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Profile

It's difficult to envision the Las Vegas we know of today having emerged from the Mojave Desert 100 years earlier-from dusty windstorms to dazzling skylines. This continually evolving fantasyland boasts an overwhelming number of things to see and do, and welcomes more than 38 million tourists a year who come to enjoy its world-class entertainment, countless casinos, glamorous hotels, five-star restaurants, elegant shopping, and even a Sphinx and the Statue of Liberty.

Las Vegas is the most populous city in the state of Nevada with just under six-million residents. It's situated within Clark County, which is the site of the world-famous strip that stretches four-and-a-half miles along the boulevard mostly outside the city limits in the unincorporated town of Paradise. The county is also the home of 14 of the nation's 15 largest hotels and an overall population of some two million. Las Vegas was established as a railroad town in 1905 and officially became a city in 1911. The completion of the Hoover Dam resulted in a substantial growth in tourism, which along with the legalization of gambling 20 years later, led to the advent of the casino-hotels soon after for which the city has long been famous.

When describing Las Vegas it truly is a tale of two cities. On the one hand, there are those mythical qualities that embrace the glitz and glamour of palatial resorts where throngs of pleasure-seeking tourists wager millions of dollars every day and embrace this wondrous place that's affectionately known as "Sin City." Then, looking beyond the myth, there lies the mystical nature of "The Meadows," and a southwestern metropolitan area that yields to quite a different setting where the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains form a scenic backdrop outlying a community of universities, churches, parks, and quiet neighborhoods populated by people from all walks of life.

Las Vegas' climate is typical of the desert in which it is located, marked with hot, arid summers, mild winters, plenty of annual sunshine, and very little rainfall. Temperatures climb to better than 100 F during the summer months, but with typically low humidity, and reach lows of 34 to 39 F during the winter, which is also typified by windier conditions. The city experiences a majority of its annual 4.5 inches of rainfall from January to March, though August often brings afternoon and evening thunderstorms. The closest that snow comes to Las Vegas is visible on the surrounding mountains, but rarely in the city itself.

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Find something in this city that's not an actual attraction…that's the tough part. Everyplace where one looks, there's something seemingly cut right out of a storybook set within a futuristic fantasyland. From an erupting volcano to dancing fountains to lions in glass cages, daytime or night, the scene in Vegas is sensationalism at its finest.

A merging of Vegas' storied past with its forward-thinking future, the Fremont Street Experience (Between Main St. and Las Vegas Blvd., Downtown; www.vegasexperience.com), is a five-block, open-air pedestrian mall located in the Downtown area, which carves a pleasant, people-friendly environment that's less expensive and hectic than the Strip. As a cornerstone to the revitalization of the once classic Glitter Gulch, it provides a casual atmosphere highlighted by an illuminated canopy and concert-hall quality audio that transforms the trip into a unique blend of urban theater by way of free evening audio-visual shows. Shopping, dining and legendary gaming serve as signature staples while free concerts, special events and roaming street performers provide off-the-cuff entertainment.

Stratosphere Tower (2000 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 800-998-6937; www.stratospherehotel.com), at 1,149 feet, is the tallest observation tower in the United States. Located on the Strip, it provides panoramic views of the Las Vegas Valley from its observation deck, which visitors are whisked to by double-decker elevators in less than 35 seconds, a speed of three floors per second. But the rides don't stop there for thrill-seekers when they reach the top, which is home to a variety of the world's highest thrill rides like Big Shot, which launches passengers ten stories above the top of the tower in a moment that rivals the weightlessness felt by astronauts at lift-off, and X-Scream, which tilts passengers 30 feet over the edge of the tower. For a milder ride, there's a 360-seat revolving restaurant and cocktail lounge.

Probably not what "Ol' Blue Eyes" would have had in mind. Of course, there's only one true New York City, but now the "city that never sleeps" has plenty of company clear across the country. Besides Sin City's own 24-hour cycle of never ending entertainment, visitors can also take a bite of the Big Apple inside the Las Vegas Strip. New York-New York (3790 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 866-815-4365; www.nynyhotelcasino.com) hotel and casino pays homage to its northeastern namesake with faithful—if not full-size—reproductions of such lauded landmarks as the Brooklyn Bridge, historic skyscrapers, which includes a 47-story Empire State Building, and a 150-foot tall Statue of Liberty. Amid a city that's replete with international replicas and over-the-top themes, this represents one of the Strip's most dynamic displays.

Las Vegas is known as a veritable playground for adult fun, but if you take away all of the gambling and nightclubs, what are you left with? An amusement park like setting for visual stimuli and all-ages entertainment.

Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat (3400 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 800-627-6667; www.miragehabitat.com) is a playground for fun family activities located within the monumental Mirage Resort, which is itself like entering into another world where tropical rain forests and "active" volcanoes sit side by side. In the Garden, rare and exotic animals including an assortment of wildcats and lions, highlighted by the famous white tigers, are seen relaxing in a tropical setting modeled after their natural surroundings. The Dolphin Habitat, an educational and research facility, is home to a family of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins who swim freely in a large saltwater pool that replicates their natural environment. For a fee, guests can go from tourist to Trainer for a Day to participate in the dolphins' daily activities with their trainers. Admission to the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat is $15 for adults, $10 for children four to 12, and children three and under are admitted free with an adult.

Circus Circus Casino Hotel & Theme Park (2880 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-734-0410; www.circuscircus.com) is perhaps the most obvious place to bring the kids amidst a plethora of clever resorts covering everything under the hot desert sun. The moment Lucky the Laughing Clown, a long-standing boulevard fixture, and the legendary Big Top come into view, it's too late to turn back-the casino will have to take a backseat to carnival games, acrobats and juggling clowns. The Adventuredome (www.adventuredome.com) at Circus Circus, is a five-acre theme park that features 21 rides and attractions highlighted by the Canyon Blaster roller coaster and Rim Runner water splash, along with plenty of intense thrill rides, visual sims, casual jaunts, and junior rides, as well as traditional gaming and theme shows. All day ride passes are $24.95 for a Regular and $14.95 for a Junior Pass.

 

Visiting Las Vegas is like entering into a land of living history. Everywhere you look, from the famous "Welcome" sign to the boulevard's dazzling neon, tells the story of this place which began as a pleasant diversion and simply continues to up the "ante" ever since. From old standards like Binion's, Stardust, Caesar's Palace, and Circus Circus that stand proudly amid new development that's seen the emergence of The Mirage and Mandalay Bay, along with the transition of Fremont Street, Vegas is an evolving city steeped in culture since its founding.

The Little White Chapel (1301 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-382-5943; www.alittlewhitechapel.com) is among the more famous of the chapels, or is at least billed as "World Famous," on the Strip, and they have had their fair share of celebrity nuptials take place there—Michael Jordan, Joan Collins, Judy Garland, Britney Spears, to name a few. There are a variety of special packages to suit all tastes-from the Drive Thru Tunnel of Love to city tours by helicopter.

Perhaps the strongest sense of the history of this relatively young city comes from the iconic neon signs of the 1940s, 50s and 60s in the collection of the Neon Museum (702-387-6366; www.neonmuseum.org). In an effort to retain as much of the "classic" Las Vegas feel as possible, many of the vintage signs have been restored and installed along the pedestrian plaza of Fremont Street. Headed by such historic heavyweights as the 40-foot-high Hacienda Horse and Rider and Aladdin's acclaimed Genie Lamp, these neon giants highlight Downtown's outdoor "galleries" as part of the museum's self-guided walking tour, while other more obscure signage stays on standby in the museum's boneyard.

Clark County Heritage Museum (1830 S. Boulder Hwy.; Henderson; 702-455-7955), located on the edge of the valley approximately 20 minutes from the Strip, covers a timeline of Southern Nevada from prehistoric times through the 20th century as viewers will discover everything from roaming dinosaurs to interactive displays of antique items, plus the earliest versions of popular casino games, and recreated villages of early life in the "old" days. Among the highlights is "Heritage Street," a small tree-lined street with a collection of restored historic homes and special exhibits designed to represent significant timelines in local history, including an early 20th-century newsprint shop, the 1931 Boulder City train depot and a ghost town complete with the usual jail and general store. This is a rich, educational experience that recalls the history of the land that would become today's Las Vegas.

Outdoor enthusiasts with a desire to break free from the confines of the casinos will find plenty to marvel at outside the city limits. The state's layout is conducive for activities like hiking and horseback riding, with an abundance of open space for air and water sports. It's also a prime destination for golf, offering more than 60 courses throughout the region, many professionally designed and artfully presented.

The beauty of the desert awaits those who venture outside the city. Red Rock Canyon, about 20 miles west of Las Vegas, features a stunning cluster of red rock formations, a favorite of hikers and rock climbers. The 13-mile Scenic Loop drive offers a breathtaking overview of the area; visitors get a view of the desert foliage and may even spot wild horses. And regarding horses, Cowboy Trail Rides (702-387-2457; www.cowboytrailrides.com) offers rides at nearby Red Rock Ranch. A variety of "themed" rides are available ranging from leisurely to adventuresome, with varying timeframes and price tags, and all with a natural backdrop of beautiful scenery.

While the famous Strip features a nod to New York City, Paris and a host of other famous cities within its limits, some 15 minutes outside the Strip is a good place to get a little taste of Britain. Royal Links Golf Club (5995 E. Vegas Valley Rd.; 702-450-8000; www.waltersgolf.com) is an 18-hole, par-72 course designed to simulate play on some of the greatest courses of the British Open, including St. Andrews Road Hole, the Postage Stamp at the Royal Troon and many others. For a more Caribbean taste, golfers will enjoy the experience of Bali Hai Golf Club (5160 S. Las Vegas Blvd.; 888-397-2499; www.balihaigolfclub.com), located just south of Mandalay Bay. Championship caliber play combines with tropical plants and towering palms to make for an ideal island-like setting smack dab on the Las Vegas Strip.

 

If there's one thing Vegas has no shortage of it's lodging. Travelers are certainly not troubled for choice, on or off the Strip. Hotel rooms themselves come in all shapes, sizes and prices.

Located in the heart of Fremont Street, The Golden Nugget (129 E. Fremont St.; 800-634-3454; www.goldennugget.com), has been a Downtown staple for 60 years. The perennial AAA Four Diamond award winner is a full-service, luxury resort and casino that consistently glistens in the review ranks as does its renowned namesake that adorns the hotel lobby. The attention grabbing rock known as the "Hand of Faith," weighing more than 61 pounds, is the largest gold nugget on public display in the world. The hotel's three towers feature guest rooms, suites and penthouses. Its continually evolving ownership has done nothing to dim the 'Nugget's luster. Its latest host, Landry's Dining and Entertainment, has continued to up the ante with a varied selection of restaurants and popular buffets, a lavish VIP lounge, new higher-limit slot salon, and expanded 600-seat showroom.

For those with a desire to steer slightly away from the city spotlight, the Green Valley community in Henderson, just off the 215 expressway and 15 moments from the Strip, is home to a bountiful and full-blown resort stylized in South American splendor with everything needed for a Vegas escape. The Green Valley Ranch Resort (2300 Paseo Verde; Henderson; 702-617-7777; www.greenvalleyranchresort.com) is like an oasis in the middle of the desert. It's removed from the rush of the city, yet still within view, and provides plenty of activities and amenities. Overlooking all of this is the boutique-style elegance of Green Valley Ranch hotel, which offers 490 rooms and 80 suites. The resort attractions include a casino, a variety of restaurants and food court, multi-screen movie theater, outdoor pool area, European spa, lounge, and shopping at the adjacent "District."

Located on the southern end of the Vegas Strip and above adjoining Mandalay Bay Casino Resort, are more than 400 rooms that make up the Four Seasons Hotel (3960 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-632-5000; www.fourseasons.com), the first AAA Five Diamond hotel in the city. While below, the rumble of man-made thunder from an outdoor volcano, indoor rainforest and rapid fire game play heightens the hyper factor, above, an existence of peace and tranquility lie within this traditional two-story structure with the luxuriously appointed rooms. Four Seasons has its' own separate entrance, private elevators, lobby, restaurants, and pool area. The non-gaming hotel includes amenities such as free gym/spa access, use of the poolside cabanas, 24-hour room service, and round-the-clock business center. Few other places can offer the ability to savor the solitude of plush environs in one moment and a swim with sharks in the bay below the next.

There are plenty of options for shoppers, from extensive malls and outlets to highly themed hotel arcades that are as much about sightseeing attractions as they are shopping.

If the thrill a minute rooftop rides don't dazzle you, perhaps a leisurely stroll along some famous city streets will do the job. Located within the Stratosphere Casino Hotel & Tower are the Tower Shops (2000 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-380-7777; www.stratospherehotel.com), an International marketplace that features a variety of themed "streets" designed to replicate the world's most famous shopping cities such as Paris, Hong Kong and New York.

The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian (3377 Las Vegas Blvd., S.; 702-414-4500; www.thegrandcanalshoppes.com) are equally as magnificent in this recreation of Renaissance-era Venice. The experience is designed to place the visitor into an ambitious archetype of the original, a re-created Italian village that features more than 80 shops and across the board dining options that include everything from traditional steak and chops to a classic French Bistro as well as Italian. The scene is highlighted by blue skies and billowing clouds that compliment a canal upon which floating gondoliers sing and solicit boat rides. The ride (or walk) concludes at a miniature version of St. Mark's Square.

 

This is a town that truly shines after dark. The casinos are alive and lighted for as long as anyone cares to remain, and the hotels they're anchored to are fully equipped with lounges. There are performance venues all over town and a variety of shows ranging from typical Vegas revue to traditional theater.

Cleopatra's Barge (3570 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-731-7731; www.caesarspalace.com) is a unique nightclub located in Caesar's Palace that's partially set on an actual floating barge—a Viking-style ship adorned with oars and sails as well as its own plank, which leads to a large dance floor. The historical replication is structured after the original craft that once navigated the Nile transporting the royalty of Egypt during the times of Caesar. The dimly lit nightspot literally "rocks" to the music and can be called anything but ordinary. Open nightly.

Penn & Teller (3700 W. Flamingo Rd.; Rio All Suites Hotel & Casino; 888-746-7784; www.riolasvegas.com) are eccentric staples of the showbiz scene and popular Vegas veterans who perform a 90-minute set that involves magic, stand-up comedy and acrobatic feats.

Lance Burton: Master Magician (3770 Las Vegas Blvd. S; Monte Carlo Resort & Casino; 877-386-8224; www.montecarlo.com/entertainment/lance.aspx) performs everything from sleight-of-hand tricks to grand illusions in a multi million-dollar theater built to honor his rising star.

Las Vegas is a compact city yet its famous Strip can be deceptively lengthy to traverse by foot. Though many of the sites and sounds of the city should be experienced at a pedestrian's pace, there are also plenty of transportation options for visitors. Many of the casinos provide free transportation for guests by way of local monorails and tram shuttles to neighboring hotels. Taxis are also in abundance, typically lined up at the front entrance.

A less expensive alternative to car rentals or cabbing it comes by way of the Las Vegas Monorail (www.lvmonorail.com). This local high-tech rail service runs behind the resorts along a four-mile route from one end of the Strip to the other, south from the MGM Grand to the Sahara on the northern end with numerous hotel stops in between. It runs seven-days-a-week from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., Monday through Thursday, and until 3 a.m. on weekends. Single ride passes cost $5 and one-day passes are $14.

Public bus transportation in Las Vegas comes by way of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, or RTC (702-228-7433; www.rtcsouthernnevada.com). A one-way fare on the Strip is $2 (exact change required), and a 24-hour all access day pass is $5. Senior discounts are also available.

Lasvegas.com

Official Vegas Travel Site

Only Vegas Tourist Website

Las Vegas Convention Center

Aureole

Aureole at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino is Chef/Owner Charlie Palmer's Las Vegas debut. Since 1988, when he opened award-winning Aureole in New York, Palmer's French inspired Progressive American Cuisine has earned raves. Now, his innovative twist on tradition is enhanced by the chef's own artisanal products: butter, cheese, chocolate and "Aureole Cuvee" wine. Designer Adam Tihany's striking centerpiece is a four-story, 42-foot-high, glass and steel Wine Tower, which holds 9,500 bottles from all over the world (and harness-clad wine stewards climb to fetch $200 Bordeaux). The chef serves such stunning dishes as tequila cured salmon gravlax with shrimp toast, herb roasted veal loin, and moulard duck breast with rhubarb confit.

Aureole
Mandalay Bay Resort
3950 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
(702) 632-7401
www.charliepalmer.com

 

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China Grill

China Grill at Mandalay Bay features a fantasy décor that includes a wishing well, bridge and waterfall, in addition to equally glamorous meal presentations and an eclectic use of oriental spices. For Asian inspired world cuisine, try the Szechuan beef with sake, soy and cilantro, ginger lobster pancakes and crackling calamari salad with lime miso dressing. For the tried and true with a fusion twist, order lamb dishes, pasta or a pork chop. Every dish is prepared on a grill or a wok and they are all prepared, portioned and priced to share.

China Grill
Mandalay Bay Resort
3950 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
(702) 632-6900
www.mandalaybay.com


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Emeril's New Orleans Fish House

Emeril's New Orleans Fish House, located at the MGM Grand on the South Strip, is your chance to sample beautifully presented Cajun-Creole cooking by the "kick-it-up-a-notch" king of the Food Network, Emeril Lagasse. The spacious 200-seat restaurant provides a refreshing aquarium-like atmosphere in the middle of the dessert. Salads are flecked with cornbread croutons and crispy country ham, prawns are perched atop red pepper grits, cornbread stuffing enhances jumbo Gulf shrimp, Creole mustard slaw accompanies pan fried Louisiana crab cakes and exotic mushrooms go with pan roasted Australian butterfish. Don't miss lobster cheesecake appetizer or the signature—foie gras topped ahi tuna, with plenty to spare, or share.

Emeril's New Orleans Fish House
MGM Grand
3799 Las Vegas Blvd.
(702) 891-7374
www.emerils.com/restaurants


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Le Cirque

Le Cirque at the Bellagio, a Five-Diamond award recipient, is as joyfully elegant as the French and Italian specialties it produces. Le Cirque New York is where presidents, royalty and moguls met and mingled and where noted restaurateur Sirio Maccioni imparted his talents on three charming sons. Now, each presides under an Adam Tihany designed circus-themed dining room—son Mario is the ringmaster here. Starters soar: sauteed foie gras huckleberries and a brioche, lobster salad with truffle dressing and gnocchi with Santa Barbara spotted prawns. Savory entrees satisfy: stuffed leg of baby lamb with bone marrow, rosemary and thyme and lightly anise smoked and roasted Maine lobster with celery root puree and tomato coulis. You can also select from among 900-plus international wines or choose between the three- or five-course tasting menus.

Le Cirque
The Bellagio Resort
3600 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
(702) 693-7223
www.bellagio.com

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Morton's - The Steakhouse

At Morton's, located east of the Strip, guiltless, grinning guests order 14-ounce double-cut filet mignons, 20- to 48-ounce Porterhouse steaks and other succulent, beefy, bovine bounty. The manly, library setting is luxurious, and the perfect companion for an after dinner drink, but the mastery of all the elements is in sourcing, preparing and serving the ideal steak, owing to Morton's famous aging process. Follow up a hearty meat and potatoes meal with a slab of New York cheesecake or Key lime pie.

Morton's - The Steakhouse
400 East Flamingo Rd.
(702) 893-0703
www.mortons.com


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Nobu

Nobu at the Hard Rock Hotel is a perfect match for Nobu Matsuhisa. The world's most prominent Japanese chef reigns like a rock star for revolutionizing the standards and appeal of Japanese cuisine in the U.S. Order lots of small dishes: raw, wrapped, steamed, and skewered top-quality fish and ethereal tempura. You may choose from a variety of seafood to suit all tastes, from creamy spicy crab to rock shrimp tempura to Main lobster with wasabi pepper. Stunning flavors sparkle in the Matsuhisa dressing (on his signature sashimi salad) and spicy, sesame oil-based dressings, mayrin glazes and lemon/lime yuzu flavors. You can be a bit more extravagant and order the Omakase, the chef's choice menu that starts from $100 per person.

Nobu
Hard Rock Hotel
4455 Paradise Rd.
(702) 693-5090
www.hardrockhotel.com/las-vegas/dining/nobu/


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Olives

Located in the middle of the Strip, Olives is prestigious, Boston-based chef Todd English's entry to the Las Vegas scene. His casual, Mediterranean café between the Hermes and Armani boutiques overlooks the lake. One of the few fine dining restaurants open for lunch, Olives specializes in the kind of fare everyone—including French or Italian designers—enjoys. Lunches include a delicious flatbread sandwich style creation that comes with toppings such as smoked salmon or sun dried tomatoes. For dinner, the menu selections are a bit more elaborate. You might try the jumbo sea scallops served with truffled hashbrown potatoes, pan seared trout on mustard touched potatoes, or swordfish brochette.

Olives
The Bellagio Resort
3600 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
(702) 693-7223
www.bellagio.com/Restaurants/Olives.aspx


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Palm Restaurant

At the Palm, a branch of the venerable New York eatery located among the chic Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace, most everyone knows to ask for thick porterhouse, juicy chop steaks or huge lobsters. Just as noteworthy are the gargantuan, prepared-to-be-shared, side orders, which include "half and half" fried onions and potatoes, mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, and broccoli.

Palm Restaurant
Forum Shops at Caesars
3570 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
(702) 732-7256
www.thepalm.com


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Pamplemousse

While world-renown chefs have flocked to Las Vegas in droves putting stakes up at various casinos, one restaurant remains standing tall on its own. Pamplemousse was started in 1976 by Chef Georges La Forge as one of Las Vegas's first French restaurants. A recipient of numerous local and national accolades throughout the years, the dining room exudes the cozy romantic ambience of a country side inn, and yet is just steps away from the hustle of The Strip. With a selection that changes daily there are no printed menus, just a waiter with descriptions of the daily fare. Billed as "Steaks, Seafood & More," the dishes may include such appetizing selection as veal with mushrooms and dijon sauce or rack of lamb. Every meal begins with a complimentary basket of crudites, a bowl of olives and basket of hard boiled eggs...now how's that for an old country tradition?

Pamplemousse
400 East Sahara Ave.
(702) 733-2066
www.pamplemousserestaurant.com


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Picasso

At Picasso, located at the Bellagio Resort, Spanish born chef Julian Serrano, formerly of Masa in San Francisco, serves both Spanish and French dishes. This elegant Mediterranean restaurant, a perennial AAA-rated Five-Diamond award recipient, features furnishings designed by Pablo Picasso's son Claude plus gesso-covered-burlap walls and a beam and brick ceiling. You'll dine, here, at a flower-topped table, surrounded by actual Picasso paintings, sculptures, ceramics and tiles, and with an equally "picturesque" view of the lake. Chef Serrano serves simple, yet sumptuous, dishes from a daily changing menu that may include roasted U-10 day boat scallops with potatoes mousseline, roasted milk-fed veal chop with rosemary potatoes or a Boudin of lobster, shrimp and scallops with sofrito and Nantua sauce.

Picasso
The Bellagio Resort
3600 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
(702) 693-7223
www.bellagio.com/pages/din_picasso.asp


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Rosemary's Restaurant

Located about 15 minutes from the main portion of the Strip, Rosemary's Restaurant is where locals dine. Chef Michael Jordan (who originally worked with Emeril Lagasse) and wife, Wendy, serve French-inspired American cuisine with a Southern accent. For lunch, you can start with Hugo's Texas BBQ shrimp with blue cheese slaw; keep it simple with Rosie's mouthwatering Montecristo, or more creative with the marinated bistro filet kabobs with prosciutto. Signature dinner dishes include the prestigious pairing of rosemary and roasted lamb served with black olive-studded mashed potatoes, honey-glazed salmon or a grilled pork chop. Selections are available a la carte, three-course and as a prix fixe option. Rosemary's also features a respectable wine list and wide assortment of beers that are often suggestively paired with many menu selections. Look for a number of special online promotions prior to your visit.

Rosemary's Restaurant
8125 West Sahara Ave.
(702) 869-2251
www.rosemarysrestaurant.com


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Spago

The best outpost for California cuisine in Las Vegas is Wolfgang Puck’s Spago, really two restaurants in one. The first, the cafe section, is best for people-watching and the signature pizza, and it faces Caesar’s Palace Forum Shops. The second more formal dining room inside is where serious food lovers head. Chef Eric Klein creates a menu that is considered to be among the top choices in the city, with an emphasis on fresh seasonal ingredients. Serving until 10 p.m. nightly, this relaxed spot has been a long-standing favorite. Pop art on the walls, an open kitchen and friendly service make this the place to go.

Spago
Forum Shops at Caesars
3500 Las Vegas Blvd.
(702) 369-6300
www.wolfgangpuck.com


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Tao

Located in the stylish Venetian hotel, Tao is a "see and be seen" kind of place, perfect for a late night dinner and great people-watching. The menu is pan-Asian, with Kobe steaks, small plates and a nice selection of dishes to go along with the inventive drinks from the bar. This reliable dinner club/nightclub attracts celebrities and visitors alike. The first floor restaurant serves dinner, while the second floor serves high energy dancing and late night fun. Check out the 40-foot-long outside terrace with great views of the Strip. Valet parking is available and reservations are recommended.

Tao
The Venetian
3355 Las Vegas Boulevard South
(702) 388-8338
www.taolasvegas.com


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Valentino Las Vegas

Valentino Las Vegas, in The Venetian Resort, holds the prestigious Epicurean Award for the Best Italian Restaurant in Las Vegas, among its other accolades. The restaurant's namesake has a 30 year-plus reputation for his "best" Santa Monica restaurant and is fabled as a superior restaurateur and amiable host. Chef Luciano Pellegrini serves dazzling, seasonal Italian food paired with wines from an encyclopedic list that's 2,000 strong. The seasonal menu may feature such options as truffle flavored veal, squash blossoms stuffed with lobster mousse, and duck agnolotti with port wine sauce.

Valentino
The Venetian
3355 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
(702) 414-3000
www.pieroselvaggio.com


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Verandah

At Verandah, located in the fabled Four Seasons Hotel, there's no glitz, no gaudiness and no gaming...and no prix fixe menu. What is there? Simply a serene seclusion and divine dining in a private, boutique hotel that serves breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, as well as dinner, with a clever presentation of food group categories to ensure you'll be getting your share of proteins and starch. Menu items may include striped bass served on tomato carpaccio, free-range chicken subtly flavored with lemon and thyme, and the double lamb chop, herb crusted and served with polenta. Regardless of what you order, make room for the out of this world desserts like Fritelle Alle Mele—an apple fritter coated with vanilla sauce, or the unexpectedly tempting Figs "Al Forno," bathed in honey and ice cream.

Verandah
Four Seasons Hotel
3960 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
(702) 632-5121
www.fourseasons.com/lasvegas/dining.html

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