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Suggestions for Trip to Vegas with Parents from 11/29 to 12/6: Reasonable Yet Amazing?

Dear Chowhounds,

My family is making a last minute trip from Korea to Las Vegas next week, where my father will be attending a conference. We are staying at Paris Las Vegas from 11/29 (Friday) to 12/3 (Tuesday) and Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino from 12/3 (Tuesday) to 12/6 (Friday). My brother will be joining us from 11/29 (Late Friday) to 12/2 (Early Monday).

As this is one of few times are family has been together in the last couple of years, with my parents celebrating their 60th birthdays and 35th anniversary, we want to have a memorable time.

However, my parents are particular eaters who hate long lines and prefer Asian food, and reminisce about cheap Vegas meals from the 80s. Additionally, while I adore food, I am a pescetarian and only eat seafood, not meat.

Here is what I am trying to decide on so far, but I am open to all suggestions.

11/29 (Friday)
-Snack: Pink's Hot Dogs behind Planet Hollywood.
-Late Dinner (Around 9 or 10 pm): Jaleo for my wine loving father or the Midnight Menu or Estiatorio Milos at Cosmopolitan, followed by drinks at Chandelier for my atmosphere loving mother.

11/30 (Saturday)
-Brunch: Hash a Go Go at Quad or Eiffel Tower at Paris (or should we go later when it's less busy for better seating?).
-Dinner: Bacchanal Buffet at Caesar's Palace before two of us go to the 10 pm O show at Bellagio, while the other two see whatever is on sale at Tix4Tonight.
-Maybe a late-night stop at In-N-Out Burger for my hamburger loving brother, as none of us have ever tried it. Not really sure where to put this.

12/1 (Sunday)
-Brunch: Border Grill Brunch at Mandalay Bay. Originally thought of splurging for Sterling Brunch at Bally's for the unlimited lobster (family favorite) and champagne, but for every good review I've read, there's a bad one. Mozen Bistro at Mandarin Oriental also looks interesting.
-Dinner: Lotus of Siam off-Strip or L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon at MGM Grand or ??? for our last family night together. Would love any suggestions for a special but (relatively) reasonably priced dinner with wine.
-Visit downtown for the Fremont Street Experience or look for discount tickets for La Reve at Wynn or Love at Mirage for 7pm or 9:30pm shows?

12/2 (Monday)
-Early Breakfast: Mon Ami Gabi or Sugar Factory at Paris before brother leaves.
-Dinner: Happy Hour (5-7pm) at American Fish at Aria.

12/3 (Tuesday)
-Lunch: Eiffel Tower at Paris if we haven't yet or Jaleo or Estiatorio Milos at Cosmopolitan or ??? before checking out of Paris and checking into Rio.
-Dinner: Will be alone while parents are at conference. Thinking about exploring downtown and checking out Emergency Arts Collective or the Neon Museum. Would love any suggestions for things to do and eat, especially good Indian or Middle Eastern.

12/4 (Wednesday)
-Lunch with mother: RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay or Hakkasan at MGM Grand or Dragon Noodle at Monte Carlo or Serendipity3 at Caesar's Palace. No strong feelings for any of these places.
-Dinner: Will be alone while parents are at conference. Thinking about Holstein's at Cosmopolitan. Any other suggestions for a solo female diner?

12/5 (Thursday)
-Lunch with mother: Afternoon Tea (2-5pm) at the Tea Lounge at Mandarin Oriental or ???
-Dinner: ??? I think my parents would happily go off-strip to Red Lobster.

12/6 (Friday)
-Early Lunch with mother: 24 Seven Cafe at Palms or Ping Pang Pong at Gold Coast before we leave for the airport.

Btw, would anyone suggest getting the Buffet of Buffets pass? What about on a weekend? The only places I'm interested in are the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesar's Palace and Le Village at Paris Las Vegas. What others would you suggest?

Thank you for all your help. Are there any other Vegas must-eats that I've missed?

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  1. What do you consider reasonable? 24/7 Cafe at the Palms is over priced and average at best. Avoid the Rio buffet. As a local I receive a 50% discount and it's still overpriced for average food. The Bacchanal Buffet has a $15 up charge per person with the buffet pass.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Eric

      Thanks for your message Eric. I'm glad to hear that you don't recommend 24/7 Cafe or the Rio buffet, which confirms the vibe I've been getting from other reviewers.

      I was also wondering what equates "reasonable." I guess I'm trying to balance a few noteworthy and expensive restaurants with good but less expensive options? Or that the food and experience should be worth the money.

      As a local, may I ask which restaurants you would recommend for a regular meal out and which ones you'd recommend for a special occasion? Thanks!

      1. re: miranna

        What are the prices for for expensive and prices for less expensive options? Ping Pang Pong is recommended. If you have a car I would recommend Rincon de Buenos Aires, Rambos (goes by either Rambos Kitchen or Rambos Diner), Shish Kabob House and The Original Pancake House (yes it's a chain but great breakfasts and only open until 2:00 pm). The Orleans has a very good breakfast buffet. If you enjoy Mexican food try Juan's Flaming Fajitas and Cantina. I would avoid Pink's as it is overpriced. For a nice dinner try Table 34. Simons at Palms Place is very good for a nice dinner. Don't go on a Friday or Saturday as it gets very noisy. Plus, Simons is on Restaurant.com. Another off the Strip restaurant is Spirledini at the Resort at Summerlin. Very good Northern Italian and also on Restaurant.com.

    2. A couple of reasonable asian suggestions. At Treasure Island there is Pho Vietnamese which is combined with the Coffee Shop for noodle and rice dishes. Noodle Asia in the Venetian has good congee and dumplings. Oxtail soup at the Fremont downtown, in the cafe which is next to the buffet but not part of it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: curiousgeo

        Thanks for your recommendations curiousgeo. I'm sure my parents will appreciate the soups after eating Western food

      2. Hi....I don't quite know where to start with your list....just trying to equate Rick Moonen's RM seafood with Red Lobster is mind-boggling.
        Let me start with the night you are at The Bellagio for "O"....please forego the buffet at Caesar's for Akira Beck's Yellowtail at the Bellagio....some of the greatest "sushi tapas" that Vegas has to offer...and perfect before seeing the best Cirque show in town. And....Hash House a GoGo is not for brunch, it is for trying to sober up with huge portions of bad food after drinking too much.
        Let me go back to your thoughts about RM....perhaps one of the leading proponents of sustainable food in the country..Rick Moonen. Recently redid part of the restaurant, great vibes, superb presentation, and outstanding value for the product he offers.
        Also,, a "solo female diner" can eat anywhere in LV. I have no problem with Holstein's; but why not just try to find something that you would enjoy as a meal?....You can eat solo anywhere...from LaCirque to, yes, in-and-out burger (which, btw, is pretty bad food).
        High Tea at Mandarin Oriental is lovely...perhaps you might investigate Sunday brunch at the Four Seasons at Mandalay Bay....superb.
        Lastly, Lotus of Siam is a no-brainer. Characteristic of an off-Strip restaurant that should be on everyone's list at least once.

        9 Replies
        1. re: VegasGourmet

          Thanks so much for your suggestions VegasGourmet! I know it's a rather perplexing list. My parents' favorite chains are Red Lobster and The Cheesecake Factory (big portions, not too expensive), but I'm dying to go to e by Jose Andres. Next time, perhaps.

          They do want to try a Vegas buffet, which was why I was thinking the Bacchanal Buffet. Is there one you would suggest instead?

          The Eiffel Tower was also something my mom read somewhere. (Does anyone know if it's nicer for lunch or dinner?)

          Thanks for suggesting Sunday brunch at the Four Seasons. I will look up more information on that. I hadn't thought of Yellowtail at all as my parents have been to Tsukiji Market, Gonpachi, Fukuzushi and Kyubei in Tokyo.

          Also, thanks for recommending RM Seafood, Lotus of Siam and Afternoon Tea at the Mandarin Oriental. I feel excited about these choices. Any dishes you would recommend? I sent a Thai-American friend who owns a restaurant the menu for Lotus of Siam, and he commented that it was "obscenely large."

          1. re: miranna

            As for Lotus of Siam, everyone has their favorites, but the standout appetizer is #14 Nam Kao Tod (crispy rice w/sour sausage). Some posters recommend the Northern menu.

            Personally, I really love the #23 Bangkok style Tom Kha Kai (soup), #56 Nua Sao Renu (charbroiled beef with tamarind sauce), and (under "Chef's Choice") Crispy Duck with Cognac Cream Sauce.

            The most universal recommendation is to skip the lunch buffet and order from the menu. I agree.

            1. re: Steve Green

              Thanks for your recommendations Steve Green! Most of the reviews I looked at also said to order off the menu, but it's so formidable that I was getting nervous just thinking about picking something. We are definitely checking Lotus of Siam out!

            2. re: miranna

              As a fourteen year local I've tried a lot of buffets, both on and off the Strip. My favorite on the Strip buffets are at the Bellagio and the Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan.

              1. re: Eric

                Ooh that's really good to know. I've read a lot about Wicked Spoon being good, but many of the latest reviews seemed to lean towards Bacchanal Buffet, so I wasn't too sure. Thanks Eric!

                1. re: miranna

                  The Bacchanal Buffet is far from reasonable. $25 for breakfast, over $30 for lunch and over $40 for dinner. The Sterling Buffet, the last time I checked, is $85.

              2. re: miranna

                I would recommend eating at the hotel where a show is...if possible....so....
                If you have to have a buffet....then the crab's legs and caviar at the Bellagio should interest you...although, I would still do Yellowtail before the show and not something like a buffet...The Eiffel Tower for dinner has the better views rather than lunch...although a window seat at Mon Ami Gabi overlooking the fountains of the Bellagio is pretty nice...and far less expensive; but quality.

                1. re: VegasGourmet

                  Thanks for the tip about Mon Ami Gabi VegasGourmet! I've heard good things about the view but was having trouble deciding whether to go with Mon Ami Gabi or the Eiffel Tower.

                  Also, thanks for recommending that we eat at the restaurant where the show is. That sounds like a good tip so we won't be too rushed. It would be great to avoid running across those huge Las Vegas hotel properties :).

                2. re: miranna

                  Hi VegasGourmet! Everything I read about the weekend Brunch at the Four Seasons sounds wonderful.

                  Now I'm wondering if we should go to that for Saturday and eat at the Border Grill for Sunday brunch. Or should we eat at Mon Ami Gabi instead? You made it sound really nice, and I wondering if the view and atmosphere is nicer for brunch that dinner.

                  Part of me still wants to try Mozen Bistro. Too many restaurants, too little time, room in my stomach...and money in my pocket ;).

              3. There are 'off strip' spots listed which makes me wonder, do you have a car? There are a LOT of Must Eats you missed - Art of Flavors Gelato being one, 'eat,' in downtown Vegas being another, Bouchon.

                Hakkasan is not open for lunch, and yeah, if going off strip for Red Lobster you could do 1000x better on Spring Mountain Rd.


                4 Replies
                1. re: uhockey

                  Hi uhockey! Thanks for your advice. We won't be having a car, which is a pity. That's why I'm trying to stick to closer around the Strip places. I would love to explore other areas, as some of the restaurants sound nice. (And I have a huge sweet tooth, so I really want to try that gelato). I also wanted to go to Red Rock Canyon, but it looks like I'll have to push it to another trip.

                  I was hoping to go to a good lobster restaurant, which was why I had considered the Sterling Brunch at Bally's. If not, we might have to settle for Red Lobster. Are there any other restaurants with adequately priced lobster that you'd recommend?

                  1. re: miranna

                    Adequately priced for terrible quality is illogical; any strip steak house will have lobster far superior to Red Lobster, so choose one.


                    1. re: uhockey

                      Great advice. Are there any in particular you'd recommend?

                      1. re: miranna

                        I typically don't order "lobster" straight up, but I've heard very good things about the Steakhouse at Circus Circus in terms of an 'oldschool' classic. The lobster roll at American Fish is quite good, imo, and Mastros inside Crystals surely has a good one. For more esoteric options consider places at The Wynn such as Bartolotta and SW Steakhouse - though obviously at a higher price.


                2. L'Atelier is not suitable for a group >3 if you wish to talk. It's counter seating!

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: josephnl

                    Oh josephni, thank you so much! I didn't realize that the entire restaurant is counter seating! I don't know why I thought it was mixed with tables. Maybe I'll try to go there on one of my solo dinners instead. Thanks again!

                    1. re: miranna

                      I'm not sure…L'Atelier may have a few tables (other CH's might comment on this)…but part of the fun of L'Atelier is the counter where you can view some of the going's on (but not really a great view of the kitchen).

                      1. re: josephnl

                        They have tables.

                        I have no idea why one would sit at one, though.


                        1. re: uhockey

                          I will see if I can get a reservation for my night alone. It sounds fun. Thanks!

                        2. re: josephnl

                          Great to know. I love openish kitchens.

                    2. If L'Atelier fits into your budget, you might consider Le Cirque instead. Although food overall might be equivalent at the 2, the overall dining experience is, IMHO, far superior at LeC.

                      I love Le Rêve...I think it's really spectacular and would pick it over the Beatle's LOVE.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: josephnl

                        Thanks josephni. I will look into Le Cirque. I've heard so many good things about it.

                        I'm thrilled that you loved Le Rêve. It sounds amazing, and I really want to go. I was wondering if O and Le Rêve back to back would be too similar or dull for my dad and brother. What do you think?

                      2. You mentioned that your parents don't like lines, and one worry is whether they can tolerate the lines at some of the buffets (especially on the weekends). The Paris buffet, where you are staying, is the only buffet that takes reservations. If you don't have either a diamond or platinum card at Caesars, or some host with pull, your wait could be enormous at the Bacchanalia buffet.

                        Likewise, you might find it more familiar to have your dimsum meal at KJ's at the Rio rather than Ping Pang Pong. I think the food might be a little better at PPP, but the ambiance at KJ's is more elegant, albeit a little more expensive and it is obviously more convenient.

                        The RIo is quite close to Spring Mountain, the hub of Asian food in Las Vegas. This area offers everything from the elegant Japanese mecca, Raku, to the cheap hand-pulled noodles at Shanxii Gourmet, to the excellent Southern Thai cuisine at Chada Thai. ,

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: Dave Feldman

                          If your parents like Asian food - then listen to Feldman (and also go to Lotus)

                          1. re: kagemusha49

                            I will kagemusha49! I can't wait to try Lotus of Siam! It's actually the meal I'm looking forward to the most!

                          2. re: Dave Feldman

                            Thanks for your advice Dave Feldman. My parents still seem to remember Vegas from the 80s where the thing to do was sleep at cheap hotels and eat at cheap buffets. It took a long time to try to convince my mother that she did not want to do the Buffet of Buffets pass on a weekend.

                            As for the lines, I have a question that perhaps you can help me with. Is there just a long line to get into the buffet (especially the Bacchanal Buffet, which was originally my top choice) or are there also long lines to get food?

                            Thanks for mentioning KJ's! We leave early in the afternoon on Friday, and I've been trying to figure out a place to eat at or near the Rio. I've heard so many bad things about the buffets at Rio, that I was starting to panic.

                            1. re: miranna

                              i've read that the lines at the buffet of buffets, and especially the bacchanal, are LONG
                              early reports had them closing sections of seating and artificially keeping the lines long
                              i recommend wicked spoon, and i have never read about lines there
                              i went two years ago, though, so you need to check recent reports

                              1. re: macsak

                                Thanks for the recommendation macsak. I've read generally good things about Wicked Spoon, so that's another option.

                                1. re: miranna

                                  i was there 2 years ago, but i did like the smaller, individual portions of dishes
                                  and the gelato at the dessert bar, they gave you mini scoops, so you could try them all

                                  but the best part was no line

                              2. re: miranna

                                The problem, miranna, is almost always about the lines to get in, not getting access to the food once you are in. The Paris buffet might be a step below the Bacchanalia or the Wicked Spoon, but it is a little above average, and if your parents are seriously turned off by lines, the reservations might make a big difference.

                                1. re: Dave Feldman

                                  ...plus you could just eat ~30 Nutella Crepes and call it a day. :-)


                                  1. re: uhockey

                                    Truth. I never got it when folks were touting the Paris as the best breakfast buffet, so I don't think that it has gone downhill as much as others have.

                                    1. re: uhockey

                                      I probably could. Then again, I have no qualms about eating Nutella out of the jar.

                                      1. re: Dave Feldman

                                        Thanks for that clarification. I will let them know so they can choose. They may want to go for quality, if it's just one meal.

                                  2. We visited Hash House a Go Go twice during our Vegas trip (once for lunch and once for breakfast) and we really liked it. It was a nice change from the typical IHOP or diner food we have in this area of the country. I wish we had one here.

                                    Definitely do the lunch special at Estiatorio Milos. My husband and I still talk about it.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Njchicaa

                                      Hi Njchicaa! I'm glad you liked Hash House a Go Go. I'm hoping to go when we are in Vegas. I'm glad to hear you and your husband enjoyed Estiatorio Milos. I'm locking that one in ;).

                                    2. Lotus of Siam for lunch would be a good call...off menu..sublime
                                      I would do Le Cirque vs Atelier
                                      Breakfast..Verandah, Bouchon at the Venetian or the Pepper mill..
                                      Pho Kinh Do on Spring Mountain for Vietnamese.
                                      Downtown LV at the Golden Nugget..Lillie's Asian cuisine.
                                      The Californian caters to Islanders from Hawaii..
                                      Four Queens has old school Hugo's.

                                      The Cosmo for Milos for 3 course $21 lunch...Chandelier Bar and the secret pizza on third floor is fantastic.
                                      City Center is great..
                                      Todd English PUB for happy hour.
                                      Oyster bar at Palace Station.
                                      LA Cave at the Wynn.