Secrets to Vegas: Dining
We don't live in hotels. Not all Vegas women are showgirls. No one wants your kidneys. Now that we've dispelled those little misconceptions, find out more of what we locals know about the real Las Vegas.
Dining on high: Two Vegas restaurants take the phrase "a room with a view" to a new level. The Top of the World revolving restaurant at the Stratosphere and the Eiffel Tower Restaurant at Paris Las Vegas both offer spectacular views of Vegas.
Food and fountains: Do you want beautiful scenery without the height? Guests can gaze at the Bellagio fountains from several delicious Bellagio restaurants: Circo, Le Cirque, Prime, Jasmine and Todd English's Olives. Mon Ami Gabi at Paris (located across the Strip from Bellagio) also offers delectable food and a delightful view of the fountains.
Chocolate and cacti? No, it doesn't make sense to us either, but there it is. The Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Garden resides in nearby Henderson. Tour the factory for free, sample a piece of chocolate at the end of the tour (buy more candy if you can't resist), then tour the botanical garden, which houses some of the desert's most precious species. Just remember to take the candy you buy straight back to the hotel. Sightseeing after your purchase makes for a messy gift for the folks back home.
Last stand:Luv-It Frozen Custard is the best-tasting stuff we've ever had in our happy little mouths. Order the delicious Western Special -- caramel, hot fudge, pecans, Luv-It's rich, creamy custard and a maraschino cherry purely as an afterthought -- and you'll begin your descent into addiction. Ice cream? What's that?
The Great Buffet Debate: Here in Vegas, we take our buffets very seriously. Everyone has a favorite. 'Course, some people aren't too concerned about the food as long as the price is dirt cheap. Others are extremely picky and believe that a higher price means better quality. Also, vegetarians can fill up their plates with the myriad meatless choices buffets have to offer. Find the buffet that fits your wallet and taste in our buffet guide.
South of the Border, down Mexico way:El Sombrero Cafe serves the best Albondigas soup in town. If that doesn't sound like such a big deal, that's because you've never had the spicy, hearty meatball soup before. Take care of that, would ya? And be sure to plug a few coins into the all-vinyl, all-vintage jukebox full of Latin rave-ups.
Not for vegetarians: Have you ever imagined paying one price and getting all the meat and fish you can eat brought to your table? In a town that loves its buffets, Brazilian barbecue is a dream come true. The meat and fish are marinated in Brazilian herbs, cooked on a rotisserie and then carved tableside. When you've sampled everything, you can start all over! Try Yolie's Brazilian Steakhouse, the first restaurant of its kind in Las Vegas or the Samba Grill (at the Mirage). We can't agree which restaurant is best, so let us know what you think.
Art for an appetizer: Did you ever think you'd dine with a masterpiece? You can in Vegas. Picasso at the Bellagio is decorated with more than a dozen works by the Spanish master himself.
Lucky surf and turf: It's not on the menu, but Mr. Lucky's 24/7 -- the Hard Rock Hotel's coffee shop -- offers an inexpensive, fabulous and filling surf-and-turf. We're talking a steak cooked to your tastes, three grilled jumbo shrimp, a dinner salad and your choice of potato, for $7.77. Remember: It's not on the menu. You'll need to say the magic words, "I would like the steak-and-shrimp special, please." Don't forget to say "please." Very important.
Southern comfort: Looking for that once-hard-to-find Southern treat -- Krispy Kreme donuts? Check out our list for the location closest to you.
24 hours: It's easy to become spoiled by living in Vegas, where most businesses stay open late or even 24 hours. It's a shock when we travel and can't get dinner past 9 p.m., or when we see gas stations that actually close. So, while you're here, eat when you want or grab a Big Gulp at 3 a.m. just because you can! If you're looking to wind down after a show, an especially wonderful spot to hang out and grab a cocktail or dessert is the Peppermill. The lounge and coffee shop are open 24 hours a day. Even with restorations, the Peppermill still has that Old Vegas feel.
Pizza, pizza: So, the big game is being broadcast at the Mirage Race and Sports Book, but your significant other is starving -- what do you do? You walk over to the California Pizza Kitchen, which is conveniently located in the middle of the casino, and grab a table. Now everyone is happy. You can watch the game or just watch people. But remember that those people can watch you back. And don't forget to save room for the apple crisp or key lime pie.
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