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Rick Giffen Shares His Three Best Dining Bets Off The Strip

Rick Giffen has pretty much done it all in the restaurant industry.

Rick Giffen
Rick Giffen

Sin City is home to a lot of restaurants and bars, but there are tons of hidden gems that the majority of Las Vegans aren't unearthing. To help guide us to these potential discoveries, we've enlisted some of our city's food players to share their recommendations for a weekly feature dubbed Dining Confidential. Know a chef who wants to share some top dining spots? The tipline is open.

Rick Giffen has opened more than 40 restaurants during his 26 years of hotel restaurant experience. The executive chef at the Stratosphere’s Top of the World, McCall’s and Roxy’s Diner trained at the Hotel Intercontinental San Diego while going to culinary school, and opened the U.S. Grant Hotel as saucier for Grant Grill. He ran five restaurants and the banquet center in Steamboat Springs, Colo., served as Western regional corporate chef and culinary training director for Planet Hollywood. He also worked as an executive chef at the Maxim Hotel, and as regional corporate chef for China Grill properties at Mandalay Bay, including Rum Jungle, Red Square, Rock Lobster and China Grill. Giffen was a chef partner of Café Wasabi on West Sahara and inside the Las Vegas Convention Center, and was chef de cuisine of Mon Ami Gabi at Paris Las Vegas. He also oversaw operations of Café Ba-Ba-Reeba and opened Strip Burger in Fashion Show mall and opened Trader Vic’s at Planet Hollywood Resort. Here the chef who appeared on Chopped shares three of his favorite off-Strip restaurants.

Which restaurants do you turn to when you’re not working?
There are so many great spots to dine in Las Vegas. When I’m not working, I enjoy spending my time at restaurants Echo & Rig, Omelet House and Viva Mercado’s.

What dishes are most memorable?
Omelet House, located on Charleston and Rancho, has a lobster fest omelet, which is as outstanding and unique as it sounds. Filled with chunks of real lobster, fresh avocado, melted Jack cheese and topped with zesty salsa, the flavors are absolutely life changing. Viva Mercado’s is located on the west side of town, but it is definitely worth the drive. Their seafood crisp, which contains three types of succulent seafood (shrimp, tilapia and calamari) wrapped in a crispy flour tortilla and topped with fresh guacamole, and the cohetes (fire cracker taquitos) filled with your choice of meat (beef, chicken or chorizo) and finished with spicy sautéed jalapeños and fresh green salsa are both fun, flavorful dishes for the palate.

Why do you enjoy going there?
I enjoy going to Echo & Rig because it is a steakhouse offering great value. They offer great appetizers and sides as well. I love eating out on their patio. Omelet House has a great atmosphere where you almost feel like you’re dining at grandma’s.

Top of the World

2000 Las Vegas Boulevard South, , NV 89104 (702) 380-7711 Visit Website

Roxy's Diner

2000 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89104 (702) 380-7777 Visit Website


2270 Village Walk Drive, , NV 89052 (725) 258-3246 Visit Website

McCall's Heartland Grill

2000 Las Vegas Boulevard South, , NV 89104 (702) 380-7790 Visit Website


2000 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89104 (702) 380-7777 Visit Website

Omelet House

2160 West Charleston Boulevard, , NV 89102 (702) 384-6868 Visit Website

Viva Mercado's

6182 W Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89103 (702) 871-8826 Visit Website