Las Vegas is known for many things, one being its gastronomy scene. Famous for its nightlife and casinos, Sin City has become one of the world’s great foodie destinations, offering a wide range of places to eat – from old-school tableside service to cutting-edge experiential dining.
Once upon a time, Las Vegas’s big entertainment draws were showgirls, magicians and animal acts. Today, visitors stopping by the cosmopolitan city are more likely to be drawn by celebrity chefs, exotic ingredients and Instagrammable platings. From Asian fusions and Mexican delicacies to Italian blends, find out more about the best restaurants in Las Vegas.
A destination for off-duty Strip chefs and out-of-town foodies, Raku’s strip-mall location may be low-key, but the flavors found within are anything but. There is a selection of noodles and soups and small bites, but the focus is on the charcoal-fueled robata grill, which fires up kobe filet with wasabi, butter-sauteed scallops and glazed foie gras. If you have room for sweets, visit its sister restaurant, Raku Sweets, for a dessert tasting; its macarons, cream puffs and fruit tarts are available for takeout.
Snuggled into the city’s blossoming Arts District neighborhood, Esther’s Kitchen is an ideal spot to discuss the theater production or gallery show you just experienced. The lively room is packed with diners tucking gleefully into a mix of Italian classics and new-style dishes, including buttery cacio e pepe pasta or meatballs with tomato sauce and fresh bread, as well as sourdough pizzas topped with prosciutto and squash or rye tagliatelle with duck and pork cracklins.
Bavette’s Steakhouse and Bar may only be a few steps off the Park MGM casino floor, but it feels miles away. Amber lighting, velvet upholstery and curving Art Nouveau woodwork create a fitting backdrop for decadent steakhouse dining. Start with a Lillet Rosé martini or cognac sazerac, and then tuck into an inventively composed salad like the bacon roasted tomato or smoked salmon caesar before digging into the medium rare main event. If you want the rich atmosphere without the big meal, you can slip into one of the jewel box-like bars for cocktails and oysters.
José Andrés’s Las Vegas flagship Jaleo offers a perfectly calibrated balance of laid-back atmosphere and comfort food with top-shelf service and molecular gastronomy. An intricate chiaroscuro mosaic adorns the bar area, which overlooks a ring of enormous paella pans sizzling over open flames. A counter where chefs slice varieties of jamón ibérico and compose cheese plates dominates the bustling dining room. Start with one of Jaleo’s signature gin and tonics, lush with mint and coriander, and then sample an array of tapas, such as croquetas, salmon crudo and light, crusty bread with fresh tomato.
Lotus of Siam has been a Las Vegas stalwart for two decades, and Saipin Chutima’s cuisine is beloved by tourists from halfway around the world and people from down the street. The menu is vast, including everything from standards like satay skewers and pad thai to more unusual choices like beef or pork jerky and deep-fried whole fish. Other menu standouts include crispy, chili-spiked larb, garlic prawns and duck with basil. The restaurant can get very busy during dinner, with wait times sometimes exceeding an hour, so be sure to make a reservation.
Located in The Venetian, Chica’s colorful yet chic dining room provides an inviting setting for chef Lorena Garcia’s tour through bold Latin flavors. The menu offers plenty of vegetarian options, as well as an intriguing cocktail selection. Start at breakfast with dulce de leche french toast and steak and egg tacos, and try a cuban sandwich or “Hoppin’ Jose” rice for lunch. End your day with chicken chicharrones and crab-stuffed lobster.
From breakfast until late night, Fat Choy serves comfort food that will cuddle you like a king-size down comforter. Snack on pork and chive potstickers or peking duck bao, or if you’re ravenous, go all in with the short rib grilled cheese, dressed with onion jam and served alongside a tomato-soup-like dip. The massive Fat Choy Burger, topped with bacon and a fried egg, is one of the city’s best burgers, and the relaxed diner vibe invites you to loosen your pants and stay awhile.
Located in Las Vegas’s Chinatown, Sparrow + Wolf offers a top-shelf selection of libations and an ever-changing array of intriguing dishes that invites guests to share. The menu leans heavily on seasonal ingredients and unique combinations, such as a parfait of sea urchin and trout roe or beef cheek and bone marrow dumplings. Sparrow + Wolf’s beverage selection offers well-curated choices of wine and beer, as well as cocktails shaken up with exotic flavors and stylish garnishes.
Restaurant, Restaurant with Rooms, American, Fusion, $$$
Americana’s elegant, peaceful vibe begins with the drive out to its lush lakeside setting. Gaze through the airy dining room’s enormous windows at families of ducks and light-bedecked boats as you dine on oysters rockefeller and lobster ravioli. The Sunday brunch is a particular standout, best described as “the buffet comes to you”; everything from butternut squash cappuccino to shrimp-n-grits to braised pork burritos is brought to your table. A daily happy hour and seasonal tasting menu allow guests to enjoy the restaurant further.
Bar, Restaurant, Restaurant with Rooms, American, Steakhouse, $$$
The Golden Steer has been the archetypal Las Vegas steakhouse for six decades, serving icons from Frank Sinatra to Muhammad Ali. The decor of red-velvet wallpaper and nailhead-tufted banquettes has remained unchanged for years, as have the Rat Pack soundtrack, the icy martinis and thick porterhouse steaks. Scarlet-jacketed waiters create tableside caesar salads and bananas foster for a clientele that still lives for the old-school Las Vegas vibe.