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. Now, what was the saddest restaurant closing of 2021?
Scott Roeben, Vital Vegas — I’d have to go with Rao’s. It was pretty good Italian, and a Vegas institution. Rumor is it will be replaced with a steakhouse, which means it will not only have big shoes to fill, but the future of another favorite spot on The Strip, Old Homestead, could be in question, which would also be sad. The loss of the lasagna at Simply Pure at Downtown Container Park is a loss for all of humanity. It was vegetarian, which made it even more incredible it was so good. Ew, plants. Oh, and Martorano’s at Paris. Really sad. Most surprising closure: Marigold at Resorts World.
Bob Barnes, Las Vegas writer for Gayot.com and freelance food and beverage writer — I was disappointed to see Rao’s at Caesars Palace close. It had been at Caesars so long it was practically a fixture there and I had some excellent meals there over the years.
Louiie Victa, Eater Vegas photographer — Elio. Never got around to trying this! Also, Marigold at Resort’s World.
Al Mancini — I’m going to miss Rao’s a lot. I had a lot of fun there over the years. It was where I always ended up at the end of Vegas Uncork’d, when we got tired of fighting the crowds at the pool. And I can vaguely recall drunkenly singing along to the jukebox with Frank Savoy one night after a dinner at RGS.
I’ll admit that it was never as much fun after Frankie moved out of town. And given the progress that East Coast Italian-American cuisine made in our valley over the past few years, I’m not even sure most locals will miss it. But I will.
Rob Kachelriess, Las Vegas Writer for Thrillist — It’s always sad to see a once-amazing restaurant like Costa di Mare close at the Wynn. Rao’s marked the end of an era at Caesars Palace as well. I hope the closure of Rooster Boy Cafe is more of a “see you later” than a “goodbye” from Sonia El-Nawal’s small but mighty concept.
Emmy Kasten, Vegas Magazine — I was very sad to see Rose.Rabbit.Lie. close at The Cosmopolitan. I always had an amazing experience there, and I’ll forever crave their signature caviar tacos — tiny Yukon Gold potato shells filled with caviar and a touch of hamachi.
On another note, it was also sad to see Rao’s close its doors at Caesars Palace after an incredible 15-year run.
Ken Miller, Las Vegas Magazine — Rao’s
Philip Tzeng, social media food blogger at LasVegasFill — Rose Rabbit Lie. If anyone remembers what that place was like when they originally opened featuring an evening like no other with fantastic and unique performances throughout with a gourmet menu to match its over-the-top/larger-than-life presentation, this was one of the best places ever. I think we all knew it wouldn’t last based on the money they were pumping into the space, but I’m just grateful to have been there as many times as I did and the crazy stories from there will live in Vegas folklore.
Susan Stapleton, editor of Eater Vegas — Mesa Grill at Caesars Palace. I loved that brunch and tried to go every time I went to Color to get my hair cut and colored, which was a lot. I’ll also miss Costa di Mare at Wynn Las Vegas. Such a romantic setting with over-the-top seafood choices. And Elio, even though it technically closed in late 2020. I ate there once and really looked forward to exploring more of the menu. Honestly, I’m surprised more places didn’t close in the past year. Vegas got lucky, I guess.