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Anniversary Dinner in Vegas

CindyJ Jul 1, 2010 01:03 PM

We've never been to Vegas, and won't be staying for long, but my husband and I will be there on the day and night of our (BIG number) anniversary in early September. I know this is akin to asking, "I'll be in NYC for one night, where should I go for dinner?" but I'm going to ask anyway: where should we go for dinner? We don't want anything "touristy" or "glitzy" and we'll have a car, so we can head out of town a distance if need be. We'd like really wonderful food, pleasing ambiance, and a memorable dining experience. A place with a great view would be a plus, but not absolutely necessary. Thanks for your help.

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  1. ellenost Jul 1, 2010 01:14 PM

    My favorite restaurant in LV is Alex (Wynn Hotel); it's perfect for a special occasion. Enjoy!

    1. l
      lvnvflyer Jul 1, 2010 07:29 PM

      I'd think about Sage at the Aria; terrific food, nice atmosphere (no view). If you want to do something a bit different, think about Marche Bacchus, which is out at an area called Desert Shores. It's a french bistor, very solid food, you pick your own wine from their retail store and pay $10 over retail, and it's on the shores of a little lake-ette. It's really very lovely to sit outside and I was actually just there for my anniversary.

      In terms of actual strip views, I'd say have a cocktail at the bar at the Mandarin Oriental (or go to Twist, their very high end and excellent restaurant (but I would say it might be a bit glitzy). It's a terrific bar with great views and excellent cocktails.

      -----
      Marche Bacchus
      2620 Regatta Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89128

      1 Reply
      1. re: lvnvflyer
        ellenost Jul 2, 2010 06:42 AM

        I dined at Twist in April and was very underwhelmed by the food. I liked the food at Alex much better than Twist.

      2. Bill Hunt Jul 1, 2010 09:57 PM

        I am a fan of Joël Robuchon and also Guy Savoy. For great, and almost at that level, I also recommend Picasso. All would be great for that "special occasion," and I have used each for similar.

        Enjoy, and congratulations!

        Hunt

        8 Replies
        1. re: Bill Hunt
          CindyJ Jul 3, 2010 11:26 AM

          Joël Robuchon and Guy Savoy are names of restaurants, I assume. :)

          1. re: CindyJ
            shamu613 Jul 3, 2010 09:18 PM

            Chefs actually, who operate restaurants named for themselves.

            http://www.mgmgrand.com/restaurants/joel-robuchon-french-restaurant.aspx

            Robuchon has two at the MGM. The second is called L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon.

            http://www.mgmgrand.com/restaurants/atelier-joel-robuchon-french-restaurant.aspx

            Guy Savoy's restaurant is inside Caesar's Palace.

            http://www.caesarspalace.com/casinos/...

            They are both French, both have their original restaurants in France and outposts here in Las Vegas.

            1. re: CindyJ
              atdleft Jul 4, 2010 02:44 PM

              Yes, and I'll need to second this. I know, I know, it's The Strip... But honestly, most of our very best restaurants are on The Strip. And for such a special occasion like your wedding anniversary, why not go for the best and try Joel Robuchon?

              1. re: atdleft
                CindyJ Jul 5, 2010 07:41 AM

                Never having been to Vegas, I had the impression that The Strip was a tourist mecca -- kind of like Times Square in NYC -- and I assumed that locals had their off-the-beaten-path favorites. I'd NEVER choose to dine in Times Square, given all the wonderful options scattered throughout the city. But now I'm beginning to understand that Vegas is not that way.

                1. re: CindyJ
                  p
                  Philber Jul 5, 2010 08:03 AM

                  You are correct. While the Strip is a tourist mecca, it also serves as the "high end" dining area for Las Vegas locals and has by far the most options given your stated criteria of "wonderful food, pleasing ambience.... and a place with a great view".

                  There are off-strip restaurants that offer a wonderful food (Marche Bacchus was already mentioned). Another is Todd's Unique in Henderson, but neither of these have a view and their ambience is not up to par with exclusive Strip restaurants.

                  There are other restaurants that offer a nice view: Panevino (Sunset and Las Vegas Blvd) and Ventano (Arroyo Grande in Henderson) both offer views of the city. The M Resort also offers some really nice viewing options from their restaurants. However, these choices do not have the same quality of food as the uber-chef restaurants on the strip.

                  1. re: CindyJ
                    shamu613 Jul 10, 2010 12:38 AM

                    Cindy,

                    The Strip is a 4.3 mile stretch of Las Vegas Blvd. and is home to most of the big name hotel resorts. From Mandalay Bay on the south to the Sahara on the north.

                    There's a few hotels located off the Strip but still relatively close to it. Farther out in the Vegas Valley are scattered many casinos that cater mostly to locals. While the local casinos may have good restaurants, none are home to celebrity chefs.

                    Downtown is home to Fremont Street and the Fremont Street Experience, a five block section that has been covered by a half dome like structure. It's closed to traffic and open only to pedestrians. Underneath the cover is one five block long television screen. There's vendors and bands a show on the screen every half hour.

                    The locals... where do we eat? Unfortunately this valley is filled with one national chain after another. Outback, Olive Garden, Denny's The vast majority of restaurants are fast food joints. Most family food can be found in bars and many of those are local chains themselves. PT's, Road Runner, Timbers and many, many more.

                    Philber mentioned a couple of better off strip restaurants, but no more than a handful are worth a recommendation. Of particular note is Lotus of Siam. It's often regarded as the best Thai restaurant in the United States.

                    I don't know where you plan to stay, but September will still be hot. I don't know how you feel about walking around from hotel to hotel in triple digit temperatures. Personally, it's not enjoyable to me. Taxicabs are a good alternative, but on weekend nights the Strip is a bumper to bumper parking lot and cabs often take back routes to avoid the strip. Longer distance, more expensive. My suggestion is to decide on a restaurant that you want for your big dinner and stay in that hotel for your trip.

                    Here's a map of the strip. http://www.lasvegastourism.com/map_strip1.htm
                    Downtown: http://www.lasvegastourism.com/map_downtown.htm
                    Vegas Valley: http://www.lasvegastourism.com/map_ci...

                    -----
                    Lotus of Siam
                    953 E Sahara Ave Ste A5, Las Vegas, NV 89104

                    1. re: shamu613
                      CindyJ Jul 12, 2010 06:36 AM

                      Thanks for you insight, shamu, and for the links. I don't love crowds and I don't love triple-digit temps, even when it's "dry" heat, so I like your suggestion of staying wherever we choose to have dinner.

                2. re: CindyJ
                  Bill Hunt Jul 8, 2010 07:23 PM

                  CindyJ,

                  Sorry that I did not get back to this thread sooner, but others have given better answers, that I would likely have.

                  Las Vegas is kind of two places in one. There is the older section of the city, around Fremont St., and then there is "The Strip," which constitutes most of what one thinks of, as Las Vegas. Along and within about 3 blocks on either side, The Strip has most of the high-end resorts, and these contain the restaurants. This is not meant to disparage the Fremont St. Area, as it has experienced a major resurgence.

                  Now, along The Strip, one may run into all sorts of resorts and hotels, so some picking and choosing is required. For some, a bit of walking might be in order, and for others, mono-rails might put you where you need to be. It is an interesting city, but not being a "crowd" person, I normally plot out my dining and the necessary travel to it, ahead of time. While there are methods of conveyance, I normally walk and just pick the "road less traveled." If one loves crowds, then LV is a great place to "take them all in." Kind of like a mini Mardi Gras in New Orleans, on many evenings, and well worth the look.

                  Great dining in LV, and at many different levels. I particularly like the higher-end, and have enjoyed greatly.

                  Enjoy,

                  Hunt

              2. l
                LVI Jul 7, 2010 11:42 AM

                Consider Picasso. 1) For the food. Not the best on the strip but certainly special and worthy of an anniversary (even a BIG one). Cost for food alone is roughly $100pp, several courses. 2) For the service. The staff there is professional and accommodating. Mention it is a special anniversary (a BIG one) and they generally bend over backwards. 3) The atmosphere. Whether dining inside (surrounded by original Picassos which are as stunning as they are surreal) or outside on the patio (my absolute favorite place in all of Las Vegas to dine) it cannot be beat.

                Sure the strip restaurants are more money but at the end of the day it is worth it. And remember, for those that do not live in Vegas, we ARE tourists. So embrace it and be part of it! Oh, and if you really are set on going off the strip, go to Raku or Lotus of Siam. They are restaurants that excel at their respective cuisines.

                -----
                Lotus of Siam
                953 E Sahara Ave Ste A5, Las Vegas, NV 89104

                21 Replies
                1. re: LVI
                  Bill Hunt Jul 8, 2010 07:29 PM

                  We have dined at Picasso on four occasions. One was just my wife and me, another was a board meeting, another a Med-Exec meeting, and one the passing of the Board Chair with just 8 of us. In each case, the stepped up and made each evening special. I still field responses from some of those guests, and they all feel the same, as I do. That says a lot.

                  The food has always been great (maybe not quite to the level of some chefs, but that is a personal call), the service always spectacular, and the wine and wine service perfect and loads of fun.

                  If one asks for and gets a seat at the windows, over the fountains, there is a great "floor show."

                  While not the ultimate dining experience for us, it is still such a great restaurant, that I do not hesitate to recommend them. I hope that they keep up the excellent food and service.

                  Hunt

                  1. re: Bill Hunt
                    CindyJ Jul 12, 2010 06:48 AM

                    The menu at Picasso looks wonderful. I especially like the wine pairing option. While LV is clearly not my kind of town, the dining options may well make up for that. Thanks for your recommendations.

                    1. re: CindyJ
                      Bill Hunt Jul 12, 2010 08:22 PM

                      CindyJ,

                      I feel the same way, but then my lovely wife has meetings there often, and I attend, if I get to pick some of the restaurants. Those alone will induce me to tag along, as there is such a concentration of world-class food, that I cannot turn my back.

                      Now, I do love to go and poke around the "neon graveyard," photographing the signs that once made LV unique. My father was in that business, decades ago, so I was familiar with many of those "ghosts" from the magazine "Signs of the Times."

                      Still, for dining, the concentration is up there with any city in the US. Of course, one cannot claim an LV "cuisine," but some great chefs, and most experiences have been enjoyable.

                      Some of the rest of the "persona" of the city are lost on me, that that is a personal opinion.

                      Enjoy, and expect to dine very well,

                      Hunt

                      1. re: Bill Hunt
                        CindyJ Jul 13, 2010 07:19 AM

                        Thanks for the "words of encouragement." I'm sure we'll find plenty in LV to keep us amused and occupied during our short stay, and dinner is sure to be memorable. Now we're dealing with the question of where to head from there.

                        1. re: CindyJ
                          Bill Hunt Jul 13, 2010 07:59 PM

                          There is plenty to do, beyond the casinos. The food is the main draw for me, as we have seen most of the Cirque shows. For me, a walking tour is always great fun, especially as one exits the main part of The Strip, and heads into history.

                          Still, the dining is great, and do not forget areas of the Metro Area, away from The Strip, like Henderson with Todd's Unique. If you do not have an auto, those spots will be a bit of a trek, but well worth the effort, should you run out of places in Las Vegas, proper.

                          Enjoy,

                          Hunt

                          1. re: Bill Hunt
                            shamu613 Jul 13, 2010 09:28 PM

                            Hunt,

                            Just a small clarification. The Strip is not located in Las Vegas, proper or improper. The Strip is actually in the townships of Paradise and Winchester, both unincorporated areas of Clark County. The southern border of the City of Las Vegas is generally Sahara Blvd. which is also considered the northern terminus of The Strip. None of the casinos located on the Strip are actually located in Las Vegas and while the mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar Goodman, often appears along the Strip to promote something, he's hired by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. The actual governing body of the Strip is the Clark County Board of Supervisors.

                            It's a common misconception.

                            http://major.lasvegasnevada.gov/website/clvcamps/viewer.htm
                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Las_Vegas,_Nevada
                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Las_Vega...

                            But your are right about Todd's Unique. It's among only a handful or restaurants off the strip along with Lotus of Siam, Rosemary's and Raku that are worth recommending to visitors looking for great food.

                            1. re: shamu613
                              Bill Hunt Jul 14, 2010 08:55 PM

                              Thank you for that clarification. I was unaware of the exact municipalities and the geography, other than the very general.

                              Appreciated,

                              Hunt

                              PS - it's rather like New Orleans, which is a smallish Parish, with many different Parishes and cities around. Or, Denver, which is just the City and County, and most of what one knows is actually in another county and with a different city's name.

                              To a visitor, the exact lines of demarcation are often lost, or at least totally blurred.

                            2. re: Bill Hunt
                              CindyJ Jul 17, 2010 02:34 PM

                              As of right now, it looks like I'll be in LV for only two nights. We're debating whether we'll need a car. I can't imagine "running out" of places to try in LV during such a short stay, although Todd's Unique does sound interesting..

                              1. re: CindyJ
                                Bill Hunt Jul 22, 2010 08:13 PM

                                For me, Todd's is worth a trek, but if one does not have an auto, there IS much closer by, that should work fine.

                                Most of our trips are via auto from PHX, so we DO have the auto. Also, we often have meetings out in Henderson, so we're very near-by.

                                In general terms, we'll often walk, or use some of the available transportation methods, and stay close by.

                                Enjoy,

                                Hunt

                        2. re: CindyJ
                          l
                          LVI Jul 13, 2010 08:40 AM

                          Just a quick word on the weather question. I have been going to Vegas for over 20 years (scary!) and morerecently, our guys trip for the last 13 years has been either last week in September or a tad earlier (17-21 this year). While I am sure it can get very hot in Sept, we have always dined outside on the patio at Picasso. It is odd how the weather really does change rapidly in September and while it can be in the 90's at night in early September the later you go the cooler it is. And the wonderful thing about Picasso is that you can make the reservation for inside but contact the the restaurant and let them know your desire for sitting outside. If it is too hot you'll be "stuck" sitting amongst all the original Picassos in the room.

                          1. re: LVI
                            CindyJ Jul 13, 2010 04:35 PM

                            I wondered about dining outdoors in LV in early September. Coming off the heat wave we had here last week (100+ temps with high humidity) I was thinking that even "dry heat" could get rather uncomfortable.

                            1. re: CindyJ
                              b
                              baderin Jul 14, 2010 07:58 AM

                              The dry heat really does make a difference, especially in the shade and/or near water (which you would be by the fountains at Picasso). I was in Vegas last week and we had pre-dinner drinks more than once at Parasol Down at the Wynn, which is outside, and were completely comfortable (assuming, obviously, you dress appropriately).

                              1. re: baderin
                                CindyJ Jul 17, 2010 02:31 PM

                                ...and speaking of dressing appropriately, I somehow have the impression that LV is a town that takes dress codes somewhat seriously -- particularly in the fine dining establishments. Am I right?

                                1. re: CindyJ
                                  shamu613 Jul 17, 2010 04:26 PM

                                  Nope. It used to be like that, but not anymore. Resorts want the dollars that tourists bring and don't particularly care what the tourist looks like.

                                  Dress codes have all but disappeared, save for a couple of the fine dining restaurants. It has turned almost into what you might wear at lunch for the buffet at Sandal's on Jamaica.

                                  Wear whatever you feel comfortable in. Call the restaurant first if you want. Business casual will get you everywhere. Friday causal into 95% of all restaurants.

                                  1. re: CindyJ
                                    t
                                    TheFoodEater Jul 17, 2010 06:28 PM

                                    I ate at Joel Robuchon and Guy Savoy. I wore a jacket. At Joel Robuchon, a lot of people had jackets and nice clothes, but there were a couple people getting the same good service in really trashy clothes. At guy savoy I was dressed better than the other men, most of whom had no jacket.

                                    I think these places would rather have your money then tell you what to wear. But you'll probably have a better evening dressed up.

                                    1. re: CindyJ
                                      Bill Hunt Jul 22, 2010 08:16 PM

                                      I am more formal, than most, so I always have a blazer in my luggage, even if flying over from PHX. That is just me.

                                      I have seen all sorts of attire, just as in Hawai`i, and in Arizona. Still, I always have my jacket for "fine-dining," and never feel overdressed. Wife always has black with some sparkles, and feels the same. It is more about what you are most comfortable with. LV is a resort and a tourist city, as has been mentioned. Dress codes seem to be very "old-school," but then so am I. [Grin]

                                      Enjoy,

                                      Hunt

                                      1. re: Bill Hunt
                                        CindyJ Jul 23, 2010 03:10 PM

                                        I was wondering if my husband would need a sport coat or blazer. Because we'll be arriving separately (he'll be coming off a 2-week kayaking trip through the Grand Canyon, I'll be flying in directly from Philly), I suppose I can pack some dressier stuff for him in my bag. I'd really hate for us to be underdressed at a fine dining establishment.

                                        1. re: CindyJ
                                          Bill Hunt Jul 25, 2010 07:34 PM

                                          CindyJ,

                                          I am more formal, than most, but always do fine-dining in a blazer - no exception. This is true for tourist/resort destinations like Hawai`i, or Florida. I do it in the Summer in Phoenix, and New Orleans, but that is just me.

                                          I do agree that it's tough, when one is doing many different activities. Just did sporting clays, fly-fishing and hiking, plus fine-dining on the same trip. Lot of clothes. Have done similar, with a formal event in the middle - even more clothes!

                                          I always fly in my blazer, so I have it handy. Might wear cargo shorts for much of the week, and then grab the blazer for the last night.

                                          Las Vegas is a tourist city, and much of the dining is very casual - tourist oriented. Also, there are quite a few high-end restaurants, where a gentleman's jacket will either be required, or at least allow the gentleman to fit in and be comfortable.

                                          I just got nailed by CH MOD's, when I commented on the normal attire for certain high-end NOLA restaurants, as I replied that the OP's SO would be most comfortable in a jacket, even if one was not specifically required. The contention was that if a jacket was not specifically required, then I was way off-base suggesting that the gentleman would be more comfortable with one. Well, it was obvious to me that the MOD's had never dined in NOLA, and that the diner's comfort was of no interest. To me, if all gentlemen are in dark suits, and I am in cargo shorts, I will probably not enjoy myself, as much as I could, regardless of any published dress-code. To me, it is far less about some published dress-code, and more about the "norm" for a particular restaurant.

                                          Again, you MUST remember that I always dress for fine-dining diner, and always have a blazer, AND am more formal, than the majority of diners. Still, I have never felt under dressed when dining, and have lived easily, when I was over dressed. Many are just the opposite. It's about a diner's comfort zone, and the general attire encountered in a particular venue.

                                          Enjoy,

                                          Hunt

                                          1. re: Bill Hunt
                                            CindyJ Jul 26, 2010 07:08 AM

                                            I've always felt that the way in which I and others around me in a restaurant are dressed can add to (or detract from) the ambiance. If I'm in a fine dining establishment, I want to be dressed in a way that reflects the intended dining experience, and I would hope others around me would consider that as well. To me, a fine dining dining experience would be diminished if the folks at the table next to mine were dressed in shorts and flip-flops.

                                            As for the CH MODs who squelched your viewpoint regarding men wearing jackets even when not required -- it so happens that your suggestion was not only spot-on, but also totally in keeping with my husband's way of thinking.

                                          2. re: CindyJ
                                            z
                                            zippyh Jul 26, 2010 12:10 PM

                                            I agree with Bill.
                                            I always take at least a jacket with me even in Hawaii.
                                            I usually take a suit with me to Las Vegas.

                                            Having said that, I don't think I'd feel out of place at J. Robuchon with slacks and a dress shirt.

                                            1. re: zippyh
                                              Bill Hunt Jul 30, 2010 09:19 PM

                                              Now, I will usually pass on the suit, unless there is another reason for it, in the trip. Still, I am usually in blazer and tie, even in Summer.

                                              Even for traditionally "resort" settings, I usually have a couple of ties to choose from.

                                              I guess that I am just old-school, and most would easily consider me such.

                                              Hunt

                          2. t
                            TheFoodEater Jul 8, 2010 12:40 PM

                            I ate at Joel Robuchon twice while I was in las vegas. The best 2 experiences of my dining life.

                            You should go there. I mean, if you're going be in vegas, that close to a michelin 3 star, for such a special occasion, why not go for the very best? And, it's Joel Robuchon! Joel Robuchon! Why would you pick anything else?

                            I'd suggest 4 courses for an anniversary dinner. Anything more then that and it might be hard to properly continue your celebration after dinner!

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: TheFoodEater
                              n
                              nextguy Jul 12, 2010 12:19 PM

                              I will echo the JR recommendation. Was there with my wife for our anniversary in March and it was the best dining experience of my life. Service was professional with just the right amount of levity. The free limo and the walk through the Mansion were also nice touches. The food was great of course. We took the 5 course prix fixe and were so full that my wife and I literally took only 2 bites from the complementary "Celebration" cake they provided us as a gift for our anniversary.

                              1. re: TheFoodEater
                                w
                                willyum Jul 23, 2010 08:36 AM

                                "I ate at Joel Robuchon twice while I was in las vegas. The best 2 experiences of my dining life."

                                Also agree with FoodEater's Robuchon recommendation. We've had 12 meals at Michelin 3 star or Forbes/Mobil 5 star restaurants, including in France and NYC, and the meal at Robuchon was my favorite, with Alinea's 23 course Tour (Chicago) the only other meal that came close. Returning to Vegas in a month just to eat at Robuchon's again.

                                "I'd suggest 4 courses for an anniversary dinner"

                                My wife had the four courses, I had the six course prix fixe (2nd main plate plus cheeses) and these were plenty for us, considering the 15 types of bread offered, the big amuse bouche of caviar and crab, and the incredible 45 item candy cart at the end. Plus the take-home goodie they'll give you for later.

                                Regarding dress code, I think they are trying to get men to wear coats (mentioned when they called to re-confirm). Everyone was wearing a jacket during our visit, though if it's a slow night and someone shows up wearing a pink velour track suit it wouldn't surprise me if they let them in (Vegas Baby!).

                                If you're staying at a different hotel you'll also get the free gold-colored limo ride.

                                Should mention that they will ask if you want a glass of champagne to begin ... this is not a freebie, it's $45/glass. But coffee and tea are free at the end of the meal.

                                1. re: willyum
                                  CindyJ Jul 23, 2010 03:16 PM

                                  I hope for $45 a glass, the Champagne is something pretty special.

                                2. re: TheFoodEater
                                  w
                                  willyum Jul 23, 2010 08:46 AM

                                  Here's a nice summary of dining experiences at over 90 Vegas restaurants from Chowhound Larry G ... http://home.comcast.net/~lasvegasvacation/LV_RestaurantGuide.html

                                  His top three favorites for 'best of Vegas' pretty much match up with what Bill Hunt and others are saying, namely Robuchon # 1, then Guy Savoy, then Alex, with Picasso fourth.

                                  http://home.comcast.net/~lasvegasvacation/LV_RestaurantGuide__TheBest.html

                                  These match closely with the Michelin ratings, with Robuchon earning 3 stars and the others two stars: http://govegas.about.com/od/dining/a/...

                                  1. re: willyum
                                    CindyJ Jul 23, 2010 03:14 PM

                                    FANTASTIC links, willyum! Thanks!

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