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EXCLUSIVE | Las Vegas: What to Eat Part Two

EXCLUSIVE | Las Vegas: What to Eat Part Two

Off the Strip and close to the gay quarter, Firefly Tapas Kitchen (3900 Paradise Road; 702-369-3971; $10-$20) offers terrific value, excellent food and a lively ambience. The paella is delicious, as are such tapas treats as crispy duck rolls with cherry hoisin sauce and stuffed, bacon-wrapped dates with smoked almonds and blue cheese.

The China Grill (Mandalay Bay, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-632-7404; $28-79) serves huge portions of excellent Pan-Asian fare, family-style, in a relaxed, hip atmosphere.

Tao Asian Bistro (3355 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-388-8338; $24-88), a hotshot at The Venetian, blends the swanky, exclusive ambience of a top nightclub with the stellar Pan-Asian cuisine and superb sushi you'd expect of a glamorous Strip restaurant.

The Redwood Bar & Grill (California Hotel, 12 Ogden Ave; 702-385-1222; $15-45) is a local favorite for its $17.99 porterhouse special. The quiet dining room has a comfortable, country English feel. Another great view can be had at Voodoo Steak & Lounge (Rio Hotel, 3700 W. Flamingo Rd.; 702-777-7923; fixed menus $65-95) offering upscale Cajun/Creole cuisine.

Spago (Forum Shops at Caesars, 3500 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-369-6300; $29-68, $11-33 caf?) is more accessible and just as good as the Los Angeles original(s), with both a restaurant and less formal caf?. Paymon's (4741 S. Maryland Pkwy.; 702-731-6030; also 8380 W. Sahara Ave; 702-731-6030; $10-$19) is a gay fave for well-prepared Mediterranean, Greek, and Middle Eastern food, including delicious lamb and steak kabobs, spanakopita, moussaka, falafels, and Greek salads.

Burger fans closeted and blatant alike will love the tasty upscale variety at Mandalay Bay's Burger Bar (3950 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-632-9364; $8-60), where you can choose both from a wide selection of burger ingredients (Black Angus, Colorado lamb, veggie, etc.) as well as a dazzling array of toppings (like grilled lobster and sliced zucchini). For the ultimate burg-splurge, try the $60 Rossini, made with Kobe beef and topped with saut?ed foie gras, shaved truffles, and Madeira sauce.

For Thai, try Lotus of Siam (Commercial Center, 953 E. Sahara Ave.; 702-735-3033; $9-29), a charming small restaurant serving traditional Thai cuisine, hailed by many as one of the best of its kind in the country. Osaka (4205 W. Sahara Ave.; 702-876-4988; $16-$25) serves some of the best Japanese food off the Strip, and it's extremely gay-friendly.

Viva Mercado (6182 W. Flamingo Rd.; 702-871-8826; $13-$23) is the locals' favorite choice for authentic Mexican. The complete $12.95 prime rib dinner at the coffee shop at Binion's Coffee Shop (128 E. Fremont St.; 702-382-1600; $6-$20) is a Vegas legend, but there are several other great deals, too. For great Italian family-style food, try Nora's Cuisine (6020 W. Flamingo Rd. #10; 702-873-8990; $6-19).

Buffet dining is legendary in Las Vegas, the subject of much guidebook and Web commentary. If being surrounded by gross overindulgence doesn't ruin your appetite, the all-you-can-eat buffets offer great value. Most offer bland meat and potatoes, institutional kind of meals, but a few are worth saving an appetite for. Expect to pay from $5 to $15 for lunch and from $5 to $25 for dinner at these altars to gluttony.

The Carnival World Buffet and Village Seafood Buffet at the Rio (3700 W. Flamingo Rd.; 702-777-7777; breakfast $14.99; lunch $16.99; dinner $23.99; weekend Champagne brunch $23.99) offer some of the highest-quality food you'll find on a buffet line, plus some of the best desserts in town -- as if you'd have room. Other recommended buffets include the sleekly designed Cravings (Mirage Hotel, 3400 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-791-7355; breakfast $13, lunch $18, dinner $23, weekend Champagne brunch $21). The Sterling Brunch at Bally's Steakhouse (702-967-7999; $65) offers caviar and all the French champagne you can guzzle.

Part One | Part Two

Related Articles:
Las Vegas: Intro
Las Vegas: Where to Stay
Las Vegas: Where to Play/Meet
Las Vegas: What to See and Do
Las Vegas: Resources

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