Our family of 6, with very different tastes, dined at the Grand View Buffet on Christmas and found everything anyone could possibly want in a buffet. The price was just $22.00/person all day-- extremely reasonable for the variety they offered. Especially when you consider that the Hotels around town were charging $45-$75/person on Christmas for half the items on hand here. The individual serving stations were well-attended by the staff so that it didn't get messy or dirty as the day went by. Waitstaff was attentive, taking away used dishes and refilling glasses promptly, as well as being quite pleasant and helpful by answering questions and kindly reflecting the holiday spirit. The view is, of course, spectacular-- albeit a little gray at this time of year.
There was a 2-sided Soup and Salad Bar with prepared salads, dozens of fresh items, breads and 2 different soups on hand. Entrees vary according to the cuisine (Italian, Asian, American), and I admit that some of it does seem a little wierd on Holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, but-- hey-- one of our party was actually glad to see the Pizza, and ate 3 slices! The offerings at the Carving Station were impressive: Roasted Turkey, Ham and tender, juicy Prime Rib. Other traditional American choices were Chicken, Steak, Ribs, Stuffing, Brunswick Stew (excellent), variety of Seafood (including King Crab Legs), and all sorts of delicious side dishes (4 different kinds of potatoes-- loved the Mashed!, Macaroni and Cheese, Wild Rice, Stroganoff & Noodles, Asparagus, Mixed Steamed Squash, etc.) I thought all of the food was really tasty, with the singular exception of the marinara sauce on the gnocchi, which was a tad bland, but roughly what you expect from Pittsburgh "Italian" restaurants.
Desserts were simply fabulous. There must have been 20-25 different options, many in tiny little cups allowing for just a taste of this-and-that. The Eggnog Mousse was wonderful, and so was the Mango Gelato and Pomegranate Cupcakes. There were delicate creme filled ladyfingers and cream puffs, tempting individual cheesecakes and chocolate pecan pies. We must have gone back 4 or 5 times, filled up a plate with these pretty, dainty samples, and brought them back to the table to share.
Soft drinks and hot beverages are included in the basic charge (which is less at lunch when not a holiday), but there is a full Bar which is pay-as-you-go, and adds to the festivities at reasonable prices.
It's nice that you can park here for free, and then spend a leisurely couple of hours just visiting with your family, and enjoying a delightful and festive meal on a holiday. While someone waits in line, you can look out the window at the view, or even stroll along the river if they are really busy. Note that Grand View Buffet does not take reservations, even for special occasions. When you have had enough of each others company, and are satisfied (meaning "stuffed"), you just get up, hug your family, go back to your car, and head on home to a nice, clean kitchen. Couldn't be easier or more enjoyable.
Only "Con" for me is the smokey 1st floor of the Casino, which cannot be avoided. When you get on the elevator in the garage, hit the Casino Level button, then just hold your nose, and head for the escalators on the riverside of the building. Grand View Buffet is on the 2nd floor. One thing I want to stress is that we sat along the inside wall of the restaurant, near the open entrance-- and I was prepared to complain about the smoke if necessary-- but no one could smell the stale air from the 1st level, even in this vulnerable section of the restaurant.
I have eaten here several times before, usually when the Wheelhouse Cafe downstairs had a 2 hour wait, and I have found that the food and service are about the same no matter when I go. It is not a great restaurant, but it is far from a dump, and on a holiday-- when it is really hard to find anyplace open-- this place is a really welcome option. Of course, on Christmas there were a few special decorative touches, but I think it's always a pretty decent value. Give the Grand View Buffet a try.
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