Parisian Francois Payard is best known for his buttery, sugary confections. His coveted chocolate croissants are available from the express line, but those who take the time for a full meal here are amply rewarded. There are few places on the Strip that match this elegant, ladies-who-lunch environment, with barely a dozen tables and an exhibition kitchen in the middle. And the food! The croque madame, one of the best in the city, is a toasted ham-and-cheese sandwich laden with béchamel cheese and two fried eggs; while the Benedicts, stacked high with salmon or lobster, rest on buttery, flaky croissants. Lunch offerings are even more substantial, with pressed sandwiches and burgers, and the Niçoise salad will take you right back to Lyon. If you have a minute, take a look at the ornate clock at the front of the cafe; it’s called the Chocolate Clock not because it’s made of chocolate, but because it dispenses free petit fours when it chimes several times a day.
- Grace Bascos