Best Brunch Buffets in America
You’re not going to say exactly what happened last night, but a few drinks may have been consumed. This morning, all you can think about is waffles and eggs Benedict and king crab legs…ooh and maybe a make-your-own-sundae bar. They’re waiting for you at the all-you-can-eat buffet—that great smorgasbord pioneered, naturally, in Sin City.
The western-themed El Rancho Vegas introduced a gastronomic free-for-all in 1941, rolling out a $1 chuckwagon designed to keep high rollers full and gambling into the wee hours of the morning. Almost 75 years later, the indulgence has spread across America. And why not? Gluttony is at its best at brunch, when you and your fellow travelers can while away the day recapping your exploits over a steady procession of mouthwatering dishes.
The restaurants we’re spotlighting prove that buffet no longer has to mean sacrificing quality for quantity. At New York’s Tribeca Grand, for instance, the spread highlights local specialties, serving lox from Russ & Daughters and the classic Waldorf salad. Orchids Halekulani plays to Hawaii’s strengths with suckling pig and lomi-lomi salmon at a buffet that also includes universal favorites like made-to-order omelettes.
So grab a tray: we’ve got the meal to match your craving, whether it’s Cuban-style suckling pig and taco bars poolside in Miami, nouveau tapas whimsy in L.A., or jazz-fueled Creole in New Orleans.
Tres by José Andrés, Los Angeles
Go down the rabbit hole at this Philippe Starck playground of curlicue chandeliers, marble banquette tables, and hide-and-seek alcoves at the SLS Hotel Beverly Hills. The setting complements star chef José Andrés’s spread of globe-trotting indulgent dishes, from gazpacho to a Greek yogurt bar, caviar spreads to carving stations. Upgrade to the Brunch Experience ($52) to add on whimsical dishes like eggs Benedict with jamón serrano and hollandaise air (a light foam in lieu of the typical heavy sauce), mini olive oil pancakes, or a dozen sunny–side up quail eggs. Wash it all down with a Brazilian-style Screwdriver made with cachaça and freshly pressed tangerine juice. $42; slshotels.com
Schoolhouse BBQ, Scranton, SC
Set beside the highway near Florence, SC, this historic four-room building opened in the 1930s as a schoolhouse for the black community. Some of the older locals who come religiously on the weekends can still point out where their desks used to be. Now the wood-paneled walls are hung with vintage country signs, antique toys, and NASCAR bric-a-brac. You come for the Carolina barbecue, which the veteran pitmasters smoke for 16 hours. Pair it with down-home sides like biscuits and gravy, pickled okra, and sweet potato soufflé. $10; schoolhousebbq.com
This buzzed-about dining room in the Brickell neighborhood has hosted everyone from A-Rod to Shakira, the Kardashians to the Kravitzes. Its Sunday brunch is as showy as its clientele, with chefs grilling prime cuts on the robata, slicing super-fresh sushi, and keeping champagne glasses very full. The presentation is equally over-the-top. Exhibit A: the beautiful orb of soft-poached egg floating cloudlike in a soy broth with wisps of scallions and bonito flakes. Ceramic bowls with Technicolor layer cakes perched amid ice cream on ice slabs are punctuated with arcs of melon and curls of sesame cookies. $95; zumarestaurant.com
Orchids Halekulani, Honolulu
Hawaii’s most famous brunch buffet is served with a side of Oahu’s best views. Locals and tourists alike reserve weeks in advance for coveted tables on the hotel veranda to savor the crystalline waters of the Pacific and Diamond Head beyond. Inside, Hawaiian specialties like poke, suckling pig, and lomi-lomi salmon punctuate a menu of Asian and American food. Expect fresh sushi and soba stations, along with crêpes, made-to-order omelettes, and carving stations. Be sure to save room for the restaurant’s legendary popovers, light rolls as fluffy as the clouds rolling by outside. $50; halekulani.com
Court of Two Sisters, New Orleans
Trees arch overhead, shading a brick courtyard tucked within the 200-year-old mansion of the Court of Two Sisters. A fountain gurgles at one end while a trio strikes up some hot jazz for a decked-out clientele sporting their Sunday best. Start off with a tour of the breakfast-oriented stations—eggs Benedict, grits, grillades—and move on to lunch-style dishes like shrimp étouffée, crawfish Louise, and jambalaya. For dessert, it’s a spread of king cake, pecan pie, bananas Foster, and house-churned ice creams with praline sauce. $29; courtoftwosisters.com
The Buffet and Fountains at The Bellagio, Las Vegas
True to form, the over-the-top Bellagio offers not one but two brunch buffets. Its traditional buffet restaurant serves more than 500 items, like lump crab omelettes, Kobe beef, cut-to-order sushi, and tandoori game hen. For an extra $10 (the price of a beer at most Vegas clubs), you can have unlimited Prosecco, Bloody Marys, or beer. But where The Bellagio really shines is at the elegant Fountains restaurant, which overlooks The Bellagio’s famous water show. Hit up the Asian soup station for a mix-and-match choice of noodles, broths, and dumplings. Classic brunch dishes get fun twists in the form of lobster and potato cake Benedict, red velvet waffles, and banana and Nutella–stuffed French toast. Try creative savory-sweet dishes like lobster profiteroles or grapefruit-mint panna cotta with Sriracha caviar. $29.99 at The Buffet; $58 at Fountains; bellagio.com
EDGE Steak & Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel Miami
While you’re out partying in South Beach, chef Aaron Brooks and his staff are already hard at work on tomorrow’s brunch, spending the entire night roasting the Cuban-style suckling pig that forms the centerpiece of this tony Miami brunch. It’s carved up the next morning alongside Cuban bread, mojo onions, house-made pickles, and lemon aioli. This being a steakhouse, you can get grilled-to-order meat and ribs alongside a taco station, a raw bar, and a dessert spread of Cuban-inflected desserts like cortadito crème brûlée and rum tres leches cake. $69; edgerestaurantmiami.com
Shady Maple Smorgasbord, East Earl, PA
A vast strip mall rising from the rolling farmland of Pennsylvania Amish country doesn’t sound like the most promising place for a good meal. But this buffet showcases fresh produce from the surrounding farms—and dished up a staggering 1.4 million gut-busting meals in 2013. Shady Maple’s buffet includes regional specialties like corn pudding, scrapple, and shoofly pie, alongside waffle, omelette, and pancake stations. Sip on some sarsaparilla before visiting the 4,000-square-foot gift shop to stock up on Amish romance novels, bonnets, and apple butter. $11.99; shady-maple.com
Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas
The Cosmopolitan helped propel casino dining to the next level with its big-name chef restaurants. But they’re not above getting into the buffet game. In lieu of a sea of warming dishes though, the Wicked Spoon uses mini cast-iron skillets, silver cones, Chinese takeout containers, and teeny saucepans. It’s less about binge eating—though, let’s be honest, you will—and more about small portions designed for sampling. We love the fried chicken in its own tiny-fry basket and servings of hash browns with caramelized onions and sharp cheddar. To really indulge, go for the bone marrow and coulotte steak. And the wine list’s Cruvinet-style system lets you taste your way through by-the-glass vintages. $34; cosmopolitanlasvegas.com
Tribeca Grand Hotel, New York City
Tribeca Grand’s weekend brunches dish out New York flavor. The spread features favorites like lox from Russ & Daughters and sweet treats from Doughnut Plant. They’re served alongside classic New York dishes like Waldorf salad and locavore fare like orange and radish salad or onion tarts with kale and potato. On Saturdays the scene can get rowdy with DJs spinning from noon to 5 p.m. (and unlimited mimosas, bellinis, and Bloody Marys for an extra $15 per person). They tone it down on Sundays with live jazz all day and complimentary showings of kids’ movies in the hotel’s screening room. $26; tribecagrand.com
Karyn’s Raw, Chicago
Health food specialist Karyn Calabrese’s Chicago restaurant cooks (or doesn’t cook) this all-you-can-eat spread of vegan fare, including a wide array of raw, gluten-free options. Sip fresh-pressed juices and pile your dishes high with granola in almond milk, chilled mango soup, stir-fries with kelp noodles, and gluten-free zucchini pasta. You can even feel good about splurging on desserts: soy ice cream is topped in goji berries, cinnamon pumpkin seeds, and fresh fruit sauces. $19.99; karynraw.com