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Vegas Restaurants Review – Tao and Lavo

Treat your inner foodie to Vegas decadence

Vegas over-delivers larger-than-life experiences in gaming, shows and sinful pleasures. But did you know it's also the place to find seriously soul-satisfying dining? Two of the many restaurants GoGirlfriend sampled served up meals that made us wonder how heaven could possibly be better.

TAO and LAVO, sister restaurants side by side on the strip set the standard high for service, décor and energy. And like most sisters, there's something similar about them but deliciously different too. TAO serves up Asian Bistro Cuisine while the LAVO is Italian to the core.

TAO Asian Bistro Cuisine, at the Venetian

Tao's Buddha statueTao's Buddha statueIf you're looking for energetic hotspot mixing inspired cuisine, Asian artistry and the symmetry of ying and yang, TAO is for you. Just past the entrance a 2-story stone Buddha overlooks guests, setting the stage for a hallowed dining experience. We sampled a range of creations by Chef Michael Armstrong's team:

 

 

  • Lettuce wraps (GoGirlfriend must-taste favorite)
  • Edememe - cold with wasabu
  • Satay of Chilean sea bass
  • Thai crab cakes (GoGirlfriend must-taste favorite)
  • Lobster wantons with shitaki
  • Vegetarian spring rolls(GoGirlfriend must-taste favorite)
  • Vegetable dumplings with crunchy cucumbers
  • Sweet potato and avocado sushi roll
  • Roasted shishito peppers

Nick, our server, even offered us a tutorial on the proper handling of chopsticks - which left us all laughing. From the sushi to spring rolls and wontons, the optional chopsticks were a fun challenge as we sampled our way through the delicious offerings.

And don't forget the libations. Partner the sakes, wines or specialty martini's (especially, our favorite, their trademark Tao-tini) as you enjoy the sumptuous tastes off the menu.

Tao Asian Bistro restaurantTao Asian Bistro restaurant

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention the restrooms. You'll have to know your ying from your partner's yang or you'll end up in the wrong room. It's an interesting conundrum for the initial experience and it was fun watching people struggle with which one to choose.

After dinner, we continued the experience upstairs at the TAO nightclub. As the Tao's philosophy states "Be creative. Live long. Be happy. And follow your own path. And the emperor said "let the party begin""

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

LAVO Italian Restaurant, at the Palazzo

Walking through LAVO's Moroccan-inspired entrance, the smell of roasting garlic started our mouths watering immediately. I decided then and there that I could easily spend the rest of my natural life camping out at LAVO.

Lavo decorLavo decorSo how does a Moroccan motif marry with Italian-focused food? The original inspiration for LAVO (meaning water) was Mediterranean-inspired cross-cultural fusion of blues and coral tiled designs. Of course, the menu would also feature Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. The story goes that Italian began to dominate the early menu selections though. As LAVO adjusted the menu, renovations followed and LAVO became Italian-focused in its culinary selection while maintaining its earthy Moroccan motif.

Our server, Jo-Jo, walked us through her favorites on the menu inspired by Corporate Executive Chef Ralph Scamardella's team, we weren't disappointed. Her recommendations inspired us to sample the eggplant parmigiana, beet salad, and garlic bread as appetizers.

Jo-Jo and Ms. GoGirlfriendJo-Jo and Ms. GoGirlfriendWhile we would have happily noshed on apps for the rest of the night, Jo-Jo wouldn't allow it. We moved onto the spinach and goat cheese pizza for Ms GoGirlfriend and veal parmigiana for myself. A beautiful bottle of 2004 Barollo complimented the experience... We capped our meal with a decadent 7-layer chocolate roll and a heavenly bread pudding.

Top-notch service, décor, ambiance and spectacular food wrapped the experience together artfully.

After the meal, our passions took us up to the Moroccan font lined glass catwalk to their Nightclub of the same name. But you'll have to check out our nightclub review for more details ...

For Lavo reservations, contact the restaurant at 702-791-1800, or through OpenTable.com. Restaurant reviews can be seen at Yelp and TripAdvisor.

Have you experienced either of these outstanding restaurants yet? Did you brave the nightclubs passion and energy? We'd love to hear if you enjoyed them as much as we did. Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook and let's start talking!

To comply with the long list of regulating bodies and in the interest of transparency, our nightclub and restaurant experiences were sponsored by the restaurant/clubs, but the commentary and perspectives are those of GoGirlfriend.

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I'll have to add it to my list of must visit spots in Vegas. The list continually grows!

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