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MON AMI GABI

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Paris Las Vegas

3655 Las Vegas Blvd. S.

Las Vegas, NV 89109

702-944-GABI (7000)

website

$15-$50

Sun-Fri 7am-11pm

Sat 7am-12am

French

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AT A GLANCE

What is it?

A delightful little French bistro that offers a great atmosphere, terrific food, and one of the best views of The Strip in town.

Where is it?

At Paris Las Vegas on the Center Strip.

What kind of food is served?

This is not a French restaurant in the strictest sense - you can get French fries (but they call them pomme frites. They offer everything from sandwiches, soups, and salads to full meals at dinnertime featuring various beef, poultry, and seafood options. There's a little something for everyone here and everything is very well prepared and delicious.

What is the atmosphere like?

Since this restaurant is located at Paris Las Vegas, the French detail work carries over from the rest of the hotel. Although it might not be authentic, if you squint your eyes and ignore all the neon in neighboring hotels, you just might be able to fool yourself.

How is the service?

Not at all French - and we mean that in a good way.

What are the prices like?

Lunchtime is downright cheap, especially if you go for the lighter fare. Dinner selections can get a bit pricey but it certainly isn't out of line for what you'd pay at this type of restaurant anywhere else in the city.

What else do I need to know?

This is one of few restaurants on The Strip with an outdoor dining patio at street level - it's a lot of fun but it's first come first served so get there early for one of these tables.

What's the bottom line?

A terrific alternative to the boring buffets.

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FULL REVIEW

Many people are lured to Mon Ami Gabi at Paris Las Vegas by the street side dining patio. It really is one of the best places to have a meal, offering an up-close view of the human condition that is The Strip and a great spot from which to see the Fountains of Bellagio across the street.

But look back at your table and you'll be delighted by the meal itself, which offers up a hearty take on French bistro cuisine that really shouldn't be missed.

The day we visited, a strong, chilly wind was blowing so we decided to eat inside, which is just as good if you get a seat in the sunny atrium area. The clubby, dark-wood interior spaces are probably best for an intimate dinner rather than a casual lunch like we were having.

The restaurant bills itself as a "classic French bistro" but if the word "French" makes you want to stop reading, don't. Although the selections have a definitive Gallic influence, at their core they are really just soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches, steaks, seafood, and the like. And the really good news is that, per French cuisine tradition, many of them are dripping in rich sauces and/or cheese, which should appeal to even the least adventurous diner in your party.

Hot and cold appetizers (sorry, "hors d'oeuvres") include a variety of cheeses, pate, smoked salmon, duck confit, and even chicken liver mousse. Wait... I sense that I'm losing you. Come back and I will tell you about the baked cheese starter we sampled. It was basically a big ball of soft, warm cheese sitting in a bed of tangy tomato sauce, which you scoop up with the garlic bread served on the side. When our main courses came the server wanted to take the appetizer away and I had to restrain myself from hitting him. "Don't. Touch. The cheese."

There are a lot of different directions you can go with your main course. If you want to stay light there are a bunch of different salads (from Caesar to seared Ahi Tuna), crepes, and quiches. Heartier options include a variety of burgers (including, again, an Ahi Tuna option) and sandwiches like the warm chicken and brie, steak au jus, or croque monsieur, which for the unfamiliar is really just a fancy ham sandwich.

Moving up on the size, portion, and cost scale are several steaks, roasted chicken, and some seafood options including trout amandine, scallops, and a fish of the day selection.

The dinner menu replaces the burgers and sandwiches with a dizzying array of steaks, seafood, and other entrees including a classic beef bourguignon. Breakfast and brunch offer everything from scrambled eggs to Belgian waffles.

We visited at lunch and wanted to keep it fairly light so we sampled the mushroom and artichoke quiche, the ham and cheese crepe, and a warm brisket sandwich that was one of the specials of the day. The quiche was airy and fluffy; a perfect execution of a dish that would make a great breakfast, brunch, or lunch option if you don't want to overdo it. The ham and cheese crepe was unexpectedly savory (in a good way) with thinly sliced chunks of ham, gooey cheese, a tangy dijon mustard on top. And the brisket sandwich was hearty and full of robust flavor as you would hope such a sandwich would be.

Refreshingly, all three came in portions that were human-sized, meaning that they were just right for one person. Most Vegas restaurants serve their meals in sizes that range from "extra large" to "epic" and are virtually impossible (or at least not advisable) for one person to finish. Having enough but not too much was a nice change.

Even nicer are the prices. Most appetizers are under $15 (with many of them under $10); crepes, sandwiches, burgers, and salads are mostly under $15 also; only a couple of the entrees go over $20; and the steaks are all around $25 at lunch. Things are more expensive at dinner but not by a lot and breakfast is downright cheap in comparison to other Strip restaurants. Our meal for three people worked out to about $20 per person.

The service was fantastic throughout the meal. Our waitstaff managing to keep up with a very busy restaurant without even breaking a sweat.

The combination of a fun, Strip-side dining experience and a terrific, high-value menu make this one of the best dining experiences in Las Vegas.

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