Once known for its all-you-can-eat buffets and bargain shrimp cocktails, Las Vegas has transformed itself into a top culinary destination. Within a decade, Las Vegas has redefined the culinary and wine experience by offering the most comprehensive collection of celebrity chefs and world-class restaurants and more Master Sommeliers than any other city in the world.
Southern Nevada is home to more than 1,450 general restaurants and 258 buffets. These numbers are just a small part of the overall food & beverage culture in the region and do not account for the thousands of snack bars, take-out venues and drinking establishments which also populate the area.
Bon Appétit magazine, a leading authority in the culinary world, cemented Las Vegas' place among U.S. dining capitals by declaring the destination as one of the nation's top five restaurant cities. In fact, the publication has partnered with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and Las Vegas resorts, to host an annual epicurean event called Vegas Uncork'd. This four-day event in May provides an intimate connection with legendary chefs, along with grand tastings of their delectable creations.
For one week each fall, more than 80 of Las Vegas' fine dining establishments participate in the city's annual Restaurant Week. Working to end hunger in Southern Nevada, a portion of all Restaurant Week sales benefit Three Square Food Bank. Participating restaurants offer prix fixe menus from three tiered price points. In addition to the special menus, many of the city's resorts offer Restaurant Week diners a chance to extend their experience beyond world-class cuisine by coupling their stay with one-of-a-kind entertainment, spa and overnight packages.
Las Vegas continues to be recognized year after year for its quality restaurants. For 2012, Las Vegas AAA Five Diamond award-winning restaurants include Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace, Joel Robuchon at MGM Grand, and Picasso and Le Cirque at Bellagio. Representing the upper echelon of the hospitality industry, AAA Five Diamond Award winners make up less than one-half percent of more than 31,000 AAA-approved properties throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
As the dining scene continues to evolve in Las Vegas, new restaurants continue to open nearly every month, providing unique experiences for repeat visitors. Some of the many new restaurants include the following:
Caesars Palace has brought one of New York City's most historic restaurants to Las Vegas with the opening of Old Homestead Steakhouse. With more than 6,000 square feet, the new restaurant features a total of 250 seats with a full dining room, private dining room, lounge and bar. Guests are introduced to several signature dishes from the classic New York City menu including the popular colossal crab cake, 32-ounce Gotham rib-eye steak and the Old Homestead New York-style cheesecake. Additionally, new menu items have been created exclusive to the Las Vegas location.
Paris Las Vegas has opened Chef Gordon Ramsay's first Las Vegas restaurant, Gordon Ramsay Steak. This dynamic new addition to Ramsay's profound collection of restaurants offers the freshest seafood to mouth-watering cuts of beef, French-influenced sides and delicious desserts. Gordon Ramsay will also be opening Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Palace just in time for the new year. The menu at Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill will be comprised of items consistent with British pub food-bangers and mash, fish and chips and roasted chicken-as well as some of Ramsay's favorites like London broil prepared on a wood-burning grill, all part of a rustic menu that will change seasonally.
Former Las Vegas Mayor, Oscar Goodman, opened Oscar's Beef · Booze ·Broads, a steakhouse inside the iconic dome of the Plaza Hotel and Casino, overlooking Fremont Street and the heart of his beloved downtown Las Vegas. The restaurant's entrées and appetizers are inspired by family recipes and tailored to meet the tastes of even the most discerning diners.
Mizumi, the premier Japanese restaurant at Wynn Las Vegas, is now open. Helmed by rising star chef, Devin Hashimoto, Mizumi has introduced a taste of Japan to the heart of Wynn Las Vegas. Drawing its inspiration from timeless Japanese design motifs, Mizumi captures the sophistication of modern Japan, creating the perfect complement to Chef Hashimoto's re-imagined and seasonally focused approach to Japanese cuisine. The menu features classic entrées, sushi and sashimi, robatayaki selections prepared over authentic Japanese charcoal grills and teppanyaki offerings.
The first-ever Nobu Hotel, restaurant and lounge has been announced by Caesars Palace. The 11,200 square foot Nobu restaurant and lounge, located in the heart of the Nobu Hotel, will be the ideal destination to be seen, socialize, and enjoy the unique cuisine of celebrated Chef Nobu Matsuhisa. The restaurant will offer several teppanyaki tables, sushi bar and private dining area along with a large lounge and bar boasting 327 seats. The restaurant is scheduled to open in 2013.
Aria Resort & Casino has added Javier's to its culinary family. Javier's, a favorite hot spot for those in-the-know in Southern California and Los Cabos, Mexico, introduced its regionally influenced Mexican cooking in an unrivaled setting. Javier's menu is inspired by cuisine from different regions of Mexico and will feature grilled seafood, steaks, chicken and a selection of vegetarian dishes.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has opened several new restaurants including Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill by restaurateurs Bruce and Eric Bromberg; Comme Ca by acclaimed Los Angeles chef David Myers; New York City's Estiatorio Milos by restaurateur Costas Spiliadis; Scarpetta and D.O.C.G. by award-winning chef Scott Conant; Holsteins from Block 16 Hospitality; Jaleo and China Poblano by Chef Jose Andres and popular steakhouse STK from The One Group.
Bacchanal has made its return to Caesars Palace as the new $17 million Bacchanal Buffet: a 21st century adaptation that serves up an over-the-top feast created by a team of master chefs, offering the most variety on the Las Vegas Strip. Bacchanal Buffet features more than 500 items from classic favorites such as made-to-order omelets, fresh seafood and roasted meats like prime rib to cutting edge, regional comfort food like breakfast pizzas, red velvet pancakes, wood fired Neapolitan pizzas and Chinese dim sum, even roasted South Carolina shrimp and grits.
Culinary Dropout, the first Las Vegas restaurant by five-time James Beard Foundation Outstanding Restaurateur semi-finalist Sam Fox, has opened its doors inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The hip- and rebel-style gastropub introduced a perfect new hangout to sip creative libations, savor tasty grub and take in live music throughout the week.
The opening of Andrea's, a unique new dining concept in Encore at Wynn Las Vegas is scheduled for opening just in time for 2013. The restaurant debuts an alluring style of "vibe dining," combining a restaurant and nightlife experience into one environment. The addition of Andrea's will complete the expansive Encore Beach Club and Surrender Nightclub entertainment complex, becoming the first Wynn Las Vegas restaurant to be fully integrated into a nightclub.
In Downtown Las Vegas two new restaurants have opened, Mingo Kitchen and Lounge and La Comida. Both add to the exciting feel of the downtown area with authentic Mexican food at La Comida and a variety of food choices at Mingo Kitchen and Lounge.
Historically, major hotel-casinos featured "gourmet rooms" in order to cater to high rollers' tastes. Each restaurant created an ambience designed to transport diners to a world far away from the action of the casinos. However, by the late '90s, high-end eateries became the rage with their appeal extending beyond just high rollers. Las Vegas hotels recruited some of the top chefs in the world to open and run restaurants inside their properties. Today, Las Vegas has the most comprehensive collection of the world's top chefs and television icons. Continuing to satisfy Las Vegas visitors' appetites, they include - in alphabetical order:
In the early '40s, the first buffet opened at the original El Rancho Vegas Hotel, the Las Vegas Strip's first hotel. Beldon Katleman, El Rancho's owner, initiated the all-you-can-eat-for-a-dollar "Midnight Chuck Wagon Buffet" in an effort to keep patrons on the property during late-night hours. His idea of treating guests to an elaborate array of food for a small price was copied again and again. As a result, the Las Vegas buffet has earned its place in the city's history.
Buffets are still popular in Las Vegas. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the average buffet features about 45 food selections per meal including salads, fruits, roast beef, baked ham, roast turkey, vegetables and a variety of desserts. Several properties are taking their buffet experiences to the next level. Purchase the "Take 2 Buffet Pass" and enjoy both the Excalibur and Luxor Buffets all day for only $32 per guest. Offering a savings of more than $20 off regular pricing, the value package includes VIP buffet line passes and unlimited reentry privileges.
Caesars Entertainment's family of Las Vegas resorts now offers guests all-day, unlimited access to dine in six resort buffet restaurants with the Buffet of Buffets pass. Guests may purchase a 24-hour buffet pass ($44.99 for Total Rewards members and $49.99 for non-members) from any participating buffet's cashier stations and can use it at Paradise Garden Buffet at Flamingo, Flavors at Harrah's Las Vegas, Le Village Buffet at Paris Las Vegas, Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino and Carnival World Buffet at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.
Dining and entertainment go hand-in-hand at several locations throughout Southern Nevada. Dinner theater options include the "Tournament of Kings" at Excalibur where guests are transported to the feasts of the Renaissance while watching a knightly battle. If you're in the mood for love, how about "Tony 'n Tina's Wedding" at Bally's. Be a special guest of Anthony Nunzio, Jr. and Valentina Lynne Vitale, an Italian-American couple who come from two slightly dysfunctional families. The wedding is complete with drunken guests, a pregnant maid-of-honor, an impromptu "YMCA" dance and, of course, family bickering. Guests can either participate in the wedding with actors who never step out of character or they can simply watch the family drama unfold.
Las Vegas also boasts a bevy of themed restaurants. Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas, located near The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, is an authentic replica of the Munich Hofbräuhaus. The restaurant features German/Bavarian cuisine, imported Bavarian beer, meat and sausage produced exclusively for Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas and Bavarian pretzels imported directly from Munich. Music connoisseurs can nosh on gourmet hamburgers while soaking up the unique atmosphere and music memorabilia at the Hard Rock Café. Planet Hollywood serves up the best Hollywood fare inside the Forum Shops. Parrotheads can nosh on a "Cheeseburger in Paradise" at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville at the Flamingo and the Harley-Davidson Café serves up chow for Hog aficionados.
If you've ever wanted to learn how to prepare cuisine like a world-class chef, now you can. Numerous restaurants now offer cooking classes. Mon Ami Gabi at Paris Las Vegas is offering a new cooking class series on how to prepare French-inspired recipes and pair them with wine. Executive Chef Terry Lynch and a Mon Ami Gabi wine connoisseur will lead cooking demonstrations on select Saturdays throughout the year. In addition to classes on the Strip, there are off-Strip cooking schools as well, such as Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Las Vegas. Classes cover the culinary gamut, ranging from vegetarian cuisine to Thai to Southwest Thanksgiving. Classes are limited in size and available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Las Vegas is now home to a one-of-a-kind pastry school. The new hands-on experience will allow anyone to work alongside a world champion pastry chef to create colorful, edible, life-size pastry or chocolate art. The School of Pastry Design is the creation of celebrity chef and TV culinary artist Chris Hanmer, the youngest world pastry team champion ever, and one of the few such champions to come from the United States.
For additional information on dining establishments, please visit http://www.lasvegas.com/.