There are an almost unlimited variety of dining options in Las Vegas—from inexpensive buffets to fast food and chain restaurants to top rated restaurants featuring several of the most famous chefs in America. There are so many things that make Las Vegas terrific. The resorts, the entertainment, the shopping, the gambling, and the outdoor activities, but let’s not leave out a very essential part of the “terrific” experience-Las Vegas dining. Everywhere you look there are dozens upon dozens of sandwich shops, bistros, cafes, steakhouses, and upscale eateries that try to tempt you to sample their gastronomic fare. This is our Essential Guide to dining in Las Vegas.
There are restaurants up and down the Strip, and across the whole Las Vegas Valley, that serve food from nearly every nation on the planet. Asian food can be found at upscale Nobu at the Hard Rock Hotel and at Malibu Chan’s on Sahara Avenue. Those who love Italian will find great cannelloni and proscuitto e melone at Bally’s on the Strip. If those aren’t to your taste, then there’s Mexican, Indian, Brazilian, Cuban, French, German and American food-everywhere! We must also note that Las Vegas’ wealth and opulence have attracted the likes of famous chefs such as Emeril (bam!) Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, Todd English, Michael Mina, and Alex Stratta. They have each opened one, two, three (or more) restaurants on the Strip in Mandalay Bay, the MGM Grand, The Venetian, the Bellagio, and the Mirage. And of course, there are the buffets. Let’s not forget this staple of the Las Vegas dining experience.
You may not be able to find a really cheap buffet any longer, but there are still some that are priced within reason. Breakfast buffets are generally the least expensive, with lunch costing a bit more, and dinner prices packing the biggest punch. The most affordable buffets are found in Downtown Las Vegas or in casinos that are just off the Strip. The fact is, you will never, can never, must never go hungry while you stay in Las Vegas. Just like the golf courses and hotels and casinos-there are so many different restaurants in town that trying to recommend one is nearly impossible. But, that’s never stopped us before, so grab your knife and fork so we can “dig in” and see what’s out there to tempt your taste buds.
After spending a lazy day at the pool, or going face to face with the denizens of the deep at Shark Reef, it’s time to enjoy some good old Southern’ cooking. The House of Blues Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay is known for it’s rock and roll and blues entertainment, but they also serve up some mighty fine food. Savor a full rack of slow smoked Tennessee style baby back ribs with Jim Beam BBQ Sauce, accompanied by mashed sweet potatoes and green beans-or Creole Jambalaya with shrimp, chicken, Tasso ham, Andouille sausage with roasted green onions. The House of Blues Las Vegas offers up a brunch on Sundays, but it isn’t your average, run of the mill brunch. This is their weekly gospel brunch. Their catch phrase is, “Praise the Lord and pass the biscuits! The House of Blues Gospel Brunch features inspiring gospel and an amazing buffet to feed the body and soul.” Unfortunately, this isn’t the type of brunch where you can just “show up.” Tickets much be purchased in advance at the House of Blues Box Office.
Another ‘chain’ restaurant on the Strip is the Rainforest Café located on the first floor of the MGM Grand Hotel near the Lion Habitat. These establishments are usually found in high-traffic, touristy locales throughout the nation, such as the Disney properties on both coasts, but they’re a good place for the entire family. The Rainforest Café restaurants all have a tropical rain forest theme, and are decorated with a jungle full of synthetic plants, cascading waterfalls, and growling, chirping, hissing, cooing, cawing (fake) animals, such as apes, zebras, elephants, giraffes, snakes, butterflies, and birds. The huge salt-water fish tanks are the most impressive, filled with amazing (real) tropical fish and eerie-looking eels. The restaurant derives its name from the fact that every twenty minutes or so a “rainstorm” happens, with the lights flashing and “thunder” booming throughout (which can be a bit scary for some children.) The menu includes American fare that has been inspired by Mexican, Italian, Cajun, and Caribbean flavors. There is a menu for the little ones, and for the “big kids,” there is the Magic Mushroom Bar. One of the coolest things about this watering hole are the carved animal stools. They all look like the hind-ends of giraffes, zebras, gazelles, and other four-legged creatures. Reservations are accepted at the Rainforest Café.
Oo-la-la! If high class is in order and you feel like dining in Gay Parie’, but only had enough cash to fly to Las Vegas, you’re still in luck. Paris Las Vegas has a jewel of a restaurant perched high above the Las Vegas Boulevard—The Eiffel Tower Restaurant. It’s located on the 11th floor of Paris Las Vegas’ Eiffel Tower replica.
Not only does this fine restaurant offer breathtaking views of the Strip, but it serves delectable gourmet French dishes tailored to the American palate. Start your meal with sautéed escargot or Beluga caviar. Entree selections include fresh Filet of Atlantic Salmon, wonderful Sautéed John Dory, and outstanding Whole Dover Sole. Meat lovers will appreciate the savory roasted rack of lamb, Tournedos Rossini topped with Foie Gras, and sautéed veal medallions.
This is just a small taste of what’s in store for you when you dine in Las Vegas.
by Julie Engelhardt