Las Vegas started as a cowboy town. When the Hoover Dam was built, it became a gambling destination. Not long after, the general tourist crowds followed. The dining scene too has grown from afterthought coffee shops and buffets to celebrity chef-helmed meccas and so-called “Gourmet Rooms” galore. Today, Las Vegas covers just about every genre of food imaginable at every price point. Here’s a guide to help you dig in where it matters.
Welcome to Celebrity Chef Land
Nowhere in the world can you find as many celebrity chefs in one compact space as in Las Vegas. More than 40 big-name chefs have hung their shingles at one of the resorts along the Strip, giving tourists who visit Sin City every year an ample variety of very good and very splashy places to dine.
If you’re in the market for a fancy dinner, there’s sushi from Nobu Matsuhisa at Caesars Palace and Virgin Hotels. Grab truffle and artichoke soup at Guy Savoy’s namesake French restaurant at Caesars Palace. You can also go all in with steaks and a pre-nightclub party scene at STK at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. See what all the table-side service is about at Carbone at Aria.
And 2023 promises even more big names in Las Vegas. Former Dallas Cowboys running back and Pro Football Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith plans to open his own restaurant. Mayor of Flavortown Guy Fieri has not one but two more eateries planned for the Strip. And Blake Shelton is working on opening his country bar this fall.
But Las Vegas is so much more than fancy dinners, too. Catch breakfast, lunch, or dinner at the legendary Peppermill, or gorge on some of the best tacos in the city at Tacos El Gordo with its long fast-service lines.
Start on Eater Vegas’ Best Maps
Eater publishes tons of different maps and guides that detail the top places and things to eat and drink in Las Vegas. Below, we cherry-pick the most important points from some of our most popular maps.
Hot Restaurants: The hottest restaurants in Las Vegas right now include the beautiful new Lotus of Siam in Summerlin, the largest steakhouse in the city at Carversteak at Resorts World, and the Proper Eats food hall — just one in a recent boom of food halls, and Miznon, the quick service pita spot from Chef Eyal Shani.
Essential Restaurants: When you need to narrow down the Essential 38, hit up Raku for extraordinary Japanese small plates served late, Herbs and Rye for its Old Vegas charm, La Strega for some of the best Italian fare in the city, and Other Mama, the raw bar and casual libation spot on the west side. On the Strip, you can never go wrong with Joël Robuchon at the MGM Grand (if you have deep pockets), Bazaar Meat by José Andrés at the Sahara, or Wolfgang Puck’s Spago with its stunning views of the Fountains at Bellagio.
Pizza: Tony Gemignani dominates the pizza scene in Las Vegas with two Pizza Rocks, the gems of the pizza map. On the Strip, head to The Pizzeria (a.k.a. “Secret Pizza”) at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas for late-night cravings. Downtown, seek out slices at both Good Pie and Evel Pie.
Sushi: The most essential sushi spot on our sushi map? Yui Edomae, where Gen Mizoguchi uses fish flown in from Japan for his omotenashi style of serving nigiri and omakase, or one of the toughest reservations to get, Kabuto. Of course, Nobu Matsuhisa and Masaharu Morimoto have locations on the Strip.
Beer: If you only go to one Las Vegas-area brewery, make it CraftHaus, the go-to for local restaurants that want a special beer made just for them.
Bars and Lounges: Your best bet for a great cocktail? Downtown Cocktail Room with its expertly made drinks. On the Strip, go to Rosina at the Palazzo for Champagne or a secret cocktail menu, or the Chandelier Bar with its three levels wrapped in 2 million beads at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. For beer, head to the Gateway District’s Silver Stamp or Atomic Liquors in Downtown Las Vegas. Consider this a decent starting point on the Essential Bars map.
Steakhouses: It wouldn’t be Las Vegas without a steakhouse in every resort. Standouts include Bazaar Meat by José Andrés at the Sahara, SW Steakhouse at Wynn, Cut by Wolfgang Puck at the Palazzo, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Prime at the Bellagio and Jean Georges at Aria. Las Vegas is one of the few cities where diners can find real Kobe beef.
Brunch: Las Vegas owns brunch, with options available to suit just about every whim. Try Bardot Brasserie for an eggs Benedict riff made with waffles and duck confit or Border Grill for Mexican fare for breakfast or Lavo Italian Restaurant for a chaotic party brunch that only Vegas could pull off.
Las Vegas Food ’Hoods to Know
Sin City has more key areas to eat than the Strip. Here are all the neighborhoods every self-proclaimed food lover needs to get acquainted with — complete with what to eat and drink in each.
The three and a half miles of the Strip is the most egalitarian, all-encompassing, and high-quality eating arena in any major North American city. Graze from the most insane multi-course menu you can find at é by José Andrés to inexpensive eats to fashionable restaurants where you can see celebrities on the regular. Dine on real Kobe beef at SW Steakhouse and Mizumi at Wynn Las Vegas, or Bazaar Meat at the Sahara, three of a handful of restaurants nationwide that serve this buttery Japanese treasure.
Want to try some true Vegas flavors with a solid meal without the big bill? Head to Downtown Las Vegas and the Fremont East district, the walkable and more approachable neighborhood in Las Vegas, where some of the biggest growth in the restaurant industry has taken place. In 2012, only Le Thai brought diners outside the canopy of the flashier Fremont Street Experience with its smaller casinos. Since then, more restaurants opened, bringing everything from ramen and sushi to vegan and Cajun fare. Discover American eats at Carson Kitchen, great breakfast fare at Eat, vegetarian dishes at VegeNation, an all-night cafe at Siegel’s 1941, and so much more.
This neighborhood’s name is misleading as just about every type of Asian fare can be found here. Some of the city’s best Japanese restaurants reside here, including the izakaya Raku, Monta Ramen, Thai food sensation Lamaii, and the desserts and sandwiches spot Sweets Raku. This map calls out the best of Chinatown.
Las Vegas Glossary of Terms
French chef Robuchon earned the nickname Chef of the Century for his 32 Michelin stars worldwide. In 2005, he came out of retirement to open Joël Robuchon and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon at the MGM Grand. These two restaurants represent the only places in the United States to eat his exquisite food, which is worth every penny. His namesake restaurant features degustation menus and carts galore with bread, tea, dessert, cognacs, and more, while L’Atelier, the workshop, has bar seating to watch the chefs in action. Robuchon died in August 2018 at the age of 73.
The shouty chef is probably best known for his television shows such as Hell’s Kitchen. Originally from Scotland, Ramsay brought Gordon Ramsay Steak to Vegas in 2012 (order the beef Wellington). He followed those up with Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Palace with its Piccadilly Circus theme, Gordon Ramsay Burger at Planet Hollywood Resort with a wall of flames, Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips at The Linq Promenade, and his latest, the ode to his television show Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen at the front of Caesars Palace, right on the Las Vegas Strip.
The Austrian chef who hawks his wares on HSN has six restaurants in Las Vegas. He ushered in the era of celebrity chefs on the Strip when he opened Spago at the Forum Shops at Caesars with his salmon pizza and California fare in 1992 and then made the move to the Bellagio in 2018. His restaurant Cut at the Palazzo is often considered one of the best steakhouses in Las Vegas.
This chef from New Orleans is perhaps best known for his interjections of “Bam!” Lagasse’s oldest restaurant, Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House at the MGM Grand puts the chef’s Creole cooking in the spotlight while Delmonico Steakhouse at the Venetian has one of the best books of whiskeys in Las Vegas.
While the celebrity chef doesn’t hail from Las Vegas, he now has two restaurants here, including Momofuku with must-try Korean-American dishes at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, and the chef’s inventive spin on global street food at Bāng Bar.
The Spanish-born chef took Las Vegas by storm with his stellar multi-course tasting experience é by José Andrés inside Jaleo, his tapas restaurant at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. He also has China Poblano, a twist on Chinese and Mexican fare at the resort, along with Bazaar Meat by José Andrés at the Sahara, one of the best steakhouses in the city.
Culinary trailblazers back in the 1940s found a way to keep gamblers inside the resorts with cheap food, and lots of it. El Rancho Vegas, the Strip’s first resort, came up with the chuck wagon, the earliest version of the modern-day buffet to turn up in Las Vegas. Those early chuck wagons might have served some hot dishes along with cold cuts. El Rancho Vegas’ Buckaroo Buffet only charged a dollar for all-you-can-eat fare when it opened. The pandemic closed the 70-plus Las Vegas buffets inside casinos, and several have returned, including three of the best — the Buffet at Wynn, Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, and Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace.
The shrimp cocktail earned its place in Vegas dining lore when casinos put it on the menu for 50 cents to lure gamblers in 1959. Jack Binion’s Steak has one for $26.95. And Saginaw’s Deli at Circa has one for $12. Other places might have cheaper shrimp cocktails (Think the Horizon Cafe at Skyline Hotel & Casino on Boulder Highway with its 24-hour $2.25 version.)
Long before the celebrity chefs took over the Strip, Las Vegas relied on cheap prime rib to drive diners into the restaurants and have enough money left over to keep gambling. That era kicked off in 1942 with The Last Frontier, which served “juicy rich prime ribs of Eastern steer beef, cooked in rock salt, served from the cart at your table with Idaho baked potato with chives, tossed salad, rolls, and coffee” all for $1.50. For more on where to eat prime rib, check out this map.
Gourmet rooms got their start in the early ’60s, focusing on French cuisine, seafood, Italian dishes, or steak. The first, the Sultan’s Table at the Dunes, came before places such as the Delmonico at the Riviera, the Dome of the Sea at the Dunes, the Candlelight Room at the Flamingo, the Regency Room at the Sands, and Le Gourmet Room at the Tropicana. Chefs came from the Ritz in Paris and Savoy in London. Head down to South Point to dine at the last one standing — Michael’s Gourmet Room — for romantic booths, table-side service, captains serving, and a romantic dining room straight out of that bygone era.
Reservations To Make in Advance
Consider booking reservations for these hard-to-get-into restaurants: Restaurant Guy Savoy; é Bar by José Andrés; Raku; SW Steakhouse; Lotus of Siam; Eiffel Tower Restaurant; Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen; Kabuto; Spago; Vanderpump Cocktail Garden; Ping Pang Pong; Bacchanal Buffet.
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