on March 31, 2012
Buffets are and always have been a stalwart of the Las Vegas dining scene. For years people have flocked to them to pile plates for a few dollars. But in recent years the buffet experience has developed somewhat and it has become a chance for hotel chefs to show off their culinary experience. The buffet at the Bellagio is a fine example of being able to eat a wide variety of food for not exorbitant prices.We actually made two attempts at visiting the Bellagio buffet, but our first attempt was not so successful. We went at about six pm the first time and the queue was ridiculously long. The buffet is right at the back of the hotel on the gaming floor, on the right hand side. We could see the queues long before we reached them and we saw that there are actually two queues. The first is for anybody to join, the other for members of the Bellagio ‘club’. I’m not entirely sure how you join this club – maybe you have to be staying at the hotel, I’m not sure. But we decided very quickly that we wouldn’t bother waiting and we decided to return and try our luck the following night. We actually returned a little bit later at around 7.30pm and found that there was no queue at all. It would seem that the patrons of the Bellagio are early diners!We were shown to a table straight away. The dining area is large and spacious, although the tables do seem to be quite close together. There was some refurbishment work going on whilst we visited and parts of the restaurants were closed off, so this could be the reason for the cramped dining. A waiter came and took our drinks order straight away but we declined because we had bought our own drinks with us. That is one of the wonderful things about Las Vegas – you can bring drinks in from anywhere and therefore don’t have to pay inflated restaurant prices. It might seem like a cheap thing to do, but when you are looking at around $10 for a glass of wine, it is worth making the saving! I did later on in the night sample a cocktail for $12, which was very nice indeed but probably not worth the money really.The buffet is amazing. It is well laid out and, unlike the dining area, the buffet area is spacious. This is good for two reasons. Firstly, you can see the full choice of food available easily and, secondly, there is plenty of room for everybody. I don’t know about you, but I always find that people tend to hover and generally get in the way at buffets, but there is enough room for everyone here.The food is great – everything you could wish for and more is here. You can start with some fresh shell fish – stuffed crab, lobster claw and huge shell on prawns. Or you could opt for a nice fresh salad made with the freshest ingredients and topped with one of the mind boggling choices of dressing they offer. There is also a selection of soups which changes on a daily basis. For main course I particularly enjoyed the carvery selection. It is clear that the Bellagio use the finest ingredients and the choice is astounding. One thing I will say is that you need to specify the size of portion you want because they have a tendency to pile you plate high for you! There are also lots of others types of food to choose from including curries, Chinese stir fries and pasta dishes. There is lots for every body – whether you are a fussy eater or a healthy eater, you’ll find plenty. There is also a selection of ‘kid’ food like chips, chicken nuggets and pizzas. One thing that I noticed is that the food was kept to the perfect temperature. The chilled foods were all displayed on huge piles of crushed ice, keeping them nice and cold whilst the hot food was indeed that. I tend to find that food at buffets is often lukewarm, but this is not the case here.The desserts were something else entirely. I strongly recommend that you don’t over-indulge before you get to the desserts because you’ll be sorry if you can’t fit them in. The desserts are all served on individual little plates and include everything from Tiramisu sponge to extravagant fruit and ice cream sundaes. There are so many that you could probably spend a few hours working your way through them.The service was good – plates were moved quickly and drinks brought quickly too. When I asked the waiter about the cocktails, he was knowledgeable and enthusiastic but not overly so.The price of the buffet is slightly more than the others in Las Vegas at just under $30 per person (around£20) but I think it is entirely worth it. Unlike many buffets, you don’t feel like you are in a school canteen and the choice and standard of the food is excellent. Definitely recommended.
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