Finding romantic Las Vegas restaurants wasn't so easy a few years ago; there weren't many good ones around. Now that the city has turned into a foodie mecca, choices are abundant.
In fact, Las Vegas has become so important as a center of fine cuisine that in 2008 Michelin published a
restaurant guide dedicated to the city's best, awarding several coveted Michelin stars. Still, taste remains subjective. I consider the following the most romantic Las Vegas restaurants, where discriminating couples are likely to leave most satisfied.
Charlie Palmer's Aureole is transplanted from Manhattan's East Side and reinterpreted inside Mandalay Bay to simply take your breath away. First-timers are tempted to choose a table surrounding its 42-foot tall wine tower, where cat-suited "wine angels" rappel up and down to retrieve bottles that complement the fine continental fare. But hold out. Cognoscenti choose Aureole's Swan Court instead, one of the most romantic places to eat in all of Las Vegas. Tables are distanced discreetly apart, and tall French doors overlook a pool where white swans cavort. Between courses you can go outside, feed the swans, and snuggle on garden furniture.
Chef Michael Mina adds imagination to seafood that is caught in the wild and flown in daily. Since there are so many varieties and uncommon delicacies available, requesting the chef's tasting menu is a good bet. One unexpected treat is the octopus, cooked till tender and tandoori spiced. Salad lovers will appreciate the Create Your Salad option: Patrons receive a checklist and can select up to 10 items that the kitchen will toss together for you. Although Seablue is right off a main hall, its soaring ceilings, otherworldly blue lighting, theatrical waterfalls, and leather banquettes spaced well apart make for a romantic refuge from the casino clangor.
Back when the hippest thing in Las Vegas was the original Rat Pack, one of the most romantic places to take a date was Pamplemousse, a country French restaurant that survives today. A quiet, intimate room with pink tablecloths, Pamplemousse is a favorite with romantics as well as wedding parties. Specialties include crab cakes, roasted duckling, filet mignon, osso bucco. Its classic desserts -- profiteroles, chocolate mousse, crème brûlée -- remind satisfied diners why they are cherished classics. Located at 400 East Sahara Avenue, free-standing Pamplemousse is a short cab ride from Strip hotels and across the street from the last, northernmost stop on the Las Vegas Monorail
The closest thing to France's own, the Eiffel Tower Restaurant is located on the 11th floor of the Paris Las Vegas casino hotel. Instead of overlooking the original city of light, this Eiffel Tower Restaurant provides a panoramic view of the city of neon. The fare is, of course, French. Diners can choose between a la carte menu items (including a selection of caviar) and a tasting menu priced around $100 per person. Low lighting and Art Deco style furnishings add to the romantic ambiance.
Another New York City import, Le Cirque evokes an upscale, fantastical circus. But the contemporary French food, earning both a prestigious AAA Five Diamond rating and one star from the Michelin Guide
is anything but silly. Even standards like roast chicken are elevated to works of culinary art here (the chef stuffs truffles beneath the crispy skin). As for the desserts, one word: Ooh-la-la! Dress code is business casual, which means a man without a jacket or a woman in jeans will definitely be out of place.
Are you fans of Chinese food? Wing Lei in Wynn Las Vegas elevates the cuisine beyond common Cantonese, Shanghai, and Szechuan Chinatown fare and serves it inside a luxurious, romantic room accented with gold leaf and mother-of-pearl touches. Wing Lei earned one star from the Michelin Las Vegas
guide and the AAA Four-Diamond award. Fans of Peking duck can savor the crispy-skinned dish in multiple different ways. The restaurant's picture window (it's actually more of a picture wall) overlooks a serene garden planted with century-old pomegranate trees and an original Botero, a sculpture that invites even the Buddha-bodied to indulge and enjoy.
Located at 4480 Paradise Road across from the Hard Rock Cafe, Origin India is one of Las Vegas's newest restaurants and has already won raves as the best Indian fare in the city. If one or both of you are vegetarians, this is a stylish place to feast on a wide range of meatfree appetizers and entrees. Samosas, bhei puri (puffed rice with peanuts, potatoes, onions, and fresh cilantro tossed with chutney) and bhuna baigan (grilled eggplant topped with spiced chickpeas and sour cream) are among the savory starters. Meat eaters can select from seafood, lamb, and chicken entrees, and the full bar can enhance an intoxicatingly romantic evening for you.