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Once known mostly for all-you-can-eat buffets, Las Vegas has branched out as a haute-culinary outpost, with cuisine from far-flung corners. Historically, buffets started in the �40s at the original El Rancho Vegas Hotel to keep patrons on premises during wee hours. The idea caught on, and legendary buffets now feature dozens of items per meal, sometimes specializing in seafood, steak, or ethnic taste sensations. Hotel-casino "gourmet rooms" catering to high rollers followed buffets, and now Las Vegas high-end dining enclaves are hot across the board, often featuring renowned chefs. Among award-winners are Bellagio's Le Cirque and Picasso, and the Mirage's Renoir.
Top Las Vegas chefs satisfying appetites include Helene An (Crustacean at the Desert Passage); Gian Paulo "Zeffirino" Belloni (Zeffirino Ristorante at the Venetian); Tom Colicchio (Craftsteak at MGM Grand); Todd English (Olives at Bellagio; Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken of the Food Network's "Too Hot Tamales" (Border Grill at Mandalay Bay);
Jean-Marie Josselin (8-0-8 at Caesars Palace); Thomas Keller (Bouchon at the Venetian; Emeril Lagasse (Emeril's New Orleans Fish House at MGM Grand and Delmonico Steakhouse at the Venetian; Sirio Maccioni (Le Cirque at Bellagio); Nobu Matsuhisa (Nobu at Hard Rock Hotel); Maurizio Mazzon (Canaletto at the Venetian and Il Fornaio at the New York-New York and Green Valley Ranch); Michael Mina (Nobhill and Seablue at
MGM Grand and Aqua at Bellagio; Tom Moloney (AquaKnox at the Venetian; Charlie Palmer (Aureole at Mandalay Bay and Charlie Palmer Steakhouse at the Four Seasons); Wolfgang Puck (Spago and Chinois at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, Postrio at the Venetian and Trattoria del Lupo at Mandalay Bay; Andr� Rochat (Aliz� at The Palms and Andre's in downtown Las Vegas and at the Monte Carlo); Julian Serrano (Picasso at Bellagio; Kerry Simon (Simon Kitchen and Bar at Hard Rock Hotel; Joachim Splichal (Pinot Brasserie at the Venetian, Jean-Georges Vongerichten (Prime at Bellagio), Michael White (Fiamma at MGM Grand); Piero Selvaggio (Valentino at the Venetian and Caffe Giorgio at Mandalay Place); Alessandro Stratta (Renoir at the Mirage; and Bradley Ogden (Bradley Ogden at Caesars Palace). In a 24/7 culture that is pure Las Vegas action, 24-hour caf�s are in nearly every hotel and casino, many serving tasty breakfasts around-the-clock.