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Mon Ami Gabi

Paris Hotel

Osteria del Circo

Bellagio Hotel

It's a happy man (or woman) whose two favorite restaurants are across the street from each other, and only ten minutes from his work. That street happens to be Las Vegas Boulevard South. There's a fake lake in between them too. But, I'd gladly swim or dodge traffic to eat at Circo or Mon Ami Gabi. Circo is, of course, Italian, the best Italian food in town in my opinion and Mon Ami Gabi is a very very French steakhouse and wine bar in the brand new Paris Hotel. Both are run by real professionals with proven track records. In the case of Circo, its lineage stretches back to New York City where owner Mario Maccioni cut his teeth and a bunch of pasta in the kitchen of Le Cirque under the tutelage of his father, Sirio. Along with brother Mauro and Marco, they are the "My Three Sons" of America's best-known restaurant family.

My friend Gabi is the brain child of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises. (Lettuce--get it--as in greens) from Chicago and it runs some of the Windy City's most innovative eateries. Besides great steak frites (that's a thin-cut French steak with french fries to you non-Francophiles out there) and garlic escargot, Mon Ami Gabi features portable wine bars, sidewalk seating, the best people watching outside of the Forum Shops, and a dead-on Right Bank décor that echoes Paris (the real one) beautifully.

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What both restaurants have in common is good management, consistent food, sharp-dressed crowds and a highly tempting proximity to my office for my famous 3-bottle of-Burgundy lunches--it's a tough life I know, but, hey, somebody's got to lead it.

This is John Curtas.

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