Michelin, Zagat Rate Las Vegas

For the first time, Michelin (http://www.langenscheidt.com/michelin/michelinguides) has released a guide for Las Vegas that features 127 restaurants and 30 hotels. Among restaurants, Las Vegas garnered one three-star honor, for Joel Robuchon at the MGM Grand; three two-star nods, for Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace, Alex at Wynn Las Vegas and Picasso at Bellagio; and 12 one-star awards, including Alize at The Palms, Aureole at Mandalay Bay, Le Cirque at Bellagio and Nobu at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

What do these ratings mean? Michelin describes a three-star restaurant as one with "exceptional cuisine and worth the journey;" a two-star restaurant as "excellent cooking and worth a detour"; and restaurants with one star as "very good in its category."

Zagat (www.zagatsurvey.com) ratings also are in for all things Sin City. Bellagio is the most popular hotel; Four Seasons is tops overall; Joel Robuchon is the king of cuisine; and TAO and Tryst took top honors among night spots and dance clubs, respectively. These are just four findings in the Zagat Survey's Best of Las Vegas 2008, which is packed with information and shared experiences from 5,279 participants.

Among the U.S. cities that Zagat surveys, Las Vegas now ranks as the most expensive place to eat, averaging $44.44 per person per meal. (In comparison, New York checks in at $39.46 per person.) And, according to participants, Joel Robuchon's restaurants L'Atelier and the namesake Joel Robuchon take the top prize for best food. Mario Batali's B&B Ristorante was voted top newcomer and Bellagio's Picasso was named most popular and as having the top decor.

Bellagio edged (in order) The Venetian, Wynn, Mandalay Bay and Caesars Palace in the "Most Popular" category. On the other hand, Four Seasons was voted tops overall (based on its combined average of rooms, service, dining and facilities), beating out Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas, The Venetian and The Ritz-Carlton.

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Malaby was most recently a marketing communications manager for Tourism Australia, The Americas. More here.