Ever since Wolfgang Puck opened Spago in 1992, Las Vegas restaurants have been competing in the culinary realm. Bellagio alone serves up fare from several James Beard Award-winning chefs and others aren’t far behind. Even so, you can still get a superbly affordable meal at most casino buffets.
Top Restaurants in Las Vegas
Andre's French Restaurant
Once a fine dining staple in Downtown Las Vegas, this contemporary French restaurant from André Rochat has moved Strip-side into new digs at the Monte Carlo. While the location has changed, the food remains just as reliable, with elegant preparations of dishes like fresh truffle risotto and lobster and king crab gratin. Be sure to sample one of the bar’s signature foie gras martinis for the full Andre’s experience.
Despite its California roots, the menu at Border Grill draws from the many iterations of Mexican cuisine, showcasing authentic flavors from chef-partners Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken’s many trips south of the border. It’s never wrong to start with queso fundido or to pick up every last bite of Tecate carnitas or Kobe beef tacos with handmade tortillas. The restaurant’s summertime weekend brunch is all-you-can-eat small plates and features dishes like eggs Benedict with roasted pork and plantain empanadas.
Carnival World Buffet
When it comes to buffets, bigger is often better, and it doesn’t get much bigger than the Rio’s famed Carnival World Buffet. Open three meals a day and for brunch on the weekend, this massive restaurant’s buffet line stretches the length of a football field and serves more than 300 dishes daily from countries all over the world. Taco station? Check. Sushi? Yup. Pesto shrimp pizza? You bet. It takes an army of cooks to keep this place going and more than two dozen servers to keep up with the constant influx of hungry customers. The other constant: Everyone leaves full.
Charlie Palmer Steak
Vegas is chock-a-block with grade-A steakhouses, but Charlie Palmer, with its just-clubby-enough atmosphere, is a cut above the rest. Mr. Palmer’s famously succulent sides (try on six different potato options) and favorite cuts like an incredible 40-ounce bone-in ribeye for two and a not-to-be-missed "surf and turf" (eight-ounce filet mignon and lobster) make for a meal to remember. The “Cut of the Week,” a three-course prix fixe menu served with bottomless wine pairings, is a great deal.
Du-par's Restaurant & Bakery
When 3am cravings for homemade apple pie hit, there’s one place in Las Vegas always ready to satisfy. Open 24-hours, this classic diner serves up an impressive list of pies all baked on the premises and available à la mode or with cheddar cheese, if that’s your thing. Savory options abound, as well, including Reubens, gourmet meatloaf, and chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and Southern country gravy. The servers’ sweet, checked uniforms are just the icing on the . . . pie.
Imagine a 10-ounce sirloin with two eggs, potatoes, and toast for $8.99; pick up a free $5 blackjack play coupon and stop by the bar for microbrews and some wonderfully awful karaoke. The biggest thing to tout here is the $6.95 not-on-the-menu sirloin special, which comes with a microbrew or home-brewed root beer.
Simply put: the freshest Greek flavors around. Housed in a gorgeous, airy room that channels the Mediterranean, this restaurant specializes in fresh seafood imported daily and prepared as simply as possible so the ingredients’ flavors shine through. Start with the grilled octopus with wild Santorini capers then pick out a whole fish baked in a salt crust to share with the table. Finish things off with the best yogurt you’ve ever tasted and wash it all down with a glass of Greek wine. If want to try Milos without breaking the bank, consider coming in for the prix fixe lunch – three courses reasonably priced at $20.11.
A rowdy joint packed with locals and tourists-in-the-know, this off-Strip tapas bar bursts with authentic tastes of Spain and more fusion-style small plates. Start by picking out a pitcher of the house sangria or one of the restaurant’s mojitos in flavors like blood orange, mango, or raspberry, then let the ordering begin. Select two or three dishes per person and share among the table, devouring must-haves like the manchego mac ‘n’ cheese, chorizo clams, and bacon-wrapped dates. Good luck not coming back for a second visit.
Hash House A Go Go
Hash House A Go-Go calls its fare “twisted farm food,” and it’s hard to argue that description. The restaurant specializes in oversized plates of comfort food with a few decidedly elegant twists. Breakfasts, many of which are also available at lunch and dinner, come with addictive mashed or crispy potatoes and a biscuit that is best enjoyed with a dollop of the day’s specialty jam. Dinners are equally hearty and satisfying with options like cedar-planked ribeye in a Bulleit bourbon sauce and duck mac and cheese. For a practically architectural experience try the towering sage fried chicken and bacon waffle. Yes, there’s bacon in the waffle, and yes, the whole restaurant will watch it be delivered.
Brick walls, candlelight, classic martinis, and flambés prepared tableside with aplomb – not to mention the rose that courtly waiters present to each entering dame – complete the portrait of Old Vegas at this Downtown landmark. Hugo’s harks back to a time when dinner came with salad and a little pomp and circumstance was par for the course. Don’t expect innovations, this place is all about the classics and doing them well.
Lotus of Siam
Those in the know come for the northern Thai (Issan) menu where Burmese, Laotian, and Hunan Chinese influences meet in real-world fusion. With lime, chiles, herbs, fish sauce, and a cornucopia of meats, it's a far different taste sensation than comes from the typical coconut- or curry-laden Thai offerings. The nua dad deaw beef "jerky" starter is a must at this surprisingly refined restaurant housed in a historic (and slightly seedy) strip mall.
Mon Ami Gabi
The rare favorite of locals and tourists alike, this modern French bistro’s patio is perched directly over the Strip, providing some of the best people watching in town and terrific views of the Bellagio fountains. And the food’s not so bad, either. Mon Ami Gabi dishes up classic French fare like mussels mariniére, steak frites with various sauces, and a selection of tempting desserts. Grab a glass from the rolling wine cart, sit back, and revel in the beauty of gay Paris.
Nora's Wine Bar & Osteria
Dinner at Nora’s starts with a tasting of various olive oils and varieties of salt, and this mixing, matching, nibbling experience sets the tone for the rest of the meal, one which is best enjoyed with a crowd of friends who don’t mind sharing. Order a sampler of four types of bruschetta while you peruse a menu studded with house made musts, like the gnocchi in oxtail ragu, the orecchiette with sausage and rapini, or the mozzarella stuffed risotto balls. Everything is made to be shared and enjoyed alongside one of the restaurant’s 350 wines by the bottle or 60 available by the glass.
Want to know where Strip chefs go for a bite when they get out of the kitchen? Look no further than this tiny shrine to carefully prepared Japanese cuisine. Hidden in the back of a strip mall in Chinatown, Raku serves creations by Tokyo-born chef Mitsuo Endo, like homemade tofu, Kobe beef liver sashimi, and skewers of various proteins and veggies done on the charcoal grill. Plates come with a few tiny, scrumptious bites, so prices – though low – can add up. Be sure to check the chalkboard for the day’s über-fresh specialties.
It’s the oven. That’s the secret behind Henderson pizzeria Settebello’s sensational pie. Well, that and a certification from Italy that they serve vera pizza Napoletana, real Neopolitan pizza, which means it only involves certain ingredients and dough worked by hand, and pies are cooked in a wood fire oven. Whatever the reason, this stuff tastes good. The crust is lightly blackened and the personal-sized pizzas come with toppings like fennel sausage, toasted pine nuts, and pancetta. Good luck taking home leftovers.
Here you’ll find upscale comfort food, from fresh seasonal soups and crab cakes to artful TV-dinner fare like meatloaf and mac-and-cheese served in an olive- and red-hued modern atmosphere. Chef Wes Kendrick’s menu is fairly extensive, so even picky diners shouldn’t have trouble finding something to like among his modern American options. Some of the same dishes are substantially less expensive at lunch.
Pan-Asian flavors get first class treatment in this Encore Las Vegas casino-side eatery. A massive, crystal dragon stretches the length of the back wall as diners chow on a menu of comforting curries and more exotic flavors. Sushi fiends will find specialty rolls with snow crab, Yuzu caviar, and panko-crusted shrimp, while those seeking hot dishes can choose from items like crispy trout with Thai herbs, Korean short ribs, and pineapple and roast duck fried rice. Keep an eye out for chef Jet Tila who often wanders the restaurant greeting his guests.
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