Dining Solo at Treasure Island

by Gray Cargill on January 7, 2010

The Treasure Island Sign

Treasure Island has fast become one of my favorite hotels on the Las Vegas Strip.  The quality for price ratio is pretty high, in my opinion. The rooms are very nice, the casino has pretty much everything you’d want a casino to have including more than one video poker bar, the location is outstanding, and it has a popular show (Mystere) on-site. But one of its better features is the sheer number and variety of dining options for a smaller hotel.  (“Small” being relative in Vegas, of course, but this is no MGM Grand or Caesars Palace. You can easily walk the perimeter without getting blisters.)

I haven’t said much about TI’s dining options yet, and as my Vegas trip is rapidly receding in my memory, I thought I’d roll my thoughts on them all into one blog post.

Fine Dining

If you’re looking for a high-end dining experience and cost is no object, TI has three choices for you:  Khotan, the Steakhouse, and Isla Mexican Kitchen.  The only one I actually tried was Isla, which I already reviewed here.  However, I did eyeball Khotan and the Steakhouse and can report that both have sizeable bars for solo diners looking to make friends while they dine.

Casual Dining

My budget kept me hovering around the casual eateries here.  Again, there are several choices. The only two I did not try were Canter’s Deli (the sandwiches looked a little overpriced to me) and Pho Vietnamese, which is located at the back of the coffee shop.  Here’s where I did eat:

Kahunaville sign

This place has really gone downhill

Kahunaville

There is a fine line between love and hate, and Kahunaville and I crossed it during this trip.  I have had dinner there a couple of times on previous trips and had above-average experiences.  I found the food and customer service to be great and the atmosphere fun.  This trip, though, I had one disappointment after another.  My room at TI came with a coupon for a $7.99 breakfast at Kahunaville which I took advantage of one morning.  It sounded like a great deal: 3 eggs any style with sausage, ham or bacon, breakfast potato and toast.  I was disappointed that the terrace wasn’t open, as I’d hoped to dine overlooking the pool area.  But these things happen.  The food, however, was very mediocre and the almost undrinkable $2.95 coffee came in a paper cup.  Worse, they had “lei girls” going table to table selling leis, supposedly for cancer research.  Whether or not that was true, I do not like being solicited while I’m trying to enjoy a meal. That is just in poor taste.

Speaking of poor taste, I decided to stop by for the flair bartender action and a late-night dessert one night. I grabbed the last open seat at the bar.  I sat there for easily 15 minutes and none of the bartenders acknowledged my presence.  Meanwhile, three young drunk couples were dancing to piped-in music and acting like complete asses (one girl’s idea of “dancing” was to pretend to give her partner a blow job on the dance floor).  Nobody on staff seemed to notice what was going on, let alone try to put an end to it.  What the hell happened to this place???  Look, I realize people like to cut loose in Vegas, but this was just out of control and tasteless. I got up and left.   I will not be back.

The Coffee Shop

24-hour cafes are a godsend when you’re starving at midnight.  I was seated at a two-top table (of which there are plenty) with a view of the casino.  I wish they hadn’t seated me next to a large group, which made me feel a bit conspicuous as a solo diner.  But I was too tired to care much.  While the late-night menu is limited, I’m sure everyone could find something to eat off it.  There are breakfasts at around $11-12, sandwiches, salads, even a steak and shrimp dinner for around $25.  I got the BLT for $10 which came with half a platter of really delicious skinny fries.  The tomatoes and lettuce on the sandwich were fresh, the bacon plentiful, and the price was good for the amount of food. Service, however, was rather slow.  I don’t recommend eating here when you’re in a hurry.

Parfait at TI Buffet

Parfait at TI Buffet

TI Buffet

I only had breakfast here one day, and it was a revelation to me.  The space this restaurant occupies is really pretty. I wasn’t expecting anything like that.  It’s got a very contemporary decor, a bit nicer than your average buffet, with dark wood tables, lots of red and orange and large overhead lamps.  I can’t recall if there were any other solo diners in there at the time, but I had a table in a cozy nook, so I didn’t feel out of place at all.  Service was very efficient and the food was above average, with plenty of variety.  (Take that, Flamingo buffet.)  The highlight of the meal was a yogurt parfait with granola and diced fruit. As the Spanish say, beuno y sano (good and healthy). I would happily eat here again, solo or otherwise.

Francesco’s

I had a nice lunch at Francesco’s, but there’s no point in reviewing it, since it has since closed.  I hope my waitress found a new gig. She was cool.  RIP, Francesco’s.

Other Dining Options

Room Service

I know a lot of solo travelers like to rely on room service so they don’t have to face dining out in public alone.  I tend to avoid it, because I’d rather be around other people when I dine.  Also, the prices tend to be ridiculously high.  TI is no different.  I ordered some late night chicken tenders one night. Cost: $18 plus a $5 room service charge (before tip!).  Good grief.  The tenders were very good and came with two delicious dipping sauces, but come on–$23 for chicken tenders?  Vegas needs to get over itself with its inflated prices. On the bright side, service was quick; the food was delivered in 15 minutes, hot.  If you don’t mind paying for quick service and you’re too tired to get dressed and leave your room (which I was), it’s an option.

Starbucks

I tend to avoid Starbucks at home in favor of locally-owned coffee shops, but I have to say, this place became my go-to stop for inexpensive eats and drinks.  There were times when I just couldn’t get what I wanted elsewhere, either because restaurants had closed, or nothing else was inexpensive.  Starbucks saved the day every time.  I knew I could get a good iced coffee here.  I had coffee and an apple danish for breakfast one day for $6.  One night, I had a coffee and a piece of bundt cake for $5.  By Vegas standards, those are screaming deals.

Conclusion

As you can see, TI has a variety of dining options.  I tended to lean toward the cheaper ones on this trip, but look forward to trying Khotan and the Steakhouse next time. If it’s important to you to have several dining options on-site so you don’t have to leave your hotel at night, TI fits the bill.  With so many choices, you’re bound to find something that is comfortable for you.

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