Ok – I admit it. I LOVE Las Vegas.

One of the best things about Las Vegas is that there is ALWAYS something new to see and do when you visit. (I should know, I’ve been there five times).

So for those who may be “First Timers” or looking for something different, I thought it would be useful to create a list of  the BEST of the BEST in Las Vegas for food and drink (plus one must-try activity!)

Best New Activity to Try:

Guns and Ammo Garage is a MUST. As a Canadian, I’ve never even seen a gun up close – let alone shot one.

After being debriefed on safety issues with the safety officer, Nick Sherrot, I was instructed to take aim with each gun and shoot one or two times at a shadowed target, to get used to their kick…..

I was then encouraged to just to “go for it.” I shot an AK47, an UZI and a Glock 9mm.

Yes, I was nervous at first, but was thrilled once I got the hang of each gun. By the end, my arms were shaking but my confidence and
adrenaline was at an all-time high. http://gunsandammogarage.com/

Best Bang for Your Buck:

You can eat yourself silly at the Carnival World Buffet inside the Rio Hotel. Here, you can try diverse food from around the globe. The stations are organized by cuisine type including Italian, Japanese, Mexican, Asian-and for those less adventurous -American. There are vegetarian and vegan-friendly options along with made-to-order items such as the delectable soups and noodles at the Asian station. A rookie mistake is filling up your plate before walking through the entire restaurant.

The dinner buffet is $30 (all prices in U.S. dollars) and includes non-alcoholic drinks. I was a bit deterred when I arrived due to the incredibly long line up to get in, however, there is a VIP section along the side I discovered for those who purchase the buffet with their show ticket at the hotel. http://www.riolasvegas.com/restaurants/carnival-world-buffet.html#.UVYVaDez3gU

Best Place to Celebrate

One restaurant with the most imaginative cuisine I’ve ever eaten is TAO at the Venetian. It’s definitely a place for
celebrating and a dining experience that won’t soon be forgotten. My favourite dishes were the braised short ribs and the yellowtail sashimi with jalapenos.

The giant fortune cookie dessert is a must-try, which is partially dipped in chocolate, filled with white and dark chocolate mousse, and decorated with fruit. The surroundings are dark and luxurious with a giant Buddha fountain in the centre, and rose-petal filled baths adorning the entrance. A booth is ideal if you can snag one to take in the surroundings. The prices are higher (main dishes $30 to $45 range), but definitely worth it. http://taorestaurantlv.com/

Best Place to People Watch

Fat Bar overlooks the busiest street in the world-the Las Vegas strip. And if you’ve never heard of Fat Bar, think Fat Burger – with a twist. It’s the flagship location of Fat Burger and the first to have a full bar. You can eat a burger right out on the strip along with your favourite beverage. The experience is enhanced by the misty water overhead to keep you cool in the Vegas sun. The 200-seat retro-style circular bar with big screen TVs can be accessed from the street and is open 24 hours a day.

Most days, there is a girl out front handing out coupons for the bar. The price is right and will satisfy any appetite, starting at $3.29 for the small burger all the way up to the XXXL burger at $9.69. http://www.examiner.com/article/vegas-strip-fatburger-renovates-opens-fat-bar

Best Place to be Entertained

The Las Vegas Hotel (formerly the Hilton) features a unique restaurant called Benihana, where Japanese food is served at the teppan-yaki table (several guests are seated around a steel grill) to enjoy a meal cooked right before them by a chef who is also an entertainer.

From the vegetable fried rice shaped into a heart to the onions lit on fire (on purpose), it makes for a spectacular dining show.

It’s also a great way to meet people. I opted for sake (my first time) with my meal. It wasn’t my favourite, but I learned later Japanese beer is ideally served with it to make it more palatable.

The pricing is middle of the road (main dishes $30 and under). http://www.thelvh.com/Hotel/dining/finedining/benihana

Best Concept-Dining Experience

The Pampas Brazilian Grille, located inside the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood, is for meat-lovers. The concept is simple: 11 different types of meats are served on a long skewer and brought to your table to be carved tableside.

And trust me when I say, by the time you are done, you are truly done. The pricing is fair ($39.95 for the meat extravaganza) and a tasty way to try Brazilian food. http://www.pampasusa.com/

Best Exotic Drink toTry

The Hyde Bellagio wins hands-down when it comes to a unique drink experience. The lounge (which also serves up tasty appetizers) boasts several beautiful women in short, gold dresses who provide tableside mixology carts to guests (bringing the full bar experience right to the table).

I was able to try their newest “Liquid Nitrogen Cocktail,” where the mixologist uses a bowl of fresh fruit, juice and liquors, and adds liquid nitrogen to freeze the whole thing together, and serves it with a spoon. Think sorbet with a kick. It was absolutely incredible.  It is a bit pricey at $20.00 per drink, but is a must-try at least once, and a great way to enjoy the spectacular Bellagio fountains right outside the window. http://www.bellagio.com/nightlife-diversions/hyde.aspx

Best Vegas Value Deal

And if you are really down on your luck by the end of your stay in Las Vegas, or for those who simply want a cheap deal – visit the Excalibur’s “Sherwood Sports Bar”. They feature a hot dog and a beer for $5.00.  It’s a simple hot dog and beer; however, it’s the bartenders who make it fun.

I ended up here twice during my time in Las Vegas when the black-jack tables weren’t in my favour. When you’re there, ask for Joe. 😉 http://www.excalibur.com/

And of course, there’s always hanging by the pool, sipping on a pina colada and taking in the beautiful desert sunshine!

Me pool-side at the Excalibur