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Remembering the Biggest Dining Surprises of 2019

The Palms, surprisingly good restaurants, and more

A pool scene with a statue in the middle
Clint Jenkins

Following an Eater tradition, we asked a group of restaurant critics, journalists, bloggers, and friends of the site to weigh in on the year in food. Their answers to the annual Year in Eater survey will be revealed in several posts. Next up, the dining experts sum up the 2019 restaurant world in one word.

Melanie Lee, Eater Vegas Instagram manager: So many of the restaurant closures were surprising to me- for instance, Macayo was a college favorite that I thought would be around forever.

Bob Barnes, Las Vegas writer for Gayot, editorial director and writer for The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional, and copy editor and writer for Vegas Beer Quest: The amount of outstanding restaurants opening in the Arts District and Fremont East.

Andy Wang, contributor, Food & Wine: Gaucho’s Sacred Flavors at The Bunkhouse.

Krista Diamond, Eater Vegas contributor: How both vegans and carnivores alike have embraced plant-based dining options in Las Vegas.

Rob Kachelriess, Las Vegas writer, Thrillist: The closure of Kaos wasn’t a surprise for those paying attention, but it’s almost shocking how abruptly the Palms pulled the plug without at least trying to scale down or reinvent the concept. The place is already built. What do you have to lose? Try something crazy like $35 bottle service or headliners who go on stage at 9 p.m. instead of 1 a.m. (or 4 a.m.). Despite the sushi yachts, the demise of Kaos is more of a nightlife story than a dining story, but it was the centerpiece of the Palms’ massive renovation and its absence puts added pressure on other bars and restaurants to raise their profile and attract customers.

Philip Tzeng, food blogger LasVegasFill: Palms reinvention with such a loaded roster of chefs that, for the most part, have delivered. Remember when they used to have the biggest Hooters Restaurant in the world a few years back? They’ve really come a long way and I hope it lasts.

Scott Roeben, Vital Vegas: Restaurants continue to risk alienating customers by finding ways to nickel-and-dime them with nuisance fees. It’s surprising they don’t understand what’s at stake.

Susan Stapleton, editor of Eater Vegas: I’m surprised that so many breweries are opening in the Arts District. Seems tough to find parking to accommodate so many people dining in that neighborhood. The reconstruction along Fremont East was surely cause some restaurants to close. The Palms and its new roster of restaurants. It’s always exciting to see new places from big-name chefs, but I wonder if the resort can put enough butts in seats to make those restaurants pay off.

Friends of Eater Pick 2019’s Best Dining Neighborhood [ELV]

The Biggest Stories on Eater Vegas in 2019 [ELV]

Las Vegas Dining Experts Sum Up the 2019 Restaurant Scene in One Word [ELV]

The Best New Restaurants of 2019 in Las Vegas, According to the Experts [ELV]

Where Las Vegas Food Writers Loved to Eat in 2019 [ELV]

The 23 Most Important Las Vegas Restaurant Openings of 2019 [ELV]

All Coverage of the Year in Eater [ELV]