Flying into Las Vegas offers first-time visitors a unique and unmistakable view from the sky. The adult playground in the desert springs up as if from nothing, an entire city purpose-built to fulfill your every fantasy. The short ferry ride from Hong Kong to Macau offers first-timers there much the same feeling, as a massive glowing skyline emerges, appearing as if from nowhere from behind the fog.
As with the entire look and feel of the restaurant, it’s the small details which make the difference
When China regained sovereignty of Macau, and its special administrative region was set up, restrictions on casinos and gaming were soon removed and the meteoric modern rise of Macau began in earnest. The government awarded several additional gaming licenses in 2002, and among the resulting initial burst of new casinos was The Venetian Macao, which has now been open for a decade.
The Venetian Macao is a majestic monster, consisting entirely of suites, with some 3,000 total. It’s also just one part of an even larger grouping of Sands Resorts Macao properties totaling over 12,000 rooms. The lineup includes new neighbor The Parisian, open since 2016, and a stacked fleet for every taste and budget, from the Sands Macao, which in 2004 became the first Vegas-style resort and casino to open in Macao, to the Conrad, Sheraton Grand, and Holiday Inn, and all the way up the Four Seasons and The St. Regis.
Believe it—size matters in Macau, a global gaming hotbed renowned for the whales it reels in and the many luxe diversions offered up. Consider that the Sands properties boast over 150 restaurants and dining options along with 850 high-end and entirely duty-free shops. You can take a ride up the half-scale Eiffel Tower located out front of The Parisian, or enjoy a gondola ride through the canals built into The Venetian’s shops. There are golf courses and pools, decked out kids’ entertainment centers, and concerts and performances of all kinds.
Eating and Drinking Well in The Venetian
It’s easy to get lost among the offerings—both literally lost among the sprawling hallways, though at least you’ll be getting some exercise in along the way, and figuratively lost, as in, what in the world should I go and eat, or do, with so many options at my disposal?
While there are no shortage of world-class buffets and an endless array of quick-service options open around the clock, within The Venetian we have several first-hand recommendations for you. At the top of the list is The Golden Peacock, a Michelin-starred restaurant for five years running.
Fresh-baked clay-oven naan, roti, and crunchy breads may be paired with half a dozen different dips and chutneys
The restaurant showcases dishes and flavors from across India, and takes every step to provide an authentic experience. From the decor to the staff uniforms, no stone has been left unturned in this quest for authenticity, including importing spices straight from India, as well as the actual chefs themselves.
Fresh-baked clay-oven naan, roti, and crunchy breads may be paired with half a dozen different dips and chutneys. Aromatic basmati rice is perfectly cooked and ready to sop up the hearty, thick sauces and curries which accompany entrées such as Chemmeen Ularthiyathu, or tiger prawns with rice lentil pancakes, or loaded appetizer trays such as a platter featuring a trio of Chingari lamb kebabs, Kandari Murgh Tikka chicken, and Lahsooni Jhinga prawns. The restaurant also dedicates nearly half of its menu space to vegetarian dishes, while cocktails are also infused with the spices and flavors of India.
As with the entire look and feel of the restaurant, it’s the small details which make the difference. Take a server’s suggestion and pair a bite of the pistachio-crusted lamb kebabs with the mint chutney and the flavor of both is exponentially elevated.
Another stop to explore in The Venetian is the Spirito bar, located within the Portofino restaurant, an Italian trattoria. The bar showcases a deep wine list—the hearty tome is referred to as their “bible”—with over 700 selections, about 60 percent of which is Italian. On the spirits front, high rollers will be happy to find offerings such as Louis XIII Cognac, and well-aged Scotch, topped off by the likes of Macallan 30 and Glenmorangie 25.
The swanky bar setting though also offers a lineup of signature cocktails, including classics. Stay in the Italian spirit with a focus on Italian bitters and Vermouths, and refreshing spritzes, sure to cool you down after even the most humid of Macau afternoons, or the toughest stretches of luck back on the casino floor. While bartenders are used to customers sticking to the wine selection, a quick conversation can lead you down the road to a customized Manhattan with Woodford Reserve, or whatever else you may be interested in.
Needless to say, that’s only scratching the surface of the world of food and drink options within the massive property. Check out Bambu for sushi and sashimi, Canton for Cantonese dishes, and North, showcasing the traditional cuisines of the Dongbei, or northeast region of China.
While arriving at the mega-gambling gateways of Las Vegas or Macau may feel eerily similar at first, there’s far more history and culture to be found in Macau, of course. So while you could be forgiven for never leaving the confines of your hotel in Vegas, you’d be remiss for doing so in Macau.
Touring the historic center of Macau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site paints a fascinating picture. Black and white tile-lined pedestrian walkways and pastel-hued architecture abound in Senado Square, speaking to Macau’s Portuguese past. The remaining facade of the ruins of St. Paul’s, with a sole wall still standing, and the adjacent Fortaleza do Monte offer further glimpses into that colonial past, while the behemoth casinos remain looming in the distance.
The Portuguese influence on Macau can also be seen in the ubiquitous egg custard tarts for sale, though better eating will be found removed from the touristy hustle and bustle of Senado, whether in small unmarked noodle shops or famed tea shops and dim sum haunts.
After all of that touring though, your hotel may be beckoning. So hopefully you saved a bit of time to relax in the serene spa, try your luck at the tables, or continue with your indulgence of all things good to eat and drink.
There’s always something more to look forward to in this intriguing destination which weaves together cultures and eras. The Venetian and The Parisian will be joined by a new neighbor and family member, The Londoner, with construction already underway on the next big thing in Macau.