Buffet to Gourmet! Amazing Casino Dining

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BARONA-Chef_Toss_Caesar_Salad-CROPSouthern California casinos breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dine their guests with a fantastic variety of food and fare. From sensational casino buffets, 24/7 cafés, signature steakhouses and restaurants, trend-setting and traditional Asian sushi and noodle shops, delis, snack and coffee bars, and food courts—casino players have hit the dining jackpot at Southern California casinos. Quality, prices, value, and the amazing variety of dining experiences at Southern California casinos have won local and national awards, and continue to amaze and delight the senses and challenge waistlines.

Variety is the Spice

Want a pizza at 2 a.m.? Need a late-night/early-morning breakfast? Looking for an exquisite five-star steakhouse before or after you hit the slots or tables? Have a hankering for some comfort food? Or are you looking for the buffet of your dreams—with fresh, made-to-order dishes—and an awesome choice of global cuisines? It’s all at Southern California casinos!

And Southern California casino resorts cater to their guests’ round-the-clock appetite whims with a variety of dining experiences including pool-side lounges, game-side dining where you can snack or dine right at your favorite slot machine or gaming table, oyster bars, and casual dining. There are even familiar food service brands including Rubio’s famous fish tacos at Barona Resort & Casino, Pink’s legendary hot dogs at Harrah’s Rincon Casino & Resort, McDonald’s at Spotlight 29 Casino, and Starbucks at Fantasy Springs Casino Resort. And all Southern California casinos have some version of the classic casino dining centerpiece—the ultimate food celebration—the casino buffet!

Award-Winning Buffets

Southern California casino buffets are wonders of sight, smell and taste. Sumptuous casino buffets are an art form in the gaming world, and most definitely in Southern California casinos, with their magnificent extravaganzas. Buffets are celebrations of dining excess that offer vast choices, and Southern California casinos have amazing buffets complete with the latest buffet trends. Action stations provide freshly-made-to-order dishes for guests in a wide variety of cuisines and an engaging blend of styles. It’s no wonder that some Southern California casino buffets have won numerous local and national awards.

Many casinos have signature buffets, while others hold weekly or daily buffets in their main restaurants. When preparing for a casino trip, be sure to experience a casino buffet. Wear comfortable clothes and bring a hearty appetite. A few Southern California casino buffets are family-friendly. Check with the casino to see if you can bring the kids and ask about children’s prices.

Most casino buffets are open seven days a week. Know that buffet waiting lines can be long (especially on weekends and holidays) so time your visit appropriately. And don’t forget, casinos offer players club member discounts, or comps for buffets. Using your player’s club card every time you play at a casino can deliver the benefit of a discounted or even free casino buffet.

Here are some of our favorite buffet picks. Buffet prices and dining hours are included where available. Call each casino for more details. All featured casino contact information is on page 30.

The state-of-the-art, Seasons Fresh Buffet at Barona Resort & Casino offers an incredible variety of all-you-can-eat dining options prepared right before your eyes at an incredible value. The individually-themed buffet stations translate into an around-the-world culinary journey with eight unique destinations—Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Mongolian Grill, American, Rotisserie, Soup and Salad Bar, and the International Pastry and Dessert Station—and over 200 individual menu selections. You can now enjoy the delicious dishes at the buffet for one price of $20.99 all day! And generous Club Barona member discounts may apply. Open Sunday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.

At Spotlight 29 Casino, enjoy a delicious 50-item buffet at Café Capitata offered for lunch ($9.95) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and dinner ($14.95) Sunday to Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. The Friday Seafood and Prime Rib Buffet from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. includes crab, mussels, oysters, shrimp, salmon, roasted prime rib of beef and more for $18.95 per person. Plus a full menu is also available at Café Capitata for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And make sure you’re a Club 29 member to take advantage of the extraordinary $2.29 breakfast, weekdays, from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. with a choice of one of four delicious breakfast meals. See Club 29 for details.

At Sycuan Casino the amazing value Paipa’s Buffet features an incredible variety of delicious choices, including slow roasted prime rib, peel ’n’ eat shrimp, specialty international stations and a decadent dessert bar, all-you-can eat for just $10! Buffet hours are Monday to Thursday, 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Holiday hours and prices may vary.

Sycuan Casino is currently undergoing its own “extreme makeover” that will result not only in a beautifully renovated casino, but in brand new dining options. Renovations will be completed for Paipa’s Buffet, Poker and Off Track Betting rooms, Bingo Pavilion, Gift Shop, Deli, Snack Bar, restrooms, lobby, and much more. Just as a teaser, here are a couple of the highlights of the new dining options Sycuan will soon offer.

New NON-Smoking Paipa’s Buffet—The buffet is moving to the other end of the casino inside the Non-Smoking Room. Sycuan is building an all-new kitchen, expanding the seating capacity and adding more specialty food stations. Complimented by an interior design that will feature a fresh color palette and open floor plan, the new dining experience promises to be both delicious and visually stunning. The result will be an even better buffet experience that will be pleasing to all the senses—and 100% smoke free! The expected completion date is May 2011. And look out casino players, the most fabulous sports bar in Southern California is on its way. The all-new restaurant will offer more than just great casual dining—it promises an experience. This will be the place to meet friends and catch all your favorite games on high-definition and projection tvs. Expected completion date is August 2011.

The award-winning The Buffet at Valley View Casino & Hotel offers signature dishes from around the world, and features its dinner buffet star, all-you-can-eat Maine lobster. In fact, more than 600,000 pounds of lobster a year are served at Valley View! Voted the first place Best Buffet in the 2010 Best of Southern California Gaming Reader’s Choice Awards, this fantastic buffet—a seafood lover’s dream—also boasts crab legs, fresh rolled sushi, oysters on the half shell, jumbo shrimp, plus prime rib, authentic Italian, Asian, Mexican, American specialties and fresh hot lava cake, crepes, cupcakes a 100-foot dessert bar and even more. When you join the Valley View Casino & Hotel Players Club, your first lobster buffet is free! Lunch is from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. ($19.99). Weekend brunch is from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. ($22.99). Dinner is from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. ($27.99). Players Club discounts are available, so you definitely want to be sure you play with your card.

At Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, relish the culinary delicacies of Italy, Mexico, Asia, Brazil and America at the new Fresh Grill Buffet. Every meal is an international feast. And you can top it off with fresh fruit dipped in the famous chocolate fountain at the dessert bar. Boasting amazing weekend buffets: Friday Seafood Buffet ($22.99), Saturday Prime Rib Buffet ($22.99), and Sunday Champagne Brunch ($21.99), Fresh Grill Buffet offers indoor and patio dining. Monday through Saturday, Lunch ($12.99) is served from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Dinner ($17.99) is served from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. On Sundays, Brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and dinner is served from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

At The Buffet at Harrah’s Rincon Casino & Resort prepare to enjoy an oasis of culinary skill combined with a zest for the freshest ingredients. Experience the world's most exciting flavors, both traditional and new delivered via a number of action stations featuring dozens of items your taste buds won't be able to resist. The Buffet at Harrah’s Rincon is the only buffet in Southern California to feature a create-your-own Pho Soup Station (Pho means noodles in Vietnamese.) and Tandoor oven, used to create delicious Indian dishes. Buffet items include Tandoori Chicken, Brazilian Churrasco Beef, and made-to-order Street Tacos. And don’t miss the dessert station, where tempting baked goods (including a variety of sugar-free cakes, pies and cookies), icy gelato, and even cotton candy await you. And check out the Sunday Jazz Brunch, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday. The Buffet is open Monday to Friday for Lunch ($15.99) and Monday to Thursday for Dinner ($19.99) from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. On Fridays, the Seafood Buffet ($26.99) is from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. On Saturdays, the Brunch Buffet ($18.99) is from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and the Seafood Buffet is from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. On Sundays, Brunch is 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m, Dinner is from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Total Rewards players receive great buffet discounts.

At Casino Pauma, the Pauma Bay Cafe offers both traditional cafe dining and “All You Can Eat” at a price that can't be beat! Seating is available indoors or out, with stunning patio views of beautiful citrus groves and the surrounding foothills. The lunch buffet is one of the best values at Southern California casinos. Hearty, fresh and delicious fare is the hallmark of the buffet with a remarkable discounted Senior Special (with Palm Club card—excluding holidays & special events). And the Prime Rib Dinner is an exceptional 2-for-1 value ($20), available Sunday to Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. And the dining values don’t stop there. Be sure you are a Palm Club member to get the very popular Breakfast Special which offers a different breakfast every day from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. for an amazing $3.95!

Casino Fine Dining

Eating at a casino doesn’t have to mean overindulging at the buffet. Some Southern California casinos have fine dining and steakhouse restaurants comparable to the excellent restaurants of major cities…like Las Vegas! Reinventing the page from the Las Vegas food and beverage book, Southern California resort casinos have created upscale signature restaurants with unique specialties. These restaurants usually require reservations, so check dining times, and they are usually open only for dinner. And don’t miss the casino café. These are the usually 24/7 eateries that feed guests most excellently and often offer unique local specialties round the clock.

Barona Oaks Steakhouse is Barona’s award-winning restaurant experience offering diners innovative, adventurous fare and delightfully creative variations on the standards. Barona Oaks offers a fabulous menu in an intimate and sophisticated atmosphere with an emphasis on service and quality. Set in a distinguished, stately décor, this elegant dinner-only venue showcases the artistic flair and skill of Executive Chef Jim Phillips, who is never satisfied until you are. Barona Oaks also has an exceptional wine list. When you visit Barona, this restaurant is a must. Entrée price range is $30–$60. Open Tuesday to Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Best to call for a reservation at 1-888-722-7662 and ask for the Steakhouse.

One of Barona’s newest restaurants, Italian Cucina, features traditional dishes made from scatch in an open kitchen. Menu items include stone hearth pizzas and calzone, fresh pasta dishes, and Chianti-Braised Short Ribs. Italian Cucina is open Thursday through Monday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. (11 p.m. Friday and Saturday). Call 619-328-3125 for reservations.

Four-time winner of the Wine Spectator magazine Award of Excellence, Fiore Steak and Seafood at Harrah’s Rincon has a wonderful selection of appetizers, salads, soups, steaks and seafood. The chef prepares his selection with special pride and care to give guests the flavors and experience that will have them coming back for more. Fiore’s menu features the best Certified Angus Beef® and proudly serves only the finest in aged beef along with the Pacific’s freshest seafood and the finest California wines. Average entrée cost is $25–$40. Open Sunday to Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Reservations are recommended, call (760) 751-7780.

Black&Blue is the casually elegant American steakhouse at Valley View Casino & Hotel. Starring the culinary flair of Chef Chip McCarty and his talented team, Black&Blue offers only the finest steaks, freshest seafood and most decadent desserts. Unwind with conversation and creative cocktails in the Black&Blue Lounge, then move into the main room for a dining experience you will never forget. At Black&Blue you will receive the ultimate in guest service in an environment that’s friendly and fun. And Black&Blue is the only place that you can gamble for the price of your Surf & Turf by playing Dining for Dollars! Dinner is served Wednesday to Sunday starting at 5 p.m. Call (760) 291-2130 for reservations.

At Sycuan Casino’s Wachena Restaurant, enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner. Wachena offers a contemporary setting and an eclectic menu that includes choice beef, creative pasta dishes, favorites from south of the border, Asian specialties, sandwiches and burgers. The Wachena Lounge features bar top video poker, cocktails and tv sports viewing. Featured items include the $19.95 Steak & Lobster Special, offered every Wednesday evening, and the monthly dining specials. In March, check out the “You Call It” Steak Special, featuring your choice of New York, Rib Eye or Top Sirloin Steak for just $10! Each steak special is served with a baked potato, vegetables, freshly baked bread and your choice of soup or salad. And cocktails are now available at Wachena. Open for breakfast Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Dinner from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Wachena’s delicious and authentic Asian menu is also served daily from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Late Night Dining on Sunday to Thursday is from 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10:30 p.m. to 4 a.m.

A world of flavor, textures and ambience awaits at The Bistro at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. Start your Bistro experience with a hand-crafted, specialty cocktail at the stunning mahogany bar. The Bistro specializes in exciting, contemporary fine cuisine including succulent seafood and tantalizing sushi selections. You’ll also enjoy carefully dry-aged on site, hand-carved, premium usda beef. The Bistro offers an enticing array of salads, appetizers, entrees and desserts, sure to impress the most discriminating of palates. Guests have the option to dine inside with a view of the exhibition kitchen, or outside overlooking palm trees and a beautiful courtyard. Reservations are recommended, call 760-342-5000. Open Wednesday through Sunday for dinner at 5 p.m.

At the JEM Steakhouse at Spotlight 29 Casino, guests experience a most rewarding dining experience in an intimate setting with choice options to please any palate. Featuring a sumptuous three-course dinner menu at an unbelievable $29 per person, the menu offers a choice of signature dishes, such as the Loch Duart Salmon and Short Ribs served with a cremini risotto, all of which were selected by Chef Dario Canizales. This special menu is not available with any other promotions, discounts, holidays and show nights. Reservations are recommended for JEM Steakhouse, call 760-775-2880. JEM Steakhouse is open Wednesday to Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Authentic Asian Fare

Asian cuisine, a major aspect of Southern California dining culture, is known for its unique flavors. Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Filipino, Japanese and Korean specialties have become mainstays at Southern California casinos, and some casinos have authentic Asian cafés and restaurants serving a variety of delicious Asian dishes.

At Barona Resort & Casino, the Ho Wan Noodle Shop has a tantalizing array of tastes from Asia. Executive Chef Wai Wa Lau offers authentic Asian cuisine, featuring a variety of exotic flavors including Thai Red Curry Chicken, Philippine Pancit, and Korean Beef Ribs. In Chinese, Ho Wan means “good luck.” And if it’s exotic flavors you crave, this incredible noodle shop is just that. Open Sunday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. And at the Sage Café, don’t miss the truly delicious Asian menu items.

At Valley View Casino & Hotel, STIX, the Asian-inspired noodle bar, features pho, dim sum, fresh-rolled sushi and more. Open Sunday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Fortunes at Harrah’s Rincon offers authentic Asian dishes using the aromatic herbs and spices that make Asian cuisine vibrant, colorful and distinctive. Delicious appetizers, pan-fried noodles, soup noodles and barbecued and roasted main courses are available. Choose from great dishes including Honey Glazed Walnut Shrimp, Roasted Duck or Orange Beef, and traditional favorites like Seafood Chow Mein. Average entrée cost is $15–$25. Open Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.

At JOY Asian Cuisine at Fantasy Springs, the textures and bold flavors of Asia meld together in perfect synergy. Time-honored traditional recipes of old-world China strike just the right balance on the menu alongside modern Chinese fare favorites. Dim Sum, Congee, Wok Fried Noodles, Sidewalk Specialties, Korean, Vietnamese and Thai dishes also excite the senses. World-class chefs designed the extensive menu with all Asian food lovers in mind. The entire essence of Asian cuisine envelops you at JOY. Open seven days a week from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Southern California casinos feature numerous dining venues with varying themes and menus. Check casino web sites or call casinos directly for dining information. Most casinos have special menu items for holidays, so look for lucky dining this month with St. Patrick’s Day specials (also see page 16). Eat well and enjoy all the amazing dining at Southern California casinos!

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