This is the free buffet with a one-year waiting list

We sat at the table of the best buffet in the universe.

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It is called Les Grands Buffets and was born in 1989 in the small town of Narbonne. Inside, spread across four sumptuously decorated dining rooms in different styles, towers of lobsters and large chocolate fountains dazzle. These sparkles are also reflected from its delicious display of cheeses and desserts with which to begin or end your feast orchestrated around traditional French cuisine.

At this trendy restaurant, the revival of the classic French banquet goes beyond the plate, paying homage to the traditional arts of a prestigious table covered with cloth tablecloths, stylised glasses and embroidered napkins illuminated by candlelight.

Reviving the classic French banquet

Since the Middle Ages, this is how the crowned heads and the French aristocracy celebrated their grand banquets. Unlike English or Russian-style service, French-style service consists of serving all the dishes at the same time in a “buffet”, inviting each guest to compose their own menu according to their tastes and fancies’, read the notes of this restaurant which aims to evoke these majestic culinary rituals that marked history.

The experience in question can be relived from an art deco room to an aristocratic salon with a marquee, paying homage to Louis XIV, amidst chandeliers or romantic elements that aesthetically accompany the evening.

This gastronomic Eden, presented as a kind of museum or culinary theatre – soon to be extended and modernised – was the brainchild of Louis Privat. The visionary restaurateur who would offer a sophisticated twist to the reviled concept of the buffet in order to elevate it to the status of art.

In this sense, waiters wait and serve exceptional dishes to tables for which gourmets are prepared to wait up to a year. There is an infinite waiting list of people who wish to enter the world of Les Grands Buffets.

Last year, more than 380,000 people paid 52.90 euros for the pleasure of visiting it. That is to say, the cost of the experience with which this restaurant accumulated in 2023 a wealth of 24 million euros. An exorbitant figure that would make it one of the most profitable restaurants in France.

A tribute to the arts of the table

From caviar to pâtés, foie gras and meats such as wild boar and hare -the ‘holy grail of charcuterie’- the titles of this restaurant, like its menu, are also limitless. And its cheese board with 111 varieties is also endorsed by a Guinness Record.

The formula for its success lies precisely in the connection of all these elements that make this buffet the best and biggest in the world; with a gastronomic proposal that exalts traditional French cuisine through monumental seafood platters with oysters, mussels or prawns, sèches à la sétoise, fresh fish prepared on the spot, marrow bones with fleur de sel or dream desserts such as their tarts tatin presented in glasses.

Start your gastronomic journey with a stop in the world of the hors d’oeuvres, take a detour to the seafood, continue your procession through the rotisserie and leave the rest of the menu to your imagination’, suggests the restaurant.