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Las Vegas: City Insider

Dining & Bars

Once a vast wasteland of buffets, Las Vegas has come of age when it comes to dining and drinking. Las Vegas has transformed from a mecca of 99-cent shrimp cocktails into a major international culinary destination, with a mind-blowing collection of many of the world's best restaurants and chefs all within several miles of each other. Visitors now have their choice of fine dining experiences, both on and off the strip.

The Strip

Las Vegas, and especially the Strip, has quickly become a hotbed of upscale fine dining establishments, attracting world-class celebrity chefs from all corners of the globe. If you like a fine dining experience with a spectacular view, ascend to the top of the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas for an evening at the elegant Eiffel Tower Restaurant. There is not a bad seat in the house since the room has stunning 360 degree views of the Las Vegas Strip, the fountains at the Bellagioand Red Rock in the distance. Bouchon is world renowned chef Thomas Keller's Vegas venture, offering the very best French bistro cuisine inside the Venetian Resort & Casino. Another celebrity chef who has made himself a home in Las Vegas is Bobby Flay, whose Mesa Grill inside Caesars Palace Hotel Casino brings real southwestern flavor to Sin City. Visiting the Mohave Desert does not preclude enjoying fine seafood. Chef Emeril Lagasse produces award winning lobster, fish and crab delights of the Big East at Emeril's New Orleans Fish House inside the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. Awards have also been garnered by Rick Moonen's RM Seafood at the Mandalay Bay, a restaurant dedicated to sustainable seafood.

If you would rather have quantity and quality, there are some great buffets on the Strip. In fact, buffets are less expensive than fine dining and you can have all-you-can-eat lobster, steak and dessert for one price. Some of the best, though rather expensive, buffets are on the Strip. Le Village Buffet can be found at Paris Las Vegas, where you can sample as much as you can stomach, all from various regions of France. For a more upscale all-you-can-eat experience, it doesn't get much classier than The Buffet at the Bellagio, complete with a champagne brunch on weekends. The Buffet at Wynn also boasts numerous cooking stations, including sushi, risotto and of course, dessert. Spice Market Buffet, located in the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, is a contemporary buffet featuring international delicacies from Mexican to Middle Eastern and is a consistent winner of best buffet in Vegas awards. The Treasure Island Buffet is a tried and true classic, which also boasts an impressive Sunday brunch buffet. Another brunch hotspot is Sterling Brunch at Bally's Casino Resort. While it is only open for Sunday brunch, and is one of the more pricey buffets, it is well worth the effort and money.

Being one of the entertainment capitals of the world, Las Vegas has no shortage of theme restaurants. Perhaps you'd be tickled by dining with a cyborg from the Terminator, or Freddy from Friday the 13th. If so, drop in at Planet Hollywood where you will see authentic movie props and maybe a real star or two. For something a little more casual, Burger Bar serves up everything burger, right down to the dessert.

Just like the action never stops in Vegas, there's also a lot of restaurants that go round the clock with you, so no matter what the time, you can always find something to satisfy your appetite. Le Cafe Ile St. Louis, overlooking the Paris Las Vegas casino floor, has all the atmosphere of a Parisian sidewalk cafe, offering French and American specialties, and the Grand Lux Cafe at the Venetian offers over 20 desserts to satiate any late night sweet tooth yearnings. Café Bellagio is an upscale coffee shop with gorgeous views any time of day.

If you'd like to save some money for the slots and shows, there are several cheap places to grab a meal. There are several good dining options at the Miracle Mile Shops @ Planet Hollywood, like Ocean One Bar & Grille, which will really suit your budget. Backstage Deli at the Luxor is a New York-style deli that will make you feel like you've been transported to New York, don't miss their famous triple-decker sandwiches. At the Bellagio, Noodles can give you a taste of Asia without the cost of getting there. They also have dim sum on weekends. Ready for something sweet? Le Creperie in Paris can help, with numerous different dessert crepes, as well as savory options for dinner.

Downtown

Downtown Las Vegas has both historic and new restaurants. Although you'll still have to deal with the crowds, the prices will be more reasonable than on the Strip. If you want casual fine dining Second Street Grille is a great place to have Pacific Rim cuisine. Grotto Ristorante at the Golden Nugget Hotel Casino is a beautiful Italian restaurant that uses only the freshest ingredients. Binion's Steakhouse is the perfect place to have quality steak or seafood, make sure you try the Chicken Fried Lobster.

Off the Strip

If you don't want to deal with the crowds and the prices of the Strip or downtown Las Vegas, the restaurants off the Strip have plenty of great choices.  For a taste of south of the border, head to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino to Pink Taco, where you can get tacos, burritos and other Mexican favorites.

Las Vegas has always been known for its numerous, affordable buffets. And while the days of the 99 cent all-you-can-eat prime rib are waning, there are endless quality options available. The Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino features the award winning Carnival World Buffet extremely popular with tourists and locals alike. Ports o' Call Buffet at the Gold Coast Hotel Casino is another local favorite, with seven live cooking stations.

Mr. Lucky's 24/7 Cafe at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino serves up classics like pizza and burgers with a '50's diner feel 24 hours a day.

Outside the City

If you need a break from hustle and bustle of the touristy Las Vegas, you can find the real deals outside the city. Go to Amigo's Mexican Cantina for a Mexican meal paired with a margarita. If you want an all-you-can-eat option try the international buffet is the Feast Buffet, located a little ways outside the city at the Green Valley Ranch Resort Spa & Casino.

Las Vegas

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