Anyone who has seen "Casino Royale" knows that with high-stakes gambling comes expertly crafted cocktails, white-glove service and fine dining in gilded rooms. But even non-high rollers need to eat, and well, to be encouraged in their risky nights of raucous gambling. And some of the world's most luxurious casinos are more than willing to oblige, offering food served by celebrated chefs in opulent settings.
Outside of, say, Las Vegas and Macau, casinos are often housed in buildings with rich histories and an old-world feel. In Paris, the Aviation Club sits on the Champs-Élysées and was once an exclusive club for pilots. It is still a members-only club, though anyone of age (and who abides by the dress code) can become a member for €100 ($135) per year. Open 24/7, the club throws lavish events and serves traditional French fare in their restaurant and bar. Parts of Quebec's Casino de Montreal were originally built in 1967 for the World Expo, though the casino in its entirety didn't open until 1993. Since then, it has built up four restaurants and three bars that range from fine dining to casual eats.
Las Vegas' brand of luxury has, over the last 15 years or so, become infinitely more culinary-focused. Every luxury hotel on the Strip boasts a handful of celeb-chef restaurants and lavish bars, not least of which is the two-year-old Aria Resort & Casino. Within its confines, gamblers find Bar Masa, American Fish, Jean Georges Steakhouse, Sirio and Julian Serrano, among other eateries. The Bellagio was among the pioneers of the food revolution in Vegas, with Le Cirque, Picasso, Prime Steakhouse and Michael Mina throughout, most of which marked the famed chefs' first foray into Vegas dining.
In this world of high risk and high reward, fine dining is the perfect fit. Nothing motivates a gambler to continue winning quite like the mouthwatering promise of a leisurely meal prepared by a passionate chef with expert wine pairings -- except maybe the beauty of a growing stack of chips.
-- Nicole Campoy-Leffler, The Daily Meal
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