Food & Drink

The 17 Most Important Restaurants in Las Vegas Right Now

Published On 07/06/2015 Published On 07/06/2015
Carson Kitchen

It’s ironic that nowadays the best thing about Sin City, other than its topless pools (obviously), are its restaurants, but no city in America has so many great chefs working in so small a place, or so many great restaurants. But what separates those places from the kind of eating establishments that leave a mark for years to come? Check out our list of the 17 most important restaurants in Las Vegas to find out...

Bill Milne

Andiron Steak & Sea

Downtown Summerlin
Andiron has only been open a few months but it’s tough to find a better steakhouse west of the Strip. With a menu that covers a lot of ground, from perfectly cooked, grass-fed filets to an addictive Mac & Cheese Waffle, Andiron instantly makes Downtown Summerlin more than just an outdoor shopping mall, and stands out among an impressive collection of destination food spots like Public School 702, Crave, and Gelato Messina.

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon

L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon

MGM Grand
The namesake Joël Robuchon restaurant next door may be the “nicer” and more upscale (and yes, more expensive) choice of the two, but L’Atelier is the one that took the more impressive risk. It proved that you can provide a high-end fine-dining experience within a casual atmosphere, with interactive kitchen-side seating at the counter that’s more fun than sitting at a table.

Giada

Giada

The Cromwell
She’s cute, famous, and cooks a mean dish of pasta. So Giada De Laurentiis could open her very first restaurant literally anywhere in the world and get away with it. Not only did she choose Las Vegas, but she also managed to snag possibly the most in-demand real estate in the busiest part of the Strip, and become one of the best reasons to visit The Cromwell hotel and casino.

Bazaar Meat

Bazaar Meat

SLS Las Vegas
Let’s be generous: the north end of the Strip is (and will be for a while) a work in progress. So the SLS is holding down the fort as the newest and most contemporary resort in the area. At least until its surroundings catch up to it. That’s why Bazaar Meat by José Andrés is so important, drawing adventurous customers from around the valley who are eager to pull up a seat at the meat bar and order some foie gras cotton candy alongside an oak wood-fired bone-in ribeye.

Lotus of Siam

Lotus of Siam

Off the Strip
It’s not in a fancy hotel, it’s not in a casino, and it’s not in a hip part of town. But Lotus of Siam earned a nationwide reputation simply for the quality of its Thai food and a deep, yet affordable wine list. Think of it as the perfect excuse to venture off the Strip... and eat dinner at a strip mall.

Picasso

Picasso

The Bellagio
Chef Julian Serrano’s French-Spanish cuisine is inspired by the two countries where Pablo Picasso spent much of his life. With a few of his original paintings on the wall, the food has to live up to masterpiece status, while being the flagship fine-dining spot at what many view as the most luxurious hotel in Vegas.

Rob Kachelriess/Thrillist

Raku

Chinatown
There’s a lot to choose from in Chinatown, but Roku has been satisfying crowds for years with its robata charcoal grill and small plate selection. It’s the main draw in a cozy square that includes other impressive restaurants like Monta and Kabuto, as well as the dessert-focused offshoot Sweets Raku.

Burger Bar

Burger Bar

Mandalay Bay
Hubert Keller was a little ahead of the game, opening up this upscale-for-what-it-is joint before the spread of the gourmet burger trend. It’s still one of the best reasons to eat a burger on the Strip, whether it’s made with beef, buffalo, lamb, turkey, or vegetarian ingredients.

Restaurant Guy Savoy

Restaurant Guy Savoy

Caesars Palace
The only US restaurant from Chef Guy Savoy beats out the fine-dining competition with perfectly prepared French cuisine as well as exceptional customer service, without the long waits between courses that you might find at other high-end places. It’s also one of the few restaurants in the world with a Krug Chef's Table, offering an interactive view of the kitchen along with a specialized 13-course seasonal Champagne-pairing menu.

Peter Harasty

Carson Kitchen

Downtown
Kerry Simon’s latest venture came at just the right time to fill a much-neglected void for a contemporary casual spot in the Downtown area. It also instantly expanded the boundaries of the Fremont East District to Carson Ave while continuing to be the the standard by which all new Downtown restaurants (like the recently opened Glutton and Itsy Bitsy) will be judged by.

RM Seafood

RM Seafood

Mandalay Bay
There’s no better advocate for sustainable fishing and ocean conservation than Rick Moonen, who left New York 10 years ago to open RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay. With fish carefully selected and flown in daily, it’s hard to find a more satisfying option for seafood, whether you’re in the middle of the desert or not. A sister restaurant, Rx Boiler Room, can be found upstairs on the second floor.

Andrea's

Andrea’s

Wynn Encore
A night at the club isn’t complete without a visit to a lively and social warm-up restaurant first. Andrea’s rides the line between fine dining and casual while being just steps away from two prime nightlife destinations, XS and Surrender (which is right off the patio). Try skipping the wine and go with some recently introduced sake-pairing options on the Asian-inspired menu.

Rao's

Rao’s

Caesars Palace
Rao’s in New York has a notoriously long wait for reservations to the point it’s ridiculous. The Las Vegas version is an exact replica of the Harlem original, making it possibly the most valuable import to arrive on the Strip, satisfying a demand that begins on the other side of the country.

Piero's Italian Cuisine

Piero’s Italian Cuisine

Off the Strip
Piero’s is more than a signature staple of vintage Las Vegas and a shooting location for the movie Casino. It’s been serving up the perfect plate of scaloppine milanese while drawing everyone from local power brokers to former US presidents and members of the Rat Pack over the past three decades.

Emeril's New Orleans Fish House

Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House

MGM Grand
Yeah, it’s Emeril, but this was the first of his four Las Vegas restaurants, it has been around for 20 years, and it not only helped set the stage for the onslaught of celebrity chefs to come, but was also one of the first places in town to deliver directly sourced, high-quality seafood, sustainably.

Triple George Grill

Triple George Grill

Downtown
Sandwiched between Pizza Rock and Hogs & Heifers, the Triple George Grill prides itself on being the go-to spot for a business lunch Downtown, as well as the perfect place to grab a porcini-crusted ribeye. It’s been around for years and serves as the symbolic bridge between the old-school Fremont St area and the more modern Downtown 3rd block.

Public Us

PublicUs

Downtown
PublicUs is “important” in much in the same way a magazine will name next year’s hottest recording artists at the end of this one. PublicUs has a modest menu of breakfast and lunch bites alongside a creative coffee selection, but it’s building a strong word of mouth reputation in an area that most Downtown visitors would usually avoid. It gives you a peek into the future of what’s in store for Fremont St, where a string of restaurants, bars, and shops stretches from Las Vegas Blvd all the way to Maryland Pkwy.

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1. Andiron Steak & Sea 1720 Festival Plaza Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89135 (Downtown)

Blending contemporary and classic, Andiron Steak & Sea presents patrons with the best of both worlds; perfectly cooked steaks and creative seafood plates that don't sacrifice quality. Owned and operated by big league LV restauranteurs Kim Canteenwalla and Elizabeth Blau, this upscale, flashy eatery brings refined East Coast style surf and turf to downtown Summerlin.

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2. L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon 3799 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Strip)

Joel Robuchon's flagship restaurant is a deliberate retreat from all things neon and flashy (read: Vegas). Inside this elegant, Art Deco style townhouse, the three-Michelin starred chef serves four course meals comprised of truffles, caviar, and other fixtures of French haute cuisine. It's certainly extravagant, without a doubt, but it feels like you're walking into the dining room of someone's private mansion rather than a typical restaurant.

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3. Giada 3595 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

This new Italian- and Mediterranean-inspired resto has floor-to-ceiling views of the busiest intersection on the Strip. Call for a reservation because everyone else wants eat here too.

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4. Bazaar Meat 2535 Las Vegas Blvd, Paradise, NV 89109

If you have money to blow after hitting the casino floor, spend your chunk of change at Bazaar Meat. A luxe, shadowy and chandelier laden den of a restaurant, chef José Andrés makes sure that there’s plenty to keep high-rolling carnivores satisfied, from prime aged carpaccios and tartares. This spot also the only place where you’ll likely find foie gras cotton candy.

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5. Lotus of Siam 953 E Sahara Ave Ste A5, Las Vegas, NV 89104 (Off Strip)

This family run Thai restaurant deviates from the sweet and tangy style of cooking dominant near Bangkok in favor of more herbs and spices. The recipes are all from family and are 100 years in the making. There's a deep yet affordable wine list, and the place is located in a strip mall away from the craziness of The Strip.

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6. Picasso 3600 South Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Strip)

Located in the Bellagio, this restaurant serves food from the areas of France and Spain that Pablo Picasso spent much of his life in. On the outdoor patio guests can experience views of the Las Vegas strip and the famous Bellagio fountains.

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7. Raku 5030 Spring Mountain Rd, #2, Las Vegas, NV 89146 (Downtown)

The full Japanese name of this resto is Aburiya Raku, which translates to "Charcoal Grill House Enjoyment" -- which is fitting considering how delicious and fun this robata and sushi spot is. Grilled and marinated teriyaki, omakase sushi, and sake cocktails are served till 3am in a buzzy, convivial space. Don't be fool by its strip-mall exterior

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8. Burger Bar 3930 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89119 (Strip)

Located inside the Mandalay Bay on the strip, this casual bar serves an unbelievable number of bottled beers alongside upgraded bar food, like build-your-own burgers and the option to top them with black truffles or oysters. And if you're the indecisive type, rest assured that Burger Bar has premade pairings as well.

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9. Restaurant Guy Savoy 3570 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Strip)

Restaurant Guy Savoy is at once elegant, opulent, and intimate - the perfect place to take a date for a romantic evening. Gaze out at sweeping views of The Strip while enjoying dishes prepared by one of the world's internationally renowned French chefs. Want to go all out? Restaurant Guy Savoy houses the only Krug Chef’s Table in the country, a six course gourmet meal accompanied with champagne pairings.

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10. Carson Kitchen 124 S 6th St Ste 100, Las Vegas, NV 89101 (Downtown)

This Downtown rooftop bar has quite possibly the best appetizer menu in Vegas-- shareable plates like veal meatballs, short rib sliders, crispy chicken skins, and deviled eggs topped with caviar are all on order. If that weren't enticing enough, Carson Kitchen offers a well curated selection of cocktails and regularly hosts live bands on their swanky outdoor patio.

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11. RM Seafood 3930 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89119 (Strip)

Rick Moonen succeeds in serving quality seafood, regardless of the fact that RM seafood is in the middle of the desert. He serves classics from both coasts, a raw bar, and sushi . The space offers both a more casual downstairs space and a more upscale dining space upstairs. Chef Moonen is one of the top advocate for sustainable seafood, so you can dine knowing that the food has been source in the best way possible.

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12. Andrea's 3131 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Strip)

Encore's sprawling new Asian palace Andrea's is home to two chefs: one of the Executive variety named Joseph Elevado, who trained under Nobu Matsuhisa, plus "Musical Chef" Steve Angello, a member of EDM trio Swedish House Mafia, who for some reason changed his name from Steven Angello Josefsson Fragogiannis, and is not an actual person who cooks things.

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13. Rao's Las Vegas 3570 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Strip)

This Vegas branch of the famously difficult-to-get-into NYC-based Italian restaurant is serving the same family recipes in a much larger space that features a replica of the 12-table original in Harlem. The classic dishes are all throwbacks to the family's Southern Italian roots, featuring pastas, risottos, and steak bistecca with desserts like classic tiramisu and cheesecake to finish.

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14. Piero's Italian Cuisine 355 Convention Center Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89109

It opened more than 30 years ago and has been serving awesome Italian fare ever since. Pia Zadora performs in the lounge on weekends

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15. Emeril's New Orleans Fish House 3799 South Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Strip)

Located within the MGM Grand casino right on the Strip, this creole-inspired restaurant serves "New New Orleans" style food from celebrity Chef Emeril Lagasse. With dishes like frog legs and alligator meatballs, this upscale Louisiana-style restaurant proves its not afraid to take on ingredients other fine dining spots shy away from and make something spectacular from them. The menu is rounded out with fresh seafood, steaks, and salads all made from the costal recipes of New Orleans. With a bar menu of both classic and modern cocktails, as well as wine by the glass and a popular happy hour, this place is usually pretty full, especially before shows at the casino. Reservations aren't required, but encouraged.

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16. Triple George Grill 201 N 3rd St, Las Vegas, NV 89101 (Downtown)

Triple George Grill's got private booths that feel like studio apartments, giving their old-school digs a spacious feel. Rocking one of the most distinctive steaks in Vegas -- the Porcini Crusted Ribeye made with a sweet and spicy mushroom rub -- TGG brings classic cuts of meat to the next level.

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17. PublicUs 1126 Fremont St, Las Vegas, NV 89101 (Downtown)

This coffee bar, bakery, and restaurant takes its name from the Latin word meaning "for the people" and serves food all day, ending in a happy hour from 9 pm until close. Full of reclaimed wood and industrial settings, this is a modern space that still retains the cozy feel of a coffeehouse. Table service is available, and the family-style seating (long, shared tables) means you may end up making new friends at this local's favorite spot. With unique coffee drinks made from their own special roast and a full list of wine and local beer this Downtown Vegas spot serves up New American cuisine worth detouring off the Strip for.

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