Las Vegas' Best Restaurants: Indulge Your Food Fantasies
By Terrisa Meeks
Las Vegas Local Expert
The best restaurants in Las Vegas showcase modern and traditional cuisines, from Japanese at Raku to classic French at Joel Robuchon. Vegas’ best restaurants are a treat for the food lover. Several are helmed by famous chefs, but you’ll also find hidden gems in humble establishments. Many of Vegas’ best eateries are French, but you’ll also find Asian, Italian, and Spanish—all a sign of Las Vegas’ evolving food scene, which has expanded to include a host of styles. Many of the best restaurants are on the Strip, but traveling just off the Strip to Downtown or Chinatown can turn up a host of great food experiences. A large number of renowned chefs have restaurants in Las Vegas, giving fans the chance to sample food from their favorite chefs. The atmosphere at many of these restaurants is upscale and professionally designed—a complement to the food. Off the Strip, you’ll often find great food in much less formal surroundings. A few local gems have developed followings that extend beyond Las Vegas. Plan ahead for any restaurants on your “must eat at” list since some of the hottest places can have a wait of a month or more. Check ahead for seasonal specialties or events so you don’t miss any one-of-a-kind experiences. Meals at these terrific Vegas restaurants are an experience most diners will remember for a long time.
Raku in Las Vegas' Chinatown attracts chefs from all over the city. It's a popular foodie destination, having been on its fair share of travel and food shows. Some of the menu's stars include pork ear, pork cheek and homemade tofu. Diners will find specialties usually only available in Japan. The food here attracts the most dedicated food lovers with its wide menu of delights, like Steamed Foi Gras Egg Custard, or Kobe beef in several preparations. This Japanese restaurant has expanded, but it's still a small place, so reservations are a must. Plan on a short cab ride from the Strip.
Jose Andres features Spanish tapas and paellas at Jaleo Las Vegas, at The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas. The Paella Grill is the restaurant's centerpiece, an open-fire wood grill for cooking traditional Spanish paellas. You'll find dishes using uncommon ingredients--anchovies, sheep's milk cheese and boiled octopus--and dishes like wild mushroom confit in olive oil, squid stuffed with Iberico pork, cheese plates and a watermelon and tomato salad with goat cheese and pistachios. A tapas and cocktail bar are also included in the restaurant. The space's beautiful, vibrant design is the perfect background for the inventive and visually arresting food and drinks. Tasting Menus are available every day from 4pm until the restaurant closes. (702- 698-7000)
Le Cirque has become a Las Vegas classic, offering diners a menu of classic and contemporary French food. Guests can choose from four mouth-watering menus: the Dégustation, the Pre-Theatre, the Prix-Fixe, the Vegetarian and a Caviar and Truffle Menu. Summer prix-fixe menu items include Maryland Blue Crab and Russian Osetra Caviar, Hamachi, frog legs and steak tartare. The award-winning food is enhanced by a coveted wine selection, attentive service and an elegant yet playful circus-themed interior. Designed by Adam D. Tihany, the vibrant colors adorning the dining room combined with the exquisite cuisine come seamlessly together to amuse guests' eyes as well as their taste buds in celebrated Maccioni family fashion. (702-693-8100)
Andiamo Italian Steakhouse
The Andiamo Italian Steakhouse is tucked away on the second floor of the D Hotel and Casino. Its reputation for great food attracts locals and tourists from all over the city. This Detroit original serves up tender, perfectly cooked steaks--including the Andiamo Tomahawk, a long bone 32-ounce rib eye--along with char-grilled lamb chops and braised shoulder, plus distinctive pastas like Orrechette Barese, priest hat shaped pasta with sauteed broccolini, garlic, cream, and two kinds of cheese. The restaurant's beef is premium grade, and they feature lamb, veal and chicken that are hormone-free, free-raised, and all natural. The small room has quickly gained a following and although the ownership is new, the atmosphere is all Old Vegas. (702-388-2220)
Executive Chef Julian Serrano's menu at Picasso is inspired by the regional cuisine of France and Spain where Pablo Picasso spent much of his life. Serrano's impeccable cuisine is on display in the degustation menu, which might include dishes like Sautéed Steak of Foie Gras, with marinated cherries in Dulce Monastrell and New Zealand Tai Snapper with court-bouillon sauce and herbs. The wine cellar is stocked with more than 1,500 selections, so you'll certainly fin the perfect wine to go with such a meal. The dining room is adorned with Picasso's work, and also offers diners a view of the Bellagio's fountains. (702-693-8105)
Lotus of Siam
Lotus of Siam is often considered among the best Thai restaurants in the country, and that status has earned the modest restaurant a spot on many foodie's bucket list. The unassuming entrance might fool the uninformed, but once you've had a chance to try the Khao Soi, garlic prawns or any of the distinctive Northern Thailand dishes, you'll understand why the restaurant has such a following. Owner and chef Saipin Chutima was the James Beard Award Winner as the best chef in the Southwest in 2011, which tells you that you're in good hands. While you can get Pad Thai or chow mein here, with so many unique and delicious dishes to try, it seems a shame not to try something new. (702-735-3033)
Small plates are the signature item at Julian Serrano's Lago, which opened at Bellagio in the spring of 2015, taking over the space that formerly housed Circo. This Italian restaurant brings a winning combination of flavors, and gives diners a visual feast in a beautifully designed room--with the Bellagio's fountains dancing just outside the windows. A three-course tasting menu is available for lunch, featuring choices like Branzino Livornese, sea bass with capers, olives, tomatoes, and roasted asparagus, or the house made meatballs. For dinner, appetizer selections feature small plates of focaccia, pizzette and raw seafood, meat (a 4-ounce Angus beef tenderloin, for instance), and fish. Full size courses are also available. (866-259-7111)
Twist by Pierre Gagnaire
Twist by Pierre Gagnaire is the chef's only restaurant in the United States, and its amazing French food is known for being deliciously creative. Located on the 23rd floor of Mandarin Oriental, Twist boasts an innovative menu that gives classic French cuisine a modern spin. Menu options change seasonally, but a tasting menu and a la carte options are available. On the tasting menu, look for such dishes as Florida spiny lobster with lemongrass, cauliflower, and grapes, or roasted rack of veal with endive fondue and grapefruit. Twist features floor-to-ceiling windows and a dramatic glass staircase leading up to a suspended wine loft, but the restaurant's most striking feature is arguably its lighting, which incorporates more than 300 gold globes designed to look as if they're floating in the air across the ceiling (888-881-9367)
Restaurant Guy Savoy
The exclusive Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace is well known for the chef's signature artichoke and black truffle soup, but the food is incredible at every level. Each delectable dish is a culinary delight. Fixed course meals are available, but a la carte orders are also available. The Foie-Gras is one of the restaurant's signature dishes that can be ordered singly. Guy Savoy also has a Krug Chef's Table, an exclusive 6-person private dining room with views into the kitchen, and featuring fine cuisine paired with champagne from Krug. Be sure to check the restaurant's website for special, one-date-only fixed menus and wine pairings. (702-731-7731, 877-346-4642)
Joel Robuchon offers lavish, award-winning French food that leaves diners talking about it for a very long time after the dessert is over. Created by Chef Joel Robuchon, the fixed menus showcase precise portions of perfect French Nouvelle cuisine, using only the finest meats, seafood and produce available. The 18-course degustation menu is the star of the restaurant's offerings, but selections start from a 4-course fixed menu. The bread and dessert carts, as well as the wines, earn the highest marks for quality and taste. The restaurant's traditional French cuisine will enchant food enthusiasts, and the beautiful setting evokes the ambiance of Paris in the 1930s. (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.