Once known for its all-you-can-eat buffets and bargain shrimp cocktails, Las Vegas has transformed 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 chef restaurants (66) and Master Sommeliers (13) than any other city in the world.
Southern Nevada is home to more than 5,000 general restaurants and 375 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. The four-day event in the spring provides an intimate connection with legendary chefs, along with grand tastings of their delectable creations.
For one week each fall and spring, more than 100 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 2013, Las Vegas AAA Five Diamond award-winning restaurants include Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace, Joël 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:
The most anticipated restaurant opening of 2014, Giada De Laurentiis' first restaurant, GIADA, is now open at The Cromwell Las Vegas. The cornerstone of the boutique hotel and casino, GIADA boasts priceless views, signature dishes and a warm and inviting atmosphere, all a reflection of De Laurentiis' vision. Located on the second story of The Cromwell, above the most exciting and dynamic intersection in the world, GIADA accommodates nearly 300 guests and encompasses three dining experiences - a dining room, a lounge and a terrace. The priceless views of the Bellagio fountains, Caesars Palace and Bally's Grand Bazaar Shops, make every seat in the space an unforgettable experience.
Chef Daniel Boulud's db Brasserie has officially opened inside The Venetian Las Vegas. The restaurant, which Boulud calls his ‘ideal brasserie,' is an updated version of a French brasserie, with a contemporary twist and international appeal. The opening marks one of the most anticipated culinary events of the year - Boulud's return to the Las Vegas Strip.
The highly anticipated Guy Fieri's Vegas Kitchen & Bar is now open at The Quad Resort & Casino. Guy Fieri's Vegas Kitchen & Bar offers guests a taste of Fieri's signature cuisine, featuring bold flavors and unique twists on traditional dishes. Open daily for brunch, lunch, dinner and late night dining, the 200 seat restaurant features a delicious blend of casual foods including an extensive variety of burgers, wings, tacos, small bites and shareable food items.
Historic farmhouse meets urban eatery at Della's Kitchen, blending responsibly sourced ingredients with a chic, industrial aesthetic. Opening with The Strip's newest hotel, Delano Las Vegas, Della's Kitchen features a menu centered on local and regional ingredients, including Delano Las Vegas' own greenhouse, which will supply herbs for the desert-sustainable breakfast and lunch menu that toes the line between healthy and decadent. Menu items include fresh, pressed juices; delectable breakfast options; savory salads; signature paninis, sandwiches and burgers; and entrees featuring the very best grass-fed and sustainable beef from the western region as well as hormone- and antibiotic-free chicken.
Yusho, the Japanese-inspired grill and noodle house by renowned Chicago Chef Matthias Merges made its Las Vegas debut at Monte Carlo this past April. The approachable menu includes varieties of fresh seafood, poultry, meats and vegetables, cooked-to-order over a chattering fire, along with house-made pickled vegetables, noodles and steamed buns. The high-energy venue offers guests a variety of social experiences positioned right in the heart of The Strip.
Food∙Art∙Music∙Entertainment is now open at The LINQ Promenade, and has introduced a new concept blending a high-energy Chinatown Food Market serving authentic street fare with live entertainment. The Market recreates a culinary bazaar, combining the great street foods of Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Korea, China and Vietnam on a menu serving dim sum, stir-fry, ramen and barbecue. Live entertainment, such as lion and dragon dances and Taiko drum performances, along with Gangnam-style beats to keep the market festive.
Chayo Mexican Kitchen + Tequila Bar recently opened at The LINQ Promenade. Chayo Mexican Kitchen + Tequila Bar, which spans two levels and 14,000-square-feet, is open from 11 a.m. to late daily. The high-energy restaurant introduces a new concept in Mexican dining, combining a DJ, mechanical bull, tequila and cocktail selection and a blend of authentic and innovative Mexican fare by Executive Chef Ernesto Zendejas.
Palms Casino Resort has introduced Lao Sze Chuan, an authentic Chinese Sze Chuan cuisine restaurant by renowned Chicago chef, Tony Hu, opening in late August. Honored with the MICHELIN Guide "Bib Gourmand" distinction for two consecutive years, Lao Sze Chuan is one of 16 restaurants owned by Hu. Lao Sze Chuan at Palms is the seventh location of the popular Chicago-based restaurant and Hu's first Las Vegas venture. Lao Sze Chuan offers a robust menu of Sze Chuan cuisine and a selection of popular Mandarin, Cantonese, Hunan and Shanghai dishes made especially for the Palms location, featuring the standout quality and remarkable flavor guests have come to expect from the restaurant.
Las Vegas now has a new restaurant for casual, creative Mexican cuisine. Mercadito has opened at Red Rock Resort. Drawing from culinary experiences of Mexican markets, Mercadito features a wide variety of creative tacos made with handmade corn masa tortillas, five different guacamoles, three choices of refreshing ceviche and classic dishes like enchiladas and chile rellenos. Mercadito Red Rock will spotlight new items crafted specifically for the Las Vegas location, including nachos, ensaldada verde and the Mercadito mac & cheese. The Tippling Bros., Mercadito's exclusive beverage partner, creates a perfectly designed drink menu featuring "on draft" cocktails including margaritas, sangria and a variety of signature drinks, as well as frozen libations, an impressive tequila list and non-alcoholic aqua frescas.
Celebrity Chef Kerry Simon and Managing Partner Cory Harwell have opened Downtown Las Vegas' newest dining destination, Carson Kitchen, at 124 South 6th St. The American gastro-lounge blends the award-winning gourmet flavors of Simon with the funky, hipster vibe of Downtown by offering an ingredient-driven menu at approachable prices with all items priced under $20. Dishes are divided into social plates, sandwiches, flatbreads, farm and garden and desserts. Drink selections feature microbrewed soda brands, such as Virgil's, along with handcrafted cocktails and an array of small-batch brews and global wines.
Carlo's Bakery, the setting of TLC's hit reality show "Cake Boss," has opened its very first store west of the Mississippi River. Located just adjacent to Buddy Valastro's restaurant, Buddy V's, in the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian, Carlo's Bakery Las Vegas features fan favorites, including Buddy's Cannoli, Lobster Tail pastry, Italian cookies and of course, his famous cakes. All items will be available for purchase in-store, via phone and online.
Sprinkles Cupcakes recently opened at The LINQ, featuring the popular cupcakes, Sprinkles Ice Cream and a 24-hour Cupcake ATM, perfect for Las Vegas' round-the-clock nature. Handcrafted from the finest ingredients, Sprinkles Cupcakes are available in more than 50 flavors, including banana, chai latte, dark chocolate and the classic favorite, red velvet, available in gluten-free, sugar-free and vegan. The location will also feature slow-churned ice cream served in waffle cones or sundaes loaded with house-made sauces and toppings.
Made.LV, the latest restaurant from Elizabeth Blau and Kim Canteenwalla, has officially joined Tivoli Village's collection of delectable restaurants. The couple, which has already seen success with Las Vegas' Honey Salt, has oriented the restaurant around the theme of "good food, good drinks and good company." Described by Blau as a "modern American tavern" and inspired by the tradition of neighborhood social establishments, Made.LV joins several other visitor favorite restaurants at Tivoli Village, adding even more variety to the impressive list of restaurants located within the shopping complex.
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:
§ Paul Bartolotta (Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare at Wynn Las Vegas)
§ Mario Batali (B & B Ristorante and Enoteca San Marco at The Venetian)
§ Daniel Bouloud (db Brasserie at The Venetian)
§ Kim Canteenwalla (Society Café at Encore)
§ Tom Colicchio (Craftsteak at MGM Grand)
§ Giada De Laurentiis (Giada at The Cromwell)
§ Alain Ducasse (Mix at Mandalay Bay's THEhotel)
§ Joseph Elevado (Andrea's at Encore)
§ Todd English (Olives at Bellagio, Todd English P.U.B. at Crystals)
§ Guy Fieri (Guy Fieri's Vegas Kitchen & Bar at The Quad)
§ Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken (Border Grill at Mandalay Bay and Caesars Palace)
§ Bobby Flay (Mesa Grill at Caesars Palace)
§ Pierre Gagnaire (Twist at Mandarin Oriental)
§ Devin Hashimoto (Mizumi at Wynn Las Vegas)
§ Hubert Keller (Fleur at Mandalay Bay)
§ Thomas Keller (Bouchon at The Venetian)
§ Emeril Lagasse (Emeril's New Orleans Fish House at MGM Grand and Delmonico Steakhouse at The Venetian)
§ Mark LoRusso (Botero Steak at Encore)
§ Sirio Maccioni (Le Cirque at Bellagio and Sirio at ARIA)
§ Steve Martorano (Café Martorano at Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino)
§ Nobu Matsuhisa (Nobu at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and Nobu Caesars Palace)
§ Jean-Philippe Maury (Jean Philippe Patisserie at Bellagio and JP Patisserie at ARIA)
§ Maurizio Mazzon (Canaletto at The Venetian and Il Fornaio at New York-New York)
§ Shawn McClain (Sage and Five50 at ARIA)
§ Michael Mina (Michael Mina Pub 1842 at MGM Grand, MICHAEL MINA at Bellagio, Strip Steak at Mandalay Bay and American Fish at ARIA)
§ Tom Moloney (AquaKnox at The Venetian)
§ Rick Moonen (RM Seafood at Mandalay Place)
§ Charlie Palmer (Aureole at Mandalay Bay and Charlie Palmer Steak at The Four Seasons)
§ Francois Payard (Payard Patisserie at Caesars Palace)
§ Frank Pellegrino Sr., Frank Pellegrino Jr. and Ron Straci (Rao's at Caesars Palace)
§ Wolfgang Puck (Spago and Chinois at The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, Postrio at The Venetian, CUT at The Palazzo, Trattoria del Lupo at Mandalay Bay and Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill at MGM Grand)
§ Gordon Ramsay (Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris Las Vegas, Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Palace, and Gordon Ramsay BurGR at Planet Hollywood)
§ Michel Richard (Central by Michel Richard at Caesars Palace)
§ Joël Robuchon (L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon and Joël Robuchon at The Mansion at MGM Grand)
§ André Rochat (Alizé at the Palms, Andre's Monte Carlo)
§ Guy Savoy (Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace)
§ Theo Schoenegger (Sinatra at Encore)
§ Julian Serrano (Picasso at Bellagio and Julian Serrano at ARIA)
§ Kerry Simon (Simon at Palms Place, KGB at Harrah's, Carson Kitchen downtown)
§ Joachim Splichal (Pinot Brasserie at The Venetian)
§ Masayoshi Takayama (barMASA and Tetsu at ARIA)
§ Buddy Velastro (Buddy V's and Carlo's Bakery at The Venetian)
§ Jean-Georges Vongerichten (Prime at Bellagio and Jean Georges Steakhouse at ARIA)
§ Christina Wilson (Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris Las Vegas and "Hell's Kitchen" contestant winner)
§ Michael White (Fiamma at MGM Grand)
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 and 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 from any participating buffet's cashier stations for use at Paradise Garden Buffet at Flamingo, Flavors at Harrah's Las Vegas, Emperor's Buffet at The Quad, 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, try "Tony 'n Tina's Wedding" at Windows inside Bally's Las Vegas. 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 & 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 get their "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 Las Vegas chef, now you can as numerous restaurants 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 lead cooking demonstrations on select Saturdays throughout the year.
In addition to classes on the Strip, Las Vegas has an outpost of the world's largest hospitality education institution, 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 also home to a one-of-a-kind pastry school. The hands-on experience pairs students with 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.visitlasvegas.com/.