The toughest decision you’ll make in Las Vegas isn’t how much to bet at the tables, it’s choosing a restaurant to double down on with your dinner reservation. Alex Pasquariello covers the spread with a guide to Sin City’s best eats
Restaurant Guy Savoy, Caesars Palace
Michelin star-collecting chef Guy Savoy’s first outpost outside of Paris transports foodies to the City of Lights through cuisine, scene and service—it even has Eiffel Tower views… of the Las Vegas replica, that is. The mod 75-seat space’s neutral tones allow divine dishes like the ambrosial artichoke and black truffle soup to shine. You’ll find the perfect pairing in the 15,000-bottle wine list, and this April the restaurant debuted its Cognac Lounge, which, it’s claimed, has the best selection of the Brandy in the country.
Estiatorio Milos, The Cosmopolitan
A bright stone-and-wood dining room with white linens channels the cliff-side homes of the Chef Costas Spiliadis’ native Greek Isles. Outside, there’s a secret eating garden, a sparkling patio behind trellised vines, but the restaurant’s main event is its seafood bar, a long, ice-lined counter where the day’s catch, flown in from fresh from the Mediterranean, is laid out like an enticing still life. The restaurant partners with small, independent fisherman to import the Mediterranean’s freshest fish, oysters, shrimp and octopus.
Simon Restaurant and Lounge, Palms Place
There couldn’t be a better venue for “Rock n’ Roll Chef” Kerry Simon than his eponymous eatery over looking the sexy pool at Palms Place. Start with a craft cocktail, like the pomberry pop martini, literally bursting with pop rocks. From there, Simon’s seasonal, organic fare delivers regular foodgasms with dishes like banana leaf halibut and citrus-braised short ribs and whole roasted branzino with hot peppers and lemon confit. Best of all, if you don’t want the sit-down experience, you can just order at the pool and chow down on healthy fare straight from your float.
RM Seafood, Mandalay Bay
Whether you’re looking for a low-key place for a drink and a bite or a fine dining experience to remember, the two-level RM fits the bill. This casual eatery has wood tables and a sushi bar covering the first floor and a white-tablecloth affair upstairs that serves a more refined global menu. Downstairs, Chef Rick Moonen comfort-food faves like diver scallops with pork belly and chicharrones and RM-style “cioppino.” Upstairs the menu gets more imaginative, pairing flavors in surprising combinations that nearly always hit the mark. Try seared big-eye tuna with lentils, curry and bacon foam or lobster with corn flan, Russian cherries and black garlic miso sauce.
A reverence for taste and technique is as evident in the spare design as it is in the menu at Chef Mitsuo Endo’s tiny Japanese izakaya joint in the back corner of an average Chinatown strip mall. Sample slender enoki mushrooms wrapped in bacon, and foie gras in a soy sauce glaze or Kobe beef fillet with wasabi grilled on the charcoal robata grill. Venture further into the menu for meticulously prepared appetizers, like yellowtail carpaccio or poached egg with sea urchin and salmon roe. Raku’s best-known dish, the agedashi tofu, is also one of its simplest: One wide slab of silky tofu served in a savory broth and topped with roe, scallions and nori.
Comme Ça, The Cosmopolitan
Comme Ça opens with a dim, elegant bar and deep red booths perfect for sipping off the throwback-heavy cocktail menu, and for dinner and a show you can’t beat its red-lit patio providing a front-row seat to the Strip’s neon-lit insanity. Chef David Myers’ distinctly modern flourishes elevate French standards to new heights and spin usual suspects into tasty delights — try the duck confit, served with “melted” leeks, pickled blueberry beurre blanc and sour cherry duck jus. Don’t skip the early and late happy hours, which knock half off the restaurant’s 18A cocktail menu; its creations include the Vegas High Rise: vodka, crème de cassis, fresh lemon, guava and a pinch of sugar.
L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, MGM
The best seats in Joël Robuchon’s Michelin-starred studio are at the counter overlooking an open kitchen where chefs craft exquisite French dishes served without the pomp and circumstance of Robuchon’s Mansion next door. But don’t let the sleek red-and-black décor, counter seating or (relatively) low price tags fool you — this meal is a dramatic and delicious experience for a food fans who want to eat like kings without having to linger for four hours over the meal. Dishes like monkfish cheeks with baby leeks and buttery shellfish sauce and sea bass fillet with chorizo are rarely as simple as they sound. When you really want to treat yourself, try the 18-course Dégustation menu of small tasting portions. You’ll know you’re in the homestretch when you hit “le burger” at course 16.
The former chef of MGM Grand’s Fiamma Trattoria, Chef Carlos Buscaglia ditched the Strip to open this happenin’ restaurant that’s a go-to spot for elevated family dinners and elegant enough for a date, with a petite bar and ample wine list that make waiting for your table a pleasure. The name translates to “two ovens,” and the restaurant uses their pair to turn out thin, crispy Roman crust pizzas and chewy Neapolitan pies with deliciously blistered edges. Toppings here go Vegas with black truffle, Parmesan cream, cremini mushrooms and over-easy egg on the Tartufo or prosciutto, smoked buffalo mozzarella and arugula on the Prosciutto e Rucola.
Sage, Aria at CityCenter
Chef Shawn McClain’s modern American fare focuses on high-quality ingredients, elegant preparations and interesting flavor pairings. Consider wagyu beef tartar with crushed caper aioli and slow poached egg or Maryland black bass served with padrone pepper, romesco sauce and Spanish chorizo. Sage’s absinthe menu is one of the most extensive in the country. Enjoy la fée verte Russian style — the liquor is set aflame before being poured over simple syrup and rocks.
If there’s one criticism of Sin City’s food scene, it’s that the restaurants—and chefs—are imported from the world’s preeminent foodie capitals, and that they often charge prices that could pay for their chefs’ international airplane tickets. Not so at homegrown Bachi Burger, where chef-slash-owner Lorin Watada combos Asian tastes with the All-American sandwich. Go big with the bahn mi burger with angus beef, pork and shrimp spiced up with lemongrass curry aioli and perfectly pickled veggies, all between a fresh-baked, Taiwanese-style sweet bread bun. How good are these burgers? Bachi Burger is expanding to West Hollywood this spring to do battle in L.A., the burger capital of the world.