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Vegas - Bellagio breakfast buffet review and Bellagio VS Paris SMACKDOWN!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008. BF and I were planning to head back to the Paris for another go at their breakfast buffet (more Nutella for me), but at the last minute we changed our minds and headed to the Bellagio to check out their breakfast buffet. We got there at 9:30ish and were seated right away. The place was half empty, but the buffet was bustling. The atmosphere here was a little dreary – much more generic looking than the Paris and more obviously “buffet”-like, if that makes sense. The waitress brought us fresh-squeezed OJ (nice touch) and coffee, then we descended on the buffet.

A quick perusal of the offerings revealed the usual selection of breakfast goods (scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, French toast, fresh-made pancakes, waffles, omelet bar), plus at least 4 different types of fried and roasted potatoes and…GRAVY! BF was thrilled. There was an extensive selection of cereals and yogurts and all the fixings you could possibly want (cold cereal, oatmeal, cream of wheat, fresh and cooked fruit toppings, granola, etc) and a large selection of pastries (including some slightly unusual offerings like pound cake and bread pudding). The more savory selections included smoked salmon and white fish with all the usual toppings plus some unusual ones (wasabi, red onion jam, a dill sauce, etc), an asian bar (curried duck at 9:30am, anyone?), a breakfast burrito bar, a few random meat dishes (roasted salmon, etc) and a pizza bar with both conventional and breakfast pizzas.

BF and I went our separate ways as usual – he hit the potatoes and gravy, I hit the smoked fish. I selected an onion bagel, a wheat roll and a croissant as possible vehicles for my salmon, plus some sausage and a chunk of beef tenderloin (which was just sort of randomly sitting next to the omelet station), and went back to dig in. Verdict? Smoked salmon good, smoked white fish BAD. Also, bagels REALLY BAD. Luckily the wheat roll was passable. Why on earth are bagels so bad here? Anyway, I ate my salmon with cream cheese and red onion jam (which was really tasty), my beef (which was dry) and then turned to the sausage. It looked just like the sausage we’d had at the Paris, so I was expecting it to BE the same. Uh, no. DISGUSTING. This is coming from a gal who never met a sausage she didn’t like – I mean, I like brown-n-serve. Not only was this bad, it didn’t taste like BREAKFAST sausage – it was sort of like the most horrible bratwurst ever. Yuck. I then turned to BF’s plate and poached a piece of bacon (decent), a bite of potatoes lyonnaise with gravy (very good – the potatoes were crispy and tender with lots of onion and the gravy was creamy with chunks of non-bratwurst sausage in it), and an ill-advised bite of scrambled eggs. EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW! What on earth! I don’t know for sure, but I would bet my paycheck that they use powdered eggs to make their scrambled eggs. UNACCEPTABLE. BF was also dismayed and had to go get more potatoes and gravy to console himself.

I headed back up and got some berries from the fruit bar, which was fairly extensive and looked to be of good quality. The berries I had were good, and BFs melon was fine as well. We also hit the pizza bar, which was surprisingly good – usually buffet pizza sucks, but they were making this fresh in an open oven right behind the buffet and it was very tasty – we had a bacon-basil slice and a pepperoni slice. There were several “breakfast” pizzas, but they all involved eggs and I was not touching any egg in that place with a 10 foot pole! I was considering pancakes or French toast, but the only syrup available was Aunt Jemima and I am a real maple snob. I did take a cheese blintz with strawberry sauce, but one bite showed me what a bad idea that was. BF had some French toast which he thought very good (they use a nice thick cut bread to make it).

Obviously, I wasn’t about to go hungry, but I still didn’t feel like I’d eaten anything satisfying, so I checked out the asian bar. Unfortunately, I think everyone felt it was a little early for asian because everything looked like it had been sitting for hours. I did take a sample of Singapore-style noodles, which were fine but nothing special. I returned to the smoked salmon, which was excellent, and then finished off my meal with a little ice cream (really bad soft serve) with caramel sauce (fine).

Bellagio versus Paris SMACKDOWN:

Ambiance: Paris, hands down. Neither one is as nice as a sit-down place, but at least the kitschy cuteness of the Paris helps you forget that you’re at a buffet.

Service: Tie. Both had polite and capable service.

Food: Paris. Not that everything at the Paris was amazing, but I wasn’t disgusted by anything I tasted there. Not so with the Bellagio. The breakdown:

Eggs: Paris
Bacon: Bellagio
Sausage: Paris
Potatoes: Tie
Gravy: Bellagio (by default)
Breads: Neither. Someone needs to remedy the bread situation in Vegas, pronto.
French Toast: Tie (Bellagio was made with thicker bread, but was soggy in the middle)
Syrup/Toppings: Paris (both should be slapped for not offering real maple syrup, but at least the Paris had a few fruit sauces and whipped cream)
Smoked Salmon: Tie (although Bellagio had more interesting toppings)
Sweets: Paris (the crepe station alone beat anything the Bellagio had to offer. Their selections of pastries were probably equal, but the Paris had a number of things like flan and chocolate mousse that were missing at the Bellagio)
Non-breakfast savory items: Paris (the pizza was good at the Bellagio, but there was just SO much more at the Paris – carving stations, grilled meats, stews, etc)

Variety: Paris. Perhaps this is because we were at the champagne brunch at the Paris and it was just regular breakfast at the Bellagio, but there were many, many more interesting options at the Paris. Also, the non-breakfast options at the Paris were more palatable at breakfast time than the random asian station at the Bellagio.

Overall Winner:

If I hadn’t been to the Paris, I might have found the Bellagio acceptable, but I would probably not have returned because I know there has to be better out there. However, since I have been to the Paris, I would NOT return to the Bellagio under any circumstances. I wouldn’t mind searching out an even better breakfast buffet in Vegas, but the Paris is a solid choice, slightly cheaper than the Bellagio, and totally recommendable!

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  1. This posting was a great read.....hilarious. Thanks for putting the time in to write it...I truly laughed out loud.

    1. thanks for the interesting / entertaining reviews ...i'm trying to remember the last time i had a breakfast buffet in vegas ...and i'm here every week !! i would be very surprised that bellagio used powdered eggs, but the fact is, not much surprises me anymore...gee...no maple syrup..?!?! that's wrong !!! price of each ???

      1 Reply
      1. re: kjs

        Kjs, the Bellagio was $15, and I believe the Paris is $13 for breakfast but it was $25 for the champagne brunch. As I recall, the Bellagio's champagne brunch is $28-29, so the Paris is a hair cheaper on both counts. As for the syrup, they had syrup aplenty at both places, but I refuse to eat fake maple syrup. If they can afford to have smoked salmon on their buffet, surely they can afford to spring for real maple syrup!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      2. Great post! I've always felt the Bellagio buffet was way overrated. Paris has been a fave, though I think the food has slipped a notch since they opened. My current fave is the buffet at Planet Hollywood (still the Spice Market?)

        2 Replies
        1. re: GroovinGourmet

          Thanks! I enjoyed the Paris but I'm sure you're right about the food slipping - the reviews I read from when it first opened were raves, the more recent ones, not so much. I will definitely keep the Spice Market buffet (also known as Aladdin?) in mind for next time!

          1. re: biondanonima

            Alladin is now Planet Hollywood. Assuming the name of the buffet did not change. I think my next trip calls for a return there and a 1st visit to the Wynn buffet.

        2. Great posting! I really like the smackdown format: comparing not only overall buffets but also individual foods. What a great way to learn about each of these places (their relative strengths & weaknesses). I'll try to adopt it for some of my future posts.

          I like your humor, too. After reading your posts, I'm thinking that maybe it's time for me to stop taking my own posts so seriously--"Hey folks! I've got something important to say here"--that sort of thing.

          Oops. I hope that didn't come out wrong. I take what you say seriously, but I like how you say it in a non-serious or funny way.

          See? Now I'm taking myself too seriously!

          On with the food reports!

          3 Replies
          1. re: alanstotle

            Thanks Alan! BF is a wrestling fan, so my SMACKDOWN inspiration came from him, LOL. I'm a wanna-be comedian and certified "sass-monkey," so the humor comes out whether I want it to or not!

            1. re: biondanonima

              I think I like "smackdown" a lot better than the ubiquitous Food Network terms "throwdown" & (especially) "challenge."

              In fact, maybe it's time to resurrect MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch except with restaurants. "This week on RESTAURANT DEATHMATCH: Golden Gate Casino Shrimp Cocktail vs. Slots-O-Fun Hot Dogs!"

              1. re: alanstotle

                Oooh yeah, DEATHMATCH! I love it! I agree with you that Throwdowns and Challenges are getting a little old on the Food Network. I used to watch the Food Network all the time, but when they stopped airing Molto Mario (and other real chef shows) in favor of 3 hours a day of both Rachael Ray and Sandra Lee, I tuned out and now I only watch Good Eats!

          2. I only has dinner at the Bellagio buffet, but my dinner experience was about equal to your breakfast one. If it wasn't for good dessert, I would have left hungry.

            1. GREAT review! Keep 'em coming!

              1. This is a very well done review. I think you should turn pro. Please volunteer to take over from the current RJ reviewer who did a review of the Golden Steer based on a filet and a chicken dish. Yes, 50% of her review of a steakhouse was based on a chicken dish.

                I am absolutely serious. You did a great job comparing the buffets and if I had to rate you on competency, you would get an outstanding rating! The RJ reviewer on the other hand...

                1 Reply
                1. re: masstech

                  Thanks masstech! I love food and I love to write about it (mostly because I'm opinionated and I love to share my opinion with others)!!!! I've considered finding a job as a freelance food writer but I have no idea how to go about it. If I ever move to Vegas, I'll be sure to apply for the job!

                  BTW, who reviews a steakhouse on the basis of a filet and a chicken dish? Give me a porterhouse, a ribeye and every side in the joint!!!!!!!!!!!

                2. I too,along with everyone else really enjoyed your review.I can understand your frustration as I have had some bad ones out there as well,but I think everyone expects more from the Bellagio.This review was cool and you have my vote!Look forward to reading you again.Where else do you post?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: raf945

                    Raf, I'm a NYCer, so I post on the NY boards and the Outer Borough boards (I live in Queens). I'm a pretty good cook, so we eat in a lot at home, but when I go somewhere special or unusually good I do post. My parents are coming for a visit in May and we're planning to hit a couple of new places (new to me anyway - Daniel and Del Posto), so I'll be sure to post about those!

                  2. Must say, I am in Vegas now and the Spice Market was the worst breakfast buffet I have ever had. Powdered eggs, uninteresting choices. The one I liked best the last time I had a buffet here was the Treasure Island ( but that was two years ago and it seems that things can change on a dime here pretty quick.)

                    Everyone has been raving about the Bellagio and the Wynn. Hmmm, I hadn't even thought of Paris...so confused now! Only one opportunity left to have the breakfast buffet and I dont want to make a mistake now.

                    1. This was definitely a fun post, biondanonima. I was at the Champagne Brunch at the Bellagio a few years ago, and had a very different experience from what you had at the standard brunch. Though there is no excuse for a venue like the Bellagio offering subpar food, I also don't think it is quite fair to compare the Champagne Brunch at one location to a lower level brunch at the other. The champagne brunch at Bellagio knocked my socks off... but that was some time ago.

                      1. I agree with the poster who says that the breakfast buffet at the (previously) Alladin is their favorite. I had the joy of eating there 2 years ago with my mom- it was fantastic. So much to choose from, we were there on a Sunday so it included Champagne, they had an enormous selection of foods from all over the world, plus, this brought a gleam in my mom's eye- they had cotton candy on the buffet! She was so excited- it was like she was 5 years old again. Well worth the I think 20 a person we spent.

                        1. I totally agree with you - Paris is my favorite breakfast buffet in Vegas hands down. It's all about the food and atmosphere and Paris has both. Thanks for the review - enjoyed it!

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Heyteacher

                            Heyteacher! leave them kids alone!

                            I never would have guessed that Paris LV had such a great buffet. This thread has been quite informative. It's officially on my list for the next visit.

                            1. re: vvvindaloo

                              Can I throw in a dissent? At one time, i thought the Paris was a step ahead of the other breakfast buffets, but I'm not so sure I agree any more. The last couple times I've eaten at the Paris breakfast buffet, I haven't found the preparation of the most basic items (eggs, bacon, etc.) to be adequate, the smoked fish tasteless, horrible bread, and all the usual complaints about breakfast buffets.

                              There IS something more pleasant about the ambiance at the Paris, but all in all, there are so many non-buffet places I'd rather go to for breakfast. If I'm at a buffet, it's usually because I'm dragged there.

                              1. re: Dave Feldman

                                Thanks for the tip, Dave. I don't go out to Vegas to often, but I do enjoy a good breakfast buffet when I'm there. I'd probably balance it out by trying Bouchon and that local place off the strip that I've heard so much about....can't remember the name. Who do you think serves the best (upscale) buffet? I can only speak for the Bellagio, which I really liked.

                                1. re: vvvindaloo

                                  I'm probably the wrong person to ask about buffets. The Paris and Bally's Sterling and the only two upscale buffets I've been to for breakfast of late, and I wasn't that impressed with either. I'd much rather go to Maple Tree or Hash House or Original Pancake House for breakfast. I'm not sure there is any breakfast in LV that gets more consistent raves here than the Verandah at the Four Seasons, but I haven't gone.