Vegas concierges share favorite restaurant recommendations

Picasso at Bellagio.

A few years ago, I found myself having lunch with the chef concierge at Bellagio. We talked about our jobs, and it didn’t take much time for me to realize that it would be incredibly easy for him to step into my role as a food writer, yet next to impossible for me to do his work. (I’m lazy.)

No one knows more about the Las Vegas restaurant scene than those who toil within it, and that especially includes the large number of concierges working on the Strip. When they’re not working to make sure their guests' every wish is fulfilled, they’re patrolling the city and researching its many diverse dining and entertainment venues. They know it all, and their recommendations are valuable. Here are a few short conversations with three of these generous experts.

Tracy Plavney, concierge supervisor at MGM Grand

House favorite: Nobhill Tavern “Nobhill is a place that really stands out as a place I will definitely go and spend my own money. As far as the best thing to eat, they have the amazing Maine lobster pot pie, kind of a specialty there, and it easily feeds two or three people. They also have one of the best cocktails ever, the best Cable Car I’ve ever had. It’s a place for more casual fare with great variety.”

Off-strip pick: Marche Bacchus “Hands down, it’s one of my favorite local restaurants. The ambiance is amazing, especially in the early springtime or the fall with that lakeside view, and the food is so well prepared. It’s like a little piece of France in Las Vegas. Of course, the wine selection is unlike any other. If guests specifically ask for something away from the Strip, this is where I’d send them.”

Nancy Nitsche, director of concierge services at Aria

Experience: 15 years “I opened the property in 2009 and before that I was at CityCenter as director of residential operations, so I was here in 2006. Before that, I opened the Paris, and I’ve also worked at Caesars Palace as a concierge. So that’s 15 years of eating! (laughs) Really, so much has changed with restaurants in Las Vegas, and it’s so much better now. Travelers have such higher expectations today when it comes to food quality.”

You won't find flashy moves at Tetsu—just damn good food.

You won't find flashy moves at Tetsu—just damn good food.

House favorite: Tetsu “I love Tetsu. It’s the new teppan grill by Chef Masa, a very famous Japanese chef, and the big thing with this cuisine is it’s literally sea to plate—from Japan to Aria—within 24 hours. It’s all about freshness. And I love the grill. You know, in Vegas we almost don’t have anything like that anymore. None of those places seemed to make it, so now you have to come to the Strip.”

Fun pick: Javier’s “If you want to have a drink with friends, definitely go to Javier’s. The atmosphere is incredible. Just go to the center bar for some appetizers and amazing hand-shaken margaritas.”

Maria Damiano, concierge at Bellagio

What they want to eat: they don’t know “The preponderance of our guests don’t really know what they’re looking for, and Las Vegas is such a dining mecca that the options can be overwhelming. We try to get their feelings and likes, find out what type of cuisine they like, and after that it’s more about if they’re looking for a formal experience or something more contemporary or casual.”

House favorite: Picasso “I want to say it’s elegant but that sounds stuffy and it’s not, but it is a very elegant restaurant. You’re dining amongst Picasso’s original art, you’ve got a view of the Bellagio fountains, plus it’s just an amazing menu. I’d say it’s the height of what you can experience at Bellagio. And I order the shortribs, that’s my all-time favorite.”

Fun pick: Todd English’s Olives “Their carpaccio appetizer is my favorite there, and it’s a meal for me. It’s a really fun restaurant with a great selection coupled with a fun atmosphere for lunch or dinner. I think the beauty of what our restaurants afford you is that elegance and fun. You have Picasso and Le Cirque but also there’s Yellowtail, the Japanese restaurant which is very happening, and Olives and Fix. We really strive to give our evolving clientele everything they’re looking for.”

Tags: Dining
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Brock Radke has been writing about Las Vegas for more than 15 years. He currently covers entertainment, music, nightlife, food ...

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