Where can you breakfast or soothe your comfort food desire 24/7, savor some of the best Asian fare, dine in award-winning steakhouses, and eat to your heart’s content at amazing buffets? Southern California casinos provide their guests with an incredible dining variety. From sensational casino buffets, signature steakhouses, trend-setting and traditional sushi and noodle shops, 24/7 cafés, delis, snack and coffee bars, and food courts — casino players have a dazzling variety of delicious dining. Quality, prices, value, and the awesome spectacle of dining experiences at Southern California casinos have won local and national awards, and continue to amaze and delight the senses and challenge waistlines.
And Southern California casino resorts cater to their guests’ round-the-clock appetite whims with a variety of dining 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 Pink’s legendary hot dogs at Harrah’s Rincon Casino & Resort and Starbucks at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. And all Southern California casinos have some version of the classic casino dining centerpiece — the ultimate food celebration — the casino buffet!
Award-Winning Buffet Extravaganzas
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.
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, and comps for buffets. Yes, using your player’s club card every time you play at a casino can deliver a discounted or even free casino buffet.
Here’s the low-down on awesome eats at fantastic featured Southern California casinos. Check each casino for details including hours and prices. All featured casino contact information is on pages 28 and 29.
Barona Resort & Casino
At Barona Resort & Casino, guests are sure to leave satisfied when dining at any of the casino resort’s award-winning signature restaurants and casual eateries. Barona is the recipient of the California Restaurant Association Gold Medallion Award for Best Casino Dining, and was also named the home of San Diego’s Best Buffet, Best Steakhouse, Best 24-Hour Restaurant and Best Noodle House by readers of the Union-Tribune in the 2011 annual San Diego’s Best Reader’s Poll. Featuring six signature restaurants including the Barona Steakhouse, Italian Cucina, El Rancho Grande, The Plaza, Sage Café, Seasons Fresh Buffet, and Ho Wan Noodle Shop, and several casual restaurants in the Food Court, players have a wide variety of tasty options.
The 850-seat Seasons Fresh Buffet features individually-themed stations that translate into an around-the-world culinary journey. With more than 200 menu selections and exciting food stations featuring seafood, Mexican, Chinese, Dim Sum, Mongolian, American bbq, rotisserie, soup and salad, omelet and crepe, dessert and flambé, guests can enjoy a vast variety at a great value.
For avid players, satisfying a food craving is only a fingertip away as Barona offers delicious “Fun Bites” delivered to players at slot machines 24 hours a day. And from the streets of Saigon to Barona’s Food Court, guests can enjoy delicious house made Banh Mi from the Banh Mi Sandwich Cart, the signature sandwich of Vietnam and one of the culinary world’s hottest food trends. Barona’s version of the street food staple features a crunchy French baguette, a choice of meats, a spread of paté, fresh veggies and other authentic ingredients. The sandwiches are even tastier when accompanied by Vietnamese coffee made with shots of espresso and condensed milk then mixed and poured over ice. And make sure you stop by Barona’s Food Court for authentic, made-to-order street tacos, homemade tortillas, burritos, nachos and other Mexican specialties at Three Amigos World Famous Street Tacos.
Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa
Amazing dining at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa starts with the Grand Palms Buffet, with truly grand spreads for lunch, dinner and weekend breakfast and champagne brunch. And at the award-winning The Steakhouse, guests can dine on the finest steaks, chops and seafood and enjoy a private dining room, a chef’s table and gorgeous bar with live entertainment Thursday through Sunday. Don’t miss the Early Bird Specials at $29, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. every Sunday to Thursday, excluding holidays. Reservations are recommended. And at the Waters Café, dine indoors or on the patio and enjoy the beautiful view and daily specials at $8.75, including Asian specialty dishes, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. And visit Rendezvous for some of the most inventive cocktails around, including the Chocolate Jalapeno Martini and Chocolates and Wine.
Spa Resort Casino
At Spa Resort Casino, experience the Oasis Buffet orchestrated by Chef Paul Woods. The 300-seat palatial wonder features active cooking stations for custom-ordered entrees and an expansive international menu. Enjoy foods from around the world including Mediterranean, Latin, regional American, and Pacific plus delicious salad and dessert stations. The Steakhouse, like its sister casino Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa’s award-winning fine dining venue, serves the best in steak and seafood paired with fantastic wines. Sundance, open for lunch and dinner, and The Corner Deli, open 24/7, are great places to drop in for a bite. And The Noodle Bar, known for its authentic Asian fare, has a menu of traditional pan-Asian delights prepared by expert chefs all at a moderate price. Enjoy sushi, noodle dishes, dumplings plus sake and specialty drinks.
The newly re-imagined Sycuan Casino has retooled its entire gaming experience including all its incredible dining venues. With six different restaurants, whether you are in the mood for excellent bar and grill fare, want to enjoy a myriad of delectable buffet choices, prefer a relaxed fine dining experience, crave comfort food, or just want a snack, Sycuan Casino offers scrumptious solutions to fit your every dining desire. The all-new Paipa’s Buffet in the non-smoking east wing of the casino is set in dazzling contemporary décor and offers over 100 fresh food items including slow-roasted Prime Rib, seafood, specialty international food stations and an expanded dessert bar. If you love buffets, you haven’t seen anything like the all-new Paipa’s Buffet — and it’s now 100% smoke-free!
Enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner in the Wachena restaurant. 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. Enjoy a delicious Choice New York Steak and Atlantic Lobster Tail paired perfectly with a baked potato, fresh vegetables, freshly baked bread and your choice of soup or salad all for only $24.95. Served nightly 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. The Wachena Lounge features bar-top video poker, cocktails and tv sports viewing.
The new GameDay Sports Bar & Grill features 39 large screen televisions, including five 100-inch Holodisplay projection tvs. The bar offers 12 beers on tap as well as a full cocktail selection, and guests can select from a delicious menu of great casual food like pizzas, bbq, and dozens of appetizer choices. There are even 29 bar-top video poker machines for those who’d like to continue to play while they watch the game. You won’t want to miss GameDay’s incredible array of sports memorabilia.
Valley View Casino & Hotel
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 half a million pounds of lobster a year are served at Valley View. Voted the Best Buffet in the 2011 Best of Southern California Gaming™ Reader’s Choice Awards, and best in numerous local and national awards, this fantastic buffet — a seafood lover’s dream — also boasts crab legs, fresh rolled sushi, plus authentic Italian, Asian, Mexican, American specialties and fresh hot lava cake, crepes, homemade fudge in a huge dessert bar and more. And when you join the Valley View Casino & Hotel Players Club, your first lobster buffet is free!
Black&Blue is the casually elegant American steakhouse offering 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. New menu items include Colorado lamb chops, sage fried chicken and black pepper waffles, lobster ravioli zafferano … and of course, the Black&Blue classic, surf ’n’ turf.
BLD’s features an extensive menu including classic comfort dishes, salads, delicious sandwiches, authentic Asian and Italian specialties plus breakfast served all day. New menu items include fresh Vietnamese lobster rolls, seared tuna sandwich, lobster grilled cheese, rigatoni bolognese, porcini dusted salmon and much more. And rounding out Valley View’s dining fare are Sweets, featuring gourmet espresso and coffee drinks and decadent homemade pastries; Scoops, serving gourmet gelato featuring all your favorite flavors and toppings; Snax, open 24/7 with hot dogs, homemade pizza, nachos, cookies; and Stix, the Asian-inspired noodle bar featuring pho, dim sum, fresh-rolled sushi and more.
Harrah’s Rincon Casino & Resort
Explore great restaurants ranging from cafe to gourmet at Harrah's Rincon Casino & Resort. Whatever you’re in the mood for, the food is renowned. The Buffet offers a huge variety of flavorful dishes from different cuisines and brings personalization to a new level. Dine on delicious street tacos, fresh bowls of pho, made-to-order spaghetti, freshly spun cotton candy, and so much more. And in February you can Play for Buffet. Open to all Total Rewards cardholders, guests who play for 30 minutes and earn at least 25 Base Reward Credits will receive a free buffet Sunday to Thursday. See Total Rewards for details.
Fiore steak & seafood restaurant, a four-time Wine Spectator Award recipient, offers steaks that are tender in every bite. And try Fortunes Asian restaurant and choose from traditional dishes and Fortunes specialties. A host of other restaurants include the Oyster Bar, where you can watch chefs prepare delicious hot and cold seafood; and The Café, with hearty portions of your favorite comfort foods — big breakfasts, juicy burgers and sandwiches, satisfying salads and heavenly desserts. The Café serves up delicious meals at all hours and is open 24/7.
At Casino Pauma, the Pauma Bay Café 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 and special events). And the Prime Rib Dinner is an exceptional 2-for-1 value at $20. But the dining values don’t stop there. Be sure you are a Palm Club member to get the very popular Breakfast Special that offers a different breakfast every day from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. for an amazing $3.95. And the Casino Pauma Deli, open 24/7, is the place you can grab a fresh salad, sandwich, hot dogs, nachos or delicious bakery treats. Red Parrot Pizza serves over a dozen different piping hot and delicious pizzas and other snacks.
Fantasy Springs Resort Casino
At Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, seven dining venues offer delicious experiences. Relish the culinary delicacies of Italy, Mexico, Asia, Brazil and America at the Fresh Grill Buffet. Every meal is an international feast. And top it off with fresh fruit dipped in the famous chocolate fountain at the dessert bar. Don’t miss the Saturday Prime Rib Buffet.
And a world of flavor, textures and ambience awaits at The Bistro that 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. And at JOY, 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.
Experience the exceptional Fantasy Springs’ dining at Pom, where the concept is simple. Serve the freshest and healthiest ingredients, creatively prepared to pique all the senses, presented eloquently with attention to detail. Chef Rieger has fused traditional California Cuisine with tastes from Latin America and Italy, offering a global feast for the palate. And at Lique, enjoy casual dining with delicious wraps, sandwiches, and more. If you're craving a Jalapeno corn dog, delicious tacos or a healthy grilled chicken sandwich, you'll find it there.
Are you ready for amazing dining? In addition to all the mouth-watering fare, most casinos have special menu items for holidays, so look for great dining this month with Valentine’s Day specials (see page 16). And enjoy all the awesome eats at Southern California casinos!
Maya WInkler is a non-fiction writer who plays in Southern California casinos.
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