Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand
3799 S. Las Vegas Blvd., The Strip
Legendary French chef, Joël Robuchon, has a namesake restaurant on the MGM Grand casino floor next to Cirque Du Soleil’s KÀ theatre—it looks like an Art Deco townhouse from the outside—but once you're inside it's entirely possible to forget where you are. The restaurant, decorated by Pierre-Yves Rochon, includes a garden terrace off the dining room. The brainchild of Robuchon, the kitchen is led by executive chef Claude Le-Tohic (accomplished in his own culinary right), and has earned three Michelin stars for its sophisticated French cuisine. The sixteen-course meal is, needless to say (but we will), out of this world.
Jaleo at The Cosmopolitan
3708 Las Vegas Blvd. S, The Strip
The original Jaleo opened in D.C. in 1999, and the restaurant has since expanded to a few other cities, including this Vegas location at the Cosmopolitan. Run by culinary guru and goop favorite José Andrés and his ThinkFoodGroup, its a transportingly lively Spanish restaurant with a focus on tapas (which you can enjoy at the cocktail bar) and paellas (cooked on an open-fire wood grill)—you'll forget your on the Vegas strip. Side note: within the restaurant, is a second, somewhat hidden restaurant, designed to be more exclusive, called é by José Andrés, which boasts a tasting menu and eight seats in front of a chef's bar. Those reservations are by email only ([email protected]) and are available three months in advance. And since we're talking about spots in the Cosmopolitan, don't miss Jose's Mexi-Chinese fusion spot, China Poblano.
Costa di Mare at the Wynn (Closed)
3131 S. Las Vegas Blvd., The Strip
Now run by chef Mark LoRusso—who worked with Thomas Keller and has a long history with the Wynn's Vegas restaurants—Costa di Mare is known for its seafood. Fish is flown in daily from the Mediterranean, which is, of course, as fresh as you can get on the strip. Sitting outside in a private cabana—which you can call ahead to reserve—is a little bit amazing.
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.
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 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.
Omega Land Sailing
3570 Las Vegas Blvd. S, The Strip
If you’ve always wanted to try sailing, but the possibility of turtling a boat in rocky seas makes you queasy, land sailing is really the perfect alternative. The boats are outfitted with wheels, so they ride smoothly along flat desert floors. Wear long sleeves and don't forget sunglasses—it’s easy to get sunburned out in the desert with no cover. Pickups are available at Caesar's Palace or directly from the airport.