Mon Ami Gabi is one of those dining spots in Las Vegas that has long held an allure to me. There aren’t a lot of restaurants on the Strip that can claim alfresco dining at the base of the (fake) Eiffel Tower, overlooking the Bellagio fountain show. I’ve been wanting to try it for years, but. . .I kept putting it off. Why? Because when I go to Las Vegas, I’m usually solo. Dining as a solo at what seems like such a romantic spot caused me quake in my boots. (There, I said it. I’m not always so brave, you know.) Oh sure, I could have performed my usual solo dining trick of sitting at the bar. But who doesn’t want to eat out on the terrace overlooking the Bellagio fountain show? That’s as much the reason for dining there as the food!
During my Christmas trip to Las Vegas, I finally had an opportunity to eat at Mon Ami Gabi one night when I had no other plans. I was staying at Planet Hollywood and thought I’d just grab a bite at the hotel. But Yolo’s (Mexican) wasn’t open. I’d eaten at PF Changs the night before.The line for the Spice Market Buffet was about three light-years long, and I’m not very patient when I’m hungry. I decided to exit the hotel and wander up to Paris to see what was available there.
It was 7pm when I walked up to the hostess at Mon Ami Gabi, who could not have been more pleasant and welcoming. “Would you like to eat inside or outside?” she asked. I was surprised there was something outside available without a wait. How could I pass on the opportunity? I couldn’t, so I let myself be led out to the terrace.
I was a little worried about how cold it would be (since it was December, after all), but they had these terrific heaters set up that put off just enough heat to keep us all nice and warm without setting anyone’s clothes on fire. I settled in at my table to look over the menu and was pleasantly surprised to hear a trio of girls on the sidewalk out in front of the hotel playing Christmas carols on violin. They were very good; not professional good, but good enough that it was a pleasure to listen to them. So I got two shows for the price of one–the violinists and the Bellagio fountain show.
Service was impeccable. My waiter was an older gentleman and truly professional. I wanted for nothing. The food was better than I expected. I ordered the herb grilled chicken paillard. The chicken seemed a little tough to cut into, and I was sure it was going to be overcooked and dry, so I was surprised when I popped a piece in my mouth and it was as tender as could be. Perhaps the knife was dull? The green beans and fennel salad that came with the meal were also good. I also had a yummy cocktail (ironically, I ordered The Romance — it had Malibu rum, cranberry juice, and pineapple juice with a bit of amaretto). Total cost for the meal: $33.40 before tip.
What was it like dining solo in such a romantic spot? Well, here’s the funny thing. I was so busy people-watching and listening to the girls playing violin and watching the Bellagio fountain shows that I didn’t even notice who else was dining on the terrace until I was almost done my meal. There was a couple next to me with a little girl, three women at the next table, two couples at the one after that, and beyond them, more couples and groups. Obviously, it wasn’t uncomfortable being the only solo diner, if I didn’t even realize I was one until so late in the game!
And the truth is, it was a truly special meal. It really put me in the Christmas spirit to be serenaded by those violinists (which was pure serendipity). It was the kind of experience I don’t have on a regular basis. So. . .my thanks to the 500 or so people in line at the Spice Market Buffet for forcing me out of Planet Hollywood for dinner that night. And my thanks to the staff at Mon Ami Gabi for the very warm welcome, great food, and professional service.
Where: Paris Las Vegas, 3655 Las Vegas Boulevard South
When: Breakfast 7am-11am, Lunch 11:30am-4pm (M-F), 11am-4pm (S-S), Dinner 4pm-11pm or midnight. Weekend brunch 11am-4pm.
For online reservations, click here.