Solo in Las Vegas
I will be in Las Vegas on business for 3 days in early March. The one place I really want to try is L'Atelier. With counter service, I should feel comfortble dining solo. Can I just walk in on a week day night, after 9pm? Is reservation required?
As for the other 2 nights, I would love to hear suggestions, with the following parameters:
1) I am dining solo, and prefer places that are not too formal and serve food at the counter.
2) Unless food justifies it, I am avoiding "hot" place where reservation is necessary.
3) Although I eat everything, my passion is in fish, pasta, and vegetable.
4) I am from Bay Area, so Michael Mina restaurants will not be of interest.
5) For this trip, budget is not an issue.
6) I will stay at MGM and have a car.
Currently I am interested in B&B. Is it easy to walk in and get a seat at the bar?
I am also intrigued by the whole fish at Bartolotta. Is the portion too large for a single diner?
Thanks in advance.
What everybody said. You can eat anywhere. Vegas has to be the best, least intimidating city for solo dining.
As to your question about the whole fish at Bartolotta, every day they have several selections and they vary by size. They are priced by the gram, I think, and this can add up. I also don't think the bar there is super comfortable, and it's somewhat removed from the main part of the restaurant since it's upstairs on the same level as the shops, whereas the main part of Bartolotta is downstairs. If it was me, I'd choose many other places before Bartolotta (we've eaten there three times but the last time was pretty disappointing). Rosemary's, Bouchon, Craftsteak, B&B, SeaBlue, Mesa Grill, etc.
re: Debbie W
Was just in LV solo recently myself, & ran this "dine in the bar" model the whole visit.
Was a smidge frazzled from driving up on a Friday afternoon. Hit Red Square (at Mandalay Bay) for a fortifying vodka (or 2) & steak tartare at the ice bar. Later in the evening, hit Isla (at Treasure Island) & had a very tasty Fish Taco & a lovely cocktail with tequila, grapefruit,pink syrup & (I swear) strawberry jello around the rim. (As sappy as the jello sounds, the overall effect was really quite tasty.) While neither of these places was particularly foodie-centric, I was quite happy to have found tasty nibbies in places that were very easy-access for where I happened to be.
The second evening I hit Bradley Ogden (at Caesar's). That's a lovely, big bar space -- very comfortable. Had an intriguing cocktail of gin, cucumber & cilantro (IIRC), & a wonderful shrimp dish. It would have been a huge appetizer, but for a single course in the bar, it was a lovely serving. Perfectly cooked, sweet shrimp, with a beautiful crunchiness on the outside. (I was particularly impressed that they didn't go soggy on the plate, even though there were quite a few of them!) I was there early & they weren't terribly busy yet, but the service was exactly the right balance of welcoming & attentive, but not hovering. I could easily have hung out right there the rest of the evening.
However, I had tickets for Spamalot. So I trekked on up to the Wynn, & fell directly into the bar at Daniel Boulud. The bar area was "busy but not packed" at prime-time on a Saturday. (Over in the restaurant, it looked like they were fully booked & turning people away.) Although a cozier space than Ogden's, the bar area is still very comfortable, with an assortment of sofas, chairs, banquettes & the bar proper. Still being in a citrus-y mood, I had a Bitter something cocktail (grapefruit, red juice & vodka) & the Tuna Tartare. Very strong asian flavours including sesame oil & shiitake mushrooms, but very well balanced. I particularly liked the bits of pickled daikon in there, & the accompanying puffy crackers with sea salt.
Had a little more time, so tried the Pumpkin Soup. Ohhh, this was soooo fabulous. The basic soup was perfect, & then I counted 6 separate additions, each of which added it's own thing, & all of which played in every possible combination. (I have a BS Math, & I'm not sure I can calculate the permutations. But it soooo worked!) Cubes of pumpkin, cubes of marshmallow, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon foam, some brown sugar / balsamic blops, & a little sprig of green. Wonderful stuff!
Took a shot at Bouchon (at Venetian) for Sunday brunch without a reservation, but even the bar was on a wait. So wandered down to Aquaknox. OK, the place was dead-empty. ("Uh, we're mostly a dinner place.") But I'm all over a little fish & salad for lunchtime. Although there was one threesome dining in the bar, I opted to sit in the restaurant area. Had the Seafood Trio: crab, lobster & shrimp, each with it's own sauce. The crab with a light remoulade was outstanding, & I'd gladly have that on it's own any time. (I considered a second order of just that.) And a glass of the Hess Chard, which was on the by-the-glass menu just for that pairing. Followed that with a salad of romaine hearts with a lightly blue cheese dressing. Just a hint of the cheese for overall saltiness ... in lieu of the anchovy? I was looking for a nice little green, & that worked perfectly. My one objection: the waiter kept calling me "sweetie" & "dear". Uh, a) this is not a diner, & b) I'm old enough to be your mother. (Either "ma'am" or "miss" would have been just fine.)
So overall, the dining in the bar is *totally* the way to go solo in Vegas! No need to commit to a time constraint, & all the opportunity to sample around.
There are many places that I have eaten at the bar/lounge solo in Las Vegas. Bradley Ogden, Mesa Grill, Stack, Fix, N9NE, Stripsteak, Emeril's at MGM, Enoteca San Marco and the list goes on. All were good to excellent meals as well as good service. You will have no problems wherever you choose in Vegas.
I was by myself in Vegas, and I had a nice meal at the sushi bar in Sushi Roku, in the Shops at Caesar's. Also, you'll be fine in L'Atelier by yourself. You might enjoy trekking over to Paris and eating at L'Ami Gabi, especially at lunch time. The tables in the bar are filled with single diners, and they do a very nice job with raw bar and with seafood. Finally, there is a Wichcraft in MGM that does great if slightly pricey sandwiches. They have yogurt with honey on their menu in case you want to get one for breakfast.
p.s. if you find the MGM Grand to be too smoky/touristy for your taste, get them to move you over to Signature. It's all new, non-smoking, no casino and its own private gym, pool and bar, for not much more than the MGM Grand. They're connected by a walkway that lets you out by the restaurants.
Solo foodie with wheels in Vegas?
You could do so much worse than a seat at the bar at Rosemary's. Plenty of standout fish dishes for you to enjoy (the new salmon prep is fabulous, barramundi is now on the menu and the Halibut Lindquist has been on the menu from day one if I am not mistaken).
Arguably the best bar food service in town... you will receive the full treatment even as a solo walk-in.
In a town where the odds are stacked against you, Rosemary's consistently delivers where many name places deliver inconsistency.
Thanks for feedback. I will make reservation for L'Atelier, to be on the safe side, but leave the other 2 nights free, to explore possibilities. I have learned a lot from the board, although my taste is somewhat different from the majority. I persoanlly do not care for meat (particularly steak), or dessert, the two most popular "cravings". I will report back whatever I ended up with.
I just ate at L'Atelier last week. I think you could sit at the bar with no problem solo(I would consider sitting in the back mini bar with Fred(bartender) he is very knowledgable and is old school vegas(you come first). I would walk by during the day and see when a good time to sit by Fred would work out. The experience we had was first class, wines were excellent but my god the food was king. The flavors just have to be tried. Fred made sure we had a couple(just try this on us) added items that were to die for. You won't go wrong with any suggestions so I would pick what sounds good to you. Trust your own choices here. Also I would consider eating at the bar in Morels(Palazzo). great service and as much or as little food as you want.
I could probably count on one hand the number of places in Vegas I know of that do not serve food at the bar. With that in mind ...
Since you are staying at MGM I would suggest Seablue. Yes, I know you said that Mina places do not interest you but since you're a fish person - this place would be good. I really love it. I like the fact that you can get a lot of different things to try without committing to one certain item.
Fiamma is a good one as well which just happens to be in your hotel. B&B is definitely going to be better, though.
Bartolotta is another good choice. Looks like you're pretty much set. With the parameters that you've given ( ignoring the Mina point, though ) I would say that you should do B&B, Bartolotta, and Seablue.