Category Archives: Restaurants

Restaurant Sleeper Hit of 2015: Aria Cafe

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Aria Cafe

Aria Cafe

Before my stay at the Aria, I had never eaten at their Cafe, but I had certainly heard a lot about it from friends–none of it good. So it wasn’t exactly high on my list. But as these things sometimes happen, early on in my stay, I had a craving for roast chicken. I had planned on eating at one of the hot new restaurants, Bardot Brasserie, or Lago, that night, but after perusing Bardot’s menu, I just wasn’t feeling it, and Lago was mobbed. I wandered between Monte Carlo, Aria and Bellagio for nearly an hour, looking at over a dozen different menus, and no one had what I was looking for. . .except the Aria Cafe. I finally thought, what the hell? I’ll give it a try.

It was around 9pm, and I was clearly overdressed. Everyone else in the place was wearing shorts. To be fair, I was dressed up because I had planned on eating somewhere a bit fancier. In any case, don’t feel obligated to dress up for this place just because it’s in an expensive hotel. Continue reading

Best Burger in Vegas?

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Pub 1842

Michael Mina’s Pub 1842 at the MGM

Every once in awhile, I’ll read a blog post or message forum thread in which people express their opinions about “the best burger in Las Vegas”. Of course “best” is always subjective, dependent on personal taste, and it’s impossible for anyone to really say what is the “best” of anything, unless they’ve sampled a burger at every single one of the hundreds of restaurants in a given city. Still, it’s fun to discuss, because most of us who are carnivores will probably have a burger at some point during a trip to Vegas, and reading about other people’s favorites may inspire us to try some of them for ourselves on a future trip.

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A Downtown Favorite: The Container Park

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Downtown Container Park

The Downtown Container Park on a weekday morning

I can’t believe I haven’t written about this place yet! The Downtown Container Park has quickly become one of my favorite places in Downtown Las Vegas. It’s so different from the upper blocks of Fremont Street–very laid-back and mellow. Yet it’s got pretty much everything you’d want to occupy yourself for a couple of hours (except gambling).

Keep in mind that the following details pertain to just two visits I’ve made to the Park: Once in the evening in June 2014 and once during the day in January 2015. Other people visiting at different times or more frequently may have different experiences than I did. Many of you repeat visitors will already have been here yourselves and have formed your own opinions about it. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. Continue reading

Dinner at the Bar, Ruths Chris Steakhouse

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Harrahs: Specializing in steak and menopause, apparently.

I don’t normally spend a lot of money on meals in Las Vegas. I have this mental block about paying $50 for a steak I could buy at the store and cook myself for less than $10. Same with eggs. Same with everything, pretty much. I realize you have to pay for the labor and ambience, etc. but sometimes it seems a bit excessive to me–especially in Las Vegas. But every once in a great while, I’ll treat myself to one of those expensive meals. Because you know, when in Rome. . . .

Since I was staying at Harrahs anyway, I thought it would be a good time to try Ruths Chris Steakhouse. I’d heard great things about the view, and the Happy Hour menu looks pretty good. Ruths Chris is located on the second floor of Harrahs. You take an elevator up from near the front of the casino.

Unfortunately, I was running late and didn’t get there early enough for their Happy Hour deals, but that turned out okay in the long run. I didn’t have a reservation, but there was a free seat at the bar, so I grabbed it. I wound up sitting next to a nice local couple. The wife told me they had recently moved to Las Vegas and still enjoyed coming to the Strip to Harrahs to eat at Ruths Chris.

This, dear readers, is a ringing endorsement, because typically locals will tell you how much they hate coming to the Strip for any reason. Continue reading

Solo Dining at Giada

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Those windows command a superior view of the Strip.

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that Giada at the Cromwell, by chef Giada DeLaurentiis, is one of the most talked-about Vegas restaurant openings of the past year. I’m mostly immune to these sorts of things, but I admit, the hype got to me. For one thing, it’s nice to see another female celebrity chef opening a restaurant on the Strip. If I’m not mistaken, the last one to do so was Carla Pellegrini when she opened Bacio at the Tropicana–and that was a few years ago.

But, gender aside, what really matters is the food and dining experience. Early reviews on Giada were very positive. My brother (“Vegasbrolo”) and his wife ate here the week before I did and raved about it. But I don’t believe I ever read any reviews speaking from the solo diner point of view. It’s a dirty job, but someone had to do it. Oh, who am I kidding? I couldn’t wait to try it. So I made a reservation for my January trip.

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