I've been taking regular trips to Las Vegas since I was four years old, but my last trip in December was the first time I was in Sin City and had to follow a very un-sinful gluten-free diet. My diet, which I must adhere to for health reasons, forbids gluten (think anything with wheat), soy, and red meat, and restricts dairy, sugar, and preservatives. Surprisingly, I ate many great meals on my trip and none of them cost me as much as the video poker machines.
Before my trip, I decided to look online for a few gluten-free restaurant recommendations, menus of restaurants that sounded interesting, and guides to being gluten-free on The Strip. I barely came up with anything helpful. Because of my generous nature, I have compiled a guide to where I ate delicious and weird-diet-friendly meals in Las Vegas.
Isla Mexican Kitchen at TI
3300 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
My traveling companions and I were staying at Treasure Island (as a Vegas purist I refuse to call it "TI") and after a busy day of shopping, walking, and gambling it was all too easy to take the elevator down to the casino and grab dinner at this dimly lit Mexican/Southwestern eatery.
I informed our waiter about my dietary needs and he was more than accommodating. I asked if I could get the shrimp quesadilla appetizer with corn tortillas instead of flour and he immediately went back to the kitchen to check with the chef. The chef was more than happy to accommodate me and I had a great meal with practically no fuss. The waiter even came and checked with me to see if the corn tortillas were up too snuff (they were fantastic). In fact, the food and service were so good we came back a second time while we were on our trip.
Meal: Shrimp Quesadillas, corn tortillas by
Tao is a restaurant that transforms, Cinderella-style, into a nightclub. My party and I were just interested in dinner, so we arrived fairly early. The place was almost empty, but I doubt the 6pm dinner crowd is whom Tao intends to cater to.
Even though the restaurant aspect seems secondary to the nightlife at Tao, our waiter was very attentive and dedicated to making sure I could have a good meal that still adhered to my dietary needs. He went back and forth to the kitchen multiple times to make sure the dishes we chose could be prepared gluten-free.
He later informed me that the kitchen posts a list of all common allergens and their presence in all dishes on the menu. Nice, but couldn't they have printed out a copy and just handed that to guests instead of having the well-meaning waiter scurry back and forth across the dining room?
We ate family style and the food was good, but nothing special. Tao was interesting mainly for the décor (we were seated directly under the 20-foot Buddha) and the impressively well-stocked women's restroom. Seriously, you may want to go to Tao just to pee.
Meal: Roasted Thai Buddha Chicken ($26), Pad Thai Noodles with Chicken ($19), and Five Plus Five Ingredient Fried Rice ($15)
My party and I agreed that this was the best meal of our trip. We ate at Olives on Christmas Day, and we were seated on the patio overlooking Lake Bellagio. We were treated to Christmas-themed fountain shows throughout our meal, but being so close to the huge water spectacular didn't cause a huge interruption to the meal, only added to it.
Once our server was alerted to my dietary needs he was amazingly attentive and helpful. I ordered the salmon, and when it came out with the crust, the server quickly apologized and brought me an un-crusted plate of salmon within 10 minutes. The salmon was fantastic and the wine list was the size of a phone book. What more could a gluten-free eater ask for?
Meal: Crustless Pacific Northwest Salmon ($29)
It's pretty clear when dining at Society Café that it is a reincarnation of The Terrace Point Café at the original Wynn Resort. One disappointing difference is that Wynn's café features a patio with pool views, while Society is windowless. We typically breakfast at Wynn, but one morning we decided to mix it up and head over to Encore. Big mistake.
I have ordered the yogurt granola parfait at Terrace Point before (which is fantastic). I ordered what I thought was the same thing at Society and was presented with a small dish of yogurt, maybe five raspberries, and a tablespoon of granola. For the same price at The Wynn, I was given a large dish of yogurt and granola covered in fresh fruit ranging from blueberries to mangos. Terrace Point Café also makes an amazing bacon avocado omelet that I still have dreams about. Both cafes serve lunch and dinner as well, so perhaps breakfast isn't Society Café's strong suit. Either way, I was very disappointed in Encore's bastardized version of my favorite breakfast spot.
Terrace Point Café at Wynn:
Meal: Yogurt Granola Parfait with Fresh Fruit ($12), Bacon Avocado Omelet ($15)
Society Café at Encore:
Meal: Yogurt & Homemade Granola with Mixed Berries ($11)