The small, charming Carson Kitchen in Downtown Las Vegas was among the first restaurants to take root in the on-going efforts to transform the downtown area in a chic, trendy place to hang out. So far, those efforts have been very successful. Carson Kitchen's quiet ambiance is wonderful for lunch when you'd like to have a conversation and a glass of great wine. In addition to an indoor seating area, Carson Kitchen also has an outdoor rooftop bar area and a courtyard, both excellent spots for enjoying a cocktail and a meal. Popular "Social Plates" include "Devil's" Eggs, topped with crispy pancetta and caviar, or veal meatballs with sherry foie gras cream. The drink menu includes a wide selection of wines and beers, along with a selection of finely crafted cocktails.
Recommended for Outdoor Dining because: Carson Kitchen's classy comfort food and tasty cocktails are served in a relaxed space with plenty of outdoor areas.
Terrisa's expert tip: If you need to walk off your lunch or dinner, the area surrounding Carson Kitchen is home to a wealth of murals and street art.
This elegant eatery is the Four Seasons' signature restaurant. The dining area sports a Mediterranean setting: flower-adorned tables, potted palms and cream-painted archways. French doors open to enchanting desert breezes and views of the garden and pool along with a lovely outside seating area. Breakfast and lunch are offered. Breakfast choices include classics like Eggs Benedict and French Toast, while lunch offers pizza, salads, sandwiches and entrees like steak and fries or roasted chicken breast. A menu of finely crafted cocktails is available and includes a Bloody Mary with house-made mix. The overall feeling here is low-key upscale, a fitting ambiance to go along with the Four Seasons' elegant vibe.
Recommended for Outdoor Dining because: Tucked away in the Four Seasons, Veranda offers a menu of breakfast and lunch favorites as well as a beautiful outside dining area.
Terrisa's expert tip: Veranda is open, although some sources may indicate it's still closed. It was closed during the covid19 shutdown, but is now open again for breakfast and lunch but not for dinner.
Hearthstone's approach to food is to keep it simple, using seasonal and sustainable ingredients to create a menu full of tasty dishes. Guests can enjoy artisanal salads, charcuterie and signature dishes made from scratch. On the dinner menu, the inventive, rusti- style dishes include appetizers like jalapeno curry hummus, bacon wrapped dates and crispy calamari. An array of shellfish and seafood is available, along with sandwiches and pizza. Entrees include braised short rib, truffle pasta, rotisserie chicken and steak. To top it all off, don't miss dessert, with tempting choices like the pineapple upside down cake with lemon brown butter cake and vanilla ice cream.
Recommended for Outdoor Dining because: Hearthstone offers a large outdoor seating area and a selection of well-crafted casual dishes.
Terrisa's expert tip: Hearthstone is easy to access with entrances facing the front of the Red Rock Hotel and Casino. Guests don't have to walk through the casino to enter.
Black Tap Burgers & Beer specializes in big, juicy burgers with all the extras. Located next to the Venetian's poker room, this casual eatery features a bar, an indoor dining area and a patio overlooking the Strip. In addition to its quality burgers, Black Tap also offers chicken dishes, salads, milkshakes (with an option to add booze) and craft beer. Their tasty burgers range from the standard All-American Burger, a generously sized burger made with Prime beef sourced from Pat Lafrieda, a humanely raised, hormone and antibiotic free beef, to The Greg Norman, made with Wagyu, aged cheddar, a crispy onion ring, bacon, Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce and mayonnaise. The relaxed atmosphere is great for quick meals at any time of day.
Recommended for Outdoor Dining because: Black Tap's juicy burgers will keep you coming back, and they have a fantastic patio right on the Strip.
Terrisa's expert tip: While beefy hamburgers are the main attraction at Black Tap, they also offer Impossible Burgers for those who want a meat alternative. Vegan potato rolls are also available.
Not all of Vegas' fine dining restaurants are located on or near Las Vegas Boulevard. Vintner Grill is tucked away in the heart of the neighborhood of Summerlin, on the bottom floor of an office building. A crisp interior and garden-like exterior set the stage for a menu full of classic dishes that take inspiration from Spain, France and Italy. For dinner, starters include pan-seared crab cakes with tarragon cream sauce and white bean hummus with olive relish and spicy pita chips. Flatbreads, pasta and risotto dishes offer a tempting list of possible choices, like the pan-seared diver scallops with sweet corn risotto, heirloom tomatoes and pecorino cheese. Entrees include a selection of fish, veal and chicken dishes, as well as wonderfully tender, perfectly prepared steaks.
Recommended for Outdoor Dining because: Vintner Grill's patio area is a cozy place to enjoy a steak and a glass of great wine.
Terrisa's expert tip: The meat and cheese selections are extensive and finely crafted. You'll find savory delectables like wild boar or venison salami, smoked duck breast and slow cured prosciutto.
Americana Las Vegas is located off the Strip, overlooking small Lake Jacqueline in the Desert Shores community. The serene ambiance feels worlds away from the Strip, although it's only about a 20-minute drive. Lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch menus are offered. For dinner, start off your meal with something like oysters, charred octopus or a charcuterie and cheese board. Choose from entrees like the orange-miso glazed king salmon with Shaghai bok choy, maitake mushrooms and adzuki beans or the braised lamb shank with root vegetables, farro and grapefruit gremolata. Steaks, chicken and seafood dishes round out the selections, all finely prepared and served in a beautiful setting overlooking a small lake.
Recommended for Outdoor Dining because: With a delightful location overlooking a small lake and a menu full of upscale selections, Americana Las Vegas is one of the city's hidden gems.
Terrisa's expert tip: During brunch on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., guests can enjoy bottomless mimosas or Bloody Marys--the perfect drinks to go along with an indulgent menu of brunch favorites.
Celebrity Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger give Mexican food a few new twists at Border Grill. You'll certainly find standards like tacos and enchiladas, but most dishes are innovative in some way. There's a definite emphasis on sustainability here with organic black beans and humane certified, antibiotic and hormone free meats and poultry. The Border Brunch happens every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., when you can indulge in unlimited small plates for $38.99, or bottomless mimosas, micheladas and Bloody Marys for $20. The rest of the week, enjoy lunch or dinner with dishes like ceviche, tacos, quesadillas, tortas and more. The vibrantly decorated restaurant overlooks Mandalay Bay's pool area, and its colorful ambiance lends itself to casual meals.
Recommended for Outdoor Dining because: Border Grill offers plentiful outdoor seating and delicious, innovative Mexican fare.
Terrisa's expert tip: When making your reservation online, you can specify if you'd like indoor or outdoor seating. Two floors of dining are offered for both indoor and outdoor tables.
Beer Park at Paris gives guests plenty of TVs to watch the game on, a menu full of sports bar food favorites plus a great view of the Las Vegas Strip. The menu features every kind of popular sports bar food, from chili-cheese fries to burgers, plus a few unexpected choices, like the BBQ ribs and fish and chips. Offering over 100 beer options, with 36 beers on tap and a large selection of handcrafted cocktails, sports fans will have no shortage of drink options available while they take in the game. Picnic tables add a park-like feeling, along with a grassy area that comes complete with games like giant Jenga, pool and darts.
Recommended for Outdoor Dining because: Beer Park's casual food favorites and park-like atmosphere make it a great place to watch the game and have a meal.
Terrisa's expert tip: If you don't want to play communal games like Jenga and darts, Beer Park also offers suggestions on mobile games you can play on your phone, like Never Have I Ever and Boggle With Friends. Check their website for links.
Small plates are the signature item at Julian Serrano's Lago at Bellagio. The dinner menu features a wide array of tempting dishes, like crostinis with delectable flavor combinations, or Polpette Di Carne, tomato braised beef meatballs. Other dishes include a selection of risottos, fish and shellfish. Full-size main courses are also offered, like the bone-in ribeye or the Agnello Scottadito, rosemary marinated grilled lamb chops. An open-air patio offers seating on a first come, first serve basis â" and it's a worthwhile wait for a table overlooking Lake Bellagio and the dancing fountains. Inside, guests are treated to a beautifully designed room that also includes a wonderful view of the lake and fountains.
Recommended for Outdoor Dining because: With excellent views of the Bellagio's fountains and a menu full of chef Julian Serrano's dishes, Lago is a sure bet for a charmed evening.
Terrisa's expert tip: Lago offers several vegetarian dishes, including a delicious linguini al pesto with pecorino cheese and creamy almond basil pesto. Other vegetarian selections, including pizzas, are clearly marked throughout the menu.
Esther's Kitchen is a modern, farm-to-table style Italian restaurant with a fresh take on food that's been a hit with diners since the restaurant opened. Fans of seasonal, artisanal fare will find a lot to like at this popular downtown spot, which enjoys consistent acclaim because of its flavorful dishes. Describing their food as "seasonal Italian soul food," Esther's Kitchen delivers a menu full of house-made pastas: spaghetti, chitarra, rigatoni, bucatini, you name it, house-made bread, an unrivaled meat and cheese board, pizzas and seasonal entrées. Esther's Kitchen is named after the woman who taught the chef to cook, and Esther's home-style touch is apparent in every part of the restaurant, from the food to the inviting atmosphere. The inside dining room is casually upscale, and the outside dining area offers socially distant pods that seat two to four people.
Recommended for Outdoor Dining because: The unique outdoor dining pods at Esther's Kitchen offer a new way to enjoy the restaurant's acclaimed Italian food.
Terrisa's expert tip: The wine selection at Esther's has been chosen with care, and guests don't have to break the bank to indulge a little, with wines by the glass starting at around $10.