Bellagio Rating: 5.0 Pearls
Centrally located on the Las Vegas Strip, Bellagio's buffet is widely considered to be the very best. Its carving station goes beyond the usual prime rib to include St. Louis barbecue ribs and chicken Wellington. The large variety of cuisines includes Italian, Japanese, Chinese seafood, and American. It's not the cheapest -- $14.95 breakfasts, $19.95 lunches, $23.95 weekend brunches, $27.95 weeknight dinners, and $35.95 dinner Saturdays and Sundays, when the buffet includes Kobe beef -- but it's worth it.
M Resort Spa & Casino Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Studio B, the buffet at the recently opened M Resort, serves upwards of 200 dishes a day. At lunch and dinner, the buffet even includes free beer and wine -- perhaps as incentive to lure diners to the hotel's location, 10 miles from the Strip. In terms of quality, the food is on par with other top Vegas buffets, including the highly touted one at the Bellagio, but the prices are lower (breakfast is $11, compared with $14.95 at Bellagio, for example).
Rio All Suites Hotel & Casino Rating: 3.5 Pearls
The remarkable all-you-can-eat Village Seafood buffet at the Rio is well worth the short trip from the Strip. Serving snow crab legs, Cuban shrimp stew, Baja fish tacos, mussels, and fresh-shucked oysters (all flown in daily), the buffet bests the 300-plus mediocre dishes at the hotel's Carnival World buffet. A new sound and light system in the dining room accompanies videos about ocean species, fishing, and the culinary arts. At $38, it's pricey, so swing by the lobster station to get your money's worth.
Wynn Las Vegas Rating: 5.0 Pearls
The buffet at the Wynn, the Las Vegas Review-Journal's staff pick for best buffet in Las Vegas in 2009, is on the high end of Vegas buffets ($34.95 weeknight dinners). But for that price, diners get 16 staffed cooking stations, including ones serving seafood, Italian, Mexican, and American cuisine, and an impressive dessert spread. Plus, in contrast to most Vegas buffets, the grand dining room is large and airy.
Paris Las Vegas Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The whimsical, Disney-esque Le Village Buffet at the Paris -- voted best buffet by the Las Vegas Review-Journal three years in a row -- has five cook-to-order stations, each serving a different regional French cuisine. Lines can be long, and the gooey pie filling on top of the Belgian waffles is no substitute for real fruit, but Francophile diners with American appetites won't find such a vast spread of French food at a better price ($15 breakfasts, $25 dinners).
Flamingo Las Vegas Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Unlike most Vegas buffets, which tend to be dark and windowless, the scenic Flamingo Paradise Garden Buffet overlooks the streams, gardens, and live flamingos of the hotel's wildlife preserve. For food, your best bet is the $20 champagne brunch: some 60 different breakfast foods, including made-to-order omelets and waffles, corned beef hash, and smoked Norwegian salmon. The $22 dinners, however, are no better than average (except for the crustacean corner).
Treasure Island Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The Treasure Island buffet is not the biggest on the Strip, but with a chef who makes salads to order, a custom pasta station, sushi chefs on the floor, and barbecue, it's definitely a notch above the typical Vegas all-you-can-eat spread, and all for a reasonable price ($14-$22 breakfasts, $22-$26 dinners). Plus, the food is fresh and the servers are attentive.