My recent focus was on the restaurants in downtown Las Vegas and on The Strip. There are many great local restaurants, particularly ethnic casual spots, off The Strip, which will be my focus on my next trip. Las Vegas has come a long way from the popular casino buffets to becoming a popular “Foodie Destination” as many of the top celebrity chefs in the country have opened restaurants all along The Strip. Most take reservations on OpenTable, so I suggest booking before you go or at least as soon as you arrive, to make sure you get into the popular spots and at the time you want. Many offer pre-show options. My recent finds include:
At the SLS, the north end of The Strip at 2535 Las Vegas Blvd. South, there are several dining options:
Bazaar Meat by José Andres: This is the James Beard Award winning chef’s steakhouse with an exceptional designed space by Philippe Starck. It is a meat lover’s dream, but I opted for the fire roasted octopus/pulpo served with potatoes and a pepper sauce plus a wonderful Catalan spinach side made with apples, pine nuts, shallots and raisins.
Umami Burger, Beer Garden and Sports Book: This is a casual spot with excellent burgers that is a great spot for lunch. I really liked the ahi tuna burger with a seared ahi patty, daikon sprouts, crushed avocado, gingered carrots, wasabi flakes and wasabi tartar.
Northside Cafe & Chinese Kitchen: A classic coffeeshop environment, this is a the best breakfast spot in the hotel.
Katsuya: I loved their location at the SLS in South Beach in Miami. This location is also attractively designed by Philippe Starck. Master Sushi Chef Katsuya Uechi features some very innovative Japanese dishes.
This five-star luxury property has some great dining options. The 23rd floor Tea Lounge is perfect for afternoon tea overlooking The Strip and the nearby Mandarin Bar is a great place for a cocktail with equally great views. There is also the MOzen Bistro for contemporary Asian cuisine and Twist, for modern French cuisine by the well-known Parisien Chef, Pierre Gagnaire.
Aria Resort and Casino
The Aria is huge and features 16 restaurants and a dozen bars. Here you will find:
Bardot Brasserie: I loved my meal at this attractive French Bistro featuring comfort food by Chef Michael Mina. It is one of four restaurants he has in Las Vegas. I loved the the salmon with lentils in a smoked tomato vinaigrette and a great red wine. 3730 Las Vegas Blvd. South.
You will also find the Jean George Steakhouse by Jean-George Vongerichten featuring open-flame steak and seafood and Sage, the farm-to-table restaurant by James Beard Award-winning chef Shawn McClain who won Best Chef Midwest in 2006.
At the Aria you will also find Jean Philippe for coffee, gelato, chocolates, cookies, cakes and crepes. They also have one at the Bellagio.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
The Cosmopolitan has a large number of restaurants in their collection. They have California-based Eggslut for all day breakfast on the casual side to Jaleo which is the upscale tapas restaurant by José Andres. Highlights include paella cooked over a large wood-burning grill, jamon iberico, tapas and large Spanish wine selection.
There is also é by José Andrés which is tucked away in a private room adjacent to Jaleo’s bar at the Cosmopolitan. It is a small, upscale hideaway featuring a Spanish tasting menu.
I chose to have lunch at José Andres’ China Poblano Noodles & Tacos, which is his casual fusion restaurant featuring both Mexican and Chinese food. I chose to try both and enjoyed the grilled chicken and barbecue pork tacos and a mix of dim sum dumplings. The scallop dumplings were my favorite. The atmosphere is very colorful and fun.
The Chandelier is a stunning three-level cocktail lounge in the center of the casino/lobby area. It is a great spot for a before or after dinner drink.
Yardbird Southern Table & Bar: At 3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South in the Palazzo’s Restaurant Row. I chose Yardbird as I had enjoyed their restaurant in South Beach in Miami. They offer a modern take on Southern comfort with shared plates, craft cocktails, popular fried chicken. It is a popular spot for brunch or dinner. I loved the kale salad and the Virginia Ham biscuits similar to a slider.
Bouchon: Bouchon is located at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino at 3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South in the Venezia Tower. Operated by famed California chef, Thomas Keller, his traditional French dishes including roast chicken, steak frites, croque madame, pot de creme and lemon tart as well as an extensive raw bar, are fixtures throughout the year.
He also has the more casual Bouchon Bakery at the Venetian. It offers croissants, confections, pastries, tarts and cookies as well as sandwiches and salads.
As a regular at Canyon Ranch in Tucson, the famed fitness resort and spa, I always try to work out at their Spa Club at the Venetian. After a great workout I always love the Canyon Ranch Cafe which has a healthy menu. Newly added is their Canyon Ranch Grill at the Palazzo.
Emeril Lagasse also has Delmonico’s Steakhouse at the Venetian which is his take on a creole steakhouse.
Forum Shops at Caesars Palace
In addition to great shopping, there are many great restaurants to choose from within the complex.
Wolfgang Puck’s Spago is always popular. I have enjoyed it in the past. There is also Carmine’s, Il Mulino New York, The Palm Restaurant and Trevi Italian Restaurant overlooking the Fountain of the Gods.
Nearby at Caesars Palace, you will find Bobby’s Flay’s Mesa Grill with Southwestern fare.
After visiting the Gallery of Fine Art and the Chihuly stained glass in the lobby, stop in at Palio Cafe for a pastry, espresso or snack. It is a colorful spot overlooking the pool area of the hotel. They also have an outdoor patio.
On my way to the airport, I stopped for lunch at Della’s Kitchen in the upscale Delano Hotel next to Mandalay Bay at the south end of The Strip. Open for breakfast and lunch, it is a stylish spot featuring classic comfort food and seasonal specialties. The grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup and a kale slaw, hit the spot after a three-day eating binge in Las Vegas.
For fine dining, make sure to try famed French chef Alain Ducasse’s Rivea restaurant featuring his French and Italian influenced cuisine.
Downtown Las Vegas
When exploring downtown and the Fremont Street Experience, I highly recommend Carson Kitchen. I loved having lunch in this restaurant and enjoyed sitting at the chef’s table looking into the kitchen and watching the chefs. I enjoyed my flat bread with fall squash and other vegetables and a great beet salad. The pear tart was also very good. Check out their rooftop patio for live music. 124 S. 6th.
Bocho Downtown Sushi is opposite and located in the same building if you are in the mood for sushi. 124 S. 6th. #150.
The Arts District
Just south of downtown is the Arts District. Don’t miss:
Makers & Finders: At 1120 S Main St., this is a fun coffee shop and cafe. It has an extensive coffee menu plus a large food menu featuring Latin comfort food.
Next door and sharing the same outdoor patio is Hop Nuts Brewing. They brew a large selection of ales, IPAs, porters, stouts and seasonal brews. 1120 S. Main St.
At 1218 S. Main, is the Velveteen Rabbit which gets great reviews for its craft cocktails and specialty beers.