Entree: Las Vegas

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 July, 2008, 12:00am

Over the past few years Vegas has morphed from a family-friendly destination to an unashamedly indulgent playground for adults. The transformation has heralded a culinary revolution, with celebrity chefs flocking to the city to create some of the finest eateries in the US.

Joel Robuchon, MGM Grand Hotel (joel-robuchon.com)

Joel Robuchon's three Michelin-starred restaurant (right) sets the standard in Vegas when it comes to fine dining. An oasis of silk drapes and chandeliered opulence, it's like an art deco Parisian mansion. The 16-course degustation menu is a tour de force of French cooking, with highlights that include truffled langoustine ravioli, sauteed veal and a dessert trolley that has to be seen to be believed. Attentive staff and a 33-page wine list complete one of Vegas's outstanding dining experiences. Hot tip: ask for a tour of the kitchen - the staff work in a Zen-like state of silent concentration.

Wing Lei, Wynn Hotel (wynnlasvegas.com)

The only Chinese restaurant in North America with a Michelin star, Wing Lei has raised the bar for Chinese cuisine. Executive chef Richard Chen has blended Cantonese, Shanghai and Sichuan cooking styles to create a rich and varied menu of innovative dishes alongside well-loved classics. Sensational food deserves a stunning setting and Wing Lei delivers with a decadent combination of ornate gold archways, high-backed, throne-like seats and deep red velvet furnishings.

Cathouse, Luxor Hotel (cathouselv.com)

Unleash your inner voyeur in the modern-day equivalent of a 19th-century European bordello. Named one of Conde Nast Traveller's Hot Tables of 2008, Cathouse combines a restaurant, lounge and nightclub with styling that is both intimate and evocative. Watch a lingerie-clad model change and apply makeup in a glass-fronted dressing room while enjoying a menu that meanders from French classics such as mussels and fries to trad stalwarts like macaroni cheese. It's a unique dining experience that has been a celebrity magnet since it opened at the end of last year.

Chinois, The Forum Shops at Caesars (wolfgangpuck.com)

Wolfgang Puck started Las Vegas' culinary turnaround when he launched Spago in 1992. Chinois is his sixth establishment in Sin City and it's capitalising on the recent trend for Asian cuisine. The menu draws inspiration from a wide variety of cooking styles, including Thai, Malaysian, Vietnamese and Indian. It's a place to bring a group and mix and match dishes. Alongside stir-fry favourites such as firecracker shrimp and sizzling emperor's delight, you'll find the restaurant's trademark Cantonese duck and Chinois chicken salad.

Aureole, Mandalay Bay Hotel (aureolelv.com)

Aureole is worth a visit for the wine tower alone. Choose a bottle using a handheld tablet PC from a selection of more than 3,800 labels, then watch a 'wine angel' fly up the tower on a cable, Mission Impossible-style, to retrieve it. Following the success of his New York restaurant, chef Charlie Palmer opened Aureole Las Vegas in 1999 and has been collecting awards ever since (including a Michelin star last year). With its water views and private terrace, Swan Court is the plum spot in the restaurant to enjoy Palmer's progressive American cuisine and outstanding wines.