The Las Vegas restaurant scene keeps evolving with Italian cuisine, gastropubs and New American fare ruling the roost of new openings in 2012. Concepts that opened last year generally stayed casual, with most of the high-end dining options remaining in the high-end resorts on the Strip. New restaurants continue to bolster Las Vegas as a great dining city, keeping up with dining outposts such as San Francisco, Chicago and New York. The best of Las Vegas can still compete with the best of other cities, sometimes even outshining other locales. Here's to hoping for an even bigger and better 2013, but in the meantime, Eater Vegas presents the 18 biggest restaurant openings in 2012.Read More
The 18 Biggest Restaurant Openings of 2012
1. Chocolate & Spice Bakery
Pastry chef extraordinaire Megan Romano comes back with a fire. Her tarts, pies and cakes are available for pick up and can be custom ordered to suit any occasion. But don’t ignore the savories such as breakfast frittatas, soups, sandwiches and more. Be sure to check out the monthly baking classes.
By far some of the freshest sushi you can find in Las Vegas, and it won’t break the bank. The 10-piece nigiri goes for $40 with fish flown in daily from the Bay of Tokyo. Here, it’s more a matter of whether you can land a table in this tiny 18-seater.
The hottest new Japanese restaurant on the Strip features Devin Hashimoto’s take on traditional dishes. A 72-hour braised American Wagyu short rib “kakuni” with creamy satsuma potatoes, fava bean and shitaake ragout and red wine miso sauce is not to be missed.
4. Gordon Ramsay Steak
The shouty chef’s first venture in Las Vegas has been selling out routinely with his take on the American steakhouse. Standouts include the beef Wellington, fish and chips and the sticky toffee pudding. Steaks here are showcased on a cart brought table side so diners can choose their order. Not to miss, the cocktail and wine menu, brought out on an iPad.
5. Culinary Dropout
Sam Fox’s long-awaited gastropub just opened mid-August at the Hard Rock Hotel with antipastas, a raw bar with mussels and King crab legs and shared plates such as smoked salmon rillettes, house potato chips with onion dip, soft pretzels and provolone fondue and grilled artichokes make the menu. Seven sandwiches such as the warm Italian grinder with Genoa salami, tavern ham and provolone, the M.A.C. Burger and the shaved Prime rib dip show up along with a crispy shrimp Caesars salad and seared tuna salad.
Chef Masa Takayama reinvented Shaboo into Tetsu, a teppanaki restaurant inside BarMasa. It features six grills with two at communal tables and another four at blackjack-style tables seating about 40 total. Within, a produce table offers up the day’s selection of meats, seafood and vegetables. Guests choose what they want to eat, which is weighed and then cooked in front of them.
Stratta switched over to Allegro, a late-night spot from executive chef Enzo Febbraro with Italian delights such as osso bucco, veal chop parm and margherita pizzas. While dinner starts at 5:30 p.m., this spot stays open until 6 a.m. for the post-nightclub crowd.
8. Bacchanal Buffet
Already USA Today has named the nine-kitchens at the new Bacchanal Buffet the best in Vegas. About 80 percent of the 500 items is cooked right in front of guests. Bacchanal certainly furthered the idea of a good buffet in Las Vegas.
Natalie Young’s new breakfast and lunch spot in Downtown Las Vegas has become the go-to spot. Already the restaurant that opened in early August is garnering rave reviews for its creative fare. Look for frittatas and egg sandwiches on the breakfast menu and four salads and seven sandwiches including a trio of banh mi at lunch. Order the roast beef sandwich with wild mushrooms, pickled red onions and just a touch of bleu cheese.
10. Meat & Three
Chris Herrin’s sophomore effort in Henderson tackles Southern fare, serving meat and three sides. Look for beef brisket, fried chicken and Salisbury steak along with scalloped mashed potatoes, hushpuppies and fried artichokes as well as 12 different puddings.
11. Chada Thai & Wine
Bank Atcharawan’s Chada Thai & Wine brings Southern Thai food to Chinatown. The former sommelier of Lotus of Siam brings his award-winning list of 150 to 170 wines that skew toward Rieslings and global whites. Many of the dishes on the 50-item menu carry prices in the $10 range.
12. Meatball Spot
Carla Pellegrino's new restaurant gives diners a reason to head to Town Square. Fans like the variety of meatballs that range from beef and turkey to vegetarian, chicken and lamb.
13. Honey Salt
Vegas' first couple of food Kim Canteenwalla and Elizabeth Blau bring this interpretation of dining at their family home to the Westside. Look for recipes from their many travels on this seasonally changing menu. Standouts include the yellowtail crudo, scallops and, if you can get it, the fried chicken.
Sammy DeMarco's latest restaurant combines an insane amount of wall-to-wall-to-wall graffiti art with a veritable menu of burgers. Be sure to check out the pickled dishes and order a Pickleback, a shot of Jameson and pickle juice, to land a free ride on the mechanical pickle.
Yes, it’s a chain restaurant, but it brought new life to Neonopolis in Downtown Las Vegas and a supper club concept all wrapped up in a futuristic canary yellow diner. Look for the 24-hour restaurant to open its wedding chapel to open in time for Valentine’s Day.
16. Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill
The shouty chef's second restaurant in Vegas serves up what he calls British gastropub fare. Keep in mind the restaurant features two separate menus for the pub and grill side. So far, the onion soup and sticky toffee pudding stand out on the menu.
17. Gordon Ramsay Burgr
Opening a mere five days after Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill, the shouty chef’s third Vegas restaurant focuses on burgers. Look for a selection of the chef’s take on the burger, served with Devonshire butter.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Andrea's combines nightlife and dining with pan-Asian fare from chef Joseph Elevado and music curated by Steve Angello of Swedish House Mafia. Dubbed vibe dining, the menu reflects the hip dishes nightclubbers can dine on before hitting Surrender Nightclub.