Paradise Garden Buffet
The Flamingo Casino has several real pink flamingos on the grounds, and from the air-conditioned comfort of your table at The Paradise Garden Buffet, you can view them through large glass windows while enjoying an all-you-can-eat meal. Along with the flamingos, you'll see numerous other birds playing in the small waterfalls and swimming with the koi fish, too. It's a great way to start your day, taking in a bit of nature and enjoying a moderately priced Vegas buffet, before heading out to walk the strip or to win your fortunes on the slot machines.
After paying the cashier and giving her your drink order, you'll be lead by a hostess to your table in one of two large circular rooms. The ceilings have windows in the tops of the rotundas which let in light ; this creates an open feeling for what's actually an entirely enclosed space. The outermost wall, too, is covered with floor-to-ceiling windows to let you view the birds and wildlife outside. It's Vegas's way to simulate a peaceful verandah when the weather is often too hot to otherwise enjoy the setting.
After getting your bearings, you'll also want to put food on your plate. In that regard, the selection at the Paradise Garden Buffet varies, depending on the time of day and day of the week, but in general, it's pretty standard issue "buffet."
In the front circular room, you'll find a cold food bar in the area opposite the large windows. Here, items such as salads and fruits chill next to shrimp and crab legs on crushed ice. The shrimp are deveined but not pre-shelled, and the crab legs are of a moderate size and partially sawed through to make breaking them easier. — In general, the presence and quality of the crab legs and shrimp serve as a quick shorthand for the quality of a buffet. In the case of the Flamingo's buffet, it's spot on : it's the higher side of the middle.
Along the wall behind the cold bar, warm items wrap around the exterior. In the mornings, you'll find bacon, eggs Benedict, and quiche as well as an omelette station, and in the evening, you'll find typical buffet fare : items like fresh carved prime rib and turkey next to pasta dishes and pizza.
While the majority of the food items are up front, the second circular room holds an area primarily dedicated to desserts. Here, you can select various cakes or pies or have someone fix you a made-to-order crepe. The last few times I've been, too, a chocolate fountain flows next to goodies for you to dip, and pre-bagged cotton candy hangs nearby to satisfy pure sugar cravings.
Interestingly, a third circular room exists, but like the first window at most drive-thru's, I've never seen it functional. Perhaps, like those first drive-thru windows, it was built in anticipation of more people. Nonetheless, a divider wall separates it from the other two areas, leaving it largely unnoticed.
The food itself at The Paradise Garden Buffet at The Flamingo is nothing spectacular, but it's fine enough and matches the price. You won't be raving about it, nor will you complain, and in Vegas, that's how it works : it's all about expectations. In Vegas, you can get a $5 burger or a $50 burger. You obviously expect a lot more when you pay a lot more, but with the buffet at the Flamingo, the price (about $20 per person) matches what you get, so you'll likely be quite happy with the choice.
The view of the pink flamingos and wildlife definitely adds to the experience as well, so on a trip filled with near countless dining options, be sure that if you make this one of them, do it during breakfast, lunch, or brunch when the outside is most visible.
I've spent many a Sunday morning watching the fish and ducks play while thinking about all that Vegas has to offer. It's certainly a city like no other, and seemingly being outdoors while viewing flamingos, in the dessert, from an indoor air-conditioned space at the Paradise Garden Buffet is just one small part of that only-in-Vegas magic.
At The Flamingo
On The Las Vegas Strip
7AM to 10PM Daily