Located in the town of Narbonne, Les Grands Buffet has established itself as one of the most prestigious buffet restaurants in the world.
It is considered a gastronomic sanctuary where you can enjoy authentic traditional French cuisine. It boasts the largest cheese buffet in Europe, a chocolate fountain – you’ll want to dive in head first – and a selection of 70 renowned wines at cellar prices.
Without a doubt, Les Grands Buffets is the main reason to take a trip to Narbonne.
Useful information to visit Les Grands Buffets
Founded in 1989 by Louis Privat. It has space for 500 diners and is open 365 days a year for lunch and dinner.
The price is 35,90€ for adults, drinks not included. For children from 6 to 10 years old, the cost of the menu is 17,90€, and for children from 0 to 5 years old, the menu is free.
The restaurant is located on the outskirts of the city, about 10 minutes walk from the city centre.
Les Grands Buffets, the buffet you would like to have closer to home
Les Grands Buffets is a gastronomic experience that you have to experience once (or several times) in your life.
The entrance to Les Grands Buffets
This is one of the most photographed corners of the city. There’s not a person who can resist visiting the buffet and not taking a selfie as a souvenir – myself included 😋.
And they – who have thought of everything to make the visit memorable – have a scale right at the entrance so you can check if you’ve put on a few pounds during the couple of hours of lunch/dinner.
There is usually a queue, so I advise you to arrive at least 10-15 minutes before your reservation time.
Inside Les Grands Buffets – the kitchen
During our visit, we had the pleasure of visiting the kitchens.
Sometimes, when you go to a place with high expectations, and you start to get to know it from the inside, it can end up disappointing you. In this case, the opposite was true.
The kitchens were a work of art in themselves; spacious, stainless steel and with music playing in the background.
I was very impressed by the way they worked, with perfect technique and an amazing calmness (at least, that day).
The Dinning Room of Les Grands Buffets
The dining room is made up of 3 different rooms:
- Sala Caple: it is located near the starters buffet. It has two private dining rooms for groups of 10 and 20 people – which can be booked free of charge, if indicated in the reservation – and a children’s play area – soundproofed, overlooking the room and inspired by an African village.
- Corbières room: connected to the Rotissêrie, the buffet’s rotisserie.
- The garden: the perfect place to enjoy Les Grands Buffets on a sunny day. It is the only outdoor room in the restaurant. It is located under pergolas, surrounded by flowers and greenery, and overlooks an Olympic-size swimming pool, which you can access for an entrance fee – who fancies a swim after lunch?
Wooden furniture, gilded details and a table set to the last detail to take you back in time to the French bourgeoisie.
The buffet is made up of several stations, each one more appetising than the last.
In this section, I have decided to include several stations that make up the buffet:
- La Charcuterie et Boucherie: in this section you will find a wide variety of French (and Spanish) charcuterie such as salchichón, fuet, chorizo. As well as an area dedicated to ham, where you can cut it to your liking.
- Foie Gras: with 9 different types of Foie Gras, including one mixed with crème brûlée.
- Le Traiteur: a station dedicated to canapés.
There is also an area with vegetables, as well as small snacks such as olives.
This is the most iconic place in the restaurant. In this rotisserie the dishes are cooked to order – and to the diner’s taste.
A blackboard lists all the dishes you can order, including ribs, lobster, beef steak tartare, duck breast, coquille Saint James, poached eggs and tournedos with foie gras.
Once it’s your turn, the chef will take note of your order and give you a piece of paper with your dish. And a few minutes later, voilà, your dish is ready!
Ragôuts et cuits
Next to the Rotissêrie, this is where you’ll find the hot dishes from the buffet.
It is characterised by its presentation on silver-plated trays. And in this area you will find dishes such as frogs’ legs, sausages, calamari a la romana, grilled prawns or classics of French gastronomy such as Ratatouille.
Its cascade of lobsters is the highlight of Plateau Royal, where you will also have access to a wide variety of seafood: prawns, lobsters, mussels, prawns, oysters, clams, and up to 6 varieties of Norwegian salmon!
If you’re a cheese lover, this place will be your undoing.
It is the largest cheese buffet in the world, with more than 111 different types of cheese and a Master Crémier ready to help you.
The exhibition has all kinds of cheeses (goat’s, sheep’s, cow’s), from cured to creamy. Camembert, Comté, Roquefort (4 varieties), Parmesan, Emmental are just some of the cheeses you will find in this little paradise.
And this is my paradise!
Chocolate lovers, save time for this moment. I assure you that you will want to devour this part of the buffet, and we don’t want buttons flying around the restaurant.
Alongside this immense, majestic and incredible chocolate fountain, more than 100 different types of desserts – prepared daily by a Master pastry chef – await you, including the classics of French patisserie.
Macarons, crepes, waffles, fruit, apple tarts, chocolate, tiramisu, éclair, Tarte Tatin, Black Forest, Millefeuille, Chocolate Royal, etc, etc, etc, etc….
They have a selection of more than 70 wines from the Languedoc-Roussillon region, which you can drink by the glass or by the bottle.
One of my regrets during my visit is that I didn’t take the opportunity to try several wines. So I advise you to opt for a glass and taste a few of them.
With the glass, they bring you a note with the name of the wine and some contact details of the winery.
The best – and most characteristic – is that the wines are at cheaper prices. You can even buy bottles of wine on the spot; and if you take a case of 6, they’ll give you the one you’ve consumed during the meal.
My experience in Les Grands Buffets
We had a reservation at 14h. As I said before, it’s better to come in advance because there is usually quite a long queue.
We were seated in the Corbières room, the one closest to the Rotissêrie. At the table, water, bread and butter were set out for us while we went to ravage the buffet.
As you will see in the picture below, my plate – well, rather, my plates – is a fusion of all possible seasons. Cheese, cheese, more cheese, foie gras with crème brûlée, appetizers, and some charcuterie; that was my appetizer.
I was so looking forward to Les Grands Buffets that I literally ravaged the buffet, and the dessert section – wait until you check it out below!
My main course was just as chaotic. Between the joy, the rush and so many names in French, I went a little crazy and ended up grabbing things without a clue. Squid, prawns, ratatouille and sea bream made up my main course.
And then it was time for dessert….
Giant chocolate macaron, Chocolate Royal Tart and Èclair au chocolat – I’ve already told you that dieting is best left at home.
To drink we ordered a bottle of Cigalus Blanco from Gérard Bertran, highly recommended!
Important ⚠ Important ⚠
It is forbidden to throw food away. Take only what you are going to eat.
I ended up with a full belly, the first button of my trousers undone, but with an empty plate 😋
Would you recommend Les Grands Buffets?
Yes, yes and a hundred times yes.
It will break your traditional idea of a buffet, it will give you an excuse to travel to France and the restaurant is great value for money.
Recommendations for your visit to Les Grands Buffets
- Book early: you can book up to a year in advance on their website.
- Bring your bikini/swimsuit if you’re coming in summer: after a meal in the sun – with views of the pool – you’ll want to take a dip.
- Patience: you have several hours to taste all the products you want.
- Don’t be anxious: take what you are going to eat, and don’t get carried away by the rush of the moment.
- Taste the wine: and if possible, try several of them.
- Save room for dessert: there will be at least 3 or 4 different sweets…
*Disclaimer: this article is the result of a collaboration between Hazte Viajero and Les Grands Buffets. All opinions are our own.