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 of 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 and top recommendations include:
The Sahara Las Vegas
At the Sahara Las Vegas, formerly the SLS, the north end of The Strip at 2535 Las Vegas Blvd. South, there are several dining options including:
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.
Northside Cafe & Chinese Kitchen: A classic coffeeshop environment, this is a the best breakfast spot in the hotel.
Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas
The Mandarin Oriental is now the Walforf Astoria Las Vegas. 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 Sky Bar is a great place for a cocktail with equally great views. There is also the Zen Kitchen for contemporary Asian cuisine and Twist, for modern French cuisine by the well-known Parisien Chef, Pierre Gagnaire and Sky Bar with great view and cocktails.
ARIA Resort & Casino
The Aria is huge and features over 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.
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.
Also getting great press at The Cosmopolitan is the Block 16 Urban Food Hall, Ghost Donkey, a colorful mezcal and tequila bar and Zuma, a modern Japanese isakaya restaurant with a sushi and robata grill in a contemporary setting.
Next to The Aria you will find The Shops at Crystals. Here you will find Mastro’s Ocean Club for seafood.
The Palazzo next to the Venetian has a Restaurant Row with notable restaurants like 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 Canyon Ranch Spa + Fitness at the Venetian. After a great workout I always loved their casual cafe for lunch. It is now called Truth & Tonic and features healthy cuisine. They also have CR CREĀT , a stop-and-go destination for energy-boosting juices and coffee, nutritious wraps, sandwiches and snacks in The Grand Canal Shoppes.
I just read about Chica, that features chef Lorena Garcia’s flavors from Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina. She was also just featured on CBS Saturday Morning’s The Dish segment. I will definitely add to my list for my next trip.
Forum Shops at Caesars Palace
In addition to great shopping, there are many great restaurants to choose from within the complex. There is Carmine’s, The Palm Restaurant and Trevi Italian Restaurant overlooking the Fountain of the Gods.
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.
Fine dining options include Le Cirque for French cuisine, Michael Mina for seafood and Harvest by Roy Ellamar for “charcuterie and artisanal cheeses and preserves; opulent vegetarian dishes; sustainable seafood cooked in a stone oven; grilled, dry-aged and grass-fed beef; organic poultry and game from the rotisserie; along with adventurous small bites, market-driven sides and a line-up of classic cocktails featuring cold-pressed juices and homegrown herbs.”
I just read about Sadelle’s Cafe at the Bellagio as perfect spot for brunch when you are in town.
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.
Paris Las Vegas
Mon Ami Gabi: One on my favorite French bistros in Chicago is Mon Ami Gabi. They have a traditional French restaurant at the Paris Las Vegas.
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.
I just read about Esther’s Kitchen for seasonal Italian food and pasta on the Eater Las Vegas Heatmap. Located in The Arts District, I will definitely try it on my next trip as it looks great. 1130 S. Casino Center Blvd.