Mandalay Bay's beach-themed Bayside Buffet brings the spirit of the islands indoors with natural lighting, plenty of plants and wooden accents (not to mention tropical-inspired cuisine).
The layout is simple, so you won't have to worry about searching for your table after returning from the buffet stations. With high wooden ceilings and matching floors, the seating area feels like a large cabana. We like sitting by the windows, which overlooks the resort's lush foliage and beach pool area. This is definitely one of the buffet's standouts. You can enjoy views while you nosh and won't feel like you're cramped inside a dark place.
While this isn't one of the largest buffet selections on the Las Vegas Strip, the variety still satisfies your appetite. The food presentation is simple and separated by cuisine. If you're a seafood lover, you're in for a treat: The buffet offers a panko-crusted salmon, served with a tropical pineapple sauce on the side. In addition, you can pile your plate with unlimited crab legs, deep-fried or cocktail shrimp and an assortment of sushi rolls.
Even vegans have enough options to satisfy them at Bayside Buffet. In addition to scrumptious seaweed salad and roasted red potatoes, the buffet features a made-to-order pasta station. The chef prepares your dish right before your eyes. It almost feels like you're watching a show. You have a choice between bow tie or penne pasta. Vegetable options include onion, tomato, spinach and mushrooms. We like the simplicity of olive oil and garlic as the sauce, but you can also choose marinara. If you do eat meat and dairy, you can add shrimp into your pasta bowl, along with a creamy Alfredo sauce. For a flavorful kick, sprinkle some capers on top. The capers are located by the sushi bar.
Other selections include pizza, Chinese and Mexican food and fresh-cut prime rib. Soups vary each day, but include seafood jambalaya, cream of mushroom or minestrone.
Now, for the fun part: If you want to jazz up your meal, the buffet has a complimentary bar, offering Bud Light beer, red wine or white wine by the glass. For those who opt not to drink alcohol, your assigned server can bring you virtually everything including tomato juice, pink lemonade or popular soda drinks.
Ready for dessert? The sweets station includes something for everyone, like German chocolate cake, Italian rum cake, frozen yogurt and waffle cones, cookies, muffins and much more. There is also a bread pudding station with an assortment of sauces like pineapple, chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and butterscotch. If you have dietary restrictions, there are gluten-free and sugar-free desserts available. For those who don't eat dairy, there's plenty of fruit, including sweet and juicy pineapple and refreshing watermelon.
From the garage and valet entrance, the buffet is very easy to find. Thankfully, you won't have to trek through the entire resort just to get here. Walk just past Lupo and veer right, then turn left. Bayside Buffet is on your right. Lines aren't typically long on weekdays, but during the weekends you may have a longer wait.
Whether you're here on vacation or in need of one, Bayside Buffet serves as its own little getaway. You really do feel like you've been whisked off to paradise.
-- Review by Jeannie Garcia