Since 1976, Georges La Forge's Pamplemousse Le Restaurant has enchanted couples with its romantic ambiance, and it has charmed celebrities such as Frank Sinatra with its elegant, low-key atmosphere. Like a high-stakes game of baccarat played for marshmallows, the cozy, country-inn feel of the hideaway provides a welcome oasis of approachability amidst the neon-colored nightlife of the nearby Las Vegas Strip. Warm candlelight at each table flickers as shadows dance upon the burgundy-colored walls and tucked-away alcoves. Complimentary baskets of crudités begin meals of traditional Gallic fare made with fresh, wholesome ingredients. The strains of French music softly fill the air as guests savor the tastes of wild-caught salmon, pâté spread on toasted baguettes, racks of spring lamb, and grilled filet mignon.
Zagat-Rated French Cuisine
Lauded for its brunch?which CBS Las Vegas listed as one of the best in the area?Master Chef Alex Stratta and Executive Chef Jose Aleman oversee the French-influenced Sunday morning fare at Marche Bacchus French Bistro. Dotted with offerings such as classic quiche lorraine and croque madame, the Zagat-rated cuisine is an off-the-strip favorite among locals. It's even owned by a local couple who took the restaurant over from the original owners in 2007.
A Short Trip, Worlds Away
Though it's just a short ride from the Vegas strip, Marche Bacchus French Bistro "feels worlds away," according to USA Today's 10Best. Situated on the shores of Lake Jacqueline, the restaurant's breezy patio is dotted with lush palm trees and looks out over the sparkling water, while inside leans upscale with crisp white tablecloths under a dramatic chandelier.
The Wine Shop
Before heading to a table, visit the wine shop. There, guests find more than 950 labels to choose from?all of which can be enjoyed inside the restaurant for a $10 corkage fee. On Saturdays, drop in between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to take part in a wine tasting; pours vary from week to week and follow themes such as varietal, region, and top 10 lists.
The sun is just beginning to rise over the nearby mountains as diners shuffle into Egg Works, suppressing yawns, stretching their arms, and sleepily greeting friends and family. Once they find their seat, though, the energy of the restaurant seeps into their mood. Waitresses swing by to flood their cups with steaming coffee and crowd tables with plates of cheesy omelets, spicy mexican breakfasts, and the sweet and savory crepes lauded by Rachael Ray. Others bring mason jars filled with bloody marys made with Habla Diablo hot sauce and bowls of Hawaiian-style sticky-rice breakfasts. As the sun clambers up the sky, breakfast favorites accept the stomach-filling aid of burgers, sandwiches, and the chefs' renowned Cincinnati-style chili?a hearty combination of chili, oyster crackers, and spaghetti.
Diners linger over third cups of coffee at the counters and cushy green booths of the casual dining room, watching flat-screen TVs mounted to walls where hand-painted murals from local artist Mike Miller stretch out. These paintings depict classic countryside scenes, from verdant fields to rolling mountains and New York City tour groups looking very lost.
Music swells in Le Provençal, ricocheting off the murals of the serene French countryside as waiters dressed in traditional peasant attire serenade diners with French and Italian numbers throughout the night. Nestled in the Paris Hotel and Casino, the restaurant introduces diners to the French countryside through steamed mussels, brick-oven flatbreads topped with smoked bacon or capers, and hearty parmesan-crusted chicken. It also prepares its house specialty, the bouillabaisse, and serves it tableside out of a vast cast-iron pot that bubbles with saffron-tomato broth and seafood, like a witch’s caldron but without the accidentally included pointy hat.
For its more than 20 types of golden-brown pancakes and plentiful selection of omelets, waffles, and other hearty American breakfast dishes, The Original Pancake House has gleaned accolades ranging from a Zagat rating and a feature on The Food Channel to being named one of the nation's top 200 franchises in 2009 by Franchise Times. It's no wonder why. Since 1953, every one of the family business’s morning specialties have been prepared from scratch daily with a commitment to real ingredients such as pure whipping cream, hard-wheat unbleached flour, and butter made from fresh sweet cream. Powdered sugar lines the soufflé-styled rims of oven-baked german pancakes, which The Food Channel lauds for their "ever so-slightly crispy" edges and calls "just the right balance between a crepe and a pancake." Apple pancakes—with granny-smith apples in the batter and sinkiang cinnamon glaze on top—are another favorite, and those tart apples also share the menu with fresh blueberries and toasted Georgia pecans for a turn to simmer in belgian-waffle squares like actual grannies in syrup-filled jacuzzis. Unique ingredients add distinction to house specialties such as oven-baked mushroom-sherry-sauce-topped omelets and gourmet fruit-filled crepes garnished with sweet cherry-wine sauce. To accentuate the flavors of each meal, The Original Pancake House brews its own signature coffee blend.
Pura Vida Bakery & Bystro chef and owner Mayra Trabulse has one goal: to create compassionate cuisine with a level of flavor that reflects her diverse cultural background. As she shared with Katherine Fernelius of Vegas Seven, Mayra is half Lebanese and half Cuban, and was born and raised in Mexico City. After moving to Las Vegas and attending community college, Mayra found herself unfulfilled. She decided to relocate to Florida, where she began to explore the politics of eating and her own relationship with food. She founded a catering business and became a private vegan chef before returning once more to Las Vegas to share her signature Caribbean- and Southwest-inspired dishes with Nevadans.
Mayra incorporated the Spanish phrase "pura vida" into the moniker of her eatery because it's a greeting or a farewell that can signify a sense of community and enjoying life slowly. That's exactly what she wants diners to feel at the restaurant, where she uses local, organic, fair-trade ingredients and incorporates macrobiotic, Ayurvedic, and raw-food principles in her low-temperature cooking. Mayra enhances her creations with unrefined oils and sweeteners and grinds whole spices for maximum flavor. Boasting a designated gluten-free area of her kitchen, she can cater to most any dietary restriction—Vanessa Meier of The Green Girl Next Door blog described how Mayra composed custom, on-the-fly dishes that were "beautiful and clearly prepared with so much love" for her and her husband.
And Meier isn't the only critic to take note of the blossoming restaurant: it earned Las Vegas Weekly’s 2012 Best Vegan Eating award and was named the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Dining Pick of the Week in October 2012. Mayra and her team also cater special events and bake custom vegan wedding cakes for couples being married by an Elvis wearing faux-blue-suede shoes.