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Las Vegas Birthday Trip

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At the end of July, my friend's parents are paying for us to go with them to Las Vegas for the father's birthday. I've been researching where to eat, and it is very overwhelming, especially have to take the parents into consideration. My friend and I are foodies, but the parents tend to have much simpler tastes. I guess I'm looking for places with food that's excellent but not too fussy, service that's friendly and not uptight, and a place that these simple people will feel important, but not out of place. The parents say they trust me and anywhere I bring them they know will be great, but . . . We won't have a car so that leaves out quite a few places, I know.


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  1. If you're not going to have a car, at the end of July, you'll need to disclose where you'll be staying to get any meaningful recs.

    1. Sorry, we're staying at the MGM Grand.

      1. The very first place that comes to my mind is Mon Ami Gabi. I think everyone would be very happy with that choice - and be sure to tell them about the celebration when you make reservations.

        1. Another possibility is Emeril's. As foodies, you and your friend probably won't be awed, but it IS pretty good. In my opinion, it's much better than Mon Ami Gabi, but you're likely to get strongly diverging opinions here. Emeril's is informal, and not at all intimidating. Another plus is location - it's in the MGM Grand. On the down side, Emeril's is more expensive than Mon Ami Gabi.

          One thing worth noting about Mon Ami Gabi is that outdoor dining is available, with a great view of the Bellagio fountains. However, reservations are not accepted for outdoors, and it's likely to be blisteringly hot in July, even at night. Some people can tolerate it, others not.

          1. Got wheels?

            Do Rosemary's. Definitely plenty for the foodies in the crowd, and plenty of
            accessible dishes for the more staid celebrants.

            Service is warm and unpretentious, while totally on top of everything. Let them
            know it's a special occasion and I'm sure you'll be well taken care of.

            1. Commander's Palace is walking distance.

              Love Mon Ami Gabi...its a chain though..but a great one. Great steak frities....love the one with the roquefort cheese on top.

              CraftSteak is in the MGM....good stuff.

              I like the brunch selections at Mesa Grill @ Cesars.....i'm sure you'll be walking down that way anyways. And they may get a kick outta the celeb-factor....I've always had really down to earth and friendly service there.

              I don't really dig Emerils....dunno....just never did.

              1. I have stayed at the MGM Grand many times. If you want to stay in the hotel, perhaps check out SeaBlue if your party will eat fish and seafood. The food isn't too fussy yet there are some very interesting items on the menu, especially in the appetizers section. Plus there is a "design your own salad" option where you can choose up to 10 items for your salad out of a large and interesting list of ingredients. It's fun. The mains tend to be simpler.

                I also like Emeril's but not too often. Many of the dishes tend to incorporate bell peppers, as one would expect from New Orleans cuisine, but I can't eat bell peppers and thus the menu is a minefield for me. The banana cream pie is one of the best desserts ever. Big enough for at least 3 people to share. In fact, consider going to Emeril's just for dessert, you can sit in the front area without a reservation. We have done this after dinner at SeaBlue.

                I didn't really like CraftSteak. I found the menu kind of daunting and the staff not all that much help. I wouldn't agree with the recommendation of this restaurant for people who may not be all that sophisticated.

                Commander's Palace is lovely and a good choice for all kinds of folks.

                Also, please consider Bouchon in the Venezia Tower at the Venetian. It's loud, great fun, and the menu is easy enough to deal with. Have enjoyed breakfast there three times, and dinner once, with another dinner upcoming in mid-July on our next trip.

                We also like Mesa Grill at Caesar's for brunch or lunch. And Olives at the Bellagio may not be the most houndly choice, but I like lunch there from time to time.

                Oh, for lunch, do not miss Burger Bar in Mandalay Place (the small mall between Mandalay Bay and Luxor). Supremely tasty burgers, highly recommended.

                We also like Mon Ami Gabi for lunch and have been there many times but cannot speak for dinner as we've never had it there (although I had dinner once at the one in Bethesda, MD, not as good).

                Remember you can check out most menus of the big hotels online at their individual sites. Prices aren't necessarily included but you will get an idea.

                The monorail runs all along the MGM Grand side of the strip and therefore even without a car, you can get around without cabbing, although more easily in terms of walking distance to hotels on the same side of the street. Although I'm irritated that they raised the price substantially since last year. Depending on the size of your party and how often you will ride, the monorail may or may not be a good choice for you. MGM Grand monorail ticket booth is in the Studio Walk area by the restaurants so you can at least walk over there and take a look.

                Have a great trip!

                1. oh yeah, Burger Bar is awesome! I'm going this weekend.

                  I miss Coyote Cafe in the MGM......the mexican place that replaced it isn't as good (although Coyotoe Cafe went way downhill before it closed down...)

                  1. At that time of the year you will want to keep the traveling to a minimum (it is way too hot!!!) and I would consider the restaurants in MGM. Fiamma would be a great choice for tis type of party. Another poster recommended Emeril's although I would suspect it would be a little too much for the parents.