Section: Travel > Travel Tips

The Las Vegas Dining Guide
By Anthony Curtis - The Las Vegas Advisor

Return of the $3 Steak

The old management said it was gone forever, but the new management of Binion's has brought back the Horseshoe's famous late-night steak special. The price is $3–it has alternated between $2 and $3 over the years–for a 10-ounce New York strip grilled to order, salad, choice of potato, and rolls. After trying it, we judge the quality of the steak to be as high as ever. The only difference from the past is that you can't order soup in place of salad. The steak is served from 10 pm to 5 am daily in the downstairs coffee shop. Check the counter for quick seating.

Bellagio Dining

It's a big scene, with more than a dozen eateries spaced around the perimeter of the massive building. Most are of the distinctly high end–this is where the dress code kicks in. According to published accounts, men are required to wear jackets and ties when dining at Le Cirque; jackets-only (pants and shirts, too) are required at several of the other high-end restaurants, including Picasso (where authentic paintings by the restaurant's namesake adorn the walls). Be sure to ask about the garb when making reservations.

The other restaurants: Circo (Tuscan), Aqua (seafood), Prim (steakhouse), Olives (Mediterranean), Jasmine (Chinese), Noodles (Oriental noodle kitchen), Sam's American (grill), Café Bellagio (coffee shop), and an ice cream shop, pastry shop, and buffet. Demand is high right now. It looks like the easiest (of the name places) to get into spur of the moment is Olives, which serves from 11 am to midnight.

The buffet prices are $8.95 (breakfast), $12 (lunch), and $19.50 (dinner); on weekends they're $8.95, $18.50, and $19.50. We walked in on the Sunday $18.50 spread: big shrimp, sushi, a crepe station, some wild Chinese dishes, fresh pizza, snazzy deserts–overall, very impressive.

Quickie peeks at the menus of some of the big rooms revealed the potential for equally big tabs. Le Circque, for example, offers a five-course degustation menu at $90 per person and caviar ranging from $30 to $55 per ounce. We'll check these places out and report as we're able. For reservations, go through the main number: 702/693-7111.

Bellagio Beers

This place ain't for the bargain bingers. A quick check of beer prices turned up $4 for domestic and $5 for imports at the haughty Petrossian piano bar right off the lobby. It's a little lighter at the Fontana, the Allegro, and the race and sports book bars–$3 and $4. You might want to head back to Bally's for your brew.

More on the Way

As Bellagio's culinary cornucopia debuts, word is also slipping out about the restaurants planned for some of the other big projects.

Mandalay Bay has announced a extensive 15-restaurant line-up that's built around another Wolfgang Puck restaurant and a creation run by the owner of Aureole, a popular Manhattan eatery. There will also be a Border Grill from New York, and a Red Square from south Florida (ice bars and frozen vodka).

The Venetian's coup (to date) is Pinot Vegas, from the creator of Los Angeles' Pinot Hollywood and Patina. Also planned is an Italian restaurant from the chef of the acclaimed Valentino's.

Paris' (literal) highlight is the 17th-floor eatery in the 50-story Eiffel Tower, and a classic French restaurant (with singing waitpeople). There will also be a steakhouse, coffee shop, buffet, and French bakery; they all have names starting with Le and La.

Quietly moving forward is the Seven Circle's project on the west side of town. The premier restaurant here will be Nevada Nick's, a spinoff of Nick's Fish Market of Hawaii. Also planned is an Irish pub and a "rooftop" buffet.

Finally, in an effort to keep pace, the Mirage is retooling its dining roster. Look for a Brazilian steakhouse and eateries overseen by the chefs from Bellagio's Olives and Prime.

Pullman Brunch

Main Street Station as debuted a "Sunday Seafood Lunch" in the Pullman Grille. It's another of the new style of brunches, where you pay for an entree (and extras), and a salad or seafood bar is included. The entrees (with a side of potatoes and fresh vegetables) are all $16. There's fish, veal, and chicken, but as we've told you in the past, the Pullman is a steak place, so go for either the filet or eggs Royal–a Benedict that substitutes steak for Canadian bacon. The seafood bar is sparse, but includes shrimp, plus clams and oysters on the half shell. Wording on the menu makes it sound as though you're allowed only one pass (and plates are tiny), but there is no such restriction.

Everything is extra: champagne, Bloody Marys or screwdrivers, desserts, even coffee. That's the bad news. The good news is that our Pocketbook of Values coupon for dinner at the Pullman is accepted. That cuts the price of everything (except booze) in half. Our tab for three, with drinks, was $36. Excellent deal on an enjoyable brunch, completely devoid of crowds or hassles. Make reservations; it's served on Sundays from 11 am to 3 pm.

Second Shrimp

There's no beating the Golden Gate's shrimp cocktail, but a good second choice is available at the snack bar in Arizona Charlie's. Also 99 cents, this one might even be slightly bigger, and it comes with a celery stalk, lemon wedge, and crackers.

This Las Vegas Dining guide was provided by Anthony Curtis and the Las Vegas Advisor. This monthly newsletter provides a vast array of valuable information for anyone traveling to Vegas. With your yearly subscription you receive a coupon book whose value exceeds $1,000.



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