Once known for the cheap casino buffet and $6 steak dinners, Las Vegas has become a mecca of highly acclaimed restaurants. When AAA, an automobile service organization that has been publishing travel guides since 1937, awarded its first Five Diamond rating to two local restaurants more than a decade ago, the fine dining culinary boom began.
Michelin travel guides award one to three stars to a small number of restaurants of outstanding quality throughout the world. One star indicates a “very good cuisine in its category,” a two-star ranking represents “excellent cuisine, worth a detour,” and three stars are awarded to restaurants offering “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.”
In a city known for glitz and glitter, here’s a look at local restaurants and their share of stars and diamonds:
Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand
Master Chef Joël Robuchon boasts a combined 26 Michelin stars at his 20 dining establishments throughout the world, the most of any chef. His restaurant at the MGM Grand is the first he opened in the United States. Featuring multicourse tasting menus or order a la carte, the restaurant is the only fine dining establishment in the valley to earn three stars from the Michelin guide as well as the AAA Five Diamond Award. Formal attire is required and reservations are highly recommended.
Picasso at Bellagio
One of the first restaurants in the valley to be awarded the AAA Five Diamond Award, Picasso earned its 11th this year. Under the direction of Chef Julian Serrano, the menu is inspired by the regional cuisine of France and Spain, where Pablo Picasso spent much of his life. Original Picasso masterpieces dress the walls and a collection of his ceramic pieces is displayed. The restaurant is Michelin rated with two stars.
Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace
French Chef Guy Savoy opened his sole U.S. restaurant at Caesars Palace’s Augustus Tower in 2006. It is Michelin rated with two stars and its sister property in Paris is rated with three stars. After two years in operation, Guy Savoy received the AAA Five Diamond Award. Although the dining area is more formal, the restaurant offers a casual dining experience at Bubble Bar that doesn’t require reservations.
Le Cirque at Bellagio
Restaurateur Sirio Maccioni opened Le Cirque in 1998 with a view of the lake and fountains at Bellagio. It is Michelin rated with one star and has been awarded the AAA Five Diamond Award nine consecutive years. Channeling his restaurant Le Cirque in New York, the interior design is a circuslike theme. Leave the flip-flops and tank tops at home — the restaurant requires men to wear jackets and business attire.
Alizé at the Palms
Located on the top floor at the Palms with incredible views of the Strip, Alizé is the crown jewel for Chef André Rochat. Named after the gentle trade winds that sweep the French Caribbean Islands, Alizé received a Michelin rating with one star and the AAA Four Diamond Award. Menu selections include French cuisine, continental and steak dishes.
André's at the Monte Carlo
Another restaurant under the direction of Chef André Rochat garnered the same rating as sister property Alizé with one star from Michelin and the AAA Four Diamond Award. Serving classic French cuisine paired with a formal atmosphere, the restaurant features a circular staircase that winds upstairs to a two-story, glassed-in wine cellar.
Aureole at Mandalay Bay
While walking throughMandalay Bay, Charlie Palmer’s Aureole is easily noticed by its four-story wine tower. Modeled after Palmer’s famous New York eatery, the restaurant earned a one-star Michelin rating and AAA Four Diamond Award several years in a row.
Bradley Ogden at Caesars Palace
Bradley Ogden, a pioneer in the farm-fresh and organic movement, opened his restaurant at Caesars Palace in 2003. The restaurant is Michelin rated with one star, and received the AAA Four Diamond Award the past four years. A popular spot for Celine Dion concert patrons, prix-fixe menus are available with dishes such as twice-baked Maytag blue cheese soufflé, pan roasted Alaskan halibut and market berry white chocolate panna cotta.
Michael Mina at Bellagio
Featuring modern American cuisine, Michael Mina received one star from Michelin and the AAA Four Diamond Award. The dinner menu is a la carte with the option to have the chef cook for your table. A master sommelier is on hand to recommended wine pairings from an extensive wine list.
Mix at The Hotel at Mandalay Bay
Located at the top of The Hotel at Mandalay Bay, Mix restaurant serves French and American dishes. A recipient of the AAA Four Diamond Award and Michelin one star, the restaurant features midcentury modern furniture and a 24-foot chandelier of 15,000 handblown glass spheres.
Wing Lei at Wynn
Serving Chinese cuisine, Executive Chef Ming Yu blends dishes influenced by Cantonese, Shanghai and Szechwan cooking styles. Wing Lei is the only fine dining establishment at Wynn with both a one-star Michelin rating and AAA Four Diamond Award.