Where to eat in Las Vegas (Gourmet Chick in America)

What happens in Vegas is supposed to stay in Vegas but I hope some tips on what to eat and where to stay don’t contravene that rule.  We spent six days in Vegas for our friends Tom and Tia’s wedding so alongside the bachelor and bachelorette party, welcome reception, wedding itself and post wedding recovery I managed to squeeze in some non wedding related wining and dining.
Cos salad at Bouchon

Bouchon

Bouchon is the latest offering from Thomas Keller but offers a more moderately priced eating experience than Per Se in a French bistro setting.  The restaurant transports diners straight to Paris (despite being located in the Venetian) with soaring ceiling, brasserie style seating, intricate mosaic floors and huge smoky mirrors.  We ate there at lunch time which I would not recommend as the menu is limited to a few sandwiches and salads. That said, the salads were excellent in particular the quarter of crisp, iceberg lettuce scattered with bacon pieces, walnuts and blue cheese and drizzled with a creamy dressing ($12.75).  A goats cheese salad with mixed greens and a red wine viniagerette ($11) was also good but a lot plainer and with less ingredients.  I also enjoyed the frites ($7) which came served in a paper cone and were thin with a satisfying crunch to them which almost justified their high price.  For the full Bouchon experience however, brunch (only available on the weekends) or dinner are better options.

Frites at Bouchon

Essentials
Details: Bouchon at the Venetian, 3355 Las Vegas Blvd S,Las Vegas, NV 89109, America (Ph 702 414 6200)
Damage: Pricey
7/10
Bouchon (Venetian) on Urbanspoon

Raku
The best meal I had in Vegas was off the strip in a tiny Japanese restaurant in the Chinatown district thanks to a tip from the lovely Catty.  The $15 cab ride to get to Raku was well worth it to experience great Japanese cooking in an intimate izakaya style venue.  Small plates from Raku’s robata grill were the highlight particularly the kobe beef skewers ($3.50) with a hint of fiery wasabi sauce and the salmon with ikura orashi ($6) sauce.   A huge shout out as well for the silky smooth home made tofu ($10) in a rich sensationally flavoursome broth.  It was the sort of dish which completely changed the way I thought about tofu – revelatory cooking.

It couldn’t all be brilliant of course.  The grilled pigs cheeks ($3) were chewy rather than tender and the green soba noodles with a poached egg ($8.50) were disappointingly claggy.  I was also very worried to see endangered blue fin tuna listed as an option for a sashimi special and probably wouldn’t have eaten there if I had known this was the case.  If Raku has tightened up its environmental sensitivity, the food there is fantastic and a great opportunity to escape the general casino and hotel dining in Vegas.

Sashimi at Raku

Essentials
Details: Raku, 5030 Spring Mountain Rd #2, Las Vegas, NV 89146, America (Ph  702 368 3511)
Damage: Pricey
9/10
Raku on Urbanspoon

Jean Philippe Patisserie
This tiny patisserie located in the Bellagio complex has the largest chocolate fountain in the world just proving that everything is bigger in Vegas.  It flows above the roof of the patisserie combining milk, white and dark chocolate in Willy Wonkaesque creation.  Besides the chocolates the attraction here is the crepes which are cooked to order by an expert team at the front of the patisserie.  There are a host of savoury and sweet fillings but I was satisfied with the simple but traditional lemon and sugar combination ($4.50).  It was delicate and a satisfying combinations of both tart and sweet.

Lemon and sugar crepe at Jean Philippe

Essentials
Details: Jean Phillipe Patisserie, 3600 Las Vegas Blvd, Spa Tower, Bellagio, Las Vegas, United States (Ph 792 693 711)
Damage: Such a bargain my mother would approve
7/10
Jean-Philippe Pâtisserie (Bellagio) on Urbanspoon

B and B Ristorante
I had big hopes for B and B Ristorante so organised a group of 14 friends to have dinner there on our last night in Las Vegas.  The restaurant is headed by Mario Batali and promised an eccentric take on Italian food.  Prices were steep and while signature dishes such as calamari with bortolotti beans or the beef cheek ravioli ($26) were well executed they lacked flair and impact.  The best dish was the rib eye for two which was served on the bone and then carved up into two portions.  The serving size was huge and the meat had a fantastic smoky charred flavour to it.  The wine list was a mainly European weighty document but the sommelier guided us towards a lovely buttery bottle of Trebbiana.  Our meal was fine but the restaurant felt overly calculated and over priced.

Essentials
Details: B and B Ristorante, 3355 Las Vegas Blvd, Venetian, Las Vegas, United States (Ph 266 9977)
Damage: Budget breaking.  Our bill came to $100 a head without dessert and with limited drinks.
5/10
B & B Ristorante (Venetian) on Urbanspoon

Verandah (Four Seasons Brunch)
Vegas is known for its all you can eat brunches and after investigating a few I decided on The Four Seasons which offers a $35 brunch on the weekends.  The offerings are more limited than some of the $100 brunches which include lobster and free flowing champagne but all the regular brunch staples were included such as pastries, granola, eggs benedict, french toast, scrambled eggs, bagels and even a donut station where tiny donuts were freshly made.  It was pretty good value for $35 and was all served in a lovely setting on the  verandah at the hotel, overlooking the pool with typically polished Four Seasons style service.

All you can eat eggs benedict at brunch at the Four Seasons

Essentials Details: Verandah, The Four Seasons, 3960 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89119 America (Ph 702 632 7777)
Damage: Reasonable.
7/10
Verandah (Four Seasons) on Urbanspoon

Gourmet Travel Tips
We stayed at the Mandalay Bay Hotel which is an absolute behemouth of a hotel at the south end of the strip.  Our room was pretty luxurious although a bit dated.  It had a huge king size bed, two flat screen televisions (including one you could watch from the bath) and lovely Gilchrist & Soames toiletries.  This was all particularly welcome after five nights in an RV.  However the hotel felt very impersonal due to its huge size and was packed with children who caused huge congestion problems at the lifts with waits of sometimes up to 15 minutes to get a lift.  If you have a family it is probably a good option particularly thanks to the excellent pool complex which includes a wave pool, but if you don’t a stay at the Mandalay Bay is perhaps the best contraception you can have for a while.

Our room at the Mandalay Bay

Essentials
Details: Mandalay Bay, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, Nevada 89119, America (Ph 702 632 7777)
Damage: Pricey.  Room rates vary according to the date and when you book, like airline flights.  During our five night stay the price of our room ranged from $85 a night to $180.  A sneaky $18 a day “resort fee” was also charged each day on top of the room rate for pool, gym and wifi access.  Breakfast was not included.
4/10

  • In Vegas obviously a bit of gambling and some late nights are in order.  We particularly enjoyed the fountain show at the Bellagio (hourly at night time), the dueling pianists at New York, New York, and shopping at the outlets and the Venetian.
  • We flew to the USA with United Airlines and the flight from London to Los Angeles and then back from Las Vegas to London was £600 return.

Links
If you liked reading this you might be interested in my post on our road trip to get to Vegas from LA via Coachella and the Grand Canyon or for a review of some American style food in London try the Big Easy.

Posted by: on June 29th, 2011     13 Comments »

Category: Travel - America
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13 Comments on “Where to eat in Las Vegas (Gourmet Chick in America)”

  1. catty said at 11:54 am on June 29th, 2011:

    There is surprisingly good food in Vegas if you just scratch below the fatty surface. Glad you liked Raku! :)

  2. thelittleloaf said at 12:25 pm on June 29th, 2011:

    Wow, I want to go for $100 brunch…sounds incredible :-) Looks like you had a wonderful trip – never made it to Vegas but might just have to add it on to the list…

  3. Tiffany said at 12:59 pm on June 29th, 2011:

    Ohh I love brunch!

  4. PAULA said at 1:07 pm on June 29th, 2011:

    These photos are making me miss Vegas so much! I was there last year and I had the most amazing food! :) great post btw! x

  5. tori said at 2:27 pm on June 29th, 2011:

    Completely agree about the Mandalay Bay- though when we were there, it was Christmas, so we chalked the haphazard service up to the holidays (yes, Christmas in Vegas, we know we’re mad). We had a great drink and some niibles at Batali’s Enoteca San Marco in the Venetian. Novelty of looking over the canals of Venice was pretty hard to beat.

  6. LAenglishgirl said at 3:22 pm on June 29th, 2011:

    The butternut squash ravioli at Olives is to die for – great views of the Bellagio fountains while you dine too.

  7. gourmetgorro said at 4:07 pm on June 30th, 2011:

    Thanks for the tips. I’ll add Raku to my to do list. I stayed in the Bellagio last summer on a stag do and have been banging on so much about how good it was that my wife has finally caved in and wants to go too. This time we’re staying in the Aria. Sounds good from the reviews I’ve read but I won’t know for sure ’til I get there. Bring on the double double animal style from In’n’Out!

  8. Gourmet Chick said at 12:37 pm on July 2nd, 2011:

    Catty – thanks for the Raku tip – a great little find

    The Little Loaf – Excess is welcomed in Vegas

    Tiffany – Me too

    Paula – Thanks very much

    Tori – Yes Mandalay Bay and school holidays I could imagine would be even more hectic…

    Gourmet Gorro – Yes I discovered In N Out as well – brilliant!

  9. Jeanne said at 2:10 pm on July 7th, 2011:

    aaah, the vegas road trip! We also did it from LA and included the Grand Canyon and San Diego – but no Choachella for us. We did renew our vows in a Vegas chapelk though – do we get bonus points for that?! We stayed at the Flamingo, more for the location and price than naything else and also got a HUGE room. I fell in love with the Bellagio fountains, to my own surprise :)

  10. Jeanne said at 2:10 pm on July 7th, 2011:

    Aaargh – I meant Coachella! See anybody fab playing?

  11. Gourmet Chick » Blog Archive » Travel said at 8:06 pm on April 28th, 2013:

    […] B and B Ristorante; […]

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  13. The Best Brunch in Las Vegas: the Verandah at the Four Seasons Hotel - Hopper Blog said at 9:38 am on October 23rd, 2013:

    […] Where to eat in Las Vegas Cara – June 29, 2011 […]


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