The 15 Best Restaurants in Las Vegas (Slideshow)
May 15, 2014
15) Joe Vicari’s Andiamo Steakhouse
It’s not every day that you drop $80 on a steak, so when you do, you might as well make sure it’s every bit as mouthwateringly delicious (and substantial) as the 32 oz. Andiamo Tomahawk long bone rib eye at Joe Vicari’s Andiamo Steakhouse. If you’re not feeling especially carnivorous, you can also go for a pasta dish like potato gnocchi or tortellaci, or a seafood selection like lobster risotto. Of course, it all goes down better with a glass of wine, so it helps that there are over 80 bottles to choose from.
While tourists fight crowds at celebrity chef tapas hotspots, locals know that some of the best small plates in town can be found off the Strip at one of FireFly’s three locations. Founded by veteran Vegas chef John Simmons in 2003, FireFly is impressive based on the sheer immensity of the menu alone – customers choose from chilled, hot, meat, and seafood tapas, each section with around 15 small plate choices. But it’s the quality that keeps FireFly in business (and expanding). These are fresh, masterfully-flavored dishes, prepared for those in the know.
13) Honey Salt
Las Vegas isn’t exactly known for small-scale, family-run restaurants, which is part of what makes husband and wife team Elizabeth Blau and Kim Canteenwalla’s Honey Salt a refreshing change of pace. Tucked away in the corner of a strip mall, Honey Salt delivers Strip-worthy culinary chops to the Summerlin community. And considering the Blau and Canteenwalla’s pedigree – she is the CEO of a restaurant development firm and he is a veteran of the Wynn’s Society Café – it comes as no surprise the restaurant has become a local favorite since opening its doors in 2012. The menu features straight-ahead stuff that requires little guessing (chicken, pork chops, and filet mignon for the adults, pizza and burgers for the kiddos), but you can still expect top-notch flavors and farm-to-table fresh ingredients.
Since opening in Las Vegas’ Chinatown in 2012, chef Gen Mizoguchi’s Kabuto has become an instant hit with Las Vegas locals and visitors alike, including a nomination for Best New Restaurant by Bon Appétit, and a notice as one of the best sushi restaurants in the United States by travel and leisure. You can order miso soup, Edomae-style sushi, and desert a la carte, but most opt to let chef Mizoguchi work his magic with the omakase menu.
At Raku, chef Mitsuo Endo delivers grilled Japanese pub food to the Las Vegas masses — or, at least, the folks willing to trek off the main drag and hunt down his creations at an innocuous strip mall. There's no sushi to be found here, but Endo's inspiring (and affordable) takes on grilled Japanese dishes, including pork ear, beef liver, and fish belly dishes, should still satiate any palet looking for authentic Japanese flavors.
Powerhouse restaurant duo Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich + steak + Vegas = 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.
Following his runaway success at Green Zebra in Chicago, chef Shawn McClain made the trek westward to open Sage at the brand new ARIA in 2009. Using fresh California ingredients, McClain infuses unpretentious Modern American dishes with international touches, like Maine scallops with braised oxtails and mushrooms, and beef belly with root vegetables and buckwheat polenta. Anyone looking for an amped-up drinking experience can sample from the special absinthe cocktails – which was only recently legalized, as the menu is sure to note.
8) Bartolotta Ristorante Di Mare
When two-time James Beard Award-winning chef Paul Bartolotta, who'd made his name at Spiaggia in Chicago, was approached by Las Vegas hotelier and casino mogul Steve Wynn about opening a showplace restaurant at Wynn Las Vegas, he agreed on the condition that he could fly in the freshest possible fish and shellfish daily, directly from the Mediterranean. Wynn agreed — which is why, today, some of the freshest seafood it is possible to enjoy in America is found in the middle of the Mojave Desert. The choices in this cool, multi-level restaurant include not just the expected sea scallops, mussels, swordfish, and such, but also real Italian vongole (clams), Mediterranean spiny lobster, wild turbot, red mullet, and more. Of course, there's good meat and poultry and plenty of pasta, too (the simple homemade square-cut spaghetti with tomatoes and basil may sound boring, but is a must-have). -- Colman Andrews
Just as the Bellagio helped to swing the image of Vegas from a trend towards family-friendly towards upscale elegance, so too did executive chef Julian Serrano's Picasso, which still remains a culinary staple of the strip. Food is only half of the Picasso equation – Pablo Picasso originals line the low-lit dining area, where customers also have a view of Bellagio famed dancing water fountains. But the consistently mouthwatering French and Spanish-inspired cuisine, including a four-course quail prix fixe, is what has made Picasso an institution. How does 13 AAA Five Diamond Awards sound as a resume builder?
After opening the original Jaleo in Washington, D.C., in 1993, chef José Andrés expanded to the suburbs of the city before turning his attention from Spanish cuisine to other cuisines like Mediterranean and Mexican and opening Jaleo in Sin City. As Spain's unofficial culinary ambassador for both traditional cooking and Ferran Adrià’s brand of avant-garde, Andrés keeps the Jaleo menu packed with traditional tapas and paellas (the best and most authentic in America, made on a wood-burning paella grill), using the finest ingredients and time-honored techniques with measured modern flourishes.
5) Lotus of Siam
Serving Northern-style Thai food in a Sin City strip mall, Lotus of Siam has been nominated twice for a James Beard Award and has been called by more than one critic the best Thai restaurant in America. Chef/owner Saipin Chutima began her career at the age of five under her grandmother’s tutelage and cooks such inspired cuisine today as charbroiled prawns in tamarind sauce and kao soi-braised short ribs.
4) é by José Andrés
The ceaselessly inventive — hell, the ceaseless — Señor Andrés is the king of Spanish food (among other things) in America, bringing us authentic ingredients and preparations in the traditional mode but also giving us a made-in-America taste of avant-garde Spanish cooking as invented by his mentor, Ferran Adrià. é is a kind of sibling to Andrés' minibar in Washington, D.C. — though he has called it more conservative than that hotbed of creativity. That's "conservative" like truffle-flavored cotton candy, crispy chicken skin en escabeche, turbot with crispy bone marrow and coffee grounds, and cocoa paper with dried strawberries
3) Guy Savoy
The original Paris version of this restaurant, which merits three Michelin stars, is elegant and consistently wonderful. The Las Vegas clone (there is also one in Singapore) possesses two Michelin stars of its own, as well as the Forbes Travel Five Star Award, The AAA Five Diamond Award, and many others. The menu closely resembles the Parisian one and contains such Savoy modern classics as "colors of caviar," artichoke and black truffle soup, and salmon iceberg. A few years back, a writer for Gourmet ate the same food at the Paris and Las Vegas restaurants and found them pretty much equal in quality. Ironically, at the Las Vegas Guy Savoy, you can even see the Eiffel Tower out the window (the one at the Paris Hotel), which the Parisian Guy Savoy can't match.
2) Bouchon Bistro
Like Thomas Keller's original Bouchon, near his landmark French Laundry, the big, bustling Las Vegas version does a splendid job of emulating a Parisian bistro. Part of that has to do with the decorative tile floors, café lighting, brass and zinc accents, the black leather banquettes, and ladderback chairs, but it's even more a matter of the perfectly sourced and prepared, absolutely classic French bistro menu that ranges from oysters and mussels to foie gras hot or cold, or from croque madame to poulet rôti.
1) L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon
The cooking is simply exquisite in this opulently furnished dining room in the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino. As the first restaurant opened in America by the famed, award-winning Robuchon; widely considered the greatest of modern French chefs, it maintains the highest standards, from its superb service and impressive (and impressively pricey) wine list to such finely crafted dishes as sea bass and artichoke en cocotte with truffled langoustine ravioli, grilled spiny lobster in green curry with coriander, and chaud-froid of sea urchin on fennel potato purée. The 16-course tasting menu is a truly memorable experience — as well it ought to be at $425 a head, wine not included.