I just returned from an amazing Christmas in Las Vegas. Highlights included shows, a helicopter ride, cocktail / casino crawls and fine dining – oh, and getting married to my fiancé of 12 years!
This was also my first trip after being diagnosed as celiac earlier in the year. This post is to guide anyone else with 'gluten issues' visiting Vegas.
If you do not know about it, being celiac (also known as coeliac) involves a bad autoimmune response to gluten – which is found in wheat, barley and rye. This response attacks the lining of your stomach and intestines, and the only way to stop this is to go 100% gluten-free. 99.99% is not good enough, it must be zero. You can find out more in this wikipedia article.
There are 2 main issues:
1 – Wheat products are everywhere, particularly in sauces.
2 – If you have any doubt at all about a food (even that something has been cooked in the same pan as other gluten containing foods), then you must say no.
Ok, that’s the background… here is where I ate and general experiences.
Celiac Las Vegas - My Experiences Christmas 2016
Flight – British Airways: I was able to order a GF meal both ways on the long part of the trip (London to Las Vegas), was just as good as any other airline meal. When Pizza and breakfast bars came later there were no options, hard to sit with people eating it around me with a rumbling stomach! Quick side mention for 'Rhubarb' at Heathrow T3 on the way back... delicious GF Shepards Pie.
Margaritaville: At the Flamingo. Bar meals type place, lots of options and knowledgeable server who told me I could also have the burgers GF. Opted for nachos which came with chili, guacamole and more. Excellent meal after the long flight, huge portion (no way a non-American could finish them). Other 3 people in our group had cheeseburgers, which looked great too.
Mon Ami Gabi – Trip #1: At Paris Las Vegas. Loved this place from previous visits. Separate GF menu with GF bread / toast while waiting. View of the Bellagio fountains and top quality people watching. Food came with flags (wooden sticks) with ‘allergy’ on them. Appreciated this as it showed they take cross-contamination seriously. Steak and frittes (fries), delicious!
Mon Ami Gabi – Trip #2: Went back for a breakfast later in the trip. The GF eggs benedict was on my mind. Disappointed with this choice. The sauce was green (no idea why), the base was made of chick-peas and it was just ‘wrong’. Great service, wonderful view and bacon + sausage sides… though my quest for the perfect GF eggs benedict will need to continue elsewhere.
Bacchanal Buffet: At Caesars Palace. Erika and I had a comped room at Caesars, and enjoyed an upgrade to the Octavius Tower thanks to a well-placed $20 bill at check-in. The Bacchanal buffet is known as one of the best in Vegas, and did not disappoint. This was a special holiday season brunch. After I told our server I was GF, she found a ‘line guide’ for me. This lady walked the entire line of seafood, meat, omelets, Mexican, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, salads and more – pointing out what my options were. Brilliant service, amazing food and for me easily beat my favorite buffet from previous trips (Wicked Spoon at the Cosmo).
Pizza Rock: Downtown Las Vegas. This place has a reputation for being the best pizza spot in Vegas. My brother is a big pizza fan, and was very impressed. There were GF options on the menu, including pizza. I was a little worried by the disclaimer that food was prepared in the same kitchen as gluten food… though the server assured me that the kitchen staff were careful. Pizza was good, though not great. Venue was like a bar-restaurant combo, drinks flowed and there was even a pub quiz while we ate. Will go back, though this place did not blow me away.
Spago: At Caesars Palace. This is one of several Wolfgang Puck restaurants. It is located at the casino end of the Forum Shops – another great people watching spot. Several GF options, and helpful staff. I had another GF pizza as my entrée. This was excellent, as was the wine and the service. Will definitely go back to this place.
Wicked Spoon Buffet: At the Cosmopolitan. On previous visits this was my favorite buffet, though this time it disappointed. Service was ‘meh’, and there were not too many options. The highlight was a GF deserts section, and the meat carvery. The guy at the carvery went to the kitchen to check on some chicken for me. Seafood section was good (big piles of crab legs).
Giada: at the Cromwell. Just a quick note here. We had a booking, saw that the menu was for brunch only and sat deliberating whether to stay. No service for a while, so we got up and left… nobody questioned us or asked why at all. On previous visits this was a favorite spot. Felt a little disappointed to experience such a lack of service.
Ocean Bar: At Planet Hollywood. A casual dining spot in the Miracle Mile. This place was cheap, with $4.99 courses and 3-for-1 wine and cocktails. The staff were great too. While there were not GF options on the menu, they were knowledgeable and were able to adapt most dishes to suit. Would recommend as a lunch spot.
Spice Market Buffet: At Planet Hollywood. Solid option and better than I remembered on previous visits. One frustrating moment when I asked the guy at the mid-eastern counter whether there were GF options, only for him to repeat ‘lamb, lamb, it is lamb’… server at the seafood counter was much better! Open bar option was also good. Not a ton of options, though not bad either.
Harrah’s Buffet: This one had the fewest options of the buffets, though the service was very friendly. Plenty of fresh shrimps here.
PF Changs: At Planet Hollywood. This is a national chain, though this was my first (and then second) time visiting. Very impressed all-round. They have a GF menu, which includes several signature dishes. The service was great both times we visited and the prices are reasonable too. Will certainly be back to this place.
Top of the World: At the Stratosphere. This was a return visit, and once again the food was amazing. The entire restaurant revolves once every 80 minutes, giving a view of the strip, downtown and greater Las Vegas. The server was very helpful, and the sommelier was also excellent. The steaks are amazing, and ‘surf n turf’ (steak / filet mignon combo) a popular choice for my party. 100% returning here!
I have a feeling there are a couple more. One of the things about Vegas trips is that things to tend to get a little hazy after a while… Guess these can always be added later.
There were a couple of places which said no… I have no problem with this, just flagging to save you a visit.
Guy Fieri’s – No GF, though would I like a table anyway… hmmm, now, let me think about that!
Gordon Ramsey Fish and Chips – Sorry, but no options.
Nosh at Bally’s – No, I do not count those banana’s as a GF option…
Well, this may not have been a normal type blog post, though I enjoyed writing it and hope that someone finds it useful.
As always, I'd genuinely appreciate a share!
GL at the (Gluten Free) tables,
Submitted by Planet Mark on Thu, 12/29/2016 - 12:24