20 Las Vegas Restaurants You Need to Try Right Now
From BBQ to SoCal-inspired Thai food to Hong Kong-style Cantonese cuisine and more.
As we get vaccinated and begin to shift focus from deliveries and takeout back to in-person dining, you may be a bit overwhelmed by your options. To answer the questions you’re inevitably asking: yes, new restaurants have actually opened in Las Vegas since the pandemic began, and yes, you should still tip more than usual.This past year has been tough on the restaurant industry, especially those that took on the gamble of opening during a global pandemic. Thankfully, some of those long-shot bets are beginning to pay off as Las Vegas marches towards its goal to fully reopen by June 1. With dining rooms back to full capacity, there couldn't be a better opportunity to check them out. Think of the following list as a starting point for adding check marks to your Las Vegas bucket list of essential dining experiences.
The buzz: After spreading the word with a series of pop-up events around town, Bruce Kalman finally has a permanent brick-and-mortar location for SoulBelly BBQ. It was worth the wait. Sandwiched between two breweries (Nevada Brew Works and HUDL) in the Arts District, the bar and restaurant is brand new, but already feels like a comfortable, worn-in neighborhood hangout with picnic tables and a stage for live music among indoor string lights and Southern-industrial decor. Meats are smoked outdoors and sliced in full view of customers through a glass window near the ordering counter.
The food: You'd get few arguments if you called this the best BBQ in Las Vegas. The brisket is so buttery and flavorful, it doesn't need any sauce (but don't let that stop you from slathering some on top). Along with chicken, ribs, and other meats, it's smoked over Texas post oak in one of two heavy-duty thousand-gallon propane smokers. With a stable location, SoulBelly is now adding sandwiches to the menu (including a wicked smoked turkey club and grilled cheese with Kalman's own pepper relish) and an awesome wedge salad with smoked tomato vinaigrette and pork belly in place of bacon. In between bites, sip on Jiggle Juice, a bagged whiskey lemonade with a subtle hot-pepper kick.
The cost: BBQ platters are $24-28, meats by the pound are $24-28, links are $8, and sandwiches are $10-19. When it comes to drinks, cocktails are $10-13 while beer runs $5 to $8.
Night + Market
The buzz: With the pool deck still under construction, Virgin Hotels remains a work in progress, but the property's restaurant lineup is already a great excuse to visit. Kris Yenbamroong's Night + Market is the most ambitious concept, putting a SoCal spin on traditional Thai dishes. The front of the dining room is on the casual side and spills out onto the casino floor. Request a booth in the back for a more elevated experience.
The food: Plates are designed for family-style sharing. So take advantage of the idea to get familiar with as many flavors as possible. The massaman curry is an engaging mix of coconut cream, Indian spices, and large slices of sweet potatoes with fried flatbread on the side to soak it all up. The California influence is strongest in the pad kee mao (drunken noodles), mixing wok-tossed rice noodles with vegetables and pastrami from an LA diner. Night + Market is looking to introduce a raw bar in the near future, but is currently offering seafood towers in a choice of sizes. Otherwise, the lobster pad thai = happiness. Yenbamroong makes a point to feature natural wines with an emphasis on whites to counter the spiciness in much of the food.
The cost: Seafood towers are $85 or $190. Other dishes range from $16 to $40. Cocktails are $16-20 and glasses of wine are $15-18.
The buzz: One Steakhouse has a loose vibe and lacks the pretentiousness of counterparts on the Strip, yet still feels very much like "an experience." The space was formerly home to MB Steak (back in pre-pandemic days when Virgin Hotels was the Hard Rock), but has been reinvented with a more welcoming atmosphere. The bar area was opened up to feed off the energy of the casino floor and sits underneath an elaborate crystal light fixture that slowly changes color throughout the evening. An upstairs lounge for overflow seating has windows that open wide toward the Strip.
The food: In a wise move, One Steakhouse retained the services of Executive Chef Patrick Munster, who knows how to balance familiar favorites with inventive modifications. Why have one surf and turf on the menu when you can have three? All presented on a charcoal grill at the table. Similar interactive touches are seen in the lobster bisque (with a creamy broth poured over chilled, fresh lobster seconds before you taste it) and the photogenic Baked Alaska dessert. No spoilers, just have your camera ready. Steak purists can't go wrong with a serving of Japanese Wagyu or a bone-in Tomahawk, sliced for two with a perfect char to balance out the rich, marbleized beef. For a change of pace, try the ricotta gnocchi with brandy peppercorn sauce as your side dish.
The cost: Appetizers and salads $14-23, sides $12-23, chilled seafood $19-165, and entrees $28-64. Steaks run $42 to $160 with options for surf-and-turfs at $87-95 and a Tomahawk Feast for 10-12 people that's $1,200
Madero Street Tacos
The buzz: Madero Street Tacos, a quiet operation on Carson Avenue near the Downtown Container Park, joins a growing trend among new Mexican restaurants in Vegas (like Masazul and Milpa) of preparing masa and tortillas from scratch. Every sauce is made in house as well, even the sour cream. There's a heavy emphasis on takeaway and delivery orders, but tourists will appreciate the easy walk-up access (especially after a round of drinking on nearby Fremont Street). The restaurant is also a ghost kitchen for Clevelander's Hamburgers.
The food: Chef Francisco Alvarez, a veteran of the Michael Mina Group and other high-end restaurants, based his menu on family recipes while taking inspiration from regions like Jalisco and Mexico City. His stamp is seen in touches subtle (cucumber in the pico de gallo) and dramatic (a cheesy crust grilled around tacos for dipping into a bowl of birria, a Mexican consommé). Large appetites will appreciate the enormous Enchilada Burrito, but a meal is best enjoyed when spread out among as many different tacos as possible.
The cost: Tacos $3-5 (plates $13-17), burritos $5-15, and $2-6 sides (street corn, guac and chips, etc).
Al Solito Posto
The buzz: James Trees helped turn the Downtown Arts District into an up-and-coming culinary destination with Esther's Kitchen and is now bringing his eye for fresh ingredients and expert Italian cuisine to the west valley with Al Solito Posto. The new restaurant, which takes over the old Brio space at Tivoli Village, makes full use of a large contemporary dining room and outdoor patio by the shopping district's fountain. The service team operates with the flair and style of dinner club captains and the prices are incredibly customer friendly (a trend at all of Trees' concepts, including Ada's, a wine bar around the corner that is one of the best places to grab a drink in Las Vegas).
The food: From the moment you try the house-made focaccia bread (accompanied with a chunky combination of roasted garlic, herbs, and cheese mixed on the spot), you know you're in for something exceptional. Trees and his team (which now includes Executive Chef Steve Young) spent weeks perfecting new recipes for classic Italian dishes, ranging from a flavorful minestrone to an irresistible chicken Parmesan. Prefer to go vegetarian? The eggplant parm is prepared with Chinese eggplant and fanned out like a flower. When it comes to steaks, the ribeye cap is a true deal at $36. Try the tiramisu for dessert, revamped with a fluffy meringue-like exterior and topped off with a rich espresso sauce at the table.
The cost: Appetizers and salads $9-21, pastas $16-23, steaks and entrees $20-58, desserts $5-22, cocktails $14-16.
Salt & Spoon Gourmet Kitchen
The buzz: Chef Andrew Ye, a Californian who formerly ran the kitchen at North Italia, is delivering on what could be the best counter service restaurant in Las Vegas. Walk up, order, wait, and eat. At first glance, the menu seems relatively simple, but the dedication to ingredients and prep is high level. Much of the produce is sourced via Ye's own relationships with California farms. Some items (like pasta and chocolate) are imported from Europe. The dining room is simple and sparse, but has a charming low-key, modern feel.
The food: The miso-glazed salmon bowl is one of the most delicious quick lunches in Vegas, prepared with Verlasso salmon, vegetables, and earthy Japanese-style brown rice. Heartier appetites will appreciate rigatoni topped with a thick bolognese, slow-cooked for up to five hours with ground beef, pork, and veal. Dishes change frequently with the season. An appetizer of delta asparagus, from a crop harvested just a few short months each year in Northern California, is the latest example.
The cost: Starters and salads $4-15, entrees $13.50-20, sides and desserts $3-6.
Hola Mexican Cocina + Cantina
The buzz: Hola brings a splash of Mexican-inspired culture and cuisine to the growing Southern Highlands community. A stylish, well-decorated dining room is the perfect environment for vibrant dishes with colorful presentations and occasional nods to vegan or even keto preferences. A daily happy hour runs twice a day (3–5 pm and 9 pm–close), giving you plenty of time to save money on mezcal-ritas, flights, and shareable bites.
The food: Blue-corn tortillas add extra flavor to the taco plates, which come two to a serving with rice, beans, and fideo (Mexican pasta). Hola loves to give customers choices; reflected best in the variations on street corn and guacamole. Vegans will appreciate the use of jackfruit in the mole enchiladas. Hola isn't afraid to be playful, especially when it comes to dessert. The Mucho Loco Sundae is made with fried strawberry ice cream, cookies, and Fruity Pebbles. The bar program and dedication to agave spirits is exceptional. Ask about the latest off-menu mezcal flight or keep things simple with a Michelada, made with a savory house mix. Margaritas are made with a sour mix that incorporates fruit juices and mint.
The cost: Small bites, soups, and salads are $5.5 to $18, larger plates are $16 to $22.50. Margaritas and other cocktails are $10-13 with flights of agave spirits ranging from $25.50 to $59.50.
The buzz: Having dinner in a shopping mall has its perks. Just look to St Mark's Square, the heart of the Grand Canal Shoppes, where Brera Osteria skips a proper dining room in favor of all-patio seating, giving you the feel of being outdoors without actually being outdoors. The painted faux sky, Old World decor, street performers, and the energy of the Venetian's iconic gondola rides only add to the atmosphere. Yet the Italian cuisine of Chef Angelo Auriana refuses to lean on the surrounding gimmicks, preferring to reformat classic dishes with compelling, creative recipes.
The food: Your table will want to share at least two pasta dishes. You can't go wrong with the arugula pesto potato gnocchi or veal tortellini with mushrooms and shaved truffles. Pizzas are wood-fired for just 90 seconds in a custom-made volcanic brick oven, delivering a crust with a tender, chewy texture and subtle char. The restaurant's name is inspired by a Milan neighborhood known for popularizing the aperitivo hour. So get festive with a refreshing Aperol Spritz or one of five Negroni cocktails. In an interesting twist, the happy hour is kept to weekends with an emphasis on small plates.
The cost: Appetizers are $12-23 while pizzas, pastas, and other entrees are $20-69. Wine glasses are $16-28 and cocktails are between $16 and $19.
Main Street Provisions
The buzz: Tucked between the awesome cocktails of Velveteen Rabbit and the great pizza of Good Pie, Main Street Provisions couldn't have a better location in the fast-growing Downtown Arts District. It's a rustic but modern space where guests can view Justin Kinglsey Hall and his team at work in an open kitchen.
The food: Main Street Provisions doesn't linger too long in any single category, but it's hard not to think of the meats as the heart and soul of the restaurant, whether it's the exceptional butcher plate appetizer (which on any given day may include bacon, lamb rillette, and chicken liver mousse), tender venison tataki, or a smoked heritage ham steak. If you really want things to get interesting, try the rich rabbit and pork sausage or the Southern-style quail gumbo. Yet there's also clear affection for California-inspired seafood and plant-based dishes like a slow-roasted yam with BBQ-glazed beets and crispy onions.
The cost: Appetizers, salads, and sides $8-21. Entrees are $15-50. Beer $6-25, wine glasses $9-15, and cocktails $9-13.
The buzz: The already-busy Chinatown dining scene continues to heat up with Robata En, where former Yonaka chef Ramir De Castro is given the freedom to stretch his creativity. The name suggests an emphasis on grilled meats—and there's plenty of that—but the sushi and seafood is an even better reason to keep coming back. The dining room sits underneath the subtle glow of dramatic overhead light fixtures, leaving the brightest lights directed toward the sushi bar.
The food: Much of the menu is divided between cold and warm plates, and a complete meal features ample servings of both. Begin with the creamy deviled eggs and Sake Orenji (salmon enhanced with bright citrus flavors) before taking matters into your own hands by grilling slices of Wagyu ribeye on a hot stone. A lot of restaurants claim everything is made from scratch, but between the uni pasta entree and the yuzu sorbet dessert, Robata En really means it. Although if you really want to wrap up your meal in style, request the fresh-baked cookies served hot with ube jam and white chocolate sprinkles.
The cost: Starters and cold plates $8-27, warm plates $19-59, and omakase platters $150-240. Sake flights are $21 with bottles anywhere from $5 to $555.
The buzz: Out of all the restaurants at the new Circa resort, 8 East isn't the fanciest, but it's the most compelling. Owner Dan Coughlin builds upon his success at Le Thai, collaborating with Executive Chef Steve Piamchuntar on a more varied menu that borrows elements from Thai, Chinese, Taiwanese, and Japanese street food. The understated dining room, heavy on wood decor and tucked away in the corner of the casino floor, only adds to the charm.
The food: Heavier dishes like the New York Strip (loaded with Asian spices) and the lobster fried rice pack in hearty flavors, but 8 East is more intriguing when sharing smaller dishes. The filet carpaccio tastes even better than it looks, colorfully decorated with crunchy bits of purple potato, peanut sauce, and microgreens. The Duck Roll is like a mini-Peking Duck while the ginger chicken dumplings overachieve with a welcome spicy bite. Most of the cocktails are classics modified with unique spices like the Roku Negroni, but there's enough tea and whiskey flights to keep things interesting.
The cost: Tapas $6-25, entrees $14-16, and desserts $9. Tea is $3.5 and cocktails are $12.50.
The buzz: At last check, the Palms remains closed, leaving the wonderful Vetri Cucina inactive on the 56th floor of the resort. No worries. Marc Vetri packed up his operation and moved it to the Red Rock Resort at a space that will hopefully cease being a revolving door for Italian concepts. Osteria Fiorella is a little more casual, but seems to have quickly found a comfortable groove—almost like it should've been here all along.
The food: Vetri's recipes built a reputation in Philadelphia before expanding elsewhere, giving a contemporary spin to regional Italian cuisine. A few familiar staples are on display—perfectly rolled gnocchi, wood-fired pizzas, and fresh seafood—with new tweaks and modifications. Play it cool and order the off-menu Cacio e Pepe pizza or just come by for the weekend brunch when the same dish is topped with egg and bacon.
The cost: Pasta $17-23, pizzas $16-22, and entrees $24-60. Beer, wine glasses, and cocktails $7-20.
Chinglish Cantonese Wine Bar
The buzz: Don't sleep on this one. Chinglish (a name inspired by the family-owned business' blend of Chinese and Western cultures) may seem like a trendy, contemporary hangout for the Summerlin crowd, but take a look through the long horizontal window that separates the kitchen from the dining room. You'll see a master at work, 50-year veteran chef Po-Fai Lam, producing authentic Hong Kong-style Cantonese cuisine that competes with fancier restaurants on the Strip for a fraction of the price. A new fogger system is in place on the patio for summer and far more comfortable than routine misters.
The food: The Peking Duck is prepared in a custom oven, allowing the birds to hang vertically as the fat drips off. The meat is served in paper-thin crepes instead of bao buns to fully absorb the flavor. Make sure to also order the hand-folded chicken dumplings, candied walnut prawns, and a made-to-order hot and sour soup with customized spice levels ranging from mild to nuclear. Yeah, but what about the "wine bar" part of the name? The vino selection isn't huge, but changes week to week with a compelling focus on small producers and unique labels. A new invitation-only wine club brings regulars together for ambitious one-night-only pairing dinners.
The cost: Appetizers $9-18, entrees $17-27 with the Peking Duck $32 half or $55 full. Glasses of wine begin at $10.
The buzz: No bland and boring cucumber rolls here. Chikyu is proving vegan sushi can be indulgent and yes, full of flavor. Vietnamese chef John Le mastered the concept at Shizen in San Francisco before moving to Las Vegas to open his own place. Whether dine-in or carryout, the food comes with a colorful presentation to match the wow-factor of every bite. The restaurant recently introduced a "Euphorics" menu, featuring a trio of "cocktails" with a legit buzz provided by nootropics and other mind-engaging ingredients in place of alcohol.
The food: You won't see a lot of substitutes (like fake tuna or shrimp) to fill a meatless void. Instead, vegetables are prepared with time and careful detail to produce intriguing flavor combinations. The specialty rolls, named after Nevada wildflowers, make good use of sweet potato tempura, spicy tofu, smoked beets, and vegetables you won't usually see in your grocery store—like burdock, takuan (pickled daikon radish), or rocoto peppers. The real magic, however, is in the simplicity of the nigiri, which is much more than just a vegetable or fruit slice on top of rice. The green mango, for example, is pickled for three days with cloves and other spices for an intriguing bite that will appeal to an audience beyond those simply looking for a great vegan restaurant in Las Vegas.
The cost: Starters and small plates $4-14, nigiri and rolls $5-13.
The Legends Oyster Bar & Grill
The buzz: The Legends Oyster Bar & Grill had the misfortune of opening at the onset of the pandemic, but is already finding success with loyal regulars. Executive Chef Jack Jarukasem, who worked his way up through the ranks with Caesars Entertainment, is carrying out his own vision with a menu that focuses heavily on seafood, served in an aquatic-themed dining room with a raw bar. After initially launching as a BYOB concept, the restaurant now has a liquor license and full drink menu.
The food: Oysters and raw scallops are highlights of the raw bar, but stick to hot food for delivery and to-go orders. You can't go wrong with the pan roast of lobster, crab, and shrimp in a creamy tomato sauce, gumbo served on a plate in deconstructed form, or a Louisiana-style seafood boil. Jarukasem balances his creativity with flavorful takes on familiar dishes, including lightly fried calamari and New England clam chowder served inside a bread bowl.
The cost: Appetizers are $5-12. Entrees are $15-27.
Bugsy & Meyer's Steakhouse
The buzz: Vegas loves an old-school steakhouse and despite being one of the newest restaurants on the Strip, Bugsy & Meyer's is a celebration of vintage style and local history. Not only is the steakhouse named after the mobsters who opened the Flamingo, it includes a bakery "storefront" as the entrance, allowing guests to sneak in and walk past the kitchen Goodfellas-style to reach the dining room. There's even a speakeasy in the back, which is actually the best place to have your meal if a table is available.
The food: Executive Chef Honorio Mecinas leads a kitchen team that does everything possible to make sure the substance of the food matches the sizzle of the dining room. Bone-in cuts are dry-aged in-house for 60 days and it's hard to resist the tenderness of the prime rib cap. A seafood tower is a predictable, popular appetizer, but the calories and time are better spent on The Cadillac (a separated shellfish cocktail of lobster, shrimp, and crab) and the prime beef tartare mixed with a tart foie gras aioli. Old Fashioned cocktails are the specialty, but feel free to ask the bartender to customize something fun.
The cost: Appetizers are $12-28 (with the seafood towers $80-158). Steaks and entrees range from $34 to $140. Cocktails are $14-30 and wine is $13-40.
Johnny C's Diner
The buzz: Imagine a classic American diner, but with dishes made with the best ingredients and preparation possible. That's the idea behind Johnny C's Diner, a new concept by Vegas chef Johnny Church, who previously built up plenty of local goodwill working at top restaurants on and off the Strip.
The food: Familiar breakfast and lunch staples are given a fresh makeover. A good example is the Cuban sandwich, made with hand-carved ham and pork that's marinated for 24 hours and cooked over white oak. The burgers go down easy with every bite, prepared with buttery dry-aged angus beef that tastes even more robust against the crunch of house-made pickles. Salads are prepared with ingredients straight from the chef's own personal garden. The diner, just outside the Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort, is planning a few pop-up events in the near future and can be booked for private chef tastings for large parties in the evenings.
The cost: Soups, salads, and appetizers $4-14. Burgers and sandwiches $10-14.
The buzz: Jimmy Li scored one of our favorite Chinatown restaurants with Niu Gu, but the chef has moved on to a brighter, more comfortable space with Shanghai Taste. The dining room is small, but carries an undeniable energy, especially when watching the kitchen team hand-roll dumplings through large windows. The spot stands out as one of the few homegrown concepts in Shanghai Plaza, a new shopping destination heavy on Asian chains.
The food: The signature xiao long bao—or steamed soup dumplings—mix pork and crab fillings with a flavorful broth. New versions with shrimp or angus beef inside were recently added to the menu (and you can tell all varieties apart with natural food colorings like carrot, bok choy and squid ink in the dough). A wok-seared dumpling—sheng jian—has a crispy bottom and mild flavor that pairs well with slippery, translucent bean noodles in a spicy beef curry soup. Overall, the restaurant's Shanghai cuisine tends to be on the sweeter side and the restaurant delivers on bright flavors with a bread-like wheat gluten dish and traditional pork spare ribs served in small nugget-like pieces. Just put down the chopsticks and chew the meat right off the bone.
The cost: Small plates and dumplings range from $3.95 to $13.95, rice and noodle dishes are $9.95 to $14.85.
The buzz: After earning acclaim and national recognition for Fat Choy and the now-closed Flock & Fowl, Sheridan Su has another labor of love with wife and business partner Jenny Wong. Every Grain is built on the joy of simplicity—a small dining room in a quiet strip mall a few blocks east of Downtown's more familiar neighborhoods. It's one of the best low-key, affordable lunches in town (the restaurant isn't open for dinner). Much like Su's famous Hainan Chicken from Flock & Fowl, the food at Every Grain is inspired by travels to Taiwan.
The food: Lu Rou Fan is a purple-ish combination of forbidden, koshihikari, and brown rice topped with crumbles of garnish-like braised pork belly. Add roasted spring chicken or a pounded-thin pork chop fried in sweet potato crumbs to transform the dish into a full entree. Small-plate appetizers include Chinese-style greens (often braised cabbage or baby bok choy), marinated cucumbers with pickled African hibiscus, or a fun, spicy Asian take on movie theater-style cheddar nachos. The scallion pancake is served with French onion dip and a touch of chili oil—an idea inspired by a customer that sounds odd, but totally works. As for drinks, go with an agua fresca, made on the spot with fresh seasonal fruit, or a selection from the tea cart, which features leaves harvested from sustainable farms around the world.
The cost: Small plates $1.99-$4.99, rice and noodle dishes $4.99-$12.99, and drinks $3-$5.99.
The buzz: Graffiti Bao is inspired by Chef Marc Marone's visits to Singapore hawker markets and his own affection for the New York-style Chinese takeaway he grew up on. The result is an affordable menu of clean-tasting Asian cuisine that works equally well as takeout or in the intimate '80s pop culture-influenced strip mall dining room.
The food: The restaurant gets lots of attention for its lightly seared bao buns, which come in six options, including a seasonal dessert. The prices are so low, it's easy to mix and match spring rolls, scallion pancakes, and other appetizers without making a major investment. Wok-tossed entrees allow beef, chicken, pork, prawns, and tofu to be prepared in familiar combinations, including kung pao, mandarin, or spicy Szechuan style. The Singapore ramen is served with the broth on the side. Add it to your preference to cut the spicy bite of the noodles. Graffiti Bao also serves as a ghost kitchen of sorts for Gemma Gemma's Square Pies, which are among the best pizza options in Vegas.
The cost: Small bites range from $3.88 to $8.88. Entrees are $8.88 to $23.88.