Rio Carnival World Buffet
At a Glance
What is it?
Epic in scope and one of the most popular buffets in town.
Where is it?
At The Rio just west of The Strip.
What kind of food is served?
If you can’t find something to eat here you’re way too picky.
What is the atmosphere like?
Crowded and a bit loud but nice.
How is the service?
Good – the staff is friendly.
What are the prices like?
Expensive but not as expensive as some others in town.
What else do I need to know?
Lines can be very long – go at non-peak times to avoid them.
What’s the bottom line?
There’s a reason for the long lines.
The Carnival World Buffet at The Rio has long been a favorite of tourists and locals alike who appreciate the wide variety of well-prepared food at prices that don’t seem as outrageous as they may have until places like the Bacchanal came along. But a fundamental change in 2015 created a new dynamic that is worth knowing about.
The Carnival World Buffet is at one end of the building and while it used to have seafood options there used to be a separate Village Seafood Buffet at the other end of the building. The latter closed in 2015 and it was incorporated, sort of, into the main Carnival World.
You have a choice of getting just the regular buffet with its limited seafood options or adding the extended seafood experience for about $15 more at dinner time. Whether its worth it is totally up to you and how many crab legs you think you need to make a buffet visit truly successful.
The Carnival World buffet was one of the first in Vegas to utilize the concept of food “stations,” individual themed areas that diners could pick and choose from as opposed to one long buffet line starting with salads and ending with the desserts. These days the food station concept is everywhere so it doesn’t seem quite as revolutionary as it may have years ago but is still successful here primarily because of the varied offering they have which run the gamut from made-to-order omelets to a teppanyaki grill.
There are more than 300 dishes prepared daily although you won’t find that many available at any given time. Still, the lineup is epic with salads, American, Latin, Asian, a carving station, desserts, and more.
Everything I sampled was very good and well-prepared although some of the warm entrees had been sitting under the heating lamps a little longer than they probably should have been. This is something I have noticed on multiple visits – not a huge issue but worth noting.
So talking strictly food, the Carnival World Buffet is a terrific choice. Costs are high but it certainly isn’t the most expensive buffet in town. Lunch is around $25, dinner $33, weekend brunch $32, and the aforementioned seafood add on available as a $15 upcharge for dinner only. There is no weekday breakfast or brunch.
One thing to note is that lines can be very long here at peak times so plan ahead.
This is a good buffet for the prices they charge but to be honest I’d rather pay the extra few bucks to bump up to something like the Caesars Bacchanal or Buffet at Wynn Las Vegas, experiences that are undeniably more expensive but also substantially more satisfying.