People used to visit Vegas to gamble, sip free drinks and fill up at all-you-can-eat buffets. These days, Las Vegas boasts some of the best dining in the world. From celebrity chef-driven fine dining to former Rat Pack haunts and down and dirty dive bars, there’s something for everyone in Sin City.
Here’s the best places to eat in Las Vegas.
Hit the Culinary Jackpot
Yes way, Jose!
I make no secret of the fact that José Andres is my favorite chef. If he’s got a restaurant in any city I visit, I am going! My only issue in Vegas is choosing which of his places to check out. You’ll find his avante garde homage to traditional Spanish tapas at Jaleo, a restaurant at the Cosmopolitan. If you’re looking for something super-special (and just won big at the blackjack table), might I suggest making a reservation at é by José? It’s a small private room adjacent to Jaleo, offering a clever and creative tasting menu.
Andres’ recently opened Bazaar Meat at the new SLS Hotel. It’s a playful riff on a steakhouse, with lots of meat, meat and more meat on the menu (okay, there are a handful of vegetable sides and salads, too). Located where the iconic Sahara Hotel and Casino once stood, I can’t wait to check out this place on my next Vegas visit.
I’m not sure what I love more—the food at Beauty and Essex or the fact that you have to walk through a pawn shop in order to enter the restaurant. Only in Vegas! Since this place is at the Cosmopolitan, it’s pretty much the most beautifully curated pawn shop on the planet. The actual restaurant, with its jewel-toned everything, feels cozy and seductive—the perfect spot to sip on handcrafted cocktails. The culinary team masterfully creates shareable plates—think dry-aged chuck sliders, street Thai barbecue chicken, and yummy Brussels sprouts. It’s eclectic in all the right ways.
Sure, you’re in the desert, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy incredibly fresh seafood. Head to Costa di Mare in the Wynn. Chef Mark LoRusso creates his menu nightly, featuring fresh Mediterranean seafood and Italian cuisine with house-made pastas and over forty varieties of fresh fish and shellfish flown in daily from Italy. If you can, request an outdoor cabana alongside their stunning lagoon.
Off the strip awesomeness
If you never leave the strip, you’re missing out on some of the city’s best food. Here’s three reasons to leave your hotel.
Did you know some of the best stateside Thai food resides in a mini-mall about a mile from the strip? Yep, it’s true. Visit Lotus of Siam for award-winning Northern Thai cuisine. Don’t be surprised if you see The One Guy from Top Chef eating here—this spot draws in serious food lovers from all over the world. It’s a casual restaurant, but reservations are always recommended, even on weekdays.
Another off-strip culinary destination? Raku, a Japanese restaurant that’s an insider secret amongst chefs. Their big thing is the robata—a method of grilling skewers of meats and veggies over charcoal. You’ll want to order a bunch per person. Most run about $3-7 apiece, but if you’re feeling fancy, get the soy glazed foie gras.
The Golden Steer
Dining at an old school steakhouse in Vegas just feels right. The Golden Steer delivers on everything you’d want—jumbo shrimp cocktail; Caesar salad served tableside by tuxedoed waiters who’ve worked here since the Carter administration; aged steaks and ridiculous portions of side dishes. It’s no wonder Frank and Dean loved this place.
Cocktailing Like a Pro
Sure, you can get free drinks if you’re gambling… but is it really “free” when you just keep pumping quarters into that slot machine? Think of these fabulous cocktail bars as a way to save money!
What’s more decadent than a crisp, bubby flute of champagne? Nothing! Check out Fizz Las Vegas at this fancy-dancy Caesars Palace lounge. The place is decked with art from Sir Elton John’s private collection (how cool is that?). Check your selfie game at the door—they don’t allow photos inside, which to me just makes this place feel even more chichi.
The Vegas strip is nice and all, but I’ve never really taken to that whole bottle service scene. Head to East Freemont street for cheaper drinks and lots more character. For pure kitschy goodness, hit up Beauty Bar. Grab a seat under an old school hairdryer and sip on a Flyin’ Frenchie, made with French whiskey, cranberry, sweet vermouth, Grand Marnier and bitters. During the day, you can get your nails done—seriously! The place morphs into a live music venue at night, with great up-and-coming bands gracing the stage.
Welcome to Vegas’ oldest freestanding bar. It’s divey on the outside, but actually pretty darn nice inside. Fun (or scary?) fact: Its name comes from that one time customers watched atomic blasts from the roof.
At Alain Ducasse’s Skyfall Lounge, you get excellent cocktails and a view to match. Towering high above Sin City on the 63rd floor of the Delano, you’ll find the second best view of the strip (the best view being on your flight out, knowing you made it out of town alive!). Sit on the terrace sipping on a Cowboy Hunting, made with Elijah Craig 12yr bourbon, amaretto, lemon juice and Thai chili.
I’m a sucker for a good tiki bar. They’re just pure fun. For the best in Vegas, head to Frankie’s. Any place that’s open 24/7, 365, which always makes me question how it gets cleaned—but trust me, after one stiff drink you will not care.
Let’s be honest: Las Vegas is pretty much Disney World for adults. Nothing makes quite embraces this from a culinary standpoint than sipping on an adult milkshake. For the most over-the-top version, head to Holsteins Shakes and Buns in the Cosmopolitan. With 11 different boozy milkshake offerings, you’re certain to find something that jibes with your tastes.
What are your favorite Las Vegas restaurants? Share in the comments!