Travel

Where to Eat

Establishment neighborhood
The Bootlegger
7700 S. Las Vegas Blvd., The Strip
Located minutes past the famous Welcome to Las Vegas sign, The Bootlegger is a Las Vegas mainstay—the family restaurant has been serving up the recipes of Chef Maria Perry since 1949. The 24/7 Vegas classic offers everything you'd want to find at an Italian restaurant, with a special night owl menu for those looking for a meatball sub or personal pizza between the hours of 11pm and 6am. Carpe diem. The Bootlegger also does takeout, hosts events, and often has live entertainment in one of their dining rooms.
Andiron Steak & Sea
1720 Festival Plaza Dr., Summerlin
Elizabeth Blau is best known for restaurant development, working with clients like Kor group, Montage, Ritz Carlton, and the Wynn (the list goes on) to design and execute restaurants for their properties. This spot is actually one of her own, and since it’s located far from the strip in neighborhood-ey Summerlin, it’s somewhat of a local favorite. The design is light and summery, with white-washed, barn-like ceilings, white shutters, and roomy green booths. The dinner is decidedly meat-focused, with a long list of serious steaks and grilled fish, and a hefty prime rib on Sundays. Their Sunday brunch is one of the best in town.
Viva Mercado’s
9440 W. Sahara Ave., Peccole Ranch
With 30 years of experience under his belt, Bobby Mercado is a Vegas institution at this point. His eponymous restaurant is definitely the best place in town for authentic Mexican: you can’t go wrong with any of the classics, but we recommend a pitcher of margaritas, tortilla soup, and steak fajitas (don’t skip the guac at the beginning). It’s a family operation, and the vibe is refreshingly casual making it the perfect spot if you have the littles in tow. If it’s warm enough, ask for a seat on the outdoor patio.
Siegel’s 1941 at the El Cortez
600 E. Fremont St., Downtown
This new-ish spot in the El Cortez is part of the older, Downtown section of town and serves what’s probably the best matzoh ball soup in Vegas. The name pays tribute to Bugsy Siegel, the Jewish mobster who played a major role in the development of Vegas—1941 refers to the year the El Cortez opened. The restaurant is open 24-hours (a strange rarity, considering the late hours most people keep in this town), and the menu is nicely diverse—try the corned beef hash, the waffles, or the steak and eggs.
Piero’s
355 Convention Center Dr., The Strip
The inside of this classic, old-school Italian place feels like a scene from Casino (which was, in fact, filmed here), thanks in no small part to the leather booths, mahogany bar, and zebra-print carpet. Chef Fetaz famously left Chicago when Paul Anka recruited him to helm the dance club Jubilee, where he worked until the opening of Piero’s in 1982: his menu is all about stellar Italian classics like osso bucco and linguine and clams. Come on a Friday or Saturday, when Vegas legend Pia Zadora sings Sinatra songs in the lounge.
The Other Mama
3655 S. Durango, Spring Valley
This new-ish local raw bar is already known for fresh oysters (delivered daily) and the non-traditional sauces they’re served with (wasabi cocktail, pickled peppers and habañero, and blood orange and mint). The entire raw menu is great: try the Big Eye Tuna with roasted beets and avocado or the Sashimi Salad with thyme and honey. They also serve excellent classic deviled eggs and a perfect organic roasted chicken. And while there’s a healthy wine list, don't miss their creative, well-crafted cocktails.
The Peppermill Restaurant & Fireside Lounge
2985 Las Vegas Blvd. S, The Strip
This 24-hour restaurant on a distant end of Las Vegas Boulevard is the perfect destination for a healthy dose of old-school Vegas kitsch without the madness of the central strip. From the ‘80s-style sign outside to the booths and ceilings inside, the place is dripping with neon, and the waitresses are all dressed up in floor-length gowns with generous slits. The front of the restaurant is lined with rows of sunken velvet booths and Tiffany-style chandeliers (stained-glass flamingos, no less), but locals head to the fireside lounge, where you can sit around a flame that comes up out of a water feature. If you’re there late-night, order the off-menu Scorpion Bowl, a cocktail made with grenadine and vanilla ice cream that’s big enough for a crowd.
Raku
5030 W. Spring Mountain Rd., Chinatown
This classically good Japanese place, also in Chinatown, is rumored to be a favorite of local casino chefs. Refreshingly far from the strip without becoming a trek (it’s about a 15-minute cab), the 48-seat restaurant is decidedly intimate, but the overall effect skews cozy rather than crowded. Owner/chef Mitsuo Endo grew up and trained in Tokyo at Japan’s best keiseki restaurants, and his iteration of that authentic, course-style cuisine results in the kind of menu where you truly can order anything. While there’s an excellent omakase experience, a trip wouldn’t be complete without some hot options: the house-made tofu is excellent, as are the grilled Kobe steak and any of the filling soup and noodle options. Stop by the newly-opened dessert place next door after the meal.
Kabuto
5040 W. Spring Mountain Rd., Chinatown
Chef Gen Mizoguchi, the sushi chef responsible for giving Kabuto its fantastic reputation, left the restaurant over a year ago to pursue his own venture (while it’s too soon to tell if it will live up to Kabuto’s fame, there are very high expectations for his new restaurant, Yui Edomae). Back at Kabuto, things haven’t changed a bit: The hole-in-the-wall place is now helmed by Ken Hosoki, who trained under Mizoguchi for many years and continues to serve hyper-fresh fish in a simple edomae style over vinegar-seasoned rice. The interior space is tiny, sleek, and minimal, and the place to sit is definitely at the bar. Though you’re not likely to leave hungry, Kabuto is just steps from Chinatown Plaza, the heart of Las Vegas’ surprisingly authentic and vibrant Chinatown. The exotic fish and produce at 99 Ranch Market alone justifies a stop.