Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013 | 2 a.m.
From casinos to nightclubs, the Strip has never been shy about pushing the boundaries of scale — and restaurants are no exception.
Italian eatery Carmine's raised the bar when it opened at the Forum Shops of Caesars Palace last month, claiming the title of the largest non-nightclub restaurant on the Strip with a 28,000-square-foot space that seats 800 guests and employs 220.
How does the rest of the competition stack up?
Here's a look at some of Las Vegas' largest restaurants on the Strip:
Carmine's at the Forum Shops
The seventh location of the famous East Coast chain opened in July at the Forum Shops, gutting the space formerly occupied by a Planet Hollywood restaurant to make way for a 28,000-square-foot Italian eatery. The two-story restaurant can seat as many as 800 guests and has nine private dining rooms, so it's no surprise that it takes a staff of 220 to make the entire show run. The food, of course, is up to scale — single dishes like the 9-inch-high eggplant Parmesan and the "Titanic," a dessert with no less than 10 softball-sized scoops of ice cream, feed an entire family.
Nobu at Caesars Palace
Las Vegas’ new Nobu location at Caesars Palace also is the world’s largest at 12,775 square feet and is the first to offer the teppanyaki iron griddle-style of cooking in the United States. The restaurant-lounge, which opened in February as part of the Nobu boutique hotel, seats 327 guests and features a sushi bar, a private dining area, a vast selection of Nobu’s signature favorites, plus, menu items unique to the Caesars location.
Lagasse's Stadium at Palazzo
Lagasse's comes a close second to Carmine’s at 24,000 square feet. The restaurant and sports bar offers signature Emeril eats like the oyster po’ boy, as well as more traditional game-day fare. Sports fans can chow down in the comfort of 109 flat-screen TVs and a movie theater-style production screen. The space also offers VIP luxury boxes with private TVs, pool tables, video game consoles, Wi-Fi, iPod docks and bottle service, should you be in need of more decadence.
Tao at the Venetian
The first to bring together dining and nightlife on the Strip, Tao, which opened in September 2005, is 60,000 square feet across three levels. Its restaurant alone is 17,500 square feet and seats 400. Even with all that space, lines still wrap around outside in anticipation of Tao’s renowned food and DJs.
Hakkasan at MGM Grand
The largest of the nightlife behemoths, the restaurant brand broke the mold with its first nightclub at MGM Grand, altering the hotel’s iconic exterior to make way for a five-story, 80,000-square-foot nightclub-restaurant-lounge with one floor devoted entirely to private dining. All that space doesn’t come cheap: Hakkasan’s price tag is reported to be $100 million to $200 million.
Aria Cafe at CityCenter
At 13,681 square feet, Aria Cafe boasts the title of the largest 24-hour cafe on the Strip. The eatery seats about 600 guests and features floor-to-ceiling windows that include silk-embedded glass and recaptured stone from the historic Boardwalk Hotel, providing a spectacular view whether you’re grabbing a morning cup of coffee or a late-night snack.
Located at Harmon and Las Vegas Blvd. on the Strip, the Las Vegas edition of the mountain lodge-themed eatery marks the chain’s newest and largest location, featuring a 14,000-square-foot dining room that seats 400. In addition to partaking in Twin Peaks’ signature fried fare, guests can check out some of its 30 stacked flat-screen TVs by the bar or take a shot at the 39-foot rock-climbing wall at the center of the restaurant.