If you need something to eat before a big event at the new T-Mobile Arena, Sake Rok has you covered. You can find the restaurant at The Park, which is the new outdoor district outside the 20,000-seat facility. The menu features Japanese cuisine, ranging from miso black cod and yuzu soy scallops, to sushi, including the wicked El Chapo roll with snow crab, shrimp, cucumber, and avocado. However, the real draw here is the high-energy atmosphere: there's a DJ, video projections on the wall, and food servers who break out into dance routines at a moment's notice. Even the food can be a spectacle in itself, like a five-roll platter that comes with a smoldering statue of Godzilla on the tray.
Chef Michael LaPlaca has already turned Portofino into one of the most acclaimed Italian restaurants in Las Vegas. He's now spreading his influence to another dining spot at The Mirage with what is easily one of the most adventurous burger joints on the Strip. Highlights include the O.M.G. (a duck burger with Muenster cheese, tomato, watercress, and smoked ketchup) and the K.I.K. (a beef patty topped with avocado, onion straws, jalapeño, Sriracha, and a fried egg). Need a side dish? The truffle potato wedges are basically addictive… or you can just save room for a boozy milkshake.
The Mixx Grill, which can be found in the old Gordon Biersch location at Boca Park, is trying to bring a Strip-worthy dining experience to the Summerlin area... without the high prices. The front page of the menu is all appetizers and salads, while the flipside is a list of ingredients that can be combined into a single dish and cooked on a massive circular grill that sits in the center of the dining room. It's kind of like a Mongolian grill for people who don't like Mongolian grill. The premium selection of seafood and beef is presented tableside, so you can plot your creation: options include the likes of A5 Kobe New York strip, prime rib-eye cap, spot prawns, king crab legs, and wild-caught fish. The cocktails are worth your attention, especially the Startini, which comes served with a shot glass of Champagne on the side.
Beauty & Essex is more than just a restaurant. It's also a bar and lounge with a pawn shop that sells (and buys) everything from odd jewelry to vintage Star Wars toys. The idea seems uniquely Las Vegas, but it was born in a not-so-fresh part of New York City before expanding out west. The restaurant itself is designed to feel like the inside of a jewelry box, with plenty of gold chains and pearls hanging from the walls. Don't ignore the nice flavor combinations found in the raw bar selection… or those grilled lamb chops on the dinner menu.
The Boulevard Mall has changed owners and is trying to clean up its image, and the best example of that is Olivia's Latin Cuisine, which could be the most welcome surprise when it comes to new restaurants in 2016. Going far beyond traditional tacos and burritos, the Latin American-inspired dishes showcase the creativity of chef Robert Solano, who made his name with Mingo and the now-closed Mundo. The beef tongue nachos and oxtail enchiladas are a nice change of pace, while the green lip mussels and at least four different ceviche options show off the menu's affection for seafood.
You don't have to rely on McDonald's anymore if you want a breakfast sandwich day or night. Originally a food truck based in Los Angeles, Eggslut has now found a Vegas home at The Cosmo, offering food that's ready to grab and go. Pretty much everything features one common ingredient: the egg. The best choices include the Gaucho, which stuffs seared wagyu tri-tip, chimichurri, onions, arugula, and a medium egg inside a warm brioche bun, and the Slut, which is a coddled egg served warm in a jar over potato puree and chives. Eggslut opens early at midnight on Saturdays, Sundays, and Tuesdays to help out the hungry club kids during Marquee's busiest nights.
Green Valley Ranch
An outdoor patio and firepit offer a nice touch to the latest Italian restaurant to pop up at a Las Vegas (well, Henderson) casino. The Tuscan-inspired menu offers a selection of both modern and traditional simple dishes, made with fresh ingredients, house-made pastas, and free-range meats. The wine list covers a lot of ground, so choose a nice glass of red to go with the not-too-spicy gnocchi arrabbiata or short rib cavatelli.
This beer garden is in perfect position to take advantage of all the foot traffic from the T-Mobile Arena next door, the adjacent New York-New York casino, and the currently-under-construction 5,000-seat theater across the street at the Monte Carlo. There are hundreds of beers to choose from -- in the bottle, can, or on draft -- including a few local breweries like Bad Beat and Joseph James. If you can't decide, there's a deal on three 4oz pours for $8 on Fridays. The bar food is surprisingly impressive, including an IPA cheddarwurst brat and a modified Chicago-style kraut dog.
A French culinary team got the urge to move to Vegas a few years ago, started their own catering business, and eventually, after a long period of research and development, opened a restaurant called EATT. It's the kind of place that prides itself on creative, healthy fare without an ounce of kale working its way in. The wraps, sandwiches, and pastries are perfect for grab-and-go customers on the way home from yoga class. However, you'll want to sit down and stay a while for the seared rib-eye with ratatouille, or the wild-caught salmon over a beet salad. For something fun on the side, go with the "guacamole," made with broccoli and tomatoes, or a zucchini stuffed with zucchini puree and crunchy vegetables.
Opened by a culinary team from Nobu and other Strip restaurants, Pier 215 offers a modern spin on Japanese-inspired seafood that is quickly finding a loyal audience in the Southwest. While the fettucine Alfredo on the menu seems a bit out of place, the fresh sashimi and creative sushi rolls are more than competitive with what you'd find at pricier spots around Vegas. The dining room is framed by floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the Strip to the east and the brand-new IKEA megastore to the west (whichever view is more impressive may depend on the diner). Regardless, make a point to try the octopus carpaccio. It's a nice change of pace from the grilled version that seems to be everywhere these days.
This walk-up burger counter is on a mission to prove that burgers and fries can be good for you. Every burger is prepared with grass-fed beef and organic toppings while avoiding genetically modified ingredients. Even the fried fish sandwich is made with sustainable cod, and the Coke served is in the Mexican style, which means it’s made with real sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup. Is it really that healthy for you? Probably not. But you can at least skip the chemicals and artificial ingredients while enjoying some tasty calories.
A sports bar with Mexican street food, Loco Cantina features live music every night of the week and stays open late, making it an appealing after-party spot for those tired of dancing at Blue Martini next door. The menu sticks to the basics like taquitos, tostadas, and tortas, and offers a choice of five different tacos sold separately for less than four bucks each, so it's easy to mix and match without breaking the bank. Save that money for the margaritas instead… there are more than 40 choices of tequila behind the bar.
An old-school pizza joint for an old-school casino. With slot machines located in the back of the restaurant, Pizza Lotto is the perfect place for gamers at the El Cortez to grab some food without straying too far from the action. The pizza itself isn't nearly as adventurous as Pizza Rock down the street, but the selection has more than a few tempting options, from hand-tossed New York-style to Sicilian square pan. The garlic rolls alone are worth the visit.
Green Valley Ranch
Opening around the same time as sister restaurant Bottiglia, this Mexican dining spot has a more energetic atmosphere thanks to a bar built in the center of the dining room and a colorful, wraparound Day of the Dead-inspired mural on the wall, made by hand using the pointillism. A blue corn-crusted chile relleno and short rib asada skewers are among the highlights. If you stop by on a Tuesday, there's all-you-can-eat tacos and tequila cocktails for just $24.
From the team behind Le Thai and District One, Le Pho serves up authentic Vietnamese cuisine from the ground floor of the Juhl residential building. Of course, the pho itself is a big draw, with oxtail and rib-eye among the best options. But there's plenty of other good stuff to choose from too, like wok-tossed filet mignon and braised duck with noodles.
Off the Strip
OK, everyone likes hot dogs... so how about gourmet hot dogs? With late-night hours, Dog Haus is the perfect spot for guests staying at the Hard Rock across the street or students from nearby UNLV who just need a study break. The best of the dogs is the Sooo Cali with arugula, spicy basil aioli, crispy onions, avocado, and tomato. There are a few creative sausage and burger combinations as well, and the salty caramel shake works as either a drink or dessert.
Guy Fieri's latest Las Vegas restaurant has a south-of-the border twist, but still features plenty of the calorie-heavy creations you'd expect from the celebrity chef. The El Gringo burger comes with a scoop of mac & cheese among its many toppings, and the Trash Can Nachos are big enough to be served in yes, a small trash can. The name of the restaurant translates to "drunk donkey" -- which should give you an idea of the party atmosphere. It's even more evident when the doors open for the occasional outdoor grilling on the patio overlooking the Rio swimming pool.
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1. Sake Rok3786 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas
2. LVB Burgers & Bar3400 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas
3. The Mixx Grill & Lounge750 S Rampart Blvd #16, Las Vegas
4. Beauty & Essex3708 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas
5. Olivia's Latin Cuisine and Bar3554 S. Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas
6. Eggslut3708 Las Vegas Blvd South, Las Vegas
7. Bottiglia Cucina Enoteca2300 Paseo Verde Pkwy, Henderson
8. Beerhaus3782 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas
9. EATT7865 W Sahara Ave, Las Vegas
10. Pier 2157060 S. Durango Dr. #101, Las Vegas
11. Burger Lounge3730 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas
12. Loco Cantina6605 Las Vegas Blvd S Unit 203, Las Vegas
13. Pizza Lotto600 E Fremont St, Las Vegas
14. Borracha2300 Paseo Verde Pkwy, Henderson
15. Le Pho353 E Bonneville Ave #115, Las Vegas
16. Dog Haus Biergarten Las Vegas4480 Paradise Rd #800, Las Vegas
17. Guy Fieri's El Burro Borracho3700 W Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas
Sake Rok isn’t just about the sushi (although, admittedly, the sushi here is pretty good). It’s Japanese fusion done the Vegas way: bold flavor reigns in dishes like miso black cod and succulent yuzu soy scallops, and plate-presentation becomes a vehicle for show time -- we’re talking five-roll platters of specialty sushi and nigiri served with a statue of Godzilla himself, plumes of actual smoke fuming from his nostrils. Like any self-respecting Sin City outpost, the ambience is high-octane: live DJs blare beats as video projections cover entire walls, and there’s a good chance your server will bust a move and start dancing without a moment's notice.
A veritable Sin City staple, The Mirage is an essential stop for anyone visiting Las Vegas -- especially if you’re craving burgers. The casino is home to LVB Burgers & Bar, a “walk-ins only” spot with craft burgers and beers at an affordable price (which, considering all the money you’ve likely lost on slots at this point, is important). For those who can take the heat, consider trying the K.I.K. Burger (also called the “Kick in the Kisser”). With pickled jalapeño, a fried egg, avocado, melted pepper jack cheese and Sriracha aioli, it’s certainly not for the faint of taste buds -- but then there’s also killer milkshakes of the virgin or boozy variety to wash it down and cool you off (pro tip: get the “Apple Rye À La Mode”. You can thank us later).
Helmed by Chef Bryan Ogden (Munchbar), this Summerlin spot offers a respite from the high prices and pretensions of the Strip’s luxe dining options. The French-tinged menu features dishes like steak tartare and coconut-lemongrass steamed mussels, but the biggest draw is the Mongolian grill in the center of the dining room, where diners can craft their own entrées from a list of farm-fresh ingredients. The space itself feels like a trendy nightclub, so it makes sense that quirky cocktails are the focal point of the drink program.
If it strikes you as odd that there’s a seemingly sketchy pawnshop in The Cosmopolitan, think again: the pearly façade actually gives way to Beauty & Essex, a New York transplant that serves inventive cocktails and American tapas -- both raw and grilled -- in an extravagant, Gatsby-like space. Of the light fare, the grilled cheese, smoked bacon and tomato soup dumplings are the clear standouts, while larger dishes like roasted bone marrow with shallot marmalade prove rich and satisfying.
Don’t be fooled by the strip mall environs -- from the modern, black and white décor to the authentic Latin American influences of the food menu, Olivia’s serves up some seriously bold flavors. The heavy-hitting nacho platter gets a boost from succulently braised beef tongue and red chili crema, whereas seafood lovers swoon over the grilled swordfish pez espada, artfully placed over sweet potato puree and topped with arugula with a dollop of mango-ginger salsa. The vibe is classy, but don’t fret: the drink deals at happy hour won’t break the bank.
Originally a food truck from Los Angeles, Eggslut is one of the best places to grab breakfast on the go in Las Vegas. The egg-obsessed menu is available all day, boasting popular items like a timeless bacon, egg, and cheese, and the Fairfax (scrambled eggs topped with chives, cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, and Sriracha mayo, served on toasted brioche bun). Because it's LA-born, after all, Eggslut offers gluten-free bread alternatives, too.
Walking into this Green Valley Ranch spot is like walking into a rustic Italian garden party in which Martha Stewart and Marie Antoinette have equal decorating rights: all-white furnishings, pastel floral prints, contemporary chandeliers, and vibrant hanging lamps all dress up the interior. The whimsical aesthetic continues with the market-driven menu that features light pasta dishes and free-range meats, all of which are plated artfully with edible flowers and mico-greens. If the extensive wine list doesn’t entice you, the fruit-obsessed specialty cocktails, like blood orange mimosas, certainly will.
Should you find yourself parched from the Las Vegas heat and within walking distance of The Park, consider heading to Beerhaus. The beer garden boasts an extensive list of craft beers (many of which are from local and West Coast breweries), sausages and slow-roasted meat sandwiches, and a sprawling industrial-chic interior. Come for the killer happy hour deals, stay for the jumbo-sized Jenga and Connect Four sets.
Owned and operated by a professional French culinary team, Eatt feels like a restaurant of the future, what with a menu that features vegetable-centric dishes that are artfully prepared and served in both grab-and-go and dine-in capacities. The kitchen deviates from the predictable healthy-eating canon, too: in lieu of kale, expect zucchini stuffed with its own puree and a colorful mélange of fresh, crispy vegetables, and instead of avocados whipped into guacamole, you'll find broccoli mashed into a surprisingly delicious chip-scooping creation.
This narrow, dimly lit restaurant prepares Asian fusion, as well as varied seafood options, using fresh, high-quality ingredients that would make AYCE Sushi jealous. Located in the Durango Arby Plaza retail center along with other Asian restaurants, Pier 215 intimidates with an extensive selection of crab legs, clams, and oysters that will make you forget your landlocked desert location.
Burgers aren't part of your usual healthy eating repertoire, but Burger Lounge is making a strong case for their inclusion using good-for-you ingredients like grass-fed beef, organic cheese and ketchup, and house-made sauces. The SoCal-based fast-casual chain has set up shop in the Aria Hotel, where its counter-space is surrounded by futuristic lighting and a dark, sleek red interior.
Located just south of the strip, this upscale tacos and tequila concept features 40 types of tequila, more than 20 beers on tap, tacos and tostadas, and house-made salsa to slather it all together. With almost a quarter of the seats located on the outside patio, streaming entertainment systems, and late-night hours, it's no wonder Loco Cantina is lauded for its fiesta atmosphere.
While you might be surrounded by a wealth of upscale dining options in the city of glitz, this relatively casual pizzeria at the El Cortez is worth a trip, if only for a taste of the house-made garlic rolls, baked fresh every day and tossed with a mix of garlic, grated pecorino, and parmigiano. Pizza Lotto's meatball-stuffed sandwiches and variety of slices (available Sicilian or New York style) are also impressive, and slot machines at the back of the restaurant are a welcome reminder that even though you're at an old-school pizzeria, you're still in Vegas.
To help make this Mexican eatery visually outstanding, Borracha lassoed the help of Mexico City-based artist Oscar Flores to paint Day of the Dead-themed murals all across the interior. The menu pays tribute to the Mexican tradition, with festive tacos like halibut cheeks al pastor and a coconut citrus salad, that can be paired with one of the spicy margaritas on offer.
Located on the ground floor of the Juhl residential building, Le Pho serves authentic Vietnamese cuisine, including vermicelli bowls, vietnamese crepes, and ginger chicken. In spite of a traditional menu, the space is design-neutral, with hanging lights, a long wooden counter, and plenty of ceramic four-tops parsed around the long, creatively divided room.
Need to eat your feelings after losing most of your savings to a particularly bitter slot machine? With its affordable gourmet hot dogs and burgers, Dog Haus has you covered. Winners and losers alike binge here on a budget, opting for artisanal favorites like the Scott Baioli, an all-beef skinless dog dressed with smoked bacon, American cheese, garlic aioli, and caramelized onions. Combined with the divey diner ambience, milkshakes, and craft beer offerings, Dog Haus is a great option for lunch and late-night eaters alike.
Guy Fieri in Las Vegas, need we say more? The spiky blond chef's Mexican restaurant in the Rio Hotel doles out oversize burritos, margaritas with house-made syrup, and a monstrosity of an appetizer called "Trash Can Nachos." Each dish here amounts to your daily caloric intake, but given that the name translates to "Drunken Donkey," you should have a good idea of what you're in for before you even sit down.