We tried most of the well reputed Casino Buffets, our favourites (for food quality and variety) in this order were The Encore/The Wynn and Cosmopolitan, followed by The Bellagio. I was disappointed by the buffet at Mandalay Bay, as I expected it to be on a par with the others for some reason, possibly because it’s headline restaurants are so well reputed.
One place that people have often recommended to me is The Cheesecake factory. It has never captured my imagination because I have never been a huge fan of cheesecake, but somehow on our travels as we explored Ceasar’s Palace, we ended up at The Cheesecake, and we were hungry. We noticed that people were eating sit down meals there… I’m not sure why, but I had somehow always imagined that The Cheesecake Factory was a cake shop set up, rather than a fully blown restaurant! It actually ended up being our favourite casual dining eatery. My favourite meal was Chicken Madera – billed as ‘Our most popular chicken dish! Sautéed Chicken Breast Topped with Fresh Asparagus and Melted Mozzarella Cheese. Covered with Fresh Mushroom Madeira Sauce and Served with Mashed Potatoes.’ Very very yummy and wholly recommended, I especially loved the Madeira sauce, though neither my partner or I ever managed to be tempted by a dessert, since their portions are just gigantic!
You could easily spend a fortune on dining out in Las Vegas if you are a proper foodie, as a great number of the Worlds best chefs work here, lured by massive salaries. That said, a taster menu from a world famous chef will set you back less here than in other US cities. Although I had heard great things about Mix and the other signature restaurants at Mandalay Bay. the one place I was dying to dine, was the revolving restaurant at the top of the Stratosphere tower called ‘Top of the World’. The revolving restaurant is on the 106th level of the Stratosphere tower, and at 800 feet high, offers STUNNING panoramic views of the whole of Las Vegas. Each revolution takes a full hour to complete, and it can be slightly confusing if you go to the bathroom (which doesn’t revolve) only to find that your table has moved… All part of the experience though!
The most expensive menu was the taster menu, but since it was on my Bucket List, and I will no doubt never eat there again, We decided to make this a special meal and order it. This is the current tasting menu, and since I’m not a wine fanatic, we didn’t bother with the wine flight:
Four Courses Tasting Menu
Choose one from the following:
Choice of soup
Lobster Bisque or Soup of the Day or Caesar Salad Trimbach Pinot Gris, Alsace
Choose one from the following:
Crab Cake with Green Papaya Salad
Lemon grass beurre blanc.
Roasted Miso Mediterranean Loup de Mer with Shoyu Ginger Glaze
Baby bok choy.
Brancott Sauvignon Blanc Reserve, New Zealand
Grilled Petite Filet Mignon with Red Wine Mushroom Sauce
Haricots verts, shallot confit and potato gratin.
B.R. Cohn Cabernet Sauvignon, North Coast
FOURTH COURSE Mini Desserts Trio
Taylor Fladgate First Estate Reserve, Porto
Four Courses Tasting Menu 85
Suggested Wine Flight $30
We both went for the lobster bisque soup, followed by the Crab Cake with Green Papaya Salad with Lemon grass beurre blanc followed by the Grilled Petite Filet Mignon (Medium Rare) with Red Wine Mushroom Sauce, Haricots verts, shallot confit and potato gratin and finished with the dessert trio.
Having not eaten at lunch (time-to make room for the dinner) 2 for 1 martinis at level 107 bar whilst we waited for a window seat (since they dont automatically reserve you one) was a mistake. I recommend either arriving early if you are particular about being seated by a window (as we were), or not over indulging on an empty stomach if you want to get the most out of this beautiful food. We were both more than slightly tipsy, which was a shame, as I would like to have been fully present in the experience of enjoying the amazing food, including this rather beautiful dessert. I enjoyed the raspberry mouse in the white chocolate cup and the chocolate triangles but was not a fan of the banana dessert to the right of the dish.
- Best Buffet – The Encore and Cosmopolitan
- Best 5* hotel for a 20-30-something crowd – The Encore or Cosmopolitan, closely followed by the Venetian
- Best 5* hotel for an older crowd – Bellagio or The Wynn
- Biggest Hotel (at the time of writing) The Venetian
- Worst end of town – down town, near the Stratosphere, it can be very dangerous to walk around here at night-do NOT walk off the Strip
- If you are easily offended by pornography or hooker touts approaching you or your partner-this is not the place for you
- DO NOT – buy club tickets from touts on the street. No matter how tempted you are-you could and probably will be scammed. We made the mistake, and our ‘guest listed status’ never happened.
- If someone offers you a free meal – they are trying to sell you a time share talk which will waste hours of your time if you’re sucked in. There’s no such thing as a free meal-just tell them NO.
- DO – Take pretty flat shoes. No matter how sexy you want to look at night, there is nothing less sexy than someone who has to hobble in high heels. NOTHING is near by in Las Vegas, even the walk from our room to the Concierge desk took 10 minutes!
- If you dine at Top of The World. Arrive early and wait for a window seat, as they wont reserve them specifically for you
- Check out the sunset time and reserve your table for 45 minutes before sunset, so that you get to watch the sun setting. If it’s fully booked, at this time-head to Level 107, the bar and take advantage of the 2 for 1 Martinis at Happy Hour whilst you watch it instead.