Las Vegas Guide for Food Lovers

March 4, 2013  •  Las Vegas, Nevada, North America, Travel

las vegas 1 bellagioI love a quick trip to Las Vegas. The flight is less than 2 hours from Denver, the temperatures are mild, and it has a Disneyland sort of atmosphere thanks to the many elaborate hotels. I don’t go to gamble, although I won $251 dollars in a penny slot machine in 60 seconds this time. But you know what happened to that, right?las vegas 25 winningsYep, a short while later this is all I had left to cash out. So no, I don’t go to Vegas for the gambling.las vegas 5 wynn lightingI go to see the beautiful hotels – these are the lights hanging high above the bar foyer at the Wynn and they are gorgeous.las vegas 6 wynn chinese new year flowersI go to see the seasonal decorations at the fancy hotels. It was Chinese New Year (the year of the snake!) and all of the hotels had incredible displays. These hanging balls of live flowers were simply spectacular.las vegas 3 champagneAnd I go to Vegas when my husband and I need a little time away alone together. But mostly, I love going to Vegas for the food. I’m not sure there is another city where so many famous chefs and restaurants have decided to plant some version of their famous restaurant in the same city. From Saturday night until Tuesday morning, we basically just ate our way through Vegas. Here’s the roundup.las vegas 8 fleur ahi tacosI always make dinner reservations for Las Vegas – you just never know what the convention scene or crowds are going to be like and I hate getting stuck eating somewhere I’m not thrilled about. We had reservations at Hubert Keller’s Fleur for the first night, in the Mandalay Bay Hotel. I must say, I was less than overwhelmed, and really expected this meal to blow me away. The restaurant is located quite near the large hall, so it feels a bit exposed and not too intimate. The ahi tuna tacos we ordered were simply bland and needed some zip to them.las vegas 9 fleur gazpacholas vegas 10 fleur shrimp orzo paellalas vegas 11 fleur slidersThe restaurant serves small plates, so fortunately the other things we ordered were much better: gazpacho, shrimp with an orzo riff on paella, and sliders. With so many places to choose from, I’d probably not return here on another trip to Vegas.las vegas 2 mon ami gabilas vegas 12 mon ami gabi salmonMon Ami Gabi is in the Paris hotel right across the street from the Bellagio (where we were staying) and our friends had recommended it for brunch on Sunday morning. They also insisted the only way to go was to eat out on the patio (assuming a nice day) and share a bottle of champagne. And boy were they right. We shared some salmon and sour cream with toast tips…las vegas13 mon ami gabi quiche lorraine…and I followed that up with the classic French dish, quiche lorraine. It was so rich and so large that I could only eat half of it, which was a shame. Consider sharing it with a friend if you go.las vegas 15 raos shells and ricottalas vegas 14 raos sausage and peppersThere is a famous restaurant in East Harlem called Rao’s. It’s an old school classic Italian joint, and because so many clients hold standing table reservations, it’s become next to impossible to dine there unless you are some dignitary or something. So when I saw they had opened a place in Vegas, and knowing my husband’s love for old school Italian cuisine, we picked here for Sunday night. It’s just what you would expect: walls lined with the photographs of famous people who have dined at the real Rao’s in Manhattan, dark wood interior, and huge portions of classic dishes like shells with ricotta and sausage and peppers. We also shared a Caesar salad that could have fed a family. Again, a shame to leave so much food uneaten, but it was great and if you want good solid Italian food, this is a great choice. Rao’s is located in Caesar’s hotel right next to the Bellagio but be warned that walking from one hotel to the next in Vegas almost feels like walking to the next town they are so large and spread out!las vegas 4 bellagio palio bakeryOn Monday, after checking out the incredible pastry selection at the Palio in the Bellagio (and showing restraint by only grabbing a coffee) we wandered around in the morning checking out the new City Center and the Aria hotel – it’s quite expansive and the Aria is gorgeous, so I’m sorry I didn’t think to start snapping any photos.las vegas 18 bellagio fountainsWe returned to the Bellagio to have lunch on the patio of Todd English’s Olives restaurant. This is another spot where it’s great to sit outside, in this case so you can enjoy the famous Bellagio fountains show.las vegas 15 olivesA meal at Olives starts out predictably – and deliciously – with a tray of black and green olives and two choices of olive tapenade.las vegas 16 olives spring pea mezzaluna pastalas vegas 17 olives ravioliBoth my husband and I chose pasta dishes – mine was a wonderful spring pea mezzaluna pasta with fava beans and my husband’s was a classic ravioli. Both were outstanding. You’d think we were done for after such a large lunch, but we spent the afternoon walking all the way up and down the strip to prepare ourselves for our final meal in Vegas.las vegas 7 tao asian bistroTao Asian Bistro is a renowned New York hotspot and the Vegas outpost is located in the Venetian. It’s both a restaurant and a nightclub, so be warned that the loud thumping music that accompanies your meal may not be what you are looking for. But the Hong Kong Chinese food that they serve is simply outstanding.las vegas 19 tao salmon tartareSalmon tartare over crispy sushi rice.las vegas 20 tao crab cakesThai crab cakes with mango chili sauce.las vegas 21 tao peking duck egg rollsPeking duck spring roll with hoisin sauce.las vegas 22 tao dumplingsPork potstickers with chile sesame glaze.las vegas 23 tao udon noodles with vegetablesAnd we finished up our meal like gluttons by ordering the Buddha’s Harmonized Vegetable Feast for the Minor Gods with Udon Noodles.las vegas 24 empty plateIt feels like we left Las Vegas without leaving a morsel of food on a plate and a few pounds heavier. But, boy was it worth it!

Here are links if you want to check out any of the places mentioned in this post:

Bellagio Hotel
Paris Hotel
Venetian Hotel
Caesar’s Palace Hotel
Wynn Hotel
Mandalay Bay Hotel
Aria Hotel
Mon Ami Gabi
Tao Asian Bistro


2 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Natalie @ The Devil Wears Parsley says:

    What a wonderful round-up! I grew up in Vegas and left when I was 19, and I absolutely LOVED the food scene there. I go back to visit quite often, but don’t really make it to the strip much. Now, I may not tell the family I’m visiting, and do a foodie tour! 😉

  2. T.J. & Charlotte says:

    Wow… I never go to Vegas for the food. I really need to set aside some money for something other than In-n-Out Burger next time! The food looks delicious. Nice post. 🙂

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