It’s hardly news that Las Vegas is a culinary destination. On the four-mile Strip there are so many Michelin-starred chefs and bold-face names that you can hardly waddle out of one astounding meal before wandering past the potential site of the next one and the one after that. But today, the best restaurants in Las Vegas aren’t limited to the casinos. Increasingly, chefs who’ve trained and worked on the Strip are taking their talents to the neighborhoods, striking out with fresh, exciting (and slightly less expensive) restaurants that now rank among the city’s favorites. Whether you want Tokyo-style sushi, homemade pasta, truly exceptional steak or category-obliterating Spanish-Japanese cuisine, Las Vegas is ready provide. Dig in!
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Best restaurants in Las Vegas
While fast-casual concepts are in the midst of a business boom, fine dining still reigns inside the “mansion,” a fitting nickname for the late Joël Robuchon’s opulent Michelin three-star restaurant just off the MGM Grand casino floor. A meal here is a once-in-a-lifetime event: The 12-course parade of transcendent French cuisine takes more than three hours and makes ample use of caviar, sea urchin and foie gras. Besides, if you're going to visit any of the Joël Robuchon eateries (there are several outposts across three different continents) you should make it this one—it's the flagship, after all.
According to superstar chef José Andrés, his restaurant at SLS is a “meathouse,” dedicated to celebrating the bounty of the earth. The ingredients are the stars here, but the chefs still have fun showing them off. That means foie gras is offered wrapped in cotton candy and dishes like the classic steak tartare are mixed tableside with plenty of panache.
Set in the back of a Chinatown strip mall, this exceptional Japanese robatayaki restaurant has been drawing in-the-know locals, chefs and savvy visitors for years. Chef-owner Mitsuo Endo uses Japanese charcoal to grill up skewers like Kobe beef tendon and bacon-wrapped mushrooms, complementing the robata list with appetizers, noodle soups and daily specials, often featuring fish flown in from Tokyo. To cap off your night, swing next door to sister restaurant Sweets Raku for desserts that taste as good as they look.
Much of the culinary momentum in 2018 was outside the casino corridor, with excellent restaurants opening in Chinatown, Downtown and other local neighborhoods. But the arrival of Michelin-starred NoMad Restaurant—from restaurateur Will Guidara and chef Daniel Humm—swung the spotlight back to the Strip. The magic starts the moment you enter the Jacques Garcia-designed dining room, a two-story library lined with 25,000 books, and continues from table-side tartare, through the foie gras- and black truffle-stuffed roast chicken for two and flaming baked Alaska.
Twist is breathtaking. There’s the airy dining room, with its glass orb chandeliers and serene decor. And there’s the impeccable food that seems to transport you inside the inventive mind of Michelin-starred chef Pierre Gagnaire. Trying to anticipate how a dish will arrive is a losing game. Best to pick an ingredient that strikes you—say, langoustine or rack of lamb—or opt for one of the tasting menus.
There are no rolls on the menu at this Chinatown sushi restaurant. No gyoza, no seaweed salad—just nigiri. That simplicity lets the ingredients sing and has made the restaurant a local star, dubbed one of the 50 best new restaurants in the country by Bon Appetit when it opened in 2012. Reserve a seat at the counter to watch the chefs work with a precision that resembles performance art.
Wolfgang Puck, the man responsible for revolutionizing Las Vegas's eating expectations (with Spago), opened Cut in the Palazzo in 2008. Carnivores are sure to be delighted with the restaurant's long menu of meat, meat and more glorious meat. Go for the 100-percent pure Wagyu rib-eye if you can, but you won’t go wrong with any of the other options.
Chef Shawn McClain strives for sophisticated simplicity with a farm-to-table menu that includes dishes like foie gras brûlée with toasted brioche and Maine scallops with braised oxtail and trumpet mushrooms. The result is a memorable meal that satisfies and surprises. For pre- (or post-) dinner cocktails, check out Sage’s 16-strong absinthe menu.
This New York import makes iconic Italian-American fare like veal Parmesan and rigatoni in vodka sauce downright sexy by setting it in a dining room decked in velvet and crystal and delivering it in the hands of tuxedo-clad captains. Though the prices are firmly in 2019, the ceremonial, elegant service is out of a bygone era. Bring your credit card, and enjoy.
Anything that you could possibly fantasize about is probably somewhere in this brasserie. Thanks to culinary wizard and celebrity chef Michael Mina, you can expect contemporary takes on classic dishes, as well as ample vino and (of course) a cart of bubbly champagne. On weekend mornings, Bardot packs ’em in with its popular brunch, where you can order a variety of croissant Benedicts, brioche French toast with vanilla mascarpone and almond brittle, or the Hunter’s Waffle with duck confit and poached eggs. Mmmmm.
Chef Daniel Krohmer’s west side restaurant is the kind of place locals don’t mind if you miss. If you don’t feel like trekking all the way out to Durango Drive, that just means more tables, more reservations, more amberjack crudo, more Japanese fried chicken, more spicy tuna tartare with waffle fries for them. But you should. You should go and taste how Krohmer has turned training in Japan and work as sous and sushi chef at Morimoto Philadelphia into one of Las Vegas’s favorite spots for bold, Japanese-influenced fish and seafood.
Chef-owner Brian Howard opened this Chinatown restaurant in 2017 and diners haven't been able to stop talking about it since. The presentation is almost as interesting as the flavors here, with a starter of fresh seafood, cured meats and terrines arriving in a modern bento box and shared plates like clams casino with lap cheong sausage and uni hollandaise. Keep an eye out for specials: Howard is perpetually experimenting in the kitchen and diners reap the rewards.
James Trees’s resume reads like the dream to-eat list of an American diner. The Las Vegas native worked for Eric Ripert, Michael Mina and Bradley Ogden before striking out on his own in 2018 with this Roman trattoria set among the galleries and thrift shops of the Las Vegas Arts District. The menu includes thoughtful vegetable dishes, mains and pizzas, but homemade pastas are the star, ranging from classic (spaghetti pomodoro) to creative (rye tagliatelle with braised duck, mushroom, greens and cracklins).
Saipin Chutima presides over a huge menu (and equally impressive wine list), which can be a little overwhelming on a first visit. Do yourself a favor and try something from the Northern Thai section—we’re partial to the khao soi, or egg noodles in coconut cream curry—and don’t miss the nam kao tod, crispy rice with sour pork sausage, cilantro, chili and lime. Mouth, waters.
When Milos opened in the Cosmopolitan in 2010, it brought something to the Strip we hadn’t even realized was missing. Here, you’ll find meaty octopus with just the right char, gently cured Greek bottarga and freshly flown-in fish cooked whole in a salt crust. Order the real Greek yogurt for dessert, which will ruin you for the grocery store stuff.
The sole Vegas outpost from chef Thomas Keller, this bright, airy bistro serves everything from steak frites and onion soup to the Grand Plateau, a seafood tower loaded with oysters, shrimp, clams, mussels and crab. Don’t sleep through breakfast: Bouchon is the rare Strip restaurant that serves one during the week, featuring baskets of fresh pastries and the roasted chicken with bacon-chive waffle in an airy Venetian dining room that looks especially lovely in daylight.
Mordeo calls itself a boutique wine bar, but the tagline does nothing to describe chef Khai Vu’s most ambitious restaurant creation to date. Smack in the middle of Chinatown, this restaurant nimbly executes Spanish and Latin American dishes with a subtle Japanese inflection. That means the uni appetizer is served on toasted brioche with wasabi cream and jamón Ibérico, the grilled Spanish octopus is dressed in yuzu kosho sauce and that Mordeo feels thrillingly fresh.
Since chef Jamie Tran (formerly of Daniel Boulud’s DB Brasserie and Charlie Palmer’s Aureole) opened this category defying spot in 2017, it has been an unmitigated hit, named Eater’s Restaurant of the Year and Desert Companion’s Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year in its first 12 months. What’s behind the buzz? Food inspired by Tran’s childhood and informed by her work in top kitchens: think bao sliders with homemade sausage and fried quail eggs and slow-cooked short rib with Indonesian corn fritters and gochujang rice cakes. If you read the menu and your mouth doesn’t water, you’re not paying enough attention.
Here, pizzas are listed according to their cooking temperature and type of oven. Purists will want the Margherita Napoletana (baked in a 900-degree wood-fired oven), while more adventurous types might opt for the Cal Italia with gorgonzola, prosciutto and fig preserves (650-degree gas brick oven) or one of the Romana varieties (700-degree electric brick oven)—long, thin pies with three different sets of toppings.
Bacchanal is just what its name implies: an overwhelmingly decadent assortment of more than 500 different items daily, many individually plated and some made to order. Whether you’re craving Japanese curry, lump crab avocado toast or fried chicken and waffles, you’ll leave satisfied and—unless you have truly epic willpower—very, very full.