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Must Do: Essential Las Vegas Steakhouses

July 10, 2014 at 6:53 PM | by | Comments (9)

What defines the dining character of Vegas (more than buffets)? The all-American steakhouse, of course!

Steakhouses in Las Vegas run the gambit from classic ranch house-style (The Steakhouse at Circus Circus) and high-concept dining spots (Jean Georges Steakhouse at Aria, Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris) to hip "clubstraunts" (STK at the Cosmopolitan). With the immense variety, it's easy to strike out on your own and hit a dud. Not all steakhouses are created equal, but there are a handful that really make their mark as "essential." There are many that serve up an amazing steak or have an amazing story to go along with them (Herbs & Rye among the best of both), but few are so egregious to miss as those below.

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Gobble 'Til Ya Wobble: The Three Best Buffets in Vegas

July 8, 2014 at 8:03 PM | by | Comments (12)

If you ask most what the defining cuisine is for our lovely metropolis, you will start a fierce debate on whether that lofty crown goes to steakhouses or buffets. To the rest of the world, and for good reason, Las Vegas is the city of buffets.

In fact, the modern concept of an "all-you-can-eat" buffet is said to have been created in 1950s Las Vegas by Herbert "Herb" Cobb McDonald, a publicity and entertainment manager. He is also credited with cementing Vegas as a national convention destination, the key to early Vegas success. In the 1956 novel The Muses of Ruin, William Pearson wrote in apt words his feelings on the new phenomenon:

At midnight every self-respecting casino premières its buffet — the eighth wonder of the world, the one true art form this androgynous harlot of cities has delivered herself of.... We marvel at the Great Pyramids, but they were built over decades; the midnight buffet is built daily. Crushed-ice castles and grottoes chill the shrimp and lobster. Sculptured aspic is scrolled with Paisley arabesques. They are, laid out with reverent artistry: hors d'oeuvres, relish, salads, and sauces; crab, herring oyster, sturgeon, octopus, and salmon; turkey, ham, roast beef, casseroles, fondues, and curries; cheeses, fruits and pastries. How many times you go through the line is a private matter between you and your capacity, and then between your capacity and the chef's evil eye.

Today, the Vegas buffet has evolved into a generally homogeneous entity, but there are a few that go above and beyond the norm.

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Then And Wow: Remembering The Transformation Of Bellagio's Rooms

Where: 3600 Las Vegas Boulevard South [map], 89109
June 25, 2014 at 4:28 PM | by | Comments (12)

Way back in 2007, our sister site HotelChatter was not impressed with the rooms at Bellagio, one of the premier (obviously) hotels on The Strip. For all the talk about Bellagio being the best in town, we found the room decor to be nondescript, non sequential, and non-stylish. It was dominated by a massive brown armoire which overpowered the room. In the bathroom, we found some very questionable wallpaper. We also noticed a stain on the headboard. See for yourself just how "BLAH" this room was in 2007 in the video below.

Well, it took a few years, but Bellagio finally upgraded their guest rooms in 2011 and, boy, was it an improvement.

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The Best Thing We've Ordered From Room Service For Breakfast

June 23, 2014 at 2:55 PM | by | Comments (11)

Las Vegas does a lot of things right when it comes to food. There are great choices for fine dining, poolside dining, casual dining, and very casual dining. But, when it comes to room service, the food is often bland, uninspiring and, in some cases, cold.

There are only a few places that do it well and one of them is, no surprise here, Bellagio. (The other is Nobu Hotel.)

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Searching For Coffee Breaks On The Strip That Won't Break The Bank

June 23, 2014 at 1:21 PM | by | Comments (10)

While many Vegas visitors are looking for the largest drinking vessel at the lowest price for alcoholic beverages, some just want a good cup of coffee. The goal is to still have a little left to spend at the tables. Starbucks are pretty much on every corner, with some hotels offering multiple locations, though VegasChatter reader Tom G. wanted to know where to get a decent cup of coffee on the Strip that’s actually affordable. The easy answer is you can get good coffee or cheap coffee, but not both. More often the easiest to find is moderately to expensively priced mediocre coffee. Most of the Starbucks on The Strip are even more pricey than their off-Strip incarnations.

The newest coffee shop on The Strip is one of the best. Though not what we would call cheap, Sambalatte on the plaza at Monte Carlo offers high-quality products and serves them with flair. Think fancy frothy designs in your cappuccino foam. You should ask them to try and recreate the Welcome to Las Vegas sign. Why not? You might get lucky. While coffee purists may not value the literal fluff, rest assured you are also getting a beverage that’s as delicious as it is beautiful. Personal favorites include the Nutella Latte and White Chocolate Mocha. For those not into the sweet stuff, a small coffee is $3.78 and a cappuccino is $4.86.

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VegasChatter Questions: When You Want To Dine Fine Outside

May 8, 2014 at 4:19 PM | by | Comments (9)

It’s not just anywhere that you can sit outside and eat or drink the night away. Even though it can get chilly or sweltering hot in Las Vegas, when the sun goes down, almost any night can still feel like a beautiful evening to be outdoors. In the summer, sitting outside in the warmth of a 95 degree evening beats sitting inside in a sweater because casino air conditioning is too cold.

VegasChatter Reader Curtis B. likes to dine under the stars and tells us he had a delicious meal outside at SW Steakhouse. Now, he would like more ideas:

coming from the cold North (snow here again today) in a month and looking for new ideas (or just fresh ideas for me) for a nice higher end restaurant that has outside seating. We ate at SW at the Wynn last year, was very good, nice setting, food was great and so nice to eat outside at night in the warmth rather than in cold AC restaurant.

Well, ask and ye shall receive. There are a quite a a few restaurants that offer a similarly great meals, outdoors, on the Vegas Strip.

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Where To Watch The Mayweather Fight This Weekend

April 30, 2014 at 10:42 PM | by | Comments (4)

When there's a big pay-per-view boxing match in town, none of the casinos will show the fight for free in their sportsbook. In fact, the only casinos where you’ll find the fights being shown are affiliated with the host casino. Since either MGM Grand or Mandalay Bay host most of the pay-per-view boxing matches (occasionally Wynn will host a fight that takes place at the Thomas & Mack Center), you’ll usually find the fight showing in an MGM Resorts property.

Here are the viewing parties on the Vegas Strip where you can watch this Saturday's Floyd Mayweather vs. Marcos Maidana fight:

Aria: Bristlecon Ballroom viewing party is $75 general admission. Food and beverage is extra.

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Restaurant Rumblings At Bellagio

Where: 3600 Las Vegas Boulevard South [map], 89109
April 15, 2014 at 7:08 PM | by | Comments (4)

Word has it that Bellagio is about to shakeup its dining lineup.

We're told the center Strip resort is planning to add a new lake-side patio for dining. It's not clear yet if it would be a standalone concept or attached to a current or forthcoming restaurant, but we're all for having another gorgeous spot to enjoy the Vegas Strip.

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Drunk In Love With Vegas

March 18, 2014 at 3:30 PM | by | Comments (2)

The grandeur of Vegas can jade people pretty quickly, one thing after another raising the bar and making incredibly cool things seem mundane. But, nothing rekindles appreciation like a long night of drinking. Or, so we've heard. After indulging in a few during a recent bachelor party weekend, this writer found himself intoxicated in with Vegas. Here were a few of my favorite sights:

Go-Go Dancers at Flamingo

Strolling past beautiful women in Vegas is nothing new, but for some reason, I couldn't resist the moving bodies I saw out of the corner of my eye while passing the Flamingo. Like a bug to a light, my shoulders turned, slowly closing the distance and stopping to stand in the entryway, my left shoulder on the edge of the doorway. Careful: Limit staring to five minutes, lest you draw attention from security or, worse, fall in love.

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Bellagio's Art Gallery Sends Warhol Back East, Welcomes 'Painting Women'

Where: 3600 Las Vegas Blvd South [map], 89109
February 25, 2014 at 1:21 PM | by | Comments (2)

Much like the changing of seasons at their Conservatory, Bellagio's Gallery of Fine Art has undergone another big transformation. And, while "Warhol Out West" had a lengthy stay in Sin City, Andy's pop-art collection has now been returned to its home in Pittsburgh.

On February 14, the door was opened to a new exhibit of paintings, on loan from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. This collection is called "Painting Women."

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New VIP Seating Now At 'O'

February 7, 2014 at 7:36 PM | by | Comments (3)

Allow us to introduce our newest VegasChatter contributor, LuckyDucky. She hails from a beach town in the south, but ended up loving land-locked Las Vegas more than she expected, and has stuck around for eight years. Though her tourist time is behind her, she never tires of corny souvenir glasses, the Bellagio fountains, and the Luxor beam. For her first assignment, she experienced a new way to view a Vegas favorite.

Front row seats to Cirque shows may feel luxurious but with performances on such a large scale, it can be difficult to see all of the elements when sitting close to the stage. Enter the new VIP suites at Bellagio’s Cirque show, "O."

If you want to kick it up a notch for your Vegas show experience, be prepared to shell out the big bucks. This VIP experience will cost you $295 per person ($335.45 with tax and fees), but can you really put a price on legroom? Many Las Vegas theaters sardine you in, even when you’re paying top dollar for those front row seats.

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How To Celebrate The Year Of The Horse In Vegas

January 29, 2014 at 5:07 PM | by | Comments (0)

Although the lion and dragon typically dominate images of Chinese festivals, the 2014 Chinese New Year is the Year Of The Horse -- the seventh animal in the Asian zodiac and a symbol of nobility, class and perseverance. (It is said those who are born in the Year of the Horse tend to be intelligent, energetic and sociable.) To commemorate the occasion, hotels on and off The Strip will host traditional lion and dragon dances that you can witness in person.

MGM Resorts will put on a series of performances across its properties. Bellagio (Saturday, Feb. 1 at 4 p.m. at the main porte cochere), ARIA (Monday, Feb. 3 at 6:30 p.m. at the main porte cochere), Crystals (Friday, Jan. 31 at 1 p.m. at the entrance near Todd English P.U.B.) and MGM Grand (Friday, Jan. 31 at 6 p.m. inside the main lobby) will each host their own ceremony. Yau Kung Moon, known for its trademark gold uniforms and innovative routines, will perform the dances.

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