From Celebrity Chefs to Ethnic Food Stands
By Terrisa Meeks
Las Vegas Local Expert
Las Vegas has attracted a large number of great, first-class restaurants with celebrity chefs. Serious foodies will find everything from French prixe fixe menus to more casual eateries—and delicious food in all of them. If you've got a favorite chef, chances are he or she has an outpost in Las Vegas. Plan ahead for a meal in one of these restaurants—make reservations well in advance and expect a large tab. For many food lovers, a restaurant like Joel Robuchon is a destination worth the extra effort. A great meal doesn't have to mean a big bill, however, and you can also find restaurants that serve small plates or even more comfort-style foods. Ambiance is almost as important as the food in these restaurants, which specialize in giving customers a total experience: great views, impeccable service, and beautifully designed room. Variety abounds along the Strip, so take some time to think about what kind of food you'd most like to try. Don't be afraid to be a little adventurous—after all, a vacation in Vegas is all about having fun.
The best sushi is the freshest sushi, and at MGM Grand's Shibuya, you'll find fresh fish and Japanese food of all sorts. The sleek and modernistic design of the restaurant reflects a modern Asian ambiance, which is a fitting backdrop for this upscale eatery. A large selection of sake and beer complement the fine food here, which has won a handful of awards, including the AAA Four Diamond. (702-891-3001)
Rao's first restaurant was in New York, but its outpost at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas still serves the authentic Italian food that its customers adore. You may want to work off Rao's large portions with a game of bocce ball, and you're in luck--they happen to have a court. The interior design evokes a homey feeling, and the food is most often described as almost home-cooked. If you're looking for a more relaxed place to eat, Rao's may be just what you're looking for. (877-346-4642)
8 Society Cafe
Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the Society Café at Encore is a refreshingly upscale, yet casual, restaurant. With a comfortable atmosphere and a contemporary and pleasing interior design, this is a restaurant that encourages you to come back and try out something new. This is a place to find breakfast, burgers, and a full menu full of café-style dishes. (702-770-7000)
7 Julian Serrano
Aria has several notable restaurants, but Julian Serrano wins high marks from its guests for the small plates, or tapas. Tapas were once a novelty in the United States, but the small dishes have now become popular throughout America. The appeal is probably not just because of their flavorful originality, but because they're affordable and are served in small portions. Julian Serrano's restaurant at Aria is a wonderful place to sample tapas--but be forewarned that once you try his food, you may not want to restrict yourself to small servings. (877-230-2742)
6 Le Village Buffet
You almost have to go to a buffet while you're in Vegas--it's virtually a requirement before you're allowed to cash in your chips and leave the city. Almost every hotel has a buffet, but Le Village at Paris gets high marks for originality and the selections it offers. This isn't the cheapest buffet in town, but that's probably a good thing. (702-946-4966, 702-946-7000)
What other place has wine angels ascend a tower to fetch your wine--which you've selected from a list so long that it's been put on an iPad? The wine may be the major draw at Charlie Palmer's Aureole in Mandalay Bay, but you have to have something to eat with your wine. Two rooms offer diners a wide variety of menu selections, including include fish, chicken, duck, pork and beef. The food is American, but as interpreted by award-winning Chef Palmer. (702-632-7401)
4 Golden Steer Steakhouse
The Golden Steer is pure Old Vegas, a place where the Rat Pack once dined, and it's one of the city's most historic restaurants. Steak, naturally, is its specialty. It's been around for over 50 years, and it's still worth a stop. Just off the Strip, not far from the world's biggest souvenir shop, the Golden Steer's neighborhood is a little more gritty than it used to be. But if you'd like a taste of what Vegas used to be like before mega resorts and celebrity chefs, this is the place to go. (702-384-4470)
3 Delmonico Steakhouse
Emeril Lagasse's Delmonico Steakhouse is a transplanted New Orleans gem. Lagasse has recreated the atmosphere of a traditional steakhouse, along with the incredible steaks to go with it. Meat lovers can choose from several different cut of beef while whiskey lovers pick a beverage from over 530 different selections. (702-414-1992)
Since 2001, this off-Strip standby has been wowing diners with its fabulous French fare and dazzling views of the Strip. Located on the 56th floor of the Palms Casino Resort, Alizé offers guests a nearly 280-degree panoramic view of Las Vegas from 16-foot floor-to-ceiling windows. Guests can feast their eyes on the city while indulging in Alizé's signature menu items, like the Imported Dover Sole. They can then wash everything down with a selection from the restaurant's award-winning wine list, boasting approximately 1,200 selections and an inventory of more than 8,000 bottles--including one of the most impressive large format selections (magnums, double magnums, Jeroboams, etc.) in the nation. Not a vino enthusiast? Alizé also has one of the most impressive cognac collections in the country, including prestigious vintages from Rémy Martin, Hine, Prunier and the most extensive collection of rare cognacs from the house of Hardy known to exist. (702-951-7000)
1 Joël Robuchon
If you've got money to burn in Las Vegas, don't miss this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Joël Robuchon's namesake restaurant provides an opportunity to experience the Chef of the Century's formidable cooking talents in their fullest expression. The restaurant features traditional French cuisine catering to a sophisticated palate in a setting reminiscent of Paris in the 1930s. Guests can enjoy a lavish reception area, elegant main dining room, landscaped garden-designed dining room and intimate bar. Both the 6- and 16-course tasting menus showcase precise portions of perfect French Nouvelle cuisine, using only the finest meats, seafood and produce available. A sautéed veal chop with natural herbs jus, truffled langoustine ravioli with chopped cabbage and pan-fried sea bass with five spices are just some of the signature dishes sure to leave guests salivating for more. (702-891-7925)
About Terrisa Meeks
Terrisa Meeks is a native born, life-long resident of Las Vegas. She became a traveler long before she could walk. Terrisa has traveled throughout the United States, from Maine to Hawaii, but she especially enjoys exploring the Southwestern United States. Las Vegas is a place she's watched grow and change. While she always enjoys visiting the Strip, Terrisa's true passion is for exploring the lightly-visited Mojave Desert. She gets giddy over hard-to-find back roads, quirky museums, and ghost towns. Her happiest travel moments involve vast expanses of wilderness and a good map.
Read more about Terrisa Meeks here.