The dazzling lights of Las Vegas can’t dull the shine of the standout restaurants, bakeries, bars, and taco joints of Nevada. Sure, many people come travel through this desert state to play the slots and see the shows, but what they really should be doing is eating! Luckily, with our first annual guide to the best food and drink in every state, both visitors to Nevada and locals looking for a break from their restaurant routine will know exactly where to go.
In this slideshow, you will discover that although Nevada’s best restaurant is also its most expensive, the Silver State has some of the cheapest and best steak in the country. Whatever you’re craving, be it Italian, fried chicken, Mexican, or Chinese, Nevada has it all, though of course much of it is located on the same world-famous street.
After comprehensive and wide-ranging lists and rankings, compiled through extensive research and with input from a wide network of site contributors, bloggers, journalists, and chefs, we’ve been able to make definitive slideshows celebrating the best food and drink in every state.
Facebook/ Vesper Bar
Named for the 1953 cocktail in the original James Bond novel, Casino Royale, Vesper Bar inside the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is an example of modern sophistication juxtaposed with firm roots in the elegance of the past.
Surrounded by mirrored tiles and centering on an ornate wooden liquor cabinet, it is certainly charming. Vesper Bar has a menu of 20 beers, 11 wines by the glass, and 10 cocktails separated into two styles: classic (traditional renderings of classic drinks) and Vesper interpretations (drinks based on the originals but infused with modern additions to show off the evolution of the industry). Specializing in "molecular" mixology, edible cocktails, and tequilas, Las Vegas native and chief mixologist Mariena Mercer brings extensive knowledge to the operation — making this a must-visit bar.
Courtesy of Joseph James Brewing Company
Via Brasil Steakhouse
In a city all too familiar with the all-you-can-eat concept, Via Brasil is a nice mix between buffet and fine dining. The two cascading water walls give the sophisticated open space a tropical air; the friendly wait staff is welcoming. Meats from ham with pineapple to prime rib are complimented by the salad bar, which includes everything from asparagus risotto to chicken stroganoff. Diners who've been able to manage fitting in dessert rave about the banana flambé.
Known as “the other Keller” (besides Thomas, obviously), Hubert Keller is familiar to fine-dining enthusiasts who have long enjoyed his exquisitely crafted modern French food at the now-defunct Fleur de Lys in San Francisco, and to the Las Vegas dining public for having created a $5,000 hamburger at his Fleur in the Mandalay Bay Hotel. The accomplished Alsace-born chef has more recently established a reputation for producing sensibly priced burgers of great quality at his Burger Bar (which has additional locations in San Francisco and Beijing). The basic burger here is certified Angus beef on a plump bun with tomatoes, onions, lettuce, and dill pickle, but the burger that Keller enjoys so much that he put his name on it starts with a bison-meat patty and is topped with caramelized onion, wilted baby spinach, and blue cheese, and is served on a ciabatta bun alongside red wine shallot sauce.
Located a few blocks off the main strip, this spacious restaurant with a vaguely Asiatic exterior specializes in traditional Cantonese cuisine (think barbecued meats, seafood, and slow-cooked soups). Find more details on Joyful House here. To that effect, you’ll see plates of roast duck, honey walnut shrimp, and salt and pepper pork chops exit the kitchen at breakneck speed. Rather than trying to intercept a startled waiter, get your 6-pound lobster to go and stage your twisted version of "Under the Sea" in the privacy of your own home (no one needs to see that).
Though this iconic bakery is known for its tasty and jaw-dropping wedding cakes, its bakers are no strangers to the art of cupcake-making. Its line of classic flavors — like chocolate peanut butter and strawberries and cream — never disappoints. You’ll fall in love with these sweet treats and the dreamy, thick swirls of frosting on top.
Robert Armanino, the businessman behind Pink Box Doughnuts, knew that it took something special to get noticed in Vegas, so created the suitably decadent Pink Box Doughnuts. These treats are extravagantly topped with fancy glazes like chipotle caramel and generous toppings like Cocoa Pebbles. If you’re only going to visit once, you must try the Fat Elvis: a chocolate-covered, peanut butter-filled doughnut garnished with a slice of caramelized banana.
At the Fresh52 Farmers’ & Artisan Market, there are cherries, berries, apricots, sweet and savory hummus, Hawaiian shaved ice, macaroons and caramels, silver exotic stone jewelry, restored upcycled hardback books made into purses, and much more. On certain days, the market features live entertainment, including string ensembles, chef demonstrations, and crafting activities for kids. The market is open Saturdays and Sundays year round.
For the record, Fukuburger gets its name from co-founder Colin Fukunaga’s last name, not an expletive. He and Robert "Mags" Magsalin serve "All-American" burgers (and a panko-encrusted chicken katsu sandwich) with a Japanese twist, featuring toppings like wasabi mayo, pickled red ginger, avocado cream, Japanese barbecue sauce, and furikake (dried and ground fish, sesame seeds, chopped seaweed, sugar, and salt). Looking for a unique side dish? Try the togarashi garlic fries with banana ketchup.
Hubert Keller’s Vegas Burger Bar serves two different cuts of plain fries — skinny and fat — and both are a huge hit with fry connoisseurs. They carry just the right amount of grease (in the way that all fries should). The crispy skinny fries, in particular, earn rave reviews.
Blue Ribbon Brasserie
The fried chicken recipe created by brothers Bruce and Eric Bromberg more than 20 years ago helped give rise to a mini-empire of Blue Ribbon-branded restaurants in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and South Beach, and it's still the best thing on the menu at the three locations of Blue Ribbon Brasserie. To make this dish, chicken pieces are dipped in egg white and coated in a combination of matzo meal, flour, and baking powder before being deep-fried. After coming out of the oil, they're dusted with salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne, basil, parsley, and garlic and onion powders, and the end result is spectacular.
WinCo Foods is an employee-owned 24/7 supermarket chain with discounted groceries and bulk foods, plus a deli and bakery. One reviewer said: “WinCo offers excellent deals on general grocery store products. Their bakery, butcher shop, and produce sections are amazing and offer very good prices as well as a variety of options for any palate.”
The New York power trio of Rich Torrisi, Mario Carbone, and Jeff Zalaznick — officially known as the Major Food Group — knocked it out of the park with this very expensive, clubby old-school Greenwich Village red sauce joint (and its Las Vegas spinoff). The trio put a massive amount of time and energy into crafting each dish offered, and their lobster ravioli is one of the best pasta dishes around. The squid ink pasta is served with a creamy sauce that’s studded with fresh herbs and loads of perfectly cooked lobster.
Located inside the 86-year-old Railroad Pass Hotel & Casino, the recently renovated DeSimone’s Steakhouse serves a traditional steakhouse menu in every aspect but the prices. A 20-ounce New York striploin costs just $20, a 14-ounce rib-eye costs $26, and a 12-ounce prime rib will set you back just $24.
Facebook/ Ri Ra
Nestled in The Shoppes at Mandalay Bay Place, Rí Rá brings much needed authenticity to a city known for frivolity; it was constructed entirely in Ireland and shipped over to Las Vegas lock, stock, and barrel. This classy, grown-up pub offers guests a true Irish pub experience.
Costa di Mare
When Paul Bartolotta’s excellent and beloved seafood palace Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare abruptly closed its doors a few years ago, only to reopen the next day with a new name (Costa di Mare) and a new chef (Michael Mina alum Mark LoRusso) at the helm, customers had a right to be apprehensive. Thankfully, they had nothing to worry about. Forty varieties of fresh fish are still flown in daily from Italian coastal waters and served whole, live langoustines in four sizes are still a menu centerpiece (ranging in price from $30-$45 apiece), fresh pastas are still stunningly delicious (try the oven-baked spaghetti with shrimp, spiny lobster, clams, mussels, scallops, and flying squid), the menu still changes daily based on what comes in, and prices are still astronomical. It’s a bit strange to think that what’s quite possibly the best seafood restaurant in the country is located in the middle of the dessert, but hey, that’s Vegas for you.
Owner Luke Holden’s father was a Maine lobsterman, and Luke’s 28 locations in nine states and Washington D.C. (plus a Japanese outpost) are about as Maine as you can get. His lobster rolls start with toasted split-topped buns shipped from Maine, the claw and knuckle meat comes from Maine lobsters (they’re steamed, picked, and sealed airtight before being shipped south), and accompaniments include Maine Root soda and Gifford’s of Maine ice cream. The lobster rolls here are served with a little mayo inside the bun and butter drizzled on top, and it’s all brought together with a celery salt-heavy secret seasoning blend. Thankfully, they also ship.
It may not have the flash of Mexican hotspots on the Strip, but Bonito Michoacan is one of America’s great neighborhood Mexican restaurants for a reason: fresh ingredients, excellent execution, tableside guacamole, and hand-pressed, homemade tortillas. All the basics are covered, and the amount of care put into every component results in some spectacular food.
Courtesy of MGM Resorts International
Located inside the MGM Grand, French master chef Joël Robuchon’s eponymous restaurant is serving the most expensive meal in a city that’s chock full of them. The restaurant offers several tasting menus, which start at $127 per person. From there it’s $169 and $250 before topping out at the crème de la crème of American tasting menus, the 18-course degustation, for a whopping $445 per person, before drinks, tax, and tip.
Paul Bartolotta used to helm this restaurant when it was called Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, but since he left it hasn’t skipped a beat. It ships in fresh seafood from Italy daily, and a great way to try it without breaking the bank is in the Spaghetti all’Astice, with al dente spaghetti in a spicy tomato white wine sauce with plenty of Mediterranean blue rock lobster. Find more details on Costa di Mare here.
Gennaro Lombardi’s influence is such that his Spring Street shop almost directly resulted in what’s generally accepted as one of the best pizzas — if not the best pizza — in Las Vegas. Founders John Arena and Sam Facchini's grandparents settled 50 yards from Lombardi’s, and "ever since those early days, pizza has been at the center of [their] family life" (their parents’ first jobs were feeding coal into the bakery ovens where Sicilian pizzas were made for the neighborhood’s immigrant families).
Metro Pizza (born in 1980 as Original New York Pizza, and renamed in 1986 when they expanded) has been making handcrafted pies with dough made fresh daily and superior ingredients for 30-plus years (there are now six locations). Among the specialty pies, the Milano (mozzarella, ricotta, pecorino romano, and garlic) is a white pie worth noting. Of course, you’ll want to give a nod to at least one of the six "East Side Pizzas" named for New York City streets like Mulberry, Mott, and Bleecker.
The cooking is simply exquisite in this opulently furnished dining room in the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, which was the only three-Michelin-star restaurant in the city when the guide covered Vegas. As the first restaurant opened in America by the famed, award-winning Robuchon, widely considered the greatest of modern French chefs, Joël Robuchon maintains the highest standards under the guidance of chef Christophe de Lellis. Everything is impeccable, from its superb service and impressive (and impressively pricey) wine list to such finely crafted dishes as Le Caviar Imperial, a disc of king crab topped with an ample amount of osetra caviar, atop a crustacean gelée dotted with cauliflower puree. The 18-course tasting menu, which was completely revamped two years ago, is a truly memorable experience — as well it ought to be at $445 a head, wine not included.
Fat Choy/ Yelp
Located off the Strip inside the tiny Eureka Casino, Fat Choy is fusing Asian and American comfort foods with some astonishing results (think pancakes topped with crispy pork belly, bacon, and sausage; Peking duck bao, and burgers topped with short rib and bacon), and is a thing of seriously cultish devotion in Sin City among those in the know. The menu’s ultimate indulgence is the shor rib grilled cheese: melted provolone and Cheddar kicked up with shredded short rib and onion jam, all fused between two thick slices of buttery toasted bread. It’s late-night eats at its finest.
Located on the 56th floor of the Palms, Alizé is where chef André Rochat serves high-end contemporary French fare in a sophisticated and comfortable setting (with a great view to boot). And if you don’t order his French onion soup, you’re missing out. It starts with a rich house-made beef stock mixed with slow-cooked onions, topped with homemade croutons, pungent L’Etivaz cheese, and Devon cream. Oh, and it’s served inside a big onion!
In the land of super-cheap prime rib, one steak stands out — but you have to be in-the-know, because it’s not on the menu. In order to get this steak at Ellis Island Casino you need two separate coupons (which aren’t too hard to come by), but they’ll get you a 10-ounce thick-cut top sirloin, garlic green beans, soup or salad, and potato or rice. The deal is available 24 hours a day (of course), and it’ll cost you just $7.99.
Powerhouse restaurant duo Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich plus steak plus Vegas is sure to equal greatness. CarneVino, their temple to all things beef in The Palazzo Hotel & Casino, pulls out all the stops, aging their beef for 30 to 60 days (and in some cases, more than a year — yes, there’s a section of the menu titled "Riserva"), and these steaks can compete with any other offering, anywhere. This "super prime" beef is developed especially for Batali and Bastianich’s restaurant group, and — oh, yeah — this is a Batali restaurant after all, so the pastas and other menu items certainly don’t get short shrift.
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Nobu Matsuhisa is nothing short of a rock star in the sushi world, and a visit to one of his two Las Vegas restaurants (we recommend the one located in the newish Nobu Hotel inside Caesar’s Palace, but the original inside the Hard Rock Hotel is also spectacular) will immediately tell you why. These David Rockwell-designed Nobus are chic and hip — sure, a place to see and be seen — but the ambiance never gets in the way of the food. You’ll find all the trademark Nobu dishes — black cod miso, rock shrimp tempura, yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño — but there’s also an astounding sushi selection. Even though Matsuhisa himself is more renowned for his hot dishes, he’s brought on some of the best sushi chefs in the world and his creative ingenuity is on full display here. Be it abalone, Japanese red snapper, shad (kohada), or striped jack (shima aji), when it’s served at Nobu, it’s going to be good.
If you’re looking for a classic taquería experience in Las Vegas, you’re going to need to abandon the Strip and head to Taco y Taco, which has locations on East Tropicana Avenue and South Eastern Avenue. Opt for the al pastor, and pork will be sliced from a giant rotating spit and deposited directly onto the flat top for some extra caramelization. Piled into a tortilla with onions, cilantro, and chopped pineapple with an elote (ear of corn) on the side, it’s the perfect distraction from the glitz and glamor of the Strip. For more states, check out our ultimate guide to the best food and drink in every state for 2018.