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May 7, 2012 03:33 PM

Vegas May 21-24, trying to decide between restaurants in Mandalay Bay and MGM Grand

Greetings fellow Chowhounders!

My girlfriends and I are going to Vegas Monday, May 21 to Thursday, May 24. We are Canadian, from the West Coast (Vancouver), all in our late 20s / early 30s, working in professional careers (lawyers, teachers, photographers) and with spouses/partners. So, we have a decent amount of money (but are by no means wealthy), and our uber-trendy clubbing days are long behind us. We all love to eat and make good food and good wine/cocktails/beer and are adventurous eaters. We love getting a great deal, but also want good food (so, sadly, e by Jose Andres and Joel Robuchon are both out simply because of cost, but we'd be happy to spend $50-$100/person for dinner (incl. wine)).

It's our first time in Vegas.

We're staying at the Mandalay Bay and have tickets to see Cirque du Soleil's KA on Tuesday at 10:00pm (at the MGM Grand) and Cirque du Soleil's O on Wednesday at 10:30pm (at the Bellagio).

I'm hoping that the Chowhounders can provide me with an opinion on our various restaurant choices:

Monday lunch - Estiatorio Milos (so excited about the $20.12 prix fixe lunch!)

Monday dinner - Hoping to eat at a restaurant in Mandalay Bay. We are deciding between Charlier Palmer Steak ($48 for the Cut of the Week prix-fix 4 course menu, including bottomless wine pairings) or Aureole ($85 for 4 course prix-fixe Parallel Tasting menu + $55 for wine pairings; but we can get $50 gift certificates for $20 at

Tuesday dinner - Hoping to eat at a restaurant in MGM Grand, or somewhere close by. Fiamma, Nobhill Tavern, and Craftsteak all look good in MGM; alternatively, the Cosmopolitan restaurants look amazing - and we could consider Jaleo, Scarpetta, or D.O.C.G.

Wednesday dinner - buffet at the Bellagio. It's $29.99/person and we figure it will be our Vegas buffet experience!

Any thoughts on our choices of restaurants for Monday and Tuesday night dinners? Thanks so much in advance, and I will definitely post reviews afterwards.

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  1. My wife and I had dinner at the Nob Hill Tavern before seeing Ka last month. I had the Lobster Pot Pie and my wife had the Salmon. My wife laughed when I ordered Mina's signature dish. I did not know what to expect. When it came out to be served table side, the waiter reconstructed a 1 1/2 pound lobster on top of the crust with assorted vegetables. It was the best lobster I have ever had. The dish was superb. My wife enjoyed her Salmon. Of all the restaurants we have been to over the years in Las Vegas, Nob Hill and Joël Robuchon's 2 restaurants at the MGM are worthy of our repeat visits.

    P.S.We always try to eat in the Hotel where we are seeing a show. If the women are wearing heals, it is a very long walk to the Cosmopolitan to or from the MGM.

    2 Replies
    1. re: AMC1210

      Thanks so much, AMC1210! We've decided on happy hour drinks at Aureole and dinner at Charlier Palmer Steak on Monday, and dinner at Fiamma on Tuesday. Will definitely have to try Nob Hill on our next trip.

      Looking forward to posting my trip review!

      1. re: LauOnLaw

        Just a note about those certs. There is *always* a code out there for at least 50% off. I don't think I've ever paid more than $6 for one of those Aureole certs.

        Since you're seeing the 10pm Ka show, I wouldn't limit myself to just the MGM Grand since you should have plenty of time. I do think Nob Hill would be a good choice though. I've enjoyed Fiamma the two times we've been there but that was a few years ago.

        I wouldn't waste time/stomach with a buffet, even the Bellagio one.

        We just got back from a stay at the Cosmo. We ate at Le Cirque one night and it's really not too bad of a walk between the Cosmo and Bellagio. My wife even mentioned that it wasn't a bad walk with heels. The Bellagio has a moving sidewalk from the strip to the lobby. Don't be tempted to take the tram if you're at the Cosmo. It's a much longer walk since you have to make your way through Crystals.

        At the Cosmo, we ate at Scarpetta and Jaleo, both of which we give the thumbs up to.
        Le Cirque was fab. Sage was good but I think we were suffering from food overload.

    2. My cousins and I just returned from a similar trip...we left our husbands and kids at home. I would highly rcommend CP Steak for the Cut of the Week. I love that place for the excellent food and service. Also big on my list if Jaleo. We went for dinner Tuesday night and had a fabulous have to get anything with jamon Serrano. Inside the Cosmo, is the secret pizza joint...amazingly good for being $3 - $5 for a giant NY-style slice and available until 3 or 4 in he morning if you just happen to be gambling the night away.
      We got a car for his trip and this really made things easier as we didn't have to pay cab fare and valet the car everywhere we went at the front of the resorts. We were able to hit a couple of off-Strip places in Chinatown (Ichiza, Raku) for late night dining. Ichiza offers sushi-esque and cooked Japanese tapas while Raku is excellent for cooked/grilled izakaya offerings. We also hit up Jean Philppe Pastisserie at the Aria for breakfast and pastries our last morning there. The only "chain" meal we had was at Gran Lux at the Venetian...which I was opposed to because it's Cheesecake Factory, but my salad and their Sunday Gravy pasta dishes were surprisingly good.

      2 Replies
      1. re: attran99

        Thanks so much to everyone for their suggestions. We were originally really excited about using the gift certificates for dinner at Aureole, but the terms seemed a bit ambiguous, so we called the restaurant to check. They confirmed that you can only use 1 coupon per table, which makes still the meal rather expensive. So I am excited that we are going to have happy hour drinks there and get to see the wine angels.

        As it turns out, our KA tickets are for the 9:30pm show (it's a good thing I doublechecked!), so I think we'll be limited to MGM Grand for dinner - we've got a 7pm reso for Fiamma.

        Thanks attran99 for the recommendation re: Jean Philippe Patisserie - will definitely have to check that out. Also hoping to wake up early enough to make it to Bouchon for breakfast.

        Wish we could swap out the Bellagio buffet for dinner at Jaleo, but budget restraints mean no Jaleo this trip, but we will definitely check out the secret pizza place!

        1. re: LauOnLaw

          Three of us ate at Jaleo for about $100. We were just the right amount of stuffed. Secret pizza is located on the third floor of the Cosmo, where all the restaurants are (Jaleo, Comme Ca, Blue Ribbon). It's between Jaleo and Blue Ribbon in a dark, wood-paneled hallway with framed record covers on the wall. The white pizza with oven roasted tomatoes is amazing and their marinara has just the right amount of spice to make their regular pizzas terrific.
          If you are set on a buffet, may I suggest the Wynn buffet or Wicked Spoon? I think the quality is better. And if you time it just right, you can hit the tail end of lunch before hey change the price for dinner. You'll be able taste some of the lunch items before they quickly roll out the dinner items.
          If you love pastries and fine sandwiches, you'll love Jean Philippe. I had a prosciutto and fresh mozzarella sandwich on fresh ciabatta, basil, and pesto. They have an amazing selection of made-to-order crepes. The desserts are flat out amazing. We each had to have one...and we shared to taste a bit of everything.