The World’s Best BuffetsLove buffets? You can thank France. The modern-day buffet originated when French hosts set up side tables so guests could serve themselves during dinner parties. Of course, now, we don’t associated buffets so much with self-service as we do with stuffing our faces, but, perhaps, we should be grateful just the same. The best buffets in the world, after all, cater to both types of culinary indulgence: quantity and quality. And people are constantly looking for ways to capitalize on both (though you probably don’t have to sneak out a doggy bag to get your money’s worth.)
Though we’re not sure how exactly they turn a profit, MainStreet’s found 10 buffets guaranteed to satisfy your hunger pangs.
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Best Vegas Buffet: The BellagioPrice: $19.95 on weekdays; $35.95 on weekends
Food and Wine magazine loves The Bellagio’s buffet so much, it actually included it on a roundup of the top eateries in Vegas, dubbing it “a buffet on steroids.” Dinners include Beef Wellington, Rack of Lamb, Veal Ossobuco, Grilled Swordfish and Curried Duck. They also serve venison and ostrich, but less adventurous eaters can stick to the Kobe Beef and a bevy of King Crab legs.
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Best Chain Buffet: The Golden CorralPrice: Varies by state; typically between $8-10 for lunch and $10-$15 for dinner.
So long, Sizzler. The Golden Corral is the new go-to chain for hungry Americans. Started in Fayetteville, N.C. in 1973, the chain now has 486 Corrals in 40 states.
The ribs may be enough to seal the deal, but patrons should also you try Golden Corral’s “10-to-win”: rotisserie chicken, made-from-scratch mashed potatoes, Bourbon Street chicken, grilled sirloin, home-style yeast rolls, fried chicken, pot roast (simmered for 12 hours), meatloaf, pizza and carrot cake.
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Best Luxury Buffet: The Sterling Brunch, Las VegasPrice: $85 plus tax.
This brunch buffet isn’t a luxury simply because it carries a hefty price, it’s also only open one day a week (Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; reservations recommended). Of course, the Sturgeon caviar, lobster tails, oysters and mimosas (offered at the entrance) add to the extravagance.
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Most Family-Friendly Chain: Buffet Inc.Price: Varies by state; typically around $8-$10.
Owning several all-you-can-eat chains (Old Country Buffet, Hometown Buffet, Ryan’s Grill, Buffet and Bakery, just to name a few), Buffet Inc. operates 626 restaurants in 30 states. Their everyday menu includes fresh-made macaroni and cheese, hand-breaded fried chicken, baked fish, mashed potatoes, cornbread dressing, French fries, soup, cakes and pies. However, they also rotate daily specials, such as butterfly and popcorn shrimp and grilled barbecue pork steak.
This chain is particularly great for families. They offer a 50- to 70-cent discount for seniors every time they eat and also charge less for children (in some stores, kids can eat for as little as $3.40). The chain also has a bee mascot who walks around and entertains the little ones.
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Most Affordable Buffet for Foodies: Copper Chimney, New YorkPrice: $8.95 on weekdays; $9.95 on weekends.
This lunch buffet features authentic Indian cuisine at an economical price. The 16 courses served between noon and 3 p.m. include Punjabi chicken, basmati rice, chicken curry, rice pudding and ice cream cake. Just make sure to get there early as there tends to be a wait. The weekend brunch also includes wine, but waiters always bring baskets of hot naan directly to your table.
“I love Copper Chimney. The lunch buffets are fantastic, and most of the chicken dishes are amazing,” Lauren M. writes in her five-star Yelp review. “I highly recommend [it].”
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Most Extravagant Buffet: Al Hadheerah, DubaiPrice: $68 per person.
While no buffet (theoretically) lacks for food, Al Hadheerah certainly doesn’t skimp on the opulence. Located in Babs Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa, the eatery itself is designed to look like a fortified Arabian village, complete with belly dancers for dining entertainment. There’s also a camel caravan available for rides on the nearby dunes.
As for the actual fare, it’s what Time Out Dubai calls “proper Emirati food.” The menu includes whole lamb slow-cooked for six hours, rice laden with saffron, fresh fish selected and grilled to order, freshly baked breads and syrupy kunufa (shredded-wheat pastries).
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Most Scenic Buffet: The View, New YorkPrice: $32.95
Located on top of the New York Marriot Marquis in Time Square, the View lives up to its name. “There are huge glass windows covering floor to floor, so you can really see a lot,” patron Katie Ecklund tells MainStreet. “It’s a really chill atmosphere and is pretty reasonably priced.”In fact, you can get a more affordable glimpse by opting for a cheese and dessert buffet that costs $17.95.
The full menu, on the other hand, includes a pasta station, lemon chicken, braised short ribs, crisp crudités, cold salads and a chocolate fountain with all the fixings.
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Best Exotic Buffet: Tin Mine in Phuket, ThailandPrice: $49 per person
Located in the Indigo Pearl Hotel, the Tin Mine features live music, an endless wine pour and unique décor as you dine al fresco in a pavilion surrounded by ponds.
The food’s not so bad either. While there are the traditional carving, barbecue and sushi stations, the specialty dishes are traditional Thai fare: deep-fried soft-shell crab, fusilli with sautéed freshwater shrimp and creamy pesto and passionfruit crème brulee.
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Buffet for Dessert Lovers: Café Fleuri, BostonPrice: $38 per adult
Located in The Langham Hotel, Café Fleuri’s Chocolate Bar offers 125 different desserts (85 actually contain chocolate) including chocolate mousses, specialty cakes, fresh-made donuts, homemade ice cream sandwiches, fresh baked cookies, tortes, homemade crackerjacks, a signature chocolate bread pudding and more.
While those might satisfy a sweet tooth, Café Fleuri also offers a brunch every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. that offers breakfast, lunch and dinner entrees, with the Chocolate Bar’s samplings still the main draw. The extended buffet costs $48 per person.
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World’s Largest Buffet Ever?Who holds the record for the largest buffet in the world? Technically, it’s The Holmes County Amish Flea market in Ohio. The market successfully stole the Guiness world record from the Las Vegas Hilton after they staged a 539-dish buffet in March. Of course, this was a one-time food fest so you can’t exactly enjoy the spoils first-hand. You can, however, purchase a $10 cookbook that features some of the buffet’s recipes here.
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Fabulous Famiy-Friendly Restaurants
Not full yet? Check out MainStreet’s roundup of fabulous family-friendly restaurants so can plan your next night out with the kids.
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