eye your best approximation of what a place in Jackson, Tennessee, called Brook Shaw's Old Country Store would look like. Weathered wood, front porch, antiques on the walls, and plenty of home cookin’, right? You got it. Open nearly every day since 1965, the buffet at old-fashioned “whistlestop” Casey Jones Village serves a huge selection of country favorites, like country ham, turnip greens, cracklin’ cornbread, chess pie, fried chicken, sweet potato casserole, pulled pork, fried catfish, pickled okra, ribs… If you’re a fan of down-home country cooking, Brook Shaw’s is a must-visit.
Yelp / Lori L
The best Sunday brunch in Atlantic City can be found at Nero’s Italian Steakhouse inside Caesars. Overlooking the ocean, the restaurant offers many different stations serving everything from breakfast classics like made-to-order waffles, pancakes, crêpes, and omelettes to fresh-made sushi, shrimp cocktail, pasta, prime rib, oysters, crab legs, and a huge variety of desserts. All-you-care-to-drink mimosas, bloody marys, and Champagne certainly doesn’t hurt, either.
Yelp / The Buffet
Steve Wynn, the man behind Bellagio’s legendary buffet, outdid himself with the stunningly gorgeous Wynn Buffet, full of fresh flowers and natural light. With a whopping 15 cooking stations, it’s easy to get lost in the selection, but you can’t go wrong with prime rib, sushi, homemade pastas, ceviche, lamb chops, soups, pizza, Mexican food, jerk chicken, Thai beef, made-to-order crêpes, brisket, crème brûlée, waffles, and tiramisu. On second thought, just have one of everything.
Yelp / Lucinda W
The buffet at the Paris has a decidedly French twist, and the dining room is a beautiful facsimile of a Disney-fied French village. As opposed to an assortment of ethnic stations, stations here are grouped according to French villages: quiche in Normandy; châteaubriand and rotisserie chicken in Burgundy; pasta to order and braised beef in Provence; lamb stew in Alsace; steamed mussels, crepes, and roasted duck in Brittany; and macarons for dessert. Not only is it a delicious tour through the birthplace of high-end gastronomy, but it’s also a lesson in French regional cuisine. They also have all-you-can-drink specials for $11.99, and it’s the only full-time buffet in Vegas to offer reservations on OpenTable.
The Sterling Brunch is one of the most expensive in the city, at $85, and is only available on Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., but it’s nothing short of a wonder to behold. Held in Bally’s Steakhouse, the best way to describe it is to simply list off what’s available: unlimited Perrier-Jouët and Mumm’s Champagne, whole lobsters, crab legs, caviar, filet mignon, truffles, prime rib, rack of lamb, oysters, sushi, and made-to-order desserts. It’s the ultimate in luxury.
Photo Courtesy of Waldorf-Astoria
New York’s Waldorf-Astoria is synonymous with high-end amenities and high-class people, so it’s only fitting that the hotel’s Sunday brunch, served at Peacock Alley just off the lobby, would be upscale and decadent. But nothing prepares you for the sheer level of opulence that this brunch buffet offers: it’s truly spectacular. There’s a huge raw bar with lobster, littleneck clams, Long Island oysters, shrimp, five varieties of house-smoked salmon, and four varieties of caviar; breakfast selections include pancakes, breakfast potatoes, thick-cut bacon, and made-to-order eggs Benedict; rotating hot entrées include braised short ribs, pan-seared fish, pastas, and quiche; and roasted leg of lamb and beef Wellington are carved to order at carving stations. Make sure you save room for dessert, though, because more than 20 items are available, including made-to-order baked Alaska “lollipops,” a dark chocolate fountain, Norman Love truffles, croissant bread pudding, and limoncello tiramisu.
It’s clear that a lot of care goes into each item served here, and the $98 price tag ($65 for children), while steep, is certainly justified when you’re enjoying a meal like this in the heart of one of the world’s most famous hotels.
The Caesars Palace Bacchanal Buffet is nothing short of mind-blowing. Opened in September 2012 after a $17 million build-out, it’s stocked with nine cooking stations turning out more than 500 individual dishes and about 15 daily specials. Seating about 600, this buffet looks like an upscale restaurant, and the quality of the food served here would feel right at home at any of the city’s top eateries. Top-quality carnitas tacos are made to order; you can take your pick from a mound of meat including prime rib, lamb chops, and barbecue brisket; the dim sum and sushi are some of the best in Vegas; and soufflés are baked to order. There are wonders around every corner at this buffet, and if you can only hit up one while in Vegas, it should be the Bacchanal at Caesars.