If you haven’t been paying attention, Las Vegas is quickly becoming one of the major culinary spots in the world. It seems like a famous chef opens up a new hip restaurant on the Strip every week. I have had lengthy visits in Las Vegas the past three summers because of poker tournaments, but this past year was the first time I actually stayed on the Strip for the whole time. I stayed in a nice suite at the Venetian for two weeks this year, from late June to early July. The Venetian was an obvious choice for me to stay at – great location, a nice poker series, amazing rooms, awesome shopping, and of course, the world-class dining.
The first gluten-free meal I had when I got to Las Vegas was at Maggiano’s Little Italy. This amazing Italian restaurant is located at the north end of the Strip in the Fashion Show Mall, across the street from the Wynn and Encore. I ordered the fettucini alfredo with the gluten-free pasta and a side of garlic mashed potatoes and fresh grilled asparagus. The entire meal was fantastic, the perfect treat after a long day in airports and taxis. In fact, I liked it so much I got the exact same meal the last day of my trip. I highly recommend Maggiano’s – they have a number of seafood, steak, and chicken dishes if you aren’t in the pasta mood as well. It is so refreshing having good Italian food at a restaurant again.
While my girlfriend was in town, we headed over to the New York-New York Hotel/Casino to eat at an Irish pub called Nine Fine Irishmen. We had really wanted to try this place out because we had heard great things about their GF menu. I decided to order the Shepherd’s Pie, while my girl got a soup full of veggies and meat (I think it was lamb). We both loved the food, and thought the pub was really cool. They also had Magner’s to drink, which always puts us in a good mood. After our meal was over, we waited around for a while because we heard that live music was about to begin. An authentic Irish band took the stage, complete with an accompanying tap dancer, and it was a really neat experience.
I eat at Chipotle far more than I should, but sometimes you just gotta have a quick, delicious gluten-free meal. If you have a rough run at the tables and are running short on cash, there are a couple Chipotles on the Strip to ensure you won’t starve. Everything at Chipotle is gluten-free except for the burrito. My personal favorites are the hard-shell chicken tacos, the barbacoa bowl with salsa, lettuce, black beans, and rice, and the chips and guacamole. Can’t beat a $10 meal!
Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza is a restaurant serving gluten-free pizza at 5 locations in the Vegas area. There is also the option for vegan, dairy-free cheese on your pizza for an extra $2.00. I got the New York Style gluten-free pizza, which comes with mushrooms, pepperoni, Italian sausage, and salami. I thought the pizza was pretty good. It was similar to a lot of gluten-free pizzas I have tried over the years – satisfying and good tasting, but nothing overly impressive or memorable. There was also a number of tapas and salads on the menu as well that looked interesting. I would definitely eat at this place again.
While there are hundreds of restaurants on the strip, I was a little disappointed there were not more places with gluten-free menus. I have to think that we are going to see an increase in restaurants catering to g-free eaters in the near future. Until then, those restaurants above are a pretty good starting point.