When it comes to buffets, Los Angeles has plenty of groaningly good choices that range from oceanside places with fantastic Sunday buffet brunch spreads all the way to inland Indian spots that offer daily buffets chockablock with exotic flavors. Many of the top choices are found in Southern California's best hotels, ranging from the Four Seasons, the SLS and the Sofitel (all in and around Beverly Hills) to the Langham in Pasadena; others are at classic restaurants where both locals and tourists have flocked for decades. Duke's Malibu offers up sun and sand along with its massive Sunday spread, while The Royce at the Langham Hotel keeps the Mimosas and Bloody Marys flowing during their Sunday Market Brunch. Meanwhile, at places like Fogo de Chao and M Grill, restaurants specializing in Brazilian churrascaria, diners find top-notch meats sliced up at the table, along with massive buffets filled with salads, cheeses and regional dishes.
Esterel at the Sofitel Hotel
Mornings at Esterel at the Sofital Hotel have a distinctly French touch, at the breakfast buffet that welcomes guests and locals alike. For $29, there's a wealth of tasty treats to be had. Begin with French press Lavazza coffee, then choose from a wide assortment of foods from the "Breakfast Table." Start with a made-to-order omelet and then add pork or turkey bacon, homemade potatoes and more. Go French with a charcuterie platter of cured meats and cheeses, add in some smoked salmon and top it all off with a French pastry or two and you'll be full way past lunchtime. Be sure to choose a comfortable table out on the patio, where the famous California sun is usually keeping things warm and cozy, even in the middle of the winter. (310-358-3979)
The Royce at the Langham Hotel Pasadena
The Royce at the Langham Hotel Pasadena is one of the Southland's most elegant venues for Sunday brunch, for this beautifully landscaped garden setting is a cut above most other places. Their "Sunday Market Brunch" buffet offerings are a bit different than some of L.A.'s other top places to while away an afternoon, as it includes flowing Mimosas, Bloody Marys and smoothie shots and features tables filled with decadent freshly baked goods and desserts, but entrees are ordered from your attentive waiter. Try the Wood-Grilled Ribeye with Pomme Puree and Chimichurri, one of the things that this wood-fired steakhouse does to perfection. Brunch is $58 per person here. (626-585-6410)
Tres by José Andrés
Famed chef José Andrés brings a unique sense of dining to his weekend brunch offering at Tres in the SLS Hotel. On both Saturday and Sunday, patrons will find a wide selection of fantastic food offerings at the "Brunch Table" there, starting with croissants and pain au chocolat and rolling on through carved meats, charcuterie and cheese, greek yogurts and gazpacho all the way to displays of American caviar and smoked salmon, each served with all the appropriate accompaniments. At $42 per person, this brunch buffet is a real steal, but note that alcohol is not included. A bottle of cava (Spanish sparkling wine) for the table will add $20 to your bill. (3102465551)
Fogo de Chao
Fogo de Chao is an authentic Brazilian steakhouse (known as a churrascaria) that offers 15 different cuts of simmering Brazilian meats delivered right to your table, served by gaucho chefs. Meats include top sirloin, filet mignon, beef ribs, lamb, chicken and sausage. At the nearby Market Table Buffet and Feijoada Bar, you'll find a large buffet of tasty delights, from classic Hearts of Palm salad to imported cheeses, fresh vegetables and regional hot-food specialties (like Feijoada) to German and Italian offerings gleaned by the founding chefs via immigrants who came to Brazil generations ago. Desserts include Fogo de Chao's signature papaya cream or a South American flan – go ahead, try both! Dinner, which includes meats, side dishes, the Market Table Buffet and desserts, is $61.95, half price for children 7 to 12. (310 289-7755)
Whiskey Red's - Marina Del Rey
Whiskey Red's has one of the nicest patios in all of Los Angeles, situated right on the sailing channel in Marina del Rey. So on a gorgeous afternoon or balmy evening, guests can watch boats of all sizes move majestically in and out of the harbor whilst sipping and supping. This pretty place has a terrific Happy Hour from Monday to Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., just in time to watch the sunset; and be sure to check out their Sunset Menu, a three-course prix fixe meal for $23.95 that is served from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The Sunday Champagne Buffet brunch is a winner, too. It includes breakfast and lunch dishes ranging from made-to-order omelets and pastas, fresh seafood, carving stations and desserts. And the champagne and mimosas are included in the price, too. (310-823-4522)
For all-you-can-eat fresh, spicy Indian food, there's no better place for lunch than India's Tandoori. With a number of different locations around the Southland (Brentwood, Burbank, Manhattan Beach, West L.A., etc.), this halal-certified restaurant puts on a huge spread of assorted favorites during both its weekday lunch and weekend champagne brunch buffets. Everything from Tandoori chicken (of course!) to garlic naan, vegetable masala, lamb curry and more, is served up in a comfortable atmosphere with attentive servers. And for those who like a more mild version of Indian food, the folks at India's Tandoori also offer some less fiery versions of their flavorful dishes. (323-936-2050)
A staple in Burbank since 1946, The SmokeHouse is located right next door to Warner Bros. Studios. They've been serving steaks, seafood, BBQ and their "The World's Greatest Garlic Bread" to locals, tourists and celebrities since Bob Hope used to stop in for a bite. The restaurant's Sunday brunch buffet is famous for a good reason, as they offer traditional breakfast items like crepes, eggs Benedict and omelets as well as seafood delicacies including crab legs, marinated mussels, poached salmon, oysters and more. There are carving stations, tables filled with Mexican delights, plenty of that garlic bread and lots of mouth-watering desserts. Champagne and Mimosas are included in the price of the brunch, too. (818-845-3731)
At M Grill on Wilshire near Western Avenue in Koreatown, climb up the stairs to the second floor and you'll discover one of the best Brazilian churrascarias in town. Enter the cavernous room with a warm golden glow and be ready to do some serious eating. Pay a set per-person price ($30 at lunch, $50 for dinner) and you'll get all the lusciously char-grilled meat you can possibly consume (think filet mignon, ribeye, ribs, chicken, lamb, sausages), brought to the table on skewers and sliced right onto your plate. There's also a massive buffet bar, in case all those mounds of meat aren't enough to fill you up, which includes everything from salads, cheeses and vegetables to hot Brazilian favorites like Feijoada and Farofa. Whatever you choose, add authentic Caipirinha cocktails to your order and finish your M Grill experience with a sweet-tart toast to the good life. (213-389-2770)
Duke's Malibu is the quintessential Southern California restaurant, a massive place perched right on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Named after Duke Kahanamoku, the famed swimmer and surfer and the Hawaiian Olympic gold medalist who introduced surfing to the world in the 1920s, Duke's Malibu offers upscale American comfort food with Hawaiian island twists and gorgeous views of the water. And on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Duke's presents an incredible brunch buffet. Like Belgian waffles or cinnamon-vanilla French toast? You'll find those here. Prefer marinated mussels or Hawaiian-style ceviche? That's on the menu, too. Go for baked fresh fish, a bagel and lox or a thick slice of tri-tip beef, then cap off the meal with macadamia-nut cookies, coconut macaroons or fudge brownies. After this incredible buffet, you'll probably want to hit the water yourself, to work off some of those delicious calories. (310-317-0777)
Culina at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills
Every Sunday, Culina at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills transforms from a cutting-edge Italian eatery into the home of the best brunch buffet in town. Guests can sit inside or out on the terrace in Southern California's almost-always sunny weather. The brunch offerings fill numerous rooms and range from classic made-to-order breakfasts including Belgian waffles, omelets and eggs Benedict. And if the lunch side of brunch is more suited to your mood, look for groaning tables of hand-rolled sushi selections, a huge choice of dim sum delicacies, house-made quesadillas and more. There's even a nod to Culina's fare, with an Italian spread of cured meats and tasty cheeses. Doughnut lovers will find the Four Seasons' freshly made tidbits hard to resist – try dipping them in the flowing chocolate fountain for a decadent end to an unforgettable buffet brunch. It's a pricey experience at $75 per person, however. (310-860-4000)
About Jenny Peters
Jenny Peters – aka Jet Set Jen – is a Los Angeles-based freelance journalist, editor and party columnist specializing in travel, entertainment, film, food, wine, fashion and the other good things in life. She is a founding/voting member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, who present the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards every January. Her favorite places to be are on the beach in Southern California playing volleyball, scuba diving with the sharks in warm tropical waters or strolling the streets and soaking in the atmosphere of one of the world's great cities (New Orleans and Florence are her favorites).
Read more about Jenny Peters here.
Connect with Jenny via: Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Pinterest