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Home > NOTEWORTHY DINING > Las Vegas Noteworthy Dining > Rao's > Comfort Zone
Comfort Zone
There's no doubt that Rao's offers an informal dining experience. In fact, it's homey and congenial, and prides itself on providing you with a justifiably comfortable dining experience from the minute you check in to the minute you leave the restaurant. The servers are super friendly and the food is entirely uncomplicated, yet the taste sensations have achieved a three-star rating and half-page review from the coveted New York Times. So don't be intimidated; if you are, the intimidation will soon dissolve, as this is a fun, family-run restaurant. If it would make you more comfortable to learn more about the restaurant before dining there, though, then please read on.

    
    Reservations
Reservations are strongly recommended, if not required. They are accepted up to 90 days in advance, although you might be able to secure one two to three weeks in advance. In any case, the earlier the better. If you're close to your trip and you want to eat at Rao's, give them a call and see if they can accommodate you. They do have more than 10 tables at this Rao's, after all, and they are all about pleasing the guests!

Seating
Depending on where you are seated within the restaurant's various dining rooms, the chairs are slightly different, but nonetheless comfortable. The seating is relaxed, at about 18 inches in width, and most of the chairs inside are armless, which gives you plenty of room. Wooden chairs are comfortable with red vinyl bottoms and cloth backs that are decorated in a striped fabric colored in sunset hues, with a cutout for the lower back. Outdoor patio chairs are a little more traditional, with curvilinear arms and solid color decoration, while the chairs in the garden have a more detailed back and are slightly more cushioned. Tables are far enough apart that you have an entirely pleasurable dining experience without having to hear the details of your neighbors' conversations. Space between tables is more than generous, as well, for your server to carry the many courses in which Rao's specializes.

Atmosphere
The atmosphere at Rao's is jovial and friendly. You're welcomed as if you're family, and your servers continue to treat you with this respectful yet friendly manner throughout your visit. The restaurant has multiple dining options, including the Feast Room and the two Rao's rooms, which are exact replicas of the East Harlem original's space. There is dining outside by the bocce ball court, as well, or in the Park, which resembles the sidewalk seating outside of the New York restaurant, but actually inside of Caesar's. Ceilings are high at 25 feet, creating an airy space throughout which music is playing. With the gregarious nature of some of the guests, mealtimes here can get exciting, so don't expect a quiet romantic date night. Do, however, expect to have a fun time; you probably won't be able to let everything sink in, so you'll have to come back again and truly experience all the restaurant has to offer. You'll leave happy and wonder where the time went. If you have a chance, ask for Matt; he's a great server. But then again, so are all of the servers; everyone from the hostess to the service staff to the manager, Patrick, is a pleasure. They all want to ensure that you have a wonderful time and wind up leaving fulfilled, awaiting your next trip to Rao's.

Restrooms
The restrooms are inside the restaurant, off the main lobby and on the same level as the dining room. You'll note that if you prefer not to climb the few stairs to get into the restaurant, there is a wheelchair ramp over to the side that provides very easy access to the restaurant.

   
     
    
Dress Code
The dress code is business casual, although people are comfortable in both formal and business casual outfits.

Parking
Complimentary valet parking is available at the hotel, both at the main entrance and at the Flamingo Road entrance, as are multiple cabs. Additional parking is available at the self-park structure behind Caesar’s Palace. If you're ending your meal at the same time as one of the shows at Caesar's Palace is letting out, you might want to allow extra time to get your car or enlist a taxi.

Awards
Traditional accolades aren't necessary to demonstrate culinary supremacy in this instance. Instead, look to the massive sales of the two Rao's cookbooks, along with the sales of the restaurant's lines of sauces and other specialty items; they're proof of just how wildly popular the Rao's phenomenon is. If you haven't already seen them in high-end retail stores and gourmet food markets, consider visiting the restaurant's Web site, www.raos.com, and checking them out. The Rao's secret was revealed in 1977 when Mimi Sheraton, a famous New York Times dining critic, awarded the New York original three stars and a half-page review. With its secret out and its tables therefore owned like condos by customers, who trade them like baseball cards, Rao's is the hardest reservation to get in New York. That should be award enough! Still, we'll keep you posted when the traditional awards kick in, which should be soon, considering that Rao's Las Vegas celebrated its one-year anniversary at the end of January!

*Please note that the restaurants featured at TravelsinTaste.com may have changed their personnel, menu, pricing, decor, hours of operation, etc., since our last visit. The competitive and creative nature of the fine dining scene virtually assures that changes will occur on a frequent basis in order to make diners happier, meals more pleasurable and visits more frequent. Given their frequent fluctuations, most restaurants welcome inquiries about their current hours, menu and more.

   
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