Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Food! Las Vegas-Part 2

sorry everyone, I have been extremely busy lately and I know it probably doesn't show but each post takes a REALLY long time and I just haven't had a lot of that lately.

Las Vegas has just about everything one could think of, but it is really starting to shape up in the food department. Long ago are the days of $1.99 all you can eat Steak buffets (although I think you can still find a few downtown) and now Las Vegas Blvd is littered with famous TV personality chefs, Michelin star and 5 star restaurants. Each visit to Vegas is like a smorgasbord of restaurants to choose from, or for me "a kid in a candy store"... YUMMY! It doesn't matter what your itinerary is for coming to Vegas there is a taste for everyone and it might even be flattering for your wallet as well.

My most previous trip to LV, landed me at the Wynn (which is a little piece of heaven in the middle of Sin City!). We were there over Valentine's weekend so naturally we did a lot of eating!

The first night we arrived around 10pm and decided to just hang at our amazing resort. We ate at Stratta, which is located right in the Casino area. It was so amazingly decorated! They do request casual business attire, so anyone would feel comfortable showing up before or after a show (Garth Brooks :). It was a very lovely atmosphere and almost relaxing in the middle of a casino... wierd right! That just shows what an awesome job the Wynn did on developing this restaurant, casual yet stylish decor . P and I order calamari to start with and we split a margarita pizza. Everything we order was delicious and the pizza was baked in a stone oven (thats the best kind of crust, light, crisp and airy. They have a very extensive wine list and we order a great bottle of wine (wish I remembered the name... sorry). Our bill ended up being kind of expensive due to the nice bottle of wine but you can easily go and order a pizza and app and get out of there under $50.

On Valentines Days, we awoke, went for a couples mesage at Encore (more on that later) and then we decided to go for a nice brunch at Tableau located in Wynn's Tower suites. This restaurant is the prettiest restaurant I have ever seen. I just imagine a beautiful english or parisian garden right outside the magnificent windows (which is almost the view, the tower suites pool is right outside). If you are in Vegas over a weekend and are looking for a elegant relaxing brunch Tableau is the prefect spot! With its modern American cuisine, white table cloths, and poolside view this restaurant might just be my favorite hidden gem in LV. I order a garden salad (sad to say I really didn't have an appetite when we went) and P order a Kobe burger and fries. They had the best pom frites, perfectly seasoned with homemade ketchup! Deliciousness!!!!!!!

The entry way to SW Steakhouse, cool huh. The umbrellas rotate too!

When I was in Vegas back in July, we ate at SW Steakhouse. SW is like going to a wonderful brasserie and a show all at the same time. If you sit outside after sunset, watch out. Every half hour the innocent looking lake turns into the Lake of Dreams, an electrifying light and sound show. It is very entertaining, not over powering and is very pleasant to enjoy while dining.

This is the Lake of Dreams! Gorgeous right?!
We dined at SW for my cousin's 21st birthday. They were very accommodating for a large group but be warned, this is a nice restaurant. We all order small meals (salads), $10-$15, since we were going out afterwards (it is never a good idea to eat a large meal and then go dancing... FYI... you just feel sick.) but there entrees are about $20 and above. I had a delicious buffalo mozzarella and basil salad and not to mention yummy desserts!

The group and my cuz's bday dessert, luckily she shared!

Buffet at the Wynn
Everyone one knows about LV's famous buffets and truth be told, I have only eaten at a buffet once while in LV and luckily it was at the Wynn! The buffet is what a food-a-holic's heaven would be. Every kind/type of food you could think of under one roof and as much as you want of it! It is an incredible site. Come hungry because the buffet is expensive so eat up! Plus this is not a Golden Coral type of buffet this is a 5 star food all you can eat galore!!!!! You will def walk away 5 pounds heavier just in food, its amazing!

Located right next door to the Wynn is The Venitian. The V is stocked with amazing restaurants and shopping. Located right outside the Canal is Tao. I'm sure you have heard of celebs ringing in the new year and their bdays here and it is action packed with celeb sightings not to mention awesome food and atmosphere!!!! After leaving Tao you will be ready to dance the night away next door at Tao club or any of the 54937594 clubs in Vegas. The ambiance is sexy, candle lit, asian inspired (massive Buddha right in the middle of the restaurant). When you walk in, be sure to notice the women relaxing in rose petal filled bath tubs lining the hallway (told ya sexy). If you enjoy asian fusion cuisine mixed with great club beats you will love Tao!
See the tubs sticking out, minus the women

The prices are very fair and the menu is very extensive, great options. I order Chicken Satay, it was the prefect amount and exactly what I wanted, not to mention it was pared with a wonderful peanut sauce! P order Kung Pao which he really enjoyed and it was not too spicy. They do not pride themselves on service (its just not that kind of restaurant) but there were no complaints regarding service or food. The only annoying thing is, you can not go into the club from inside the restaurant. If you do not have a table reservation (for the club) you have to leave the restaurant and get in line for the club. As someone that has no patience for standing in lines, I was not ok with this situation and did not even go to the club (which we had intended too).

If your looking for a great lunch spot to beat the summer desert heat, Canaletto located in the Canal Shops in the Venetian is the perfect spot. I have had some of the most amazing Prosciutto ever at this place. Not only is the setting reminiscent of St. Marks square in Venice, but there is nothing more pleasant than enjoying a wonderful goat cheese,prosciutto, arugula pizza while hearing the glorious noise of opera singing gondoliers. I would highly recommend sitting out in the courtyard area and enjoying the hustle and bustle of the gondolas, street performers, and shoppers. The menu is very broad and you can get anything from large entrees to anti pasta platers. I have eaten here a few times on my LV journeys and every time I get the same thing, the pizza. It's an oldie but a goodie and it is amazing every time. Just sit back, relax, close your eyes and imagine you are truly in Venice!
St. Mark's square where Canaletto is located.

Serendipity 3
For the cherry on top (literally) of your delicious lunch at Canaletto, walk off some of those calories and head on over to Seredipity 3 at Ceasers. Serendipity 3 is a famous New York staple and it has somehow made its way cross country to the west coast, and thank God is has! I was recently in NYC and no one wanted to go with me to Serendipity! Luckily the following weekend I knew I was heading west and I could talk P into standing in the long line with me (which I did :) and it was the best decision (and you know I don't wait in lines!) but it was SOOOOOO worth it. Trust me, this famous spot defiantly lives up to the hipe!!!!! Remember the movie Serendipity, (men its ok I understand its not really up your alley) but the famous ice cream shop was featured in it.
After about a 15-20 min wait we were finally up at the window (there is a window for to-go items and a restaurant side. We chose to-go because it looked faster and it was a nice day to sit outside with our yummy treats) and I ordered the famous iced hot chocolate but I got the Chocolate and Peanut Butter one. It was the most perfect combination but I think next time I would just get the original because the peanut butter flavor got a little old after awhile. I would suggest if you are not a big fan of whipped cream (i personally don't like the stuff) to make sure to ask for no whipped because they are VERY generous with the stuff (they like to make a lovely 8 inch white whipped topper) luckily my eye caught sight of someone else's and I was saved from the disaster that might have occurred. P ordered their homemade ice cream and OMG it was the best stuff on this planet... I DIE!!!! It was SOOOOOO thick that it took a few licks of the spoon to get all the stuff off, almost like peanut butter. We ended up switching treats half way thru to test each others out, and I almost did want to give his ice cream back. They have SOOOOOO much goodies to offer, even their actual food look oh so yummy but you just can't pass up the sweets. Be sure to check out the adorable gift shop inside the restaurant side, great gifts to take back to your loved ones that arent too LV cheesy.

Mon Ami Gabi
When I travel to LV, I have a few favorite places that are a MUST for me to hit up while I'm there. Mon Ami Gabi located at the Paris is one of them! I have been in a love relationship with Paris, France ever since I got engaged there and traveled there while in college and this bistro is an authentic parisian bistro! From the French speaking wait staff, the classic french inspired cuisine to the beautiful gothic Parisian architecture that embodies everything Paris! I have eaten here so many times I can't even count anymore... breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner but my favorite meal here is their brunch. Their food is amazing no matter what time of day you visit but the atmosphere (which I'm learning is what I look for in a great restaurant, food comes closely in second...) is just so exciting and enjoyable. The Paris is located right across the street from the Beligio and Mon Ami Gabi has a large and beautiful patio right on the street that gives you a front row seat to the gorgeous Beligio water show. If you have never been to LV, you MUST see a least one of the water shows (there are different ones every 30 mins.) they are almost hypnotizingly-beautiful to watch (they will always remind me of the scene in Oceans 11 when they are all standing watching the fountains after robing the casino...)
I took this the last time I was in LV, look at how close we are while drinking Mimosas

The food is french inspired but not too french, there are still regular items on the menu. Like I said, you can not go wrong with dinning here at anytime of day. If you go at night, you MUST order the Onion soup (to die for!). The prices vary but maybe more on the high side. There is always a very long wait so try to call in advance for reservations on the outside patio but if you decide to make an impulse decision you are looking at about an hour to hour half wait. If you do not mind eating inside then you can defiantly get in (in my experience) under 30 mins. I can not express to you how enjoyable this restaurant is and it is a MUST when traveling to LV (crap now its going to take me even longer to get a reservation now that I'm telling all my secrets... hope your happy :)
Inside, Mon Ami Gabi

Promise I am almost finished, sorry this is SUCH a long post. I'm trying to do better more condensed post, obviously not working out too well right now.
Bellagio is home to so many beautiful shops, art (did you know they have an art gallery? I've seen an Ansel Adams exhibit there and it was awesome but I'm an art geek...), food and shows. The restaurants range from classy 5 star to the worlds largest chocolate fountain! Walking by this amazing, beautiful fountain I was instantly sucked into the world of Jean-Philippe. The fountain will catch your eye first but soon the delightful smells of freshly made to order crepes will seduce you and force you inside the real life Willy Wonka chocolate heaven. Save some room for dessert because you can not miss this!

Yes, this is a REAL crepe!

Before you head for the crepes, don't forget to eat your veggies at Circo! Circo is a wonderful fine dining restaurant! If you are in LV celebrating or are looking for a nice romantic dinner before seeing O (show at Bellagio) I HIGHLY recommend Circo. The Tuscan inspired cuisine is a wonderful match to the decor and your view over looking the Bellagio fountains (and you get to watch more beautiful water shows). If your traveling to LV on a budget, plan for this to be your one nice restaurant choice for the trip and live it up! Just because your on a budget there is no reason you can not enjoy delicious food, just be wise in your ordering (try splitting a large entree which will be the most costly item on your check and cutting out the drinks at dinner that are marked up 3xs!) You only live once :)

And now I have been saving the best for last, Olives located in the Bellagio. This is the only restaurant that you can eat outside over the fountains (obviously I am obsessed w the fountains if you can't tell already) not to mention the food is oh so YUMMY! Before your dinner even arrives they bring out a delicious array of freshly baked breads and 3 different olives spreads. I typically do not care for olives but I eat every bit of the yummy olive spreads! If you are wanting to sit outside on the patio plan to wait (they do not take reservations for the patio) or slip the hostess a $20 (thats what Lauren and I did when we went on our date there :) and we got in within 30 mins. If you have to wait, be sure to try their house infused fruit vodkas, Pineapple is my favorite! They have a little bit of everything on their menu, pretty typical but the way they execute and flavor their dishes are just so tasty. The prices are not too bad, it just depends on what you order and how much but isn't that always the case. P and I actually had our Valentines dinner there this year and for dessert we ordered 'Love Envelopes'.
Our 'Love Envelopes'

The patio at Olives.

Please stay tuned for the final post for Vegas, its gonna be the best one... promise!

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