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 feature dubbed Dining Confidential.
Venezuelan-born restaurateur Lorena Garcia just opened her very first restaurant on the Strip, Chica at the Venetian. The TV personality has her cookbook Lorena Garcia’s New Latin Classics, Garcia has taken her love of cooking to the next level by creating the Lorena Bella Kitchen Collection for HSN. She grew up in Caracas, Venezuela, and originally planned to be a lawyer, finishing her associate degree and paralegal studies while learning English. But law wasn’t the right fit for her, and Garcia left the legal world to enroll at Johnson & Wales University. She worked as an apprentice at the Ritz-Carlton In Paris and then worked at chef Pascal Oudin at the Grand Bay Hotel in Miaimi, and then Jeffery Chodorow’s China Grill and Red Square. In July 2002 Garcia took the leap and opened her own restaurant, Food Café, and then Elements Tierra, two successful restaurants in Miami’s Design District serving Latin and Asian-inspired dishes. She’s an executive chef at Miami International Airport, where she opened Lorena Garcia Cocina; at the Atlanta International Airport she debuted Tapas y Cocina in 2012; and in 2016, she opened another Tapas y Cocina at Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport. Here the guest chef on Top Chef All-Stars, The Biggest Loser and judge and investor on America’s Next Great Restaurant shares some of her favorite places to dine in Las Vegas.
Do you remember your first trip to Vegas?
What happened that was memorable?The first time I was in Vegas was when I had the amazing opportunity to cook on Top Chef Masters. What made it memorable was meeting one of my best friends in the world — my beloved chef Art Smith.
Where do you like to eat breakfast in Las Vegas?
Eat has a simple breakfast menu with just enough variety to hit each craving. I personally like their cinnamon biscuits with warm strawberry compote and always have eggs.
What about lunch?
Yardbird for lunch is one of my all time favorites for salads and the chicken biscuits; it's the perfect combination for lunch.
If you’re going out for dinner, which restaurants do you like to frequent? What makes them special? Any dishes you can recommend?
Cut is another amazing option; you can't go wrong with any steak paired with one of their delicious sides.
Are there any brunches in town you like to frequent?
Bouchon, definitely. The pastry board is out of this world and the pate is delicious.
• All Coverage of Chica [ELV]
• All Dining Confidentials [ELV]