People tend to associated Las Vegas with casinos and spontaneous weddings, but the ‘entertainment capital of the world’ will titillate your taste buds too. The Strip is beautiful all-year long so why not take a bus to Las Vegas? The city’s restaurants pride themselves on offering some of the best fine dining in the US, but there plenty of quaint establishments happy to serve you in your T-shirt and jeans. As a must-see tourist destination, the city’s standards are high, whether it be fast food or dine-in, so even the pickiest eater is sure to be satisfied.
Here are 10 restaurants that you seriously need to check out the next time you’re in Las Vegas:
1. Beauty & Essex $$$
In the mood for some vintage decor? Why not dine at the Beauty & Essex, conveniently heart of the heart of the city. This reasonably up-scale restaurant will have you succumbing to favorites like the Beauty & Essex burger, which combines short rib and lamb with goodies like spicy harissa aioli, beefsteak tomato, goat feta with a side of crispy BBQ fries.
Or maybe you are on the more adventurous side… In that case, the menu has plenty of unique delights from tuna poke wonton tacos and Thai crispy shrimp to orange-kissed salmon ceviche; which deliciously combines jalapeño, mango and corn tortilla. Pastry chef Brandy Woolfolk offers a wide selection of sweets, like the black-bottomed butterscotch pot de crème, which never disappoints.
2. Goose Island Pub $$
Located at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is the Goose Island Pub. It’s not just any pub; it promises to impress the most difficult of beer connoisseurs. This brewery has a reputation for expertly executing the classics, but it isn’t afraid to experiment. Enjoy pub-style dishes with your choice of artisan-crafted beer, wine and cocktails. Try ‘Sophie,’ a Belgian-style farmhouse ale, which promises a hint of tart citrus and vanilla. Looking for something a little more sophisticated? Try the Rare Bourbon County Brand stout, a rich brew that has been aged for two years in 35-year-old bourbon barrels.
3. The Halal Guys $
The story behind this franchise originates from New York when its three founders opened a hot dog cart. As their business started to take off, they realized that Muslim cab drivers presented a special, untapped niche within the food industry. That began a venture, which over the last 25 years has expanded into a national franchise. If you run into their cart, try the baklava, a popular Turkish dessert you can rarely find being sold on the street. If you’d rather sit down while savoring your chicken platter or gyro sandwich, then dine in over at their location just off The Strip.
4. Le Cirque $$$
Who didn’t love the circus as a kid? Take a trip back in time to the good ol’ days with some fine dining under a circus tent at The Bellagio! The pre-theater menu is a popularly-priced option that consists of various choices of appetizers, main courses and desserts. Step out of your comfort zone with the escargots au beurre d’ail, which coats Burgundy snails in black garlic herb butter, croutons, confit tomato and licorice salad.
Whether you love seafood, chicken or red-meat alternatives, the main dishes at Le Cirque is sure to please. A notable favorite is the dos de saumon ecossais – wild Scottish salmon with asparagus, wild mushrooms, and potato mousseline topped with a citrus vinaigrette. Finish off your dinner with a chocolate ball – praline mousse, topped with white chocolate ice cream, hazelnut caramel crunch, dipped in chocolate sauce.
5. The Egg & I $
Looking for a cheap meal to kick off your day? Enjoy the tastiest breakfast (or brunch) in town at The Egg & I. Established in 1988, the restaurant has become a local favorite thanks to a family tradition of hearty American fare that is sure to exceed your ‘egg’-spectations.
Try an Italian skillet breakfast; sausage, onions, peppers and mushrooms, topped with home-made marinara sauce. Or even their delicious egg-crepes! Vegetarians can sample the veggie crepe, which combines guacamole, spinach, mushrooms with Swiss cheese. Meat-lovers should opt for the pork carnitas crepe – a thin crepe filled with slow-roasted pork, onions, cilantro and cheesy goodness.
Satay Thai Bistro & Bar is affordable, but never compromises on taste. From grilled lamb chops and shrimp tacos to calamari (served with sweet mayonnaise) and vegan egg rolls, explore the all the flavors of southeast Asia. The orange chicken is a house special that is highly recommended. You can also grab some spicy Indian food; roti with curry and potato-stuffed samosas are on the menu too.
What the restaurant is known for are its Malaysian specialties like nasi lemak with beef rendang and curry laksa. On the Thai side, you need to sample at least one of the following: chicken larb, papaya salad or their traditional pad Thai. There are also a number of unique desserts to choose from like banana fritters with ice cream, or mango sticky rice which combines mango with sweet, sticky rice, coconut milk and sesame seeds.
7. Market Grille Cafe $
Craving some homemade Greek food? This eatery has won the ‘Best of Las Vegas’ title for six straight years from 2009 to 2014. Try the meatball pizza, a Neapolitan classic with a Greek twist – a warm pita bread topped with meatballs, meat sauce and mozzarella. A great vegetarian option is Plato’s potatoes and falafels. Pasta Giovanni is also delicious – chicken, topped with sautéed tomatoes with a spinach-basil and parmesan pesto sauce.
Don’t forget to try their tiramisu cheesecake, an award-winning cheesecake infused with brandy-espresso, ladyfingers and mascarpone.
8. Carson Kitchen $$
If you want quality food in a pub-style environment, stop by Carson Kitchen, at its convenient downtown location. Despite only being open for two years; it’s become so popular that reservations are recommended. The social plates, like bacon jam, is great to share, but you’ll probably want to keep the Bourbon fudge brownie all to yourself. The lamb chops with a pecan crust and mint chimichurri will be sure to excite the palate, but if you want to stick to what you know, all their burgers have a classic, yet unique taste. This restaurant is also home to tons of beverage options, especially if you’re on a date. In fact, Carson Kitchen’s drinks slogan is: “Libations … because no good love story started with someone ordering a salad.”
9. Pizza Rock $$
If the flashy sign outside hasn’t drawn into Pizza Rock, then the menu will. Thanks to Chef Tony Gemignani’s expertise in all things Italian, options are abundant. For antipasti (appetizers), try Italian fries, which come in three styles: rosemary garlic, creamy gorgonzola and truffle Looking for healthy eats? The gorgonzola & apple insalata (salad) is one of the most interesting dishes available; which is tossed greens, gorgonzola cheese, apple slice walnuts, cherries and balsamic vinaigrette. The chef’s mac and cheese is not your average KD; it’s topped with smoked pancetta, bacon with cheddar, Havarti, asiago and Pecorino-Romano cheeses.
10. Raku Japanese Charcoal Grill $
It doesn’t just need to be a getaway of burgers and beers when you can experience authentic Japanese cuisine at Raku. If you’re a fearless foodie, try the pork ear or intestine. It tastes sweet and the meat is tenderized in the apple-marinated lamb chops. As an added bonus, each month you can sample three new sakes from Japan.
For the main course, there are a number of rice noodle soup options to choose from, like Udon noodles with foie gras egg custard soup. Miso soup is a classic in every Japanese restaurant so be sure to have a slurp of that as well. Desserts at a Japanese restaurant are quite adventurous if you’re not accustomed to it. I highly recommend the green tea crème brulée and the melting chocolate cake.