Best Las Vegas restaurants: Where to go on and off the Strip

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Las Vegas (CNN) — Las Vegas is a city for gamblers, yes, and it’s a city for revelers too, but it is also a city for people who like to eat and who like to eat well when they travel.

And it’s not all white tablecloth, five-star fine dining. These establishments do exist in spades, and a handful are worthy of a splurge.

For a full weekend of eating, however, we recommend getting off the Strip, too. This is where you’ll find the well-known northern Thai restaurant Lotus of Siam and the old-school steakhouse the Golden Steer.

Read on for our pick of what’s hot right now in Las Vegas dining.

NoMad Restaurant

The NoMad Hotel and its acclaimed restaurant inside the Park MGM, outside of Lady Gaga, might be the hottest show in Las Vegas right now. This chic, boutique hotel has transplanted chef Daniel Humm and Will Guardia’s special brand of finery and fun (Eleven Madison Par, NoMads in L.A. and NYC) to the Strip, adding some much needed nuance and elegance to a city known for everything big, bold and bad (in a good way).

The NoMad restaurant is a definite departure from the rest of the city’s other celebrity chef offerings, and not only because the dining room is a two-story library, complete with 25,000 books purchased at auction from the collection of David Rockefeller.

The interiors astound, as does the decadent and succulent roast chicken for two, stuffed with black truffles and foie gras. It’s a singular spot to see and be seen, and while the food is the star, though it’s entirely possible that Lady Gaga will show up and perform a surprise set in the grand dining room.

Bavette’s Steakhouse & Bar

Dark and sultry, Bavette's serves up classics including shrimp cocktail, Caesar salad and a ribeye.

Dark and sultry, Bavette’s serves up classics including shrimp cocktail, Caesar salad and a ribeye.

Patrick Michael Chin

Dark, sultry and indulgent, Bavette’s is what Las Vegas fine dining is all about. Sidle up the bar and pick your poison — old-fashioned, negroni or Old Raj gin martini — before hunkering down for a multi-course meal that ought to be begin with oysters or something else from the raw bar.

After a taste of the sea, it’s time to turn your attention to the section of the menu titled “Le Boeuf.” Here you’ll find a selection of USDA Prime cuts from a dry-aged bone-in New York Strip to filet mignon. The former needs no enhancements, but consider adding a peppercorn crust or roasted bone marrow to the latter. Enlist the help of your second stomach when it comes time to order dessert: Hot Fudge Sundae Royale is recommended.

Giada

 A must-order for the table are Giada's signature lemon ricotta cookies to finish things off right.

A must-order for the table are Giada’s signature lemon ricotta cookies to finish things off right.

GIADA at The Cromwell

Putting a California spin on her Italian cuisine, Giada De Laurentiis’s spot on the second floor of The Cromwell casino and boutique hotel, has been dishing up old-world (but with a nod toward healthier preparations) Italian family favorites since it opened in 2014. The welcoming dining area and lounge treats guests to a spectacular view of the Bellagio’s fountains and Caesars Palace.

The dinner menu encourages family-style ordering — the cacio e pepe bucatini and Italian fried chicken cacciatore are not to be missed. But diners who prefer the one-plate per person route can happily nosh on a bowl of spaghetti with mascarpone cheese, lemon and basil, followed by seared scallops dressed in a golden raisin-caper sauce.

For dessert, there are a couple of sublime options, but a must-order for the table are Giada’s signature lemon ricotta cookies.

Giada, 3595 Las Vegas Blvd South, Las Vegas, NV 89109, +1 702-777-3777

Best Friend / Eataly

Standouts at Roy Choi's Best Friend are the kimchi fried rice, short rib tacos and the caviar tostadas.

Standouts at Roy Choi’s Best Friend are the kimchi fried rice, short rib tacos and the caviar tostadas.

MGM Resorts International

Inside the Park MGM (it’s so hot right now), there are two of Vegas’s greatest right next door to each other. The cuisines, though divergent, are casual yet idyllic iterations of their respective locales — Los Angeles’s Korean – Mexican street food and Italy’s supremacy at making simple ingredients unforgettable.

At the former, chef Roy Choi’s Best Friend, expect an excellent show without too much artifice, and a soupcon of hipster (their go-cups are enviable). Standouts are the kimchi fried rice, the mesmerizing kogi short rib tacos and the caviar tostadas, because why not.

Just outside the door, the Italian food hall Eataly, which is next-to-impossible to navigate in cities like New York and Chicago, gets the air it deserves. Diners can wander and select from the six counters that make up Cucina del Mercato without feeling like they’re about to get trampled. Or book a table at meat-focused Mansa or keep it classic at deceptively simply La Pizza & La Pasta, which serves, well, you know.

Best Friend, 3770 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, +1 702-730-6770
Eataly, Park MGM, 3770 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, +1 702-730-7617

Eggslut

Eggslut's bacon, egg and cheese is served on a housemade buttery brioche roll.

Eggslut’s bacon, egg and cheese is served on a housemade buttery brioche roll.

from Eggslut

Like many Las Vegas eateries, Eggslut isn’t exclusive to Sin City. The breakfast mainstay began in California and now counts a Kuwait location among its members, but in no way does this mean visitors to Vegas should overlook it. In fact, short of subjecting yourself to a pricey IV- hydration treatment following a late night out on the Strip, there’s no better cure for the common hangover.

Eggslut may have risen to popularity through its specialty simpled called “slut” (a cage-free coddled egg on top of a smooth potato purée, poached in a glass jar, topped with gray salt and chives, and served with slices of baguette), the real winner here is more classic. Eggslut’s bacon, egg and cheese — comes on a buttery brioche roll and includes a smattering of chipotle ketchup, giving the rich breakfast sandwich a welcome hit of juicy acid. As far as breakfast sandwiches go, this one is tops.

Eggslut, The Boulevard Tower, 3708 S Las Vegas Blvd Level 2, Las Vegas, NV 89109, +1 702-698-2344

Lotus of Siam

Northern Thai classics such as the Khao Soi -- crispy duck served on a bed of egg noodles in a curry base sauce, garnished with sliced red onions, lime and pickled vegetables -- are ethereal at Lotus of Siam.

Northern Thai classics such as the Khao Soi — crispy duck served on a bed of egg noodles in a curry base sauce, garnished with sliced red onions, lime and pickled vegetables — are ethereal at Lotus of Siam.

from Lotus of Siam

Off the strip and wildly popular — so popular in fact a second location was deemed necessary — sits this Thai hotspot. Guests come to enjoy authentic Northern Thai cuisine that rivals any food found on Las Vegas Boulevard. Critics and foodies alike have raved about the food, including the late Anthony Bourdain who always had a taste for a city’s under-the-radar spots.

No longer is Lotus of Siam under the radar though. In fact, you’ll want to book a table in advance or be prepared to wait. Fortunately, the two locations are open for lunch and dinner, with the same deep menu available at each. Khao soi, a classic Northern Thai curry dish, is especially delicious here as is the Nam Prik Noom, a green chili dip served with vegetables, best for diners who can take the heat.

Lotus of Siam 620 E Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, Nevada 89119, +1 702-538-6135; 953 E. Sahara Ave. Ste A5, Las Vegas, Nevada 89104

The Black Sheep

The braised short rib at The Black Sheep is sublime.

The braised short rib at The Black Sheep is sublime.

The Black Sheep/Facebook

Another off-strip option is this American-Vietnamese gastropub, a nice change of pace from the excess (and price tags) found along the Strip. Bar seating is perfect for the solo diner or pairs of two. Helpful bartenders are all too happy to help you select the right cocktail while you decide between the Vietnamese Imperial rolls and bao sliders.

Just don’t fill up on starters. Slow braised and served with Indonesian corn fritters, gochujang rice cake green apple salad, corn velouté, popcorn shoot, Black Sheep’s short rib is worth saving room for. There’s time enough to get back to the glitz and glamor of the Strip, but for now, you’ve found your sheep.

The Black Sheep 8680 W Warm Springs Road, Las Vegas NV 89178, +1 702-954-3998

Wing Lei

Unabashed duck lovers would do well to order the imperial Peking duck tasting at Wing Lei located in Wynn.

Unabashed duck lovers would do well to order the imperial Peking duck tasting at Wing Lei located in Wynn.

Jeff Green

Michelin starred restauarant Wing Lei was the first Chinese restaurant in North America to earn the coveted honor. The upscale Asian-fusion restaurant located in the Wynn executes classic Chinese cuisine such as Peking duck, expertly, in an impeccable setting.

About that setting: No shorts are allowed, and while it’s not quite adults-only, it’s close — no children under five are permitted. Of-age children who are good eaters, however, are welcome to partake in the exquisite tableside-carved duck, served with a range of accoutrements.

Unabashed duck lovers would do well to order the imperial Peking duck tasting. The meal consists of six courses and an optional wine pairing, all reasonably priced — especially for Las Vegas.

Wing Lei, 3131 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, +1 702-770-3388

The Golden Steer Steakhouse

To relive the days of Sinatra and Sammy, head to The Golden Steer, where a flambeed dessert can be yours.

To relive the days of Sinatra and Sammy, head to The Golden Steer, where a flambeed dessert can be yours.

courtesy Chris Wessling

Vegas isn’t an old town. But it does have its rat pack history and for many, that’s one of the town’s biggest draws. To relive the days of Sinatra and Sammy, head over to the Golden Steer, a steakhouse that really and truly is the paradigm of what all steakhouses should be: Friendly but not too friendly waiters in tuxedos (many of whom have worked at the restaurant for decades), martinis and Manhattans, massive baked potatoes, and some of the finest beef we’ve ever tasted.

The prime rib takes you back in time, as does the elaborate yet energetic table-side Caesar, which again, was beyond perfect. There are classic red leather banquettes, wild west artwork and black-and-white celebrity portraits, basically the kind of occasion environs you never want to leave. With service par excellence and steaks more than worth the slight detour off the strip, the Golden Steer is the best of Vegas past and present.

2019-07-18 13:07:45

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