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.
124 S. 6th St., Downtown
You'll find farm-to-table comfort food at this very un-average downtown restaurant opened by the late chef Kerry Simon. The menu revolved around share plates like wok-charred edamame; sandwiches like secret Sunday chicken with spicy aioli, and mains like black rice and oxtail risotto. The beverage menu is also enticing—from IPAs, reds and whites, to original cocktails best sipped on Carson Kitchen's outdoor patio.
3708 S. Las Vegas Blvd., The Strip
José Andrés’s taco and dumpling bar is a totally authentic taste of Mexico City that just happens to be situated inside the bustling Cosmopolitan hotel. It’s a fun, casual set up serving incredibly fresh tacos, BBQ oysters, and an avocado margarita that sounds strange but tastes incredible. For a great alternative to room service, there are also hearty noodle and fried rice dishes.
Costa di Mare at the Wynn
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.
707 Carson St., Downtown
Eat is an unpretentious breakfast and lunch joint run by chef Natalie Young that has one of the best brunches in Las Vegas. While it feels super mom and pop, it's also quite hip, with an exposed ceiling and hodge podge of colorful chairs. The hard part? Choosing whether to order breakfast (eggs served all day) or lunch.
Herbs & Rye
3713 W. Sahara, Spring Valley
A little bit of a hole in the wall and a seriously good find, Herbs & Rye is a surf and turf kind of place with dishes like Filet Sliders, Spicy Mussels, Pan Seared Salmon, and Bone in Pork Chops on the menu. It's also a place you can go just for the drinks—their handcrafted, classic-based cocktail menu is extensive and features drinks by the era (Gothic Age, Golden Age, Old School Age, Prohibition, and so on).
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.
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.
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.
523 Fremont St., Downtown
This downtown spot (you’ll know it by the marquee sign with an arrow) is a local go-to for good Thai food. It’s arguably the best option in town for pad thai, but the real must-order dish is the short rib fried rice. Chef/owner Dan Coughlin is a bit of a trailblazer; this is one of the first really good, updated restaurants the downtown neighborhood, which is in the early stages of revitalization.
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