Since you literally have to be 21 years old to even breathe in Las Vegas, we’ve chosen 21 of the best spots (some of which are “locals-only” spots, not embellished for the tourists) to find the best-tasting grub available! Mind you, not everyone is going to like every place, but I’ve found a fulfilling experience at each and every one! All I can say is – on the road to NAB, stop and taste the sandwiches! Here are my tasty choices:
TAO Restaurant (3377 S Las Vegas Blvd, #702-388-8338) Visit website
Every year now, I throw a small event for close friends, family and our crew at TAO’s Restaurant. Last year, I decided to let the server take the entire dinner into his own hands. We ended up with this crazy fun five course meal with all sorts of different foods. What a blast! About 10 of us were there… Might I recommend the Honey Ginger Glazed Salmon? The combination of Shiitake Mushrooms & Lotus Root is what does it for me! The 60,000 square-foot, multi-story “Asian City” houses a restaurant, banquet facilities, lounge, nightclub and beach – a Vegas MUST-SEE!!!
I have been here MANY times with our friends from Facilis Technology. Their Northern Thai Cuisine is KILLER! Crispy duck… deep-fried prawns… the full menu will not only surprise you, but will also definitely make choosing a nearly impossible task! It comes off as a mom-and-pop restaurant – but it’s always a blast and you can seat MANY people at the same table. And oh – they have WINE! All of the different combinations of foods and wines themselves explain why I’ve been here so often – without having eaten the exact same combo twice!
Located inside The Aria Hotel & Casino, Carbone Italian Restaurant serves classic Italian food prepared perfectly. A full bar complements the timeless cuisine and a wonderful wait staff rounds out the experience. The property chose well when it decided to include this unpretentious and comfortable, yet elegant, restaurant. The Lobster Fra Diavolo was exemplary, but I expected no less.
Chengdu Taste offers Sichuan cuisine. The flavor just seems to leap out and say: eat me! (No not that way). The best Chinese food I’ve had outside China. I had bang chicken, diced rabbit with younger sister’s secret sauce. I tried the Mao Chi but it was a bit spicy for me. Bold Flavors & Friendly staff.
Located inside Caesar’s, Mr. Chow features Beijing-style Chinese cooking. Chic, elegant and stunning, Mr. Chow simply radiates style. A mobile structure suspended from the ceiling and lit with shifting and changing soft color lighting provides additional ambience. Service was excellent; the restaurant is obviously geared toward serving family-sized or larger groups, however. Single diners stand out. The signature dish, Beijing duck, was amazing. They hand-pull their own noodles, too! It’s a delightful place to dine – bring some friends!
Viet Noodle Bar is an open and spacious Vietnamese Restaurant. Their take on the traditional Bahn Bao dish (a ball shaped steamed bun with meat, onion, egg, mushroom, and a variety of vegetables) is the “Banh Bao Bo Xao” in this case the meat and veggies inside are Rib-Eye and stir-fry. It’s a delicious entrée that costs less than 8 bucks! Their noodle soup (Pho) was quite tasty as well and offered brisket, flank, fatty flank, tripe, tendon or rare steak as meat choices. I worked up the nerve to try their Soda Sua Hot Ga (Vietnamese Egg Soda) and my adventurous but admittedly westernized palette was rewarded with a strangely refreshing sort of ice creamy/ custardy beverage. They have a lengthy menu with some vegetarian options, as well as a choice of some fine alcoholic beverages.
Not the easiest to find, Yui Edomae is a new sushi restaurant tucked away off the main street. It features omotenashi service (Japanese service – i.e., warmth, respect, and attention to detail.) As with all sushi restaurants, they specialize in the Umami (savory) portion of the five basic tastes. I had the Ikura (which I often find a bit too salty, but it was just perfect here), Aoyagi (Orange clam) which was also perfect – tender and sweet with just the right bite, and some Uni (sea Urchin) – it was light, sweet and a wee bit briny. If you like atmosphere, fresh food (with a capital F), and great taste, check this out!
Flock & Fowl (380 W Sahara Ave. # 626-616-6632) Visit website
Flock & Fowl serves Hainanese Chicken Rice either alone or with 3 different varieties of chicken-based meals. Prices are on par with fast food restaurants. Chicken wings (Thai Caramel-Garlic), and a few other options round out the menu. Tasty, especially for the price. I have a feeling that this will be like most street-vendor food when I cover Broadcast: ASIA later this year…
FukuBurger (3439 S Jones Blvd. # 702-776-8928) Visit website
Fukuburger features Japanized American burgers – a “Tokyo Twist” on all-American cuisine. The restaurant has both a storefront and a food truck that visits various events and locations around Vegas. I gave Asian Fusion two thumbs up after sampling a couple of their burgers. Bored with burgers? Just add another culture to yours and that’ll re-invigorate your relationship with everyday eats!
Soho SushiBurrito features a flavorsome blending of two cultures that’s been growing in Las Vegas, California, Colorado and Utah – Mexican and Japanese cuisine. Its Mexico City meets Tokyo meets fast food! Not only does Chef John Chien Lee bring over twenty years of culinary experience to the table, but he also brings a hearty dose of environmental responsibility. A dining experience that’s safe for the planet and a delight to the tongue! Our Janet West should try this!
The Hong Kong Café offers a unique blending of East and West in this one of a kind Café at the Palazzo Resort Hotel on the casino floor. I sampled two of their signature dishes – the Macau-style roasted pork belly, and King Seafood Vietnamese noodle soup. I’m no gourmet, so I’ll just say that the food was ‘very good.’ My waiter was exceptional, too…Very nice.
Kame is a Sushi restaurant that is an upscale expansion/extension of the existing Yummi Grill Sushi restaurant. Chef Eric Kim takes you along on a tasty tour through the ocean with his unique, fresh, and amazingly tasty seafood. I dined with a few friends and we sampled many dishes… everything I had was wonderful. Every version of the Nigiri I tried was exceptional. If your palate is partial to the bounty of the seas, you simply must eat here!
At Chow, Southern Cooking meets Asian cuisine. It’s not Asian-fusion, though, but the co-existence of equals. They are very accepting – no matter how different you are; the place projects an ‘everyone’s your neighbor’ sort of vibe. Open noon to eight most days. They just added a takeout window in case you’re in a rush.
J Gumbo’s Creole & Cajun cooking almost had me believing I’d somehow been transported to Louisiana. They definitely delivered on their promise of “Soul in a bowl.” The Gumbo and Jambalaya were to die for. I rounded out my experience with chicory coffee and a couple dessert beignets. Eat here – really!
Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles (2040 N Rainbow Blvd. # 702-483-4311) Visit website
Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles features the best soul food Vegas has to offer. Sweet tea and a wide variety of Kool-Aid is always on hand and “microwave” is considered a dirty word here. This spacious restaurant is known for repeat celebrity appearances by the likes of Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Muhammad Ali and others. Their signature dish is the best chicken and waffles I’ve ever tasted. Their chicken is so good you might be tempted to lick your fingers, hands and maybe even your elbows if you’re an extremely ‘enthusiastic’ eater.
Rivea Las Vegas (3940 Las Vegas Blvd S. # 702-632-9500) Visit website
Rivea Las Vegas brings together the tastes of France and Italy in this beautiful restaurant atop the Delano Hotel in the Mandalay Bay Casino that features a breathtaking panoramic view of Las Vegas. The plates are small and they suggest 2 to 3 plates per person. I was going to try 3 different plates to gain the most new tastes from my visit but the Octopus Salad was so good I ended up having 2 plates of that instead. I followed that with a zucotto (a brandy, cake and ice cream dish) for dessert. Magnificent! They have a sizeable wine list featuring mainly French, Italian, and US wines.
Herringbone Las Vegas (3730 Las Vegas Blvd S # 702-590-9898) Visit website
The Herringbone features amazing seafood you must eat to believe. This restaurant was inspired by the coastal cuisine of California – it’s Brian Malarkey (a Top Chef alum)’s second Vegas restaurant, replacing the Gold Lounge at Aria. Pure seafood combines with local responsible sourced meats to honor the guilt free “fish-meats-field” theme, followed by its two sister locations in California. Chef Geno Bernardo expertly brings the flavors to you, while Chef Malarkey’s design brings the atmosphere.
Minus Five (AKA-“The Ice Bar”)
Minus Five offers a unique bar experience. This is literally the coolest bar I’ve ever been to! The temperature is kept at a cool -5 Celsius and everything that can be made of ice is made of ice -your seat, the glasses, the bar… you get the picture. A parka and gloves are available for each guest as you enter. They now have locations in 4 places: Vegas (The newest at Mandalay Bay – address listed – and another at The Monte Carlo), New York, Orlando, and the Cayman Islands. Ice sculptures of every variety abound! Private events can be scheduled with the option to have one of their ice artists carve you a little something special – a sculpture, a structure, a company logo – whatever. It’s a very cool place to give a presentation… 🙂
Just leave it to Vegas to provide a bonus of three other places that simply cannot be left off this list! There are so many more that can be said to be deserving enough to be included, but these are the best (in my opinion!) Here are your bonuses:
Mexican cuisine with a Tijuana twist, it has two California and three Las Vegas locations (I chose the one on the strip, as that’s the one I know!) I had the Azteca Taco and Fries here. The Fries feature your choice of one of their tasty meats atop a bed of fries. Everything was fresh and bursting with flavor. The taco had the best cactus I’ve ever eaten. They feature a wide variety of tacos along with five specialty dishes.
Rick’s Rollin’ Smoke BBQ & Tavern is the perfect example of what a BBQ joint and tavern should be. Plus, there’s also the chance that you’ll bump into some of the stars of the History Channel’s Pawn Stars! The Gold & Silver Pawn Shop featured in the series is a just a wee-bit south of this tavern. The bar features 16 local brews of beer on tap, as well as a tasty mix of southern cocktails. Try the ribs! They’re simply incredible! The BBQ sauce is as good as or better than the best of homemade sauces! I just wish they bottled it and sold it, too. Rick’s Rollin’ Smoke BBQ is the best BBQ joint I’ve ever been to – amazing!
Beauty & Essex (3708 S Las Vegas Blvd, #702-737-0707) Visit website
Don’t let the Pawn Shop in front fool you! This is a really cool modern Speakeasy located in the cosmopolitan hotel in city center. Beware – this is not your grandfather’s speakeasy! Killer drinks… but even better food! Personally, I recommend the 34 oz. 40-Day Dry-Aged Tomahawk Ribeye steak, served with Beauty & Essex signature sauces – either black truffle hollandaise or roasted garlic & bacon… both are supreme and both are sublime! As they used to say in the day – it’s the bees-knees!
Be sure to patronize as many of these places as you can, in order to have the best Las Vegas/NAB Experience you can! Hope to see you at NAB Show!