“ Buffet restaurant in Las Vegas, USA. „
On our second day in Las Vegas we went to The Buffet @ Bellagio but found the queues were far too long for two hungry people. Deciding to stick to the buffet idea that we set our hearts (and stomachs) on, we went over to Garden Buffet at Flamingo Resort. We enjoyed the buffet because the choice is mouth-watering and the price not too bad.
The buffet, like most in Las Vegas is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and charges various amounts depending on what time and day you visit. As a rough guide, breakfast is around $15, lunch around $17 and dinner around $20. If you are visiting on the weekend you can expect these prices to go up by a dollar or two. Children under 15 years old pay a fixed price of $12 regardless of the time or day.
When we visited for midweek dinner at around 6pm, the queue for the buffet was absolutely huge, but we noticed that there was an entrance for 'Total Club Members' and there was no one in the queue. A very helpful guy from one of the nearby gift stalls explained to us that we could become 'Total Club Members' by paying an extra $2 each for the buffet. It didn't take much consideration and I'd strongly recommend paying the extra. The other benefit to this is that you only have to pay the extra amount once - you are given a card and so if you visit the buffet again, you can use the card to skip the queue and then just pay the standard buffet charge.
The Garden Buffet is right at the back of the hotel on the casino floor. It is a fair old trek, but it is well sign posted and close to all of the other Flamingo restaurants so is pretty easy to find. Once you get inside, you see that the place is (like everything in Las Vegas) is absolutely huge. To be honest the restaurant design was pretty basic and it did give me the feeling of being in a school canteen that buffets do tend to give. The food is laid out on the left hand side as you go in and the dining area to the right. There are plenty of tables and I'd recommend paying attention to the route the waitress takes you on in getting to your table, because it is unbelievably easy to get lost!
The dining is bright and airy, mainly thanks to the huge floor to ceiling windows that line one side of the room. If you can, ask if you can sit by the window because you get a good view out over the garden area which is home to the hotel's namesakes: a pretty huge collection of the bright pink birds as well a selection of other birds and creatures. It is quite a nice place to sit to be honest, much better than the other areas where, despite the size of the room, the tables are packed in quite closely.
The food was very good. Comparing it with the only other buffet we ate at (the one at the Bellagio) I would have to say it isn't quite to the same standard, but it is a pretty close second and for the price difference it absolutely does offer great value for money. The choice is extensive and no matter how fussy an eater you are, you'll find a wide range of things to eat. There is a huge fresh salad counter and I was pleased to find that the food was nice and cold. After eating American stodge for a week already, it was a welcome change to eat something a bit healthier! If you are health conscious, there is also mounds of fresh shrimps and snow crabs as well as a mind boggling assortment of delicious sushi.
If you fancy something a bit heartier, there is carving station where you can get lamb, prime rib and chicken, which can be accompanied by potatoes (roasted, mashed, boiled and chipped to name a few) and more vegetables than you can shake a stick at. If you prefer something a bit more exotic, there is a selection of Chinese, Mexican and Indian inspired dishes. In fact the choice is so abundant that I'd recommend you have a wander round first and decide what you want because otherwise you'll get carried away and miss out on dessert!
Dessert is where the buffet comes into its own - there are cakes, tarts, pastries and mousses galore. My favourite was the chocolate fountain where you could dip strawberries, marshmallows and cinder toffee pieces to your heart's content! Again for the healthy eaters, there is a huge display of fresh fruit including melon, mango, pineapple and the like.
The food is cooked nicely and is very tasty. Although some of it is a bit plain, it is very much comfort food and is just what you need if you have spent the day exploring. Overall, I would absolutely recommend the Garden Buffet because it is reasonably priced and the choice means that everyone will find something that they love. Although it is not the best in Las Vegas, it is a perfect option if you are on a budget and you are hungry!