Deer Valley’s Seafood Buffet A Wasatch Institution.

Deer Valley in Park City consistently ranks at the top of SKI Magazine’s polls for guest service, on-mountain food and snow grooming. As a part time instructor there for several years, I came to understand that the resort has a unique hotel culture. Customers are treated as “guests.” As one executive advised us, “Treat them well. They might not be right, but they’re still our guests.”

Freshly shucked oysters are never-ending at Deer Valley’s seafood buffet. Credit: Deer Valley

The food choices are varied, the quality is terrific, and, considering Deer Valley’s posh reputation, reasonably priced. I used to joke that DV is a great restaurant with skiing as an amenity. Actually, DV offers a lot of varied terrain that most of its guests probably never get to. It’s a fine area with a fine reputation and really fine food.

One of its dining institutions is the Seafood Buffet, a ski season-only restaurant that pops up Thursday through Sunday evenings in the resort’s Snow Park Base Village lodge. During ski hours, the cafeteria serves DV’s daytime offerings: far more sophisticated and varied than what you’ll find in most day lodges in North America. Come evening, it transforms to a remarkable array of freshly shucked oysters, crab legs, shrimp, sushi, cooked entrees from sea and ranch, and sweets of every fresh-baked and otherwise concocted description. It’s on Zagat’s “America’s Top Restaurants” list.

You might associate the food choices with dressing for dinner. But given the lodge’s upscale rustic surroundings almost everyone is in jeans.

A wide variety of seafood grace the Deer Valley seafood buffet, a ski season-only institution in the Wasatch. Credit: Deer Valley

Then there’s the service. With some exceptions, Utah restaurants are aggravating for their lack of quality service. Historically a culinary backwater, a growing number of excellent eateries in Park City, Salt Lake, tiny Boulder, and a few other locations are attracting attention and clientele from all over. The Seafood Buffet is all about superb service, and its international wait staff in topnotch. Leave your table for another plate of whatever, and you return — each and every time — to one tidied with replaced dishes, flatware, and moist cloth napkins for sticky fingers.

The wine and beer list is reasonably priced, with several whites clustered under the heading “Shell Fish Wines.” While the list has a range of options, our Marlborough (NZ) Sauvignon Blanc was available at a reasonable premium above the state wine store.

The buffet cost is $64 for adults/$34 for kids (11 and under), beverages excluded.

Deer Valley’s Seafood Buffet is a classic. Winter visitors to the Wasatch — the mountain range where Deer Valley and numerous other ski resorts are located within close proximity — have many dining options. But wherever you stay, at Deer Valley, in Park City, at one of the other resorts, or somewhere in the Salt Lake Valley, it’s worth a short drive to the mountains to enjoy first-rate cuisine from the seas.

Reservations advised.

One Comment

  1. Jon is so right; the food at DV is the best you will find at any ski area. The ‘cafeterias’ (well, referring to them as ‘cafeterias’ is like comparing a Lange 140 Race boot to a sneaker) at all three base lodges have lunch offerings with a quality similar to what one would expect in a first class restaurant, anywhere… Add the Royal Street Cafe, also at DV, to the above mentioned; the food is as wonderful, as is the service… Are we still at a ski area…? As Jon says, Deer Valley founders, the Stern family, wanted DV to be like a ‘luxury hotel’, and it is… My biggest problem with lunch at DV is always that it is so good that I will eat too much and then be to full (and happy) to ski for the rest of the afternoon… So dedicate the evening to the Seafood buffet, or the Fireside dining at Empire lodge…

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