After the success of Picasso, Bellagio's sister hotel, the Mirage, opened Renoir, another fine-dining restaurant decorated with original art from a famous painter. Renoir also quickly snagged a five-star rating, but the similarities end there. Chef Alessandro Stratta, a James Beard award winner, cooks less complicated but equally delicious contemporary French cuisine, applying classic techniques to more commonplace ingredients. "Everyone makes short ribs now, but no one, I mean no one, does it like Alex. I defy you to find a better one. I've looked all over the country, and he takes this mundane dish to a level no one ever has," said Muriel Stevens, food critic for the Las Vegas Sun and restaurant contributor for the Unofficial Guide to Las Vegas.

Mandalay Bay Hotel, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd., (702) 632-7414

Named for the Las Vegas Boulevard address of the Mandalay Bay hotel, which already had famous clones like Aureole, China Grill, Red Square, and Border Grill, this newcomer is quietly building a loyal following. Chef Scott McCarter imports the freshest ingredients, from Florida stone crabs to Dover sole, and exquisitely prepares them in his small, contemporary American restaurant. A simple and straightforward menu of fish, steaks, and the best lobster bisque in town is accompanied by stunning desserts and a wine list that is very reasonable by local standards.

Bellagio Hotel, 3600 Las Vegas Blvd., (702) 693-7223

Las Vegas is a mecca for meat eaters, boasting branches of the nation's top steakhouses, including the Palm, Morton's, Nine, Smith & Wollensky, and Gallagher's. But it is Prime that has emerged as the top choice of carnivores, although it features a surprising number of seafood choices as well. Superstar French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, whose namesake formal New York restaurant is another five-star winner, wanted to do something more casual when he went to Vegas. The result is Prime, whose signature is accompanying simple, select cuts of meat and fish with a variety of unique sides (think chickpea fries) and sauces (including six different mustards).