Following an Eater tradition, we asked a group of restaurant 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. First up, the dining experts share their restaurant standbys from 2021 and favorite newcomers.
Philip Tzeng, social media food blogger at LasVegasFill — I’ve been really into the heat lately and am loving Shang Artisan Noodle’s sister location, Shang Mian, on Silverado and Maryland as they offer a bevy of spicy dishes exclusive to that spot like Spicy Beef Noodle Soup and Ma Po Tofu.
Soondubu (Korean Tofu Soup) has been another source of amazing comfort food for me, and I keep going back to SeoulTofu. I order the spiciest level with an extra order of napkins for all the sweat on my forehead.
Chef Yuri Szarzewski and his team at Partage have been churning out incredible new menus monthly featuring inspired multi-course dinners, so it’s like a new restaurant every time I go. The 7-course dinner at $120 is an awesome bang for the buck.
I also can’t get enough of Mott 32’s Peking Duck and Hot & Sour Iberico Pork Shanghainese Soup Dumplings, which are the best XLB in town.
I recently checked out Aroma Latin American Cocina and was very impressed by their menu for such a casual spot on N Green Valley Pkwy in Henderson. Chef Steve Kestler has put together some great fusion items and my current favorite is their Peruvian/Japanese Lomo Saltado Nikkei, which I devoured in less than 10 minutes.
Scott Roeben, Vital Vegas — My favorite places are still going strong in 2021, despite challenges related to unpredictable product prices and staffing. Props to the Vegas restaurateurs who have managed to navigate this mess. My go-to restaurants in 2021 were 8 East at Circa, a sister restaurant of Le Thai on Fremont East, and Al Solito Posto at Tivoli Village. Chef James Trees and the Al Solito Posto team have hit a home run with this amazing Italian offering, an amazing “newcomer.” Another new restaurant that’s quickly turned into a must-try is Superfrico at Cosmopolitan. Peyote, downtown, is another stand-out. Weird location, but very good.
Bob Barnes, Las Vegas writer for Gayot.com and freelance food and beverage writer — La Cave at the Wynn continues to be one of my all-time favorites. I am always amazed at chef Billy DeMarco’s knack for designing a small plates menu full of variety with items that are so full of flavor and at a very reasonable price (especially for the Strip!). Our most recent dinner there included Jumbo Lump Crab Lettuce Cup with citrus segment; Beef Carpaccio with mushroom, caper and truffle aioli; Short Rib Taco with avocado crema, tomato and cilantro; Bacon Wrapped Date with blue cheese fondue; Beet & Burrata salad with arugula and Dijon vinaigrette; Beef Filet Crostini with blue cheese and truffle cream; seared Ahi Tuna with cream spinach and port wine reduction; and the very rich risotto-like Truffle Mushroom Grits with Pecorino.
We also love the butler-style (meaning the food is brought to you) brunch with unlimited offerings of more than a dozen tray-passed items (such as Bacon & Egg Flatbread, Angus Mini Burgers and Filet Mignon Eggs Benedict), which is now offered on Saturdays and Sundays.
Al Mancini — As we got back into the swing of dining out several nights a week, I feel like I was so desperate to catch up on restaurant visits that I really didn’t have a lot of time to have a “regular” spot. With that said, I did develop a ritual of getting takeout form Graffiti Bao on those nights my wife and I stayed home to watch a Golden Knights game. The T-Mobile location is favorite place to eat in the Fortress (with some Freed’s for dessert). So when we’re watching at home, I like to hit the Buffalo Drive location before the puck drops, and enjoy it in front of the TV.
I’m not sure if this qualifies as “this year,” since I believe it opened in December of 2020 – but I am completely infatuated with Main St. Provisions. It’s just hitting every mark on both food and service, conceptually and in the execution. And it’s located on the coolest block in the most exciting neighborhood in Las Vegas.
I also need to mention that I have been pleasantly surprised with the dining at both Virgin and Resorts World. While some of their knockouts were expected (One Steak and Brezza, for example), many of the places that I shrugged off during the pre-opening hype have become favorites. At Virgin, I can’t believe how much I’m loving Kassi Beach House, Olives and Twisted Tea in the Shag Room. And I’m blown away by the quality of the food at Wally’s, the ambience of Starlight on 66 and the Fuhu brunch.
Rob Kachelriess, Las Vegas Writer for Thrillist — Main St. Provisions, Al Solito Posto, Brezza, Harlo Steakhouse, Saffron and Boom Bang Fine Foods & Cocktails were my favorite new restaurants of the year. This meat-eater also found himself returning to Chikyu Vegan Sushi for frequent dine-in and takeaway orders. That place knows how to make vegetables taste incredible.
Emmy Kasten, Vegas Magazine — Since I live on the west side, this year I found myself at Al Solito Posto almost every week. Despite its regularly botched name, the restaurant breathed new life into Tivoli Village. Another one of my haunts was La Strega, which remains one of my top-of-mind go-to’s. On the Strip, you can’t keep me away from Estiatorio Milos at the Venetian, especially for lunch.
The newcomers that excited me most this year were Delilah at Wynn and Harlo in Downtown Summerlin. There is simply no other place that delivers glamour like Delilah, making it an instant magnet for the who’s who and the biggest spenders. I was also excited about Harlo, which achieves an upscale vibe without being stuffy. Harlo hits all the right notes with its menu and atmosphere, exactly in tune with the surrounding neighborhood.
Susan Stapleton, editor of Eater Vegas — During a strange year where I tried to dine out as little as possible, I found myself trying new restaurants far more frequently than returning to old favorites. I love Honey Salt, so it was nice to return there while the world felt a little safer. I really love what Nicole Brisson is doing with Brezza at Resorts World and cannot wait to try Bar Zazu.