Las Vegas has long been known as a city of forgotten nights, lost dreams, and washed-up star residencies - but only recently has it become more of a food destination. And between planning hotel room blocks and coordinating flights, you don’t have time to research which restaurants will actually be worth your casino winnings. That’s why we’re here.
We have you covered with everything from where to have a blow-out steak dinner to where to recover and escape the craziness for a couple of hours. That way you can focus on your Google alert for the Celine Dion tickets you’ve not-so-secretly wanted for years.
This guide is presented by Palms Las Vegas.
THE NEW-ISH places EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
Everything about Vetri Cucina makes it feel like an exclusive club. When you walk off the Strip into the Palms, you’ll be greeted by a host on the ground floor, and when you’re whisked up 56 floors via a private elevator, your first thoughts might range from, “Did they install a Wonka-vator?” to “All this for me?” No, the elevator can’t go sideways and backways, and yes, you’re worth it. You’ll forget all the other thoughts in your heads once you see the Strip and its flashing lights from that high up. And then when the incredible pastas hit your table, they’ll be the only thing that could ever distract you from the view.
We once read an ancient proverb that roughly translated to: If you can see Iberico ham hanging as you walk into a place, you’re in for a good night. And while we may or may not have made that up, EDO Gastro Tapas and Wine is the restaurant that proves it. Any dish at this Spring Valley spot with that Iberico is a must, along with a few things from the long cocktail and wine lists, though there’s also a $45 tapas tasting menu that’s an absolute steal.
From the spiral staircase to the library’s worth of books lining the walls, it would be easy to assume that the entire Nomad budget was spent on the space. But then you look at the menu and realize that’s only half the story. There’s caviar service and a steak tartare prepared tableside, next to a lamb tomahawk and a roast chicken stuffed with truffles and foie gras. It’s one of the best places on the Strip (and the city in general) for a very special - and very expensive - night out. So if you’re looking for that classic Vegas experience of spending approximately a month’s rent on a meal, make a reservation at the Nomad.
Like double dates and renting a paddleboat, there are some things you shouldn’t do alone. The same goes for Cleaver - to experience this place fully, you need to bring a group. You can’t go wrong with any of the steaks, but the Cleaver Ribeye - a 120-ounce cut that could feed a small soccer team - is what will guarantee that everyone else in the restaurant looks at your table with a mix of jealousy and fear. This spot right off the Strip also has one of the best Happy Hours (from 5-8pm and 12-3am daily), when most of the steaks are half off.
We all have that one friend who’s always hungry - maybe they recently decided to take up weight lifting because they like to pick things up and put them down, or maybe they did a juice cleanse pre-Vegas and now they’re eating everything in sight. Either way, Mabel’s BBQ on the Strip is where you should take them. This spot serves all the barbecue greatest hits and everyone will leave overly full without having to spend a crazy amount. Then, if your friend still complains of being hungry afterwards, it might be time for an intervention.
Planning an anniversary dinner, or a “Will you spend the rest of your life watching me yell at sportsmen on the TV?” dinner can be stressful. Last time you had something this important, you spent so much time making sure everything was perfect that you forgot to invite the person you were trying to impress. Don’t make the same mistake again - just take them to Scotch 80 Prime in the Palms. With all the gold accents and a wine cellar that might be bigger than your bedroom (or possibly your whole apartment), it’s an impressive space that still manages to feel comfortable. Their steak menu has options from dry-aged to wagyu and Kobe, but there are plenty of fish options too.
Vegas isn’t for everyone; it’s loud, bright, and despite your highest hopes, those cards on the streets don’t have pictures and stats of ball players on them. But sometimes you have to plan your sister’s bachelorette party or you get invited to the yo-yo national sales conference. Thankfully, there’s Mama Bird. It’s a more low-key Southern spot where you can take a break from people constantly trying to hustle or upsell you on everything, and it’s far enough from the center of town to feel a bit removed - in a good way. Get the salt and pepper brisket, which is some of the best you’ll find in Vegas, and the Wicked Deviled Eggs, because you can never go wrong with candied jalapenos.
big night out spots
Located just off the Strip in the Royal Resort Hotel, The Barrymore is one of the most beautiful restaurants you’ll ever walk into. The booths are plush enough that you’ll have to actively stop yourself from lying down and pretending you live there for the night, which might be more difficult after working your way through the menu, with things like lobster mac and cheese, seafood platters, and steaks. If you’re looking for something that feels like the Strip, but isn’t actually on the Strip, this is the best spot. Especially since you can end your night with live music in their bar area instead of by being roped into a photo with a weird street performer.
Sometimes it’s hard to keep mafia movies straight since they all usually contain at least two of the following: family drama, double-crossings, and an old-school Italian restaurant. But what we can keep straight are our favorite Italian spots, and Ferraro’s is right at the top. Open since 1985, this Las Vegas institution serves handmade pasta and an incredible osso buco (that you should definitely order). Pair that with a bottle from their wine list that’s so long it has a table of contents, before you ask the table next to you what really happened at Cheryl’s wedding and see if you can add some fuel to the fire.
The day after you eat at Americana, you might be a little cagey when people ask what you did last night. Not because anything went wrong, but because you want to keep it all to yourself for a little while. It’s located about 30 minutes from the Strip, but when you’re on day four of a work convention and your team’s eyes need a break from the perpetually blinking lights, take them here. This place has a five-course tasting menu, a vegan tasting menu, and a weekly changing harvest menu that comes with endless house wine pairings. Between the accommodating menus and a patio area overlooking Lake Jacqueline, it’s the perfect place to impress everyone from your assistant to your boss’ boss.
NOT “HOT,” BUT DEFINITELY STILL COOL
You consider yourself a pretty creative person. You’ve been getting creative with your betting strategies, you got pretty creative with how many people can comfortably fit in one hotel room, and now you want the most creative food you can find. Get a table at Sparrow and Wolf. When it opened in 2017, it was one of the hardest reservations to get, and while it’s slightly easier now, it’s still one of our top dinner spots off the Strip. There are dishes like duck with seared foie gras and salted plum, beef cheek and bone marrow dumplings with lemon ash, and cocktails made with things like hazelnut orgeat and mulled wine syrup. The small plates are somewhat reasonably priced, but they can add up, so bring a few people if you want to be able to try a lot without spending a ton.
Lotus of Siam is that perfect level of lively where you don’t need to show up in - and inevitably stain - your “going out” clothes, but it’s bright and colorful and you kind of feel like everyone is there for the same party. Just make sure you get a reservation because you’ll want to bring a group and this place definitely fills up. Stick with the Northern Thai and chef’s choice portions of the menu, which include dishes like Chilean sea bass and drunken noodle with prawns. It’s hard to go wrong though, as long as you order enough food that the server starts to look at you strangely.
Nevada is completely landlocked and mostly desert, so it’s not somewhere you’d expect to find a lot of high-quality seafood. But we’re pretty sure Other Mama secretly found an entire ocean in their backyard because they have one of the best raw bars in the city and a seafood-focused menu with everything from a whole grilled fish, to french toast and caviar. It’s a small space with fewer than 50 seats, so try not to bring everyone you’ve ever met, but if someone does tag along who’s not so into things that once lived in water, they have a great steak with miso hollandaise too.
When you need a break from wearing heels or a brief hiatus from massive steaks, head to The Black Sheep. Usually, food this good means putting on your dry-clean-only clothes and making a reservation a month in advance. Thankfully, this place feels way more casual - you won’t be out of place in jeans - and reservations aren’t hard to come by. Bring a group to share dishes like salmon skin tacos, fried beef crisps, and a whole fried rainbow trout, and split a bottle (or three) of wine - a large majority are under $45. And while it’s only about a 15-minute drive from the Strip, it still feels like an escape from the craziness for a few hours.
There is no wrong time to visit Mon Ami Gabi, but there is a wrong place to sit when you get there. This French bistro just inside of the Paris Hotel has one of the best views of the Bellagio fountains on the Strip, so whether you’re here for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner, a seat outside is mandatory. And while most restaurants on the Strip are impossible to get into last minute, Mon Ami Gabi almost always has tables available making it a great walk-in option.
This Korean barbecue spot is the meal equivalent of a choose-your-own-adventure book, except instead of directing little Robbie to venture into the windy forest, you only have to decide how much food should end up in front of you - and the answer is always a lot. The meats at Hobak are a level above the other Korean BBQ spots in town and include Black Angus beef that should definitely be on your table.
There are a couple very touristy reasons to go to Downtown Vegas. There’s a light show on the world’s largest video screen and a Slotzilla zipline that you should save for when you’re not three drinks in. But the best reason is to eat at Flock and Fowl. Their Hainanese chicken rice will be one of the best things you’ll eat here and since it’s under $14, you’ll still have enough money to try out the “part thrill ride, part escape room, part maze, and part interactive video game” Walking Dead Survival experience.
You frequently daydream about quitting your job and walking the streets of Rome with a slice of pizza in hand - it’s ok, we all have. Once you open your eyes and realize you’re craving a good slice, Pizzeria Monzu is basically the next best thing. Their Roman-style pies are some of the best around and if you really want to confuse your body and probably everyone around you, get both the Pork Reigns and the Vegetariana. Now that you think about it, you look way better in your daydreams with two slices of pizza in your hands anyway.
In Vegas, you might go to bed at 5pm after a pool party or have breakfast at 3pm one day because that’s when everyone finally woke up. Or you might need a second dinner at 1am when you plan on being out until dawn - and that’s when you head to Tacos El Gordo. Open every day until 2am, it’s a great late night spot, especially since preemptive tacos have been proven to help prevent hangovers. It’s going to be busy no matter when you stop by, but the service is fast and efficient, and you can use the time in line to devise your course of attack. Make sure you get the carne asada and beef tongue tacos, though after waiting that long, you could just go ahead and get one of each - and maybe a quesadilla for the road.
If you’re going to eat one bowl of ramen in this city, it should be at Jinya. Unfortunately, that fact isn’t much of a secret - so you’ll usually have to wait. You could go during the day when it’s less crowded, but the full experience only happens on weekend nights. There’s a sort of camaraderie that develops between a room full of people willing to wait for a perfect bowl of soup - though apparently sharing an interest in Harry Potter and recreational disc golf doesn’t mean you should lean over and try a bite from their bowl. You have to draw the line somewhere.
Secret Pizza might not be as secret as it once was, but it’s still home to some of the best pizza in all of Vegas. The line snakes its way down a long hallway in The Cosmopolitan lined with old records and will be made up of people either just starting their nights or just ending theirs and arguing about who got closest to Jason Derulo’s private booth. The menu is simple, offering a few by-the-slice options and whole pies. The biggest secret you’ll have to keep when you leave here is that you don’t plan on sharing any of the slices you’re smuggling back to your hotel room.
Walking through The Cosmopolitan, you’ll spot a green exit door with a pink donkey on it inside the Block 16 Food Hall. This isn’t the start of a bizarre donkey-themed horror movie, it’s the entrance to one of the best secret bars in Vegas. Ghost Donkey has the largest mezcal selection in the state, so the right call here is to order a few to try - though they have plenty of good cocktails if that’s not your thing. Between the twinkling lights, neon sign, and their not-too-loud mix of reggaeton, Latin, and cumbia music, this small speakeasy is a great spot for a low-key pregame, date night, or solo adventure.
Visiting Vegas means it’s finally time to pull out that sequined outfit you thought you’d lost, but turned out your friend borrowed and only recently remembered to return. The only way to do it justice is to wear it hotel hopping down the Strip, and Libertine Social in the Mandalay Bay is where you should start your night. They serve seasonal cocktails and retro drinks, along with a menu of small plates and snacks. It’s the type of place you’ll end up inviting the table next to you to share some yellowtail cones - then probably the rest of the night’s activities too.
If there was a James Bond chase scene through The Venetian and he needed somewhere to hide (and then find a beautiful person to talk to before inevitably getting double-crossed by that beautiful person), he’d go to Rosina. Everything is gold trimmed, there are stamped ice cubes and “Champagne Call Buttons” at each table, and a secret menu with drinks like the Early to Rise - a caffeinated twist on a Mint Julep. Regardless of who you bring here, they’ll be impressed, so come with a few coworkers post-convention or for one of the classiest nightcaps you can find in Vegas.
Walking into the Golden Tiki might feel like walking into the Pirates of the Caribbean ride - the theme song is usually playing and you’ll see a skeleton with a bandana on. Thankfully, though, Disneyland is about 250 miles away and instead of an animatronic Jack Sparrow, you’ll find a way nicer tiki bar than the one you dragged your friends to on Spring Break years ago. This 24-hour spot in Chinatown has a long list of tropical drinks and boozy Dole Whip, in case you really want to push the theme-park feel.
Maybe you took our advice about Flock and Fowl, then ignored our advice about the Slotzilla, and now you’re downtown in need of one last drink before you crawl into bed. Mike Morey’s Sip N Tip is slightly hidden down a side street and a great place to escape the madness. You’re here for the long beer list, though they do have some classic cocktails and a few “Stolen Recipes,” like a Rhubarb Refresher with gin that we like. With only about 30 seats, it’s not the place to bring every person you met on the dance floor (and will definitely keep in touch with). Instead, come with a few friends and fight over the jukebox, before you add your own Polaroid to their massive collection.