The 20 best Las Vegas restaurants

Find the biggest and best flavors in town with our ultimate Vegas restaurant guide

Thomas Schauer

The landscape of Las Vegas's best restaurants is so vast and varied it can leave tourists' heads in a spin, while locals feel nothing but lucky they live in one of the culinary capitals of the world. No longer just beef and buffet restaurants Las Vegas offers a panoply of dining opportunities.

Talking restaurants in Las Vegas today means reveling in its dining diversity (though Craftsteak's meat, service and bourbon will satisfy every time, and the swanky Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas will ruin your buffet expectations for life). Remember that this is just a sample of Las Vegas' best restaurants—nothing can guide you like your gut. Our advice? Go to Vegas hungry, or don't go at all.

American

Burger Bar

Critics' pick

You’ll never go back to McDonald’s again, once you’ve had the burgers at this chic hamburger haven. Start with your choice of various beefs, buffalo or lamb; then build on it with toppings from "the farm" (bacon, for example), "the garden" (sliced cucumber), "the pantry" and more. Wash it down with a salted caramel martini or a milkshake designed to your specifications. Ironically, it took a Frenchman to reinvent this most American of meals: it’s the brainchild of Hubert Keller, the chef behind Fleur.

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The Strip

Central

Critics' pick

One of the newer entries into the casual/comfortable eaterie category is Central at Caesars Palace. Chef Michel Richard’s second such restaurant (the first opened in Washington, D.C.) is an around-the-clock diner serving California-cool cuisine with an inevitable soupçon of French flavor. The 300-seat restaurant, directly off Caesars lobby, is sleek, airy and modern—the perfect place to grab a casual bite and watch the crowds walk by.

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The Strip

Eat.

Critics' pick

Despite naming her restaurant in a manner guaranteed to be overlooked by anyone searching for food on the internet, owner/chef Natalie Young (who did previous stints at Mr Lucky’s among others) has one thing going for her: she produces damn good comfort food at reasonable prices. Choices like a truffled egg sandwich (breakfast) or a shrimp po’boy (lunch) ensure that the place won’t be mistaken for a old greasy spoon. And that’s a good thing.

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Downtown

Rx Boiler Room

Critics' pick

Rick Moonen moved to Vegas from New York to ensure that everything at his restaurant, RM Seafood, lived up to his initials. But after a multiyear run, the two-story eaterie dedicated to "delicious, sustainable seafood", closed its doors to make way for Moonen’s Rx Boiler Room (the "Rx" is pronounced "Rick’s"), a comfort-food spot with a steampunk design and a casual dining atmosphere.

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The Strip

Spago

Critics' pick

The Wolfgang Puck eaterie that reinvented Vegas dining in 1992, Spago has managed to stay smart with tourists and power-lunchers by regularly reinventing itself. And although Spago may have its detractors (as does anything in Las Vegas that’s more than five years old), it still manages to turn out quality food. Options in the formal dining room include seasonal specialties (lobster, truffles) and organic vegetarian offerings; in the indoor patio café, there are signature salads, pizzas and sandwiches.

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The Strip

Sage

Critics' pick

Easily one of the best newer places in which to eat in Las Vegas, Sage is a testament to the idea that great food does not have to be complicated. Chef Shawn McClain strives for simplicity in dishes such as Kobe skirt steak and organic chicken, and the result is a memorable meal that satisfies. For pre- (or post-) dinner cocktails, check out Sage’s absinthe menu, with 11 varieties, as well.

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The Strip

Top of the World

Critics' pick

The views are the main selling point of this restaurant at the top of the Stratosphere, and with good reason: they’re spectacular, especially on a clear night. However, the food is better than it needs to be—a brisk, cultured mix of American and French-influenced classics. Prices are almost as high as the restaurant itself; you can just stop by for a drink if the food is out of budgetary range.

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Stratosphere

Steakhouses

Country Club

Critics' pick

This upscale eaterie in Steve Wynn’s eponymous property—supposedly the casino mogul’s favorite—exudes high-stakes clubhouse chic with his take on an upmarket golf club, at prices that won’t chew up your greens fees. Chef Carlos Guia delivers an American-flavored, Cajun-influenced menu with a ton of terrific dishes, including recommended plates like Chef Carlos’s Gumbo and creole-spiced Colorado bison rib-eye. Some of the tables overlook the hotel’s own golf course. A jazz brunch is served on Sundays.

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The Strip

Craftsteak

Critics' pick

The selection of meats (grass-fed veal, lamb shank, filet mignon, braised short ribs) is impressive, but the sides and the quiet invention shown in the kitchen distinguish Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak from more run-of-the-mill casino steakhouses. Ingredients come from small family farms and other below-the-radar sources, and you can tell. It’s all served in a cultured, if slightly noisy, atmosphere.

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The Strip

Steak House

Critics' pick

Feel like you wouldn’t be caught dead dining at an eaterie that’s presided over by Lucky the Clown? Then you’ll never know what you’re missing. True, the surroundings here neuter some of the sophistication, but this is still an excellent choice if you’ve a yen for a large lump of cow. The steaks here are aged for 21 days and then mesquite-grilled—order rare or you’ll miss out on some of the flavor. What’s more, the prices are well below those of other beef emporia along the Strip. A Vegas legend of sorts.

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The Strip

35 Steaks + Martinis

Critics' pick

The Hard Rock has struggled with steakhouses since its original meaterie, AJ’s Steakhouse, closed in 2009. The short-lived Rare 120 quickly flamed out, but the outlook is much better for 35 Steaks (partly named for Elvis’s birth year, 1935). Following in AJ’s footsteps is no easy task, but since opening in 2011, 35 Steaks is hitting all the right notes. There are plenty of steaks, naturally, and other tasty options including chicken or sea bass, but save room for the ‘King’ of desserts—caramelized bananas and peanut-butter ice cream (bacon optional).

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East of the strip

Cut

Critics' pick

Wolfgang Puck, the man responsible for revolutionizing Las Vegas visitors’ eating expectations (with Spago), opened this classic steakhouse in the Palazzo in 2008. Since then, Cut has demonstrated that it’s a slice above many other steak joints. For one thing, that’s all you find here: meat, meat and more glorious meat. Go for the 100% pure wagyu rib-eye if you can; but you won’t go wrong with any of the other options either.

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The Strip

International

André’s

Critics' pick

This former Downtown institution relocated to the Monte Carlo a few years back, but nothing was lost in translation. Local legend and chef André Rochat’s take on haute French cuisine is revealed in interpretations such as peppercorn-crusted filet of beef and pan-seared duck breast, though the menu changes seasonally. Enjoy with a sip from Rochat’s world-class wine cellar: 1,500 bottles are listed.

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The Strip

China Poblano

Critics' pick

Hands down, China Poblano at the Cosmopolitan offers the most unlikely menu pairings you’ll find. You may ask yourself where Chinese and Mexican cuisines intersect, but you’ll have to visit China Poblano to get that answer. The important thing is that it does work, and fantastically well. With a variety of small-plate meals from Viva China tacos to the fabulous Shrimp Mojo, each dish is an unexpected, and exciting, combination.

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The Strip

Lindo Michoacan

Critics' pick

Las Vegas’s favorite neighborhood Mexican, Lindo is housed in a colorful, bigger-than-it-looks building on Desert Inn Road, and is busy at virtually all times of day. The lunch specials are good value, but dinner is more enjoyable, with the menu of standards brought to life by an atmosphere that’s never less than lively. There are two other Lindos in the city, one on the west side (10082 W Flamingo Road, 838 9990) and one in Henderson (645 Carnegie Street, 837 6828).

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East Las Vegas

Wicked Spoon

Critics' pick

Perhaps one of the best-kept secrets in buffet dining, the Wicked Spoon serves up a spread unlike any other. This isn’t a line up and heap it on your plate place. Here, you can sample a variety of items you’re unlikely to find at other buffets: dim sum, miniature chicken pot pies, pork chalupas—all served on individual-sized plates and designed to mix and match.

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Las Vegas

Lotus of Siam

Critics' pick

Lauded by food bloggers and critics, Lotus of Siam was rated the best Thai restaurant in the US by now-defunct culinary bible, Gourmet magazine. We might not go that far, but it is certainly a rare and unexpected treat in an otherwise unprepossessing strip mall. Saipin Chutima puts her specialties on the huge and easy-to-read menu, and isn’t afraid to make her food spicy. However, many diners opt for the excellent and super-cheap lunch buffet.

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East of the strip

Michael Mina

Critics' pick

Michael Mina’s flagship restaurant in Vegas may have changed its name (it was formerly Aqua), but it still delivers what is considered by many to be the best seafood anywhere on the Strip. His caviar parfait is legendary, but the ever-changing menu also features such deep-sea delights as Maine lobster pot pie and medallions of ahi tuna. Mina’s steaks are fantastic as well.

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The Strip

Origin India

Critics' pick

Having reigned unchallenged for years, Gandhi now has some genuine competition for the title of Vegas’s best Indian eaterie. The low-lit swank of Origin India differentiates it from Vegas’s other Indian restaurants, but the pleasingly spicy food is also a class apart, with classics such as saag gosht (lamb with spinach) and a creamy chicken makhani rendered in technicolor brilliance.

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East of the strip

Rao’s

Critics' pick

The original Rao’s has been operating in New York City for more than 115 years, and is known as one of the toughest reservations in the Big Apple. The Caesars Palace spinoff is a lot easier to access, although you’ll still need to book in advance. And the food is well worth the wait: classic Italian recipes that have been fine-tuned by the same family for more than a century. One of the house specialties is spaghetti alla bolognese, but everything on the menu is sure to please.

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The Strip

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