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Vegas suggestions for first-time visitor, long time chowhound

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My BF and I are going to vegas on a little 5-night celebration vacation. We want to make sure to get a good range of dining experiences, but also want to be relatively frugal. We have, maybe, one or two dinners to go all out, a couple of mid-priced meals, and then we are also looking for a few good deals. I travel a lot to NYC and New Orleans, so I don't want to visit places like Commanders/Delmonico/NOBU that I could enjoy in other cities. Here are my thoughts, and any feedback would be so incredibly appreciated.

Also, we are going midweek, if that makes a difference. And we are willing to try apps and drinks at the bar, or go for lunch, to try great expensive places.

For our all-out meals:
-Picasso (we'll call the first day reservations are open to get a view of the fountain)
-L'Atelier
-Fleur de Lys

Other meal options
-Rosemarys (we'll have a car for one day)
-Fix

Buffets
-Bellagio
-Wynn
-Aladdin or Paris

We are staying at the Venetian, and will definitely be doing Bouchon for bfast. Any other places in there to try?

Thanks so much!

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  1. I think you've made some great choices!

    If you're looking for a good deal, consider Lotus of Siam. If you scan the forum, you'll see a lot of messages on the topic. It's off strip, but is an easy cab ride if you no longer have a car. Its atmosphere is nearly nonexistent, but its food is very good indeed, and its prices are low.

    Finally, if you're looking for an inexpensive snack, consider Jean-Philippe Pâtisserie at The Bellagio. This place has incredible pastries, as beautiful as they are delicious. Yes, it's expensive for its category, but five or six dollars is still a very cheap lunch.

    Link: http://home.comcast.net/~lgott3141/

    2 Replies
    1. re: Larry

      For maximum efficiency and frugality. The one day you have the car, go to Rosemary's for their $20 pre-fixe lunch special, then for dinner go to Lotus of Siam.

      The cab fare spent going to either place can be put towards more food.

      1. re: Larry

        I didn't care for JPP at all. After tasting amazing pastries at bouley(NYC) Not much could taste that good. I love Chocolat place at wynn. I am surprised you didn't mention it. Also great ice cream and spiced hot chocolat at Vosges.

      2. Some of our favorite places:

        Lotus of Siam
        Cafe Ba Ba Reeba at the Fashion Show mall
        Emeril's Fish House at the MGM Grand
        Florida Cafe (Cuban)
        The coffee shop at your hotel (Venetian), we liked it so much we went there twice in one trip!

        Have fun!

        1. For a nice mid-priced lunch buffet, I like Dishes at Treasure Island. It doesn't have the mountains of food that the other buffets have, but the quality of what they do have is quite good, and it's very reasonably priced. A bit more, but also in the mid-priced range is Cravings at the Mirage which is also quite good.

          1. The buffets at the Gold Coast and Orleans are very good too.

            1. If you have to choose between L'Atelier and Fleur de Lys, I would pick Fleur de Lys hands down. We've been twice, most recent visit last month (we live in L.A.), and it is top notch all the way. We chose the 5-course menu both times, and the last time I also did a wine pairing but my husband didn't. The foie gras torchon is unbelievable. Service is fantastic, room is dazzling and yet has a really intimate feel, especially for Vegas.

              We also did L'Atelier on our most recent visit and we did not think it was at all worth the money. I did the tasting and my husband chose a few items a la carte. Nothing was truly mind-blowingly fabulous and it was pretty expensive, like $300, and it was the first time in a really long time that we've strongly felt that dinner wasn't worth it. The food was just a tad too fussy and precise for my tastes, and the waiter seemed ticked that we didn't order bottled water which is an irritation I can do without. Maybe we're unsophisticated!

              Have never been to Picasso so can't weigh in on that.

              On your car day, drive over to Summerlin and check out the Red Rock, it's really cool.

              We really like Fix and have had dinner there twice. Last time we just shared some of the smaller plates and didn't have main courses, and it was really fun. Definitely get the lobster tacos.

              We went once to the old Rosemary's at the Rio (now closed) and once to Rosemary's on Sahara, where we didn't have reservations because we were indecisive, so we ended up sitting at the bar and having a lovely dinner. Goat cheese cheesecake stands out in my memory, delish! Again, you need to do this on your car day, as it is quite the schlep from the Strip (but relatively close to the Red Rock).

              Of the buffets you mention, we haven't done Wynn but we've done the rest on your list, for either breakfast/brunch or lunch. Prefer the Bellagio over the others.

              Have been to Bouchon for breakfast three times, and once for dinner. Really have enjoyed it every time. If you like boudin blanc, try it for breakfast although the dish is really rich what with browned butter and croissant in addition to the boudin and eggs. You won't need to eat for the rest of the day but you don't see that dish every day.

              Don't eat at Mix at THEHotel at Mandalay Bay but go up there for drink, the view is fun although the servers can cop a bit of an attitude. Maybe we're too old or not quite hip enough. But the view makes it worth it.

              I agree that you've made some great choices. Enjoy. We're going back in July and I need to get going on my dinner reservations.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Debbie W.

                Much to agree with here! Do try FIX if you can, it is terrific. And also do hit MIX for a drink, the view is amazing and you can stand on the patio outside, have a cocktail and take in the view. I would include COMMANDER'S PALACE for lunch - 25 cent martinis and I believe lunch specials as well. It's one of the best restaurants in the country, across the board. I would choose PRIME over PICASSO, if you like steaks. PRIME also is on the lake (it's right next door to PICASSO) and the food and service are exemplary. For a more medium priced meal, check out MON AMI GABI at Paris. A fun atmosphere and terrific food. I like the buffet at BELLAGIO but I actually liked the WYNN buffet even more, though I am not too fond of the hotel. It is worth taking a peek inside, though. And I also had a very good meal at FLEUR DE LYS, though I would choose PRIME or COMMANDERÂ’S over it. ALEX at the Wynn cannot be beat, it blew me away. It is quite expensive, though.

                Have a wonderful time and let us know where you go and what you eat!

              2. Second that emotion for lunch at Rosemary's and dinner at LOS. YUM!

                1. I go to Vegas 2-3 times per year, and from my many dining experiences I can reccomend these (more or less in order):

                  ALEX (I will put this one in bold because it is so outstanding- comparable to Europe.)
                  Picasso
                  Bartolotta

                  If you can afford it: The Mansion at Joel Robuchon (not the Atelier). Also, though I have NOT eaten at this restaurant yet, Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace promises to be a great meal.)

                  I have also enjoyed meals at Sensi (mostly lunch), Jasmine, and Olives. I tried Rosemary's, and found it to be nothing spectacular.

                  1. Have tried the LOS several times in view of the highly respected suggestions on Chow. The place, the ambience, the location, the food, the bisiness / noise at lunch time-all below what you will hope for.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: kel

                      I disagree. first of all, the ambiance and location shouldn't be below what you will hope for; just don't hope for much in those two categories and you will be fine. If you have to eat in elegant surroundings regardless of the quality of the food, don't go, but if food and wine are what count for you, don't skip LOS!

                      As for noise, it hasn't been particularly noisy on my visits, even though packed full.

                      Other LOS hints: *don't* order the buffet if you go at lunch. Check the boards for suggestions on best dishes. Ask for recommendations for wine pairings. Don't skip dessert if the mango and sticky rice is available! and don't let the strip mall location and lack of ambiance (it isn't bare bones, but is just pleasant, nothing more than that) fool you into thinking that you can count on not needing reservations, so to be sure, make them!

                    2. Rosemary's is splendid and reasonbly priced.

                      1. Not sure if ate at Alex, but dined at three different places at Wynn's as guest. One common denominator: overpriced.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: kel

                          Kel:
                          you ate free at Wynn's, and you are still complaining ?

                          1. re: irwin

                            Kel, I've been reading your posts (can't say I recall seeing you here before - welcome), and I've got a question: Is there ANYWHERE you do like to eat in LV? (and Irwin, I quite agree with your sentiments.)

                          2. re: kel

                            The prices at Wynn are indeed high. However, the overall quality of its restaurants is the best in Las Vegas. Alex is my second favorite restaurant in town, Okada is the best place for sushi, Bartolotta has superb fresh fish...well, I'm getting too wordy here.

                            Could you be more specific as to your comment? Which restaurants, what price for what food?

                          3. I'd add Mon Ami Gabi to your list for a mid-range place (it is a great lunch option). And definitely Lotus of Siam. If necessary, I'd cut the number of buffets in order to make sure you have room for those two.

                            1. Mon Ami Gabi is great...esp. eating outside on the patio!

                              1. Forgive me if these are dumb questions. First time visit to LV and already have Lotus of Siam reservation. Staying Saturday night (an unfortunate coincidence of timing). figure some buffett would be good for breakfast on Sunday but as I look over the recommendations I realize that these places are HUGE. How do I find the buffett at the Bellaagio, for example? Is it obvious walking into the hotel? I might be just as happy with some really good coffee and pastry that is easy to get to. Does this exist? (BRW, we will be staying at the Renaissance by the Convention Center on easy access to the monorail...

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: sfdoc

                                  A lot of the hotels have a property map on their website, for instance, here's the Bellagio:

                                  http://www.bellagio.com/files/Bellagi...

                                  Most of the hotels have directional signs to help get you where you want to go.

                                  1. re: sfdoc

                                    If you want to eat at a buffet, don't let the monstrous size of the hotel-casinos deter you. Most have signs pointing to the buffets and believe me, "Where is the buffet" is one of the most asked questions of floor personnel.

                                  2. get away from the hotels and the strip and head east to The Tillerman. Great steak and seafood(Alaskan King Crab is the best I've ever had) - and it's one of the most romantic restaurants anywhere. I won't miss it when in Vegas...

                                    1. Enjoyed sweveral places in LV: Mon Ami Gabi; Rosemary's; Picasso, Charley Palmer; Capriotti's, etc.