Review: Bay Side Buffet at Mandalay Bay Las Vegas

Can Mandalay Bay Group (formerly Circus Circus Inc.) do a good buffet? Circus Circus has been known for having some of the worst buffets in Las Vegas. Cheap feeding trough type operations (especially at Circus Circus and Excalibur) with piles of “all-you-can-eat” poor quality food.

Mandalay Bay Las Vegas is the company’s attempt to go upscale in all aspects, and for the most part, they have succeeded. The hotel is nice, and they are attracting the younger, affluent crowd they are after. They haven’t drained off all of the Hard Rock’s clientele, but they might have put a dent in it.

But the buffet …. nice try. They really did try. The quasi-oriental surroundings are soothing (unlike tradition loud colors favored for buffets to get you in and out quick), and the view of the pool area is spectacular. Service was very attentive. Even cloth napkins.

The food selection was upscale and diverse, with the regular lunch featuring all kinds of salads, fresh melons, gourmet pizza, pastas, oysters, crab legs, ribs, a wide variety of Mexican dishes, deli meats and smoked salmon and the like. The desert bar had a variety of rich, heavy deserts including rich chocolate cakes, pies, and cheesecake.

So what’s the problem? The food quality. It is painfully obvious that the entire company probably gets all of it’s food from the same supplier. This is the stuff that doesn’t make the grade at Mirage Resorts. The salad dressing is weak and watered down, the cheesecake tastes like that stuff you buy frozen at the supermarket, you get the picture.

Normally, this wouldn’t be cause for heavy complaint. Buffets exist to provide a way for everyone in the group to stuff their face with all they can eat of whatever they want with no waiting. And that’s great if dinner or brunch runs $10. (In fact, if you really want a deal, dinner at the Sahara Buffet is only $5.99 with a great variety of mediocre food).

However, the Bay Side Buffet isn’t cheap. Breakfast runs $8.50, Lunch $9.50, and dinner $13.50. Sunday Brunch costs $14.50 all day. Kids always get a $2 discount on every meal. For these prices, get yourself up to Bally’s Las Vegas, or better yet, spend about $5 more and REALLY treat yourself at the Bellagio Las Vegas buffet. Bellagio has a similar menu of upscale, more exotic food but the quality of the food is night and day.

This article originally appeared Jne 30, 1999 in the Access Vegas Insider Vibe

Ted Newkirk
Founder/Managing Editor
Access Vegas