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VEGAS - I need Advice from Those in the Know

Friends and I are planning a trip in September. Serious foodies, most of us. We immensely enjoyed Alex last time.

I am charged with selecting one grandiose meal, plus two other less expensive but still really good dinners.

I have selected the grandiose resto, I think. Help me with the other, less expensive nights. We will spend up to $150 pp. (for the less expensive nights). We want something utterly delicious, hopefully even unique. Service must be good. I'm dealing with a finicky but food-knowledgable group of 9. They know what good is.

Your help is appreciated.

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  1. Il Mulino's outpost at Caesars Forum Shops is deeply delicious traditional northern Italian. Their veal chop is charred-to-perfection; the truffle ravioli and papardelle bolognese are approximately as good as they can be.

    1. Bartolotta is an Italian restaurant that specializes in fresh seafood flown in from the Mediterranean. Simply prepared, it's excellent. Highly recommended.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Larry

        second bartolotta. bradley ogden is good too.

        1. re: raider

          i'll third bartolotta. get the gran tasting. truly amazing. it's worth the wait to sit outside. some of the best seafood, pasta and desserts i have had. very memorable meal,

      2. Well, I don't know if you CAN spend $150 pp at Lotus of Siam, and perhaps the ambiance would be off putting to your group (particularly if you followed it up with one of my favorite treats, a custard from Luv-It custard, which is located in a dicey neighborhood) but LoS has fantastic food and does a nice job with big groups. I would also consider Okada in the Wynn; the food is consistently good and is not limited to sushi, and the room is very pretty. Bouchon at the Venetian is another good choice and offers an outdoor option, which would be pleasant in September.

        1. I recognize your name from the Toronto (Ont.) board as someone offering perceptive postings every now and then. I also live in Toronto and visit Las Vegas several times a year, but rarely dine on The Strip - the food is certainly good but, in my view, not always worth the price. So I'll let others advise you on Strip dining and I'll suggest a few off-Strip joints that I return to again and again. All were originally recommended to me by locals who know their stuff when it coming to eating out - and who studiously avoid the Strip because on the impossible traffic and hilariously inflated prices - and all have been mentioned regularly by users on this Southwest board.

          1. Rosemary's, where you'll pay at least half what you'd pay on the Strip for similarly outstanding food. Taxis to Rosemary's far west location will cost you dearly, so it actually pays to rent a car to get there in the evening. Every forkful I've ever put in my mouth at Rosemary's has been wonderful. Superb service, casually elegant surroundings. It'll cost you about $75-100 a person ( maybe even more, depending on the wines you select). On Sunday nights, wines are half price. Similar to Splendido and/or North 44 (Note to Southwest board posters: these are Toronto restaurants) in terms of quality and inventiveness.
          2. Someone else has already mentioned Lotus of Siam, a short jaunt east of The Strip, and I second the motion. It's the best Thai joint I've ever eaten in in North America. There is no Toronto equivalent. Indeed, you'll realize how dreary - and limited -all Toronto Thai places are after you've partaken of this spot. A huge, huge menu, which you may find bewildering, but Lotus of Siam probably has the most postings on this board, so a little research will probably give you your bearings. Pay particular attention to the postings of Dave Feldman, who seems to have eaten everything on the menu at one time or another. Bring as many feeders as you can to this place. Then you can sample a lot more dishes. LOS (as it's often called on this board) is located in a bleak, bleak plaza, but don't let that throw you off. The place has a remarkable wine list (with many Rieslings), though I usually stick with beer in this place. Very reasonably priced for the quality. You won't come close to $150 per.
          3. There are two other spots off The Strip I rather like, though they may not be distinctive enough for someone looking for something different from what you can get in Toronto. But one, Table 34, is close to The Strip (it's south of the airport), and does good things in the southwestern style. Locally popular. And the other, Todd's Unique Cuisine, on Sunset Rd. east of The Strip, is imaginative and offers sound value in both food and drinks (though it charges no corkage on bring-your-own wine on Wednesdays). They're both a cut or two below Rosemary's, but in price level as well.
          I'm going to Las Vegas myself in a couple of weeks and propose to hit all four of these places yet again. Ah, heaven.

          4 Replies
          1. re: juno

            Wow. I am obliged for your excellent and extensive post.

            I will take your advice. I will do LOS and probably Rosemary's.

            1. re: juno

              juno - you hit the nail on the head !!! excellent recommendations and your "rating" is accurate....come on.. on your next visit...you need to find another 4-5 non-strip gems....a definite challenge !

              1. re: juno

                It is easier to drop a serious money at Lotus of Siam if you want to. Lotus is serving lobsters the size of Hummers. The good news is that if you stay on the regular menu, prices have gone up only slightly in the last five years. Sure, you can order the more expensive fish specials, involving lobster, sea bass, fresh water prawns imported from Thailand, etc. But I don't think I'd trade any of those for the khao soi or green chili dip from the Northern menu, or the crispy rice with sour sausage or the hoh mok plar. Most of my favorite things to eat at LOS are under ten bucks.

              2. There are conflicting reports on this board about Michael Mina at Bellagio, but we had an outstanding dinner there recently. The lobster pot pie is utterly amazing. I would not hesitate to return.

                It's been years since I've been to Le Cirque, but we had an incredible dinner there too which ran around $300 for 2. Maybe a little bit more.

                3 Replies
                1. re: cherie

                  Thanks to all thus far for the excellent tips.

                  1. re: Fwagra

                    It would be difficult to beat Todd's Unique if you are at all looking for high quality, affordable food. If you are fortunate enough to be able to go on Wednesday night, there is no corkage. Fresh seafood reigns with my favorite dish being the fresh halibut teriyaki. Here is a link to a sample menu:


                    1. re: westie

                      Thank's for the unique recs. I am excited to go to vegas and dine at todd's

                2. I was just there this weekend and can second bartoletta as a good try but by far the best meal I have had there was this weekend- sensi at bellagio. incredible!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: yankeefan

                    We definitely like Sensi. On on the off chance I'm not dropping my dining dollars at Rosemary's, I'm likely to be found at Sensi. Very impressive, but it ain't no Rosemary's!!!

                    1. re: GroovinGourmet

                      Never been to rosemary's, always been too lazy to make the ride out there but I may apparently have to do it the next time out? worth it, huh?

                  2. So, what is the "grandiose resto"? We will be in Vegas Aug 16-19 and would like to know....I plan on dining at Bouchon 1 night and Alex the other.

                    1. I would stay away from all of the Vegas branches of well-known restaurants from around the US. These would include Spago, Le Cirque, Aureole and, with apologies to Mr. Gallen, Il Mulino. They are VERY poor substitutes for the real versions. Most Vegas diners (the tourists) are not sophisticated, and are a captive audience. Hence, the restaurants don't try too hard.

                      This is not to say that all of the restaurants are this way. In fact some of the Vegas-only restaurants are quite excellent.

                      I absolutely agree that Bartolotta (Wynn Hotel) is a must.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: pinpei

                        If you are with serious foodies....go L'Atelier at MGM. It will satisfy the gastronome in all of you. Nuff said!

                      2. Anyone tried Guy Savoy yet? Just wondering as I'll be there next month...

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: cherie

                          Guy Savoy is excellent! I believe it's been reviewed on Chowhound. If you don't find anything, review is at http://home.comcast.net/~lasvegasvaca... .

                          1. re: Larry

                            I ate at guy Savoy a few months after they opened. I went in with extremely high expectations, but was unimpressed. It was an up and down meal of highs and lows. After 5 hours, 14 courses, and $800/pp (wine and food), I felt a little taken. Don't get me wrong, the presentations were beautiful, but the room is very "blah" and the food was under seasoned. I actually had to use the salt available on the table to brighten most dishes. The breads, while the pairing with courses was impressive, were bland and unflavorful. Not at all like Robuchon, where you want to devour them with or without the Echere butter! The mignardises were a little scary too and dessert was terrible. I do have to say the service was impecable, until the end of the evening when I guess the staff is "cut" and we couldn't even flag someone down for more water and the check. I would definitely give it another try, as restaurants often evolve with time, but not on my dime. Just my thoughts.

                            1. re: ciaobelly

                              Wow, two very different opinions. But I don't think that's uncommon with any restaurant. I'm intrigued to try it! (Besides, it was chosen by friends for a birthday dinner and not up to me to change.)

                              What's the attire there, anyway? Did most men wear jackets? Ties?

                              1. re: cherie

                                It's pretty formal by Vegas standards. Most (possibly all) men wore jackets; some wore ties.

                                1. re: Larry

                                  The men I went with wore suits with ties, however it being Vegas, you'll see everything! I saw tables of men in khakis with polos. I think the respectful dress for this restaurant, as with Robuchon at the Mansion, is at least a jacket. The room is very simplistic and clean. Have an after dinner drink/cigar on the open air patio overlooking caesar's interior gardens.

                        2. I hope your grandiose resto is Joel Robuchon at MGM. The hard core foodies at egullet.com rave about it.

                          I loved Michael Mina at Bellagio. Phenomenal food, serene atmosphere...it is nice to walk thru the Conservatory Gardens to get to the restaurant.

                          I also hear many good things about Mario Batali's new place at the Venetian

                          Also at Venetian, David Burke's new restaurant...his Primehouse in Chicago is fantastic. Very creative food, and the room in Vegas is as cool as it gets, from what I've seen.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: elrushbo

                            Grandiose dinner was to be Robuchon. But, a few members of the group objected to the price! So, it's the private room at Alex (again) for us paupers.