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TAO ~ Best Restaurant in Las Vegas?

Asian authenticity merges with American fantasy

I travel to Vegas. A lot. While my trips to Sin City are mostly business, I balance work with dinners at a great restaurant - or two or three. One of my favorites (and a must visit every trip) is TAO, located within the Venetian.

Tao's philosophyTao's philosophyPan-Asian cuisine, which includes (but isn't limited to) Chinese, Japanese and Thai delights, is delivered by wait staff outfitted like houseboys in a swirling social scene that unfurls across three floors. The décor harmonizes the Zen of Eastern philosophy while the food explores unbridled fusion.

It's no surprise that TAO (like its sister restaurant, LAVO) has a wicked and well-earned reputation as a naughty playground for celebrities. In a city built on the flamboyant obsession of sin, TAO Restaurant serves up heady flavors in a chic and bustling atmosphere.

Come explore TAO with me...

enter the Tao fusion experience ...enter the Tao fusion experience ...Enter TAO through neon red gates, similar to the red gates at the entrance of a Buddhist temple, a symbol of our transition from the profane to the sacred. A tunnel lined with tranquility pools filled with ginger blossoms and floating candles leads you through the moon arches, emerging into an intimate lounge area. A sweeping stucco bar surrounded by monk statues invite us in with soothing seduction. Come. Enjoy a drink with me. Relax.

Buddha's wise oversightBuddha's wise oversightWhen our table's called, we're led around the bar and into the 400-seat, bi-level restaurant watched over by a two-story Buddha. A warm, earthy wall peppered with inset candles casts a glow of serenity over the scene. But efforts to maintain tranquility are sorely tested...This is not a quiet restaurant.

 

 

Shall we dine?

Opening the menu, we're welcomed to explore our gastronomic fantasies - and leave the rules behind. My best advice for dining at TAO - order as many different dishes as possible and share.

amazing appetizersamazing appetizersLet's begin our meal with hot edamame and spring rolls - there are five different kinds. While we're nibbling, have a look at the dumplings. I adore the bamboo steamed vegetable dumplings made with crunchy cucumbers but I'm happy to order the chicken or pork as well if you prefer. Before we fill up on apps, I hear the satay of chicken with peanut sauces is divine and let's check out the sushi and sashimi bar as well - it's a long list. Still hungry? Larger dishes are categorized by land, sky or sea.

best-in-the-world lettuce wrapsbest-in-the-world lettuce wrapsWe finished our meal with a glorious Stolichnaya vodka-based drink called Nirvana and chocolate spring rolls with kalamansi dipping sauce. Enough said.

Our meal ends with a quirky, often sexy, fortune cookie. The last time I visited with my partner, mine read: "Prepare for a tease." His read: "Sex is the most beautiful, natural and wholesome thing that money can buy." It is Vegas, after all.

fortune cookie temptationfortune cookie temptationWhen's the last time your meal started and ended with a seductive, teasing temptation?

For Tao reservations, contact the restaurant at 702-388-8338 or OpenTable.com. Read Tao restaurant reviews at Yelp and TripAdvisor.

 

 

Ever been to TAO in Vegas? I'd love to hear what you loved best - it might be our next favorite. Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook - we'd love to hear your ideas!

 

To comply with the long list of regulating bodies, possibly even Geneva Conventions and in the interest of transparency, our visit to Tao was hosted. Commentary and perspectives are those of GoGirlfriend.

 


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