20 Bucket List Dining Experiences in Las Vegas
Enjoy an unforgettable Sin City meal.
A lot of visitors get the wrong idea about eating in Las Vegas. It's not all about buffets and shrimp cocktails. Celebrity chefs often hog the attention (and they definitely serve a purpose—and some have great restaurants), but Las Vegas has a deep and diverse culinary legacy that's not only growing on the Strip, but in emerging neighborhoods like Chinatown, Downtown, and Summerlin. If you want to visit the latest buzzworthy dining destinations, get familiar with the hottest restaurants to visit right now, but if you want an iconic experience that helps define the Las Vegas we know and love today, make sure to cross the following options off your bucket list.
Order next-level tapas at EDO
You may not expect to find Spanish tapas on the edge of Chinatown, but EDO is easily one of the most complete dining experiences in Las Vegas. Quality imported ingredients, expert preparation, and artful presentations feel especially welcome in an intimate dining room that includes a wall-size mural and cocktail cart preparing gin-and-tonics on the spot. Prices are reasonable, especially when choosing a multi-course tasting menu that can be adjusted to dietary preferences. The name is an acronym for the phrase "extra day off," as well as being a nod to chef Oscar Amador Edo, whose Catalan background leans heavily toward seafood and subtle French and Mediterranean influences. You really taste the dedication to ingredients in the escabeche, with savory mushrooms complimenting bright chunks of lobster and king crab in one perfect bite. A similarly satisfying combination of textures is found in a 30-day aged strip loin carpaccio served on a cheese pastry.
How to order: Book a reservation online or call 702-641-1345 to accommodate larger parties.
Take a trip back in time at the Golden Steer
Off the Strip
Perfectly cooked, wet-aged, prime steaks are even better when paired with authentic Las Vegas history. The Golden Steer Steakhouse (just west of the Strip on Sahara) has been around since 1958, back when there was a hitching post to park your horse. Since then, the restaurant has famously hosted the Rat Pack and other celebrities, often dedicating favorite booths in their honor (the most in-demand being Frank Sinatra's). Mobsters used to love the place too, ordering meals in a rear parlor room with a secret door for a quick escape. The stained glass, wood paneling, mounted memorabilia, and dark lighting only add to the atmosphere, sometimes feeling like a movie set more than a relic of the past. Tableside presentations are a big part of the experience, especially with the Caesar salad (possibly the best in town) and a Bananas Foster dessert. But whether it's a lean filet or bone-in ribeye, you're really here for the steaks—and the Golden Steer Cocktail, a combination of cognac, bubbly, lemon, and peach that's almost like a super-charged mimosa.
How to order: Reservations are available online, but call 702-384-4470 when requesting a specific booth. Golden Steer also ships steaks and meals throughout the country.
Try a new take on Vietnamese with Black Sheep
Chef Jamie Tran not only reached the final four in the latest edition of Bravo's Top Chef, but became the season's breakout star with her endearing, quirky personality. You couldn't find a better representative for the current Las Vegas dining scene. After perfecting her craft in kitchens on the Strip, Tran is carrying out her own vision at the Black Sheep, an intimate, but stylish, contemporary space in the southwest valley. The menus are generally a mix of American and Vietnamese elements, but incorporate a wide-range of global influences. Tran's latest dishes may be her best yet, especially the grilled quail with mole and turmeric crepes with lengua (slow-braised and sauteed beef tongue). The salmon skin tacos and pork-shrimp imperial rolls are favorites that have remained on the menu since day one.
How to order: Book a reservation online.
Score fresh fish in the middle of the desert at Estiatorio Milos
Here in Vegas, you'll hear the common (tired) joke about finding fresh fish in the desert, but Estiatorio Milos puts that notion to rest better than any other restaurant on the Strip. Chef Jesse Maldonado is up early each morning, phoning in seafood orders that are frequently pulled straight from the Mediterranean, flown to McCarran International Airport, and brought promptly to the restaurant—all within 24 hours or less. The latest catch is displayed proudly on ice in the dining room. Fish is served three ways: as sashimi, charcoal-grilled (with lemon, capers, and olive oil), or baked whole in sea salt for the table to share. Since relocating from the Cosmopolitan to the Venetian, Estiatorio Milos has added a raw bar and house-strained Greek yogurt, making the restaurant better than ever.
How to order: Reserve a table online.
Make the most of waterside dining at the Wynn
Wynn Las Vegas
Great food is even better with dramatic waterside scenery, a philosophy that's on full display at the Wynn resort. Mizumi, one of the most romantic dining spots in Vegas, is the best example with a colorful koi pond and 90-foot waterfall—visible through tall windows or from an outdoor deck. Executive Chef Min Kim joined the team last year, elevating the menu even higher with an especially strong focus on fresh seafood and inventive recipes. Meanwhile, both SW Steakhouse and Lakeside (featuring fresh fish flown in from Hawaii) overlook the newly revamped Lake of Dreams with yet another waterfall and surrounding hill of pine trees. Animatronic and projection performances happen every 20 minutes, ranging from cute (two emojis singing "I Got You Babe") to trippy (an interplanetary tribute to "Space Oddity"). A more understated, but no less exceptional option is Costa di Mare, which presents a choice of live seafood near a small pond on the patio.
How to order: Book a reservation online with Wynn Resorts.
Feast on steak at Bazaar Meat
The steakhouse is a format well-represented in Las Vegas, but few are as adventurous as Bazaar Meat by José Andrés. Under the day-to-day direction of Executive Chef Candace Ochoa, the kitchen digs deep into a wide array of food, from raw seafood and caviar flights to wild boar sausage, Buffalo-style bison, a ten-pound suckling pig, and three choices of Spanish bone-in ribeye. If you like things weird, start off with the foie gras cotton candy. Multi-course tasting menus are a great way to get the full experience, but come with that "defeated by food" feeling when it's all over. Arrive hungry, pace yourself, and go easy on the sirloin tartare, which fills you up stat.
How to order: Book a reservation or order takeaway online.
Discover unexpected variety in Chinatown
Ever since Raku fired up its robata grill in 2008, the curtain has been pulled back on the hidden treasures of Chinatown in Las Vegas. Joyful House, Chengdu Taste, China Mama, and Shanghai Taste make it easy to explore a variety of Chinese regions, while Yui Edomae, Kabuto, Kame, and Kaiseki Yuzu provide masterful kaiseki/omakase Japanese dining experiences. The recent long-awaited reopening of District One is your top destination for modern Vietnamese. But why stop at Asian cuisine? Visit Partage for contemporary French or Mas Por Favor, a hidden speakeasy in the back of a taco joint. Sparrow + Wolf may be the Chinatown restaurant that's hardest to define, mixing a wide array of global flavors with the smokiness of wood-fired meats and vegetables.
How to order: Check with each restaurant for booking policies.
Relish French fine dining at Restaurant Guy Savoy
French chef Guy Savoy has five restaurants, but only one of them is outside Paris. Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace provides a polished interpretation of French fine dining in Las Vegas, a role even more crucial during the pandemic with the closures of Joël Robuchon (back open as of July 1), Le Cirque, and Twist by Pierre Gagnaire. Multi-course menus are the specialty, with seafood, wagyu beef, foie gras, and truffles prepared in delicate, carefully arranged dishes—all presented with Navy SEAL-level tactical precision by a well-trained service team and the talent of Executive Chef Nicolas Costagliola. Add in a bread cart, cheese servings, and a ridiculous wine selection and you've set a new standard for bucket list restaurants in a town full of them. Fair warning: a meal for two may or may not be greater than your mortgage payment. The dining room is elegant but understated, allowing the food to be the focus of your attention, although the windows overlooking the Vegas Strip are a welcome touch.
How to order: Book a reservation online. Contact directly by email or calling 702-731-7286 to reserve the intimate Krug Table near the kitchen, which pairs a special menu with Krug champagne.
Indulge in Thai cuisine at Lotus of Siam
Off the Strip
Lotus of Siam is more than just Penn Jillette's favorite restaurant. Its success proved to the rest of the world that you didn't have to visit a hotel lobby to find a great restaurant in Las Vegas. The recipes of Chef Saipin Chutima, passed down through generations, represent the diversity of Thai cuisine with a heavy emphasis on the Northern region, where spicy flavors and coconut milk sauces carry a Burmese influence. The authenticity is felt in dishes like the Nam Kao Tod (pork fried rice that manages to be both chewy and crispy at the same time) and Som Thum (a bright papaya salad with apples and peanuts that works best with sea bass on top). The wine list leans towards whites, especially rieslings, to balance the intense flavors of the food. This is the one restaurant that every other chef in Vegas makes a point to visit on their downtime—and some tourists plan their vacation around. The original Lotus of Siam is tucked inside a worn-out shopping center on Sahara, which only adds to the charm. A second location is back open west of the Strip on Flamingo.
How to order: Book a reservation online (knowing that the wait could be long if you show up without one).
Experience a new wave of fresh Italian dining
Sometimes you want something more than spaghetti and meatballs on a red-and-white checkered tablecloth. A new wave of Italian restaurants are pulling back on heavy sauces while putting vibrant, fresh flavors front and center. The movement is led by Esther's Kitchen in the Downtown Arts District, where Chef James Trees puts together seasonal menus of house-made pastas, addictive fresh bread, and pizzas that compete among the very best in Las Vegas. At La Strega in Summerlin, Chef Gina Marinelli takes guests through a journey of varied Italian regions while earning national recognition along the way. After Vetri Cucina was put on hold with the temporary closing of the Palms during the pandemic, Marc Vetri restructured his format and opened Osteria Fiorella at the Red Rock Resort with a similar but simpler menu that still takes advantage of crisp, easy flavor profiles. Meanwhile, the influence of consulting chef Marc Marrone has helped make Locale the go-to dining destination in the Mountain's Edge/Southern Highlands area. What about the Strip? Check out Nicole Brisson's fresh, inventive take on Italian at Brezza, one of the most anticipated restaurants at the brand new Resorts World.
How to order: Contact each restaurant individually for reservations and to-go information.
Wash down steaks with whiskey at Delmonico Steakhouse
Everything begins with a drink at Emeril Lagasse's Delmonico Steakhouse. The whiskey list is legendary with more than 700 spirits from at least eight different countries, including exclusives like a recent W.L. Weller Antique 107 Single Barrel Select wheated bourbon. Otherwise, go with one of more than 2,300 selections on the wine list, which has a stellar reputation in its own right. Whatever you're sipping on will pair perfectly with the steakhouse's prime cuts—sourced from Creekstone Farms, dry-aged in-house, and often given a New Orleans-inspired Creole twist, especially the juicy bone-in Ribeye. The best seat in the house is at the Chef's Table, which offers a multi-course tasting menu with wine pairings and a rare look at Chef de Cuisine Daniel Tederous's kitchen team in action.
How to order: Book a reservation online or call 702-414-3737 to ask about availability on the Chef's Table.
Try a new kind of French at Bardot Brasserie
French restaurants can often feel sterile and stuffy. Not this one. Michael Mina’s Bardot Brasserie has a bright, modern setting with dark wood, brass, and—just to make sure it doesn't take itself too seriously—a “shop window” facing the kitchen. The restaurant does a fantastic job staying true to expected staples like escargot and steak frites but also knows how to modify blah ordinary dishes and make them amazing. A great example is the Caesar salad, served on endive with red king crab and crispy capers or even the avocado toast, topped with shrimp and jalapeno on fresh buttered bread. Of course you can always go bigger with the decadent Beef Wellington carved for two. Just want to dip your toes in? The happy hour (Wednesday-Saturday 5-7pm and Sunday 5-10pm) is one of the best and liveliest on the Strip.
How to order: Book a reservation or just show up in the bar area for happy hour.
Scale to the Top of the World at the Stratosphere
Whether you’re eating or not, taking the elevator up to the viewing deck of the 1,149-foot Stratosphere tower should be on any kind of Vegas bucket list. Fortunately, the food at the Top of the World restaurant (just below on the 107th floor) more than delivers. Under the guidance of Golden Gaming Corporate Executive Chef Bradley Manchester, the menu favors approachable dishes made with exceptional ingredients like the lobster, shrimp, and crab linguini or the Australian Tajima Wagyu ribeye. Every bite is enjoyed in a slow-rotating dining room that offers a 360-degree view of the Las Vegas Valley by the time your meal wraps up. Hopping on board the viewing deck thrill rides is an activity best saved for before dinner—not after.
How to order:Book a reservation (and buy thrill ride tickets) online.
Take a slice out of dinner at Cut
It’s hard to find a more complete steakhouse in Las Vegas than Cut. The Wolfgang Puck concept is given its own unique Vegas identity under the direction of Executive Chef Matt Hurley. Most of the steaks are cooked over white oak and mesquite, ranging from corn-fed Midwest cuts to ultra-marbleized Japanese snow beef or even a smoked brisket. (Some of the beef fat is infused into an Old Fashioned, making for an unusually flavorful whiskey cocktail.) Round out the meal with carefully sourced shellfish, sweetbreads, and pork belly. The entire restaurant has been remodeled in recent years, making the dining room feel both new and comfortably worn-in. Live music is in the lounge on Thursdays 4-7pm with a special menu of small bites and cocktails.
How to order:Book a reservation online.
Enjoy the intimacy of é by José Andrés
The most intimate fine dining restaurant in Las Vegas became even more exclusive during the pandemic, downsizing from nine to six seats to maximize social distancing. Yet é by José Andrés still follows the same protocol. Guests sit at a single countertop, guided through a culinary journey of more than 20 small bites in less than two hours. Ingenuity is the theme with many of the dishes based on gastronomic experimentation. The cotton candy empanadas with foie gras have been especially fun in the past, but anything is fair game. With only two seatings a night at 5:30 pm or 8:30 pm, reservations can be hard to book but worth the advance planning to score what is literally a golden ticket to enter. Add a wine or cocktail pairing and enjoy one of the most intriguing and unique dinners in Las Vegas.
How to book: Reservations are available online (although you may need to sign up on a waitlist).
Dine by the Fountains at Bellagio
The dinner-and-a-show concept takes on new meaning at the Bellagio, where five restaurants have comfortable outdoor patios with up-close views of the resort’s iconic fountain displays. Feast on French at Julian Serrano’s Picasso (named after the impressive art collection in the dining room) or steaks at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Prime. Another Serrano restaurant, Lago, offers an Italian spin on an innovative tapas menu while Yellowtail serves exquisite sashimi and other Japanese dishes, courtesy of Akira Back. Wolfgang Puck’s Spago arrived at the Bellagio after helping establish the celebrity chef movement in its previous spot inside the Forum Shops. It continues to serve familiar favorites like the smoked salmon pizza and big eye tuna tartare cones, but now in a much more engaging environment.
How to order:Book an online reservation with the Bellagio.
Sink your teeth into BBQ at John Mull's Meats & Road Kill Grill
John Mull's Meats and Road Kill Grill seems to pop up out of nowhere in the middle of a mostly residential neighborhood near North Las Vegas. The meat market and BBQ stand is known for long lines, especially on the weekends, but the family-owned business knows how to keep things moving along. The presentations are simple, enjoyed on an ever-expanding covered patio with picnic tables, but the payoff is some of the best BBQ in Nevada. All the bases are covered—pulled pork, chicken, ribs, burnt ends (plus tri-top on Tuesdays and Thursdays)—but the hot links are legendary—cured for 16 hours and smoked for six. The place began as a slaughterhouse back in the '50s and still processes game for hunters.
How to order: No reservations, but you can order food in advance, arrange catering, or make meat/retail purchases online.
Escape to Desert Shores with Marche Bacchus
Marche Bacchus was doing just fine until a car crashed into the front of the restaurant in early 2018. The good news is nobody got hurt. More good news—it was the perfect excuse to not only completely remodel the entrance, but add a bright new bar with a killer Scotch and cocktail program. It complements the wine collection of nearly a thousand labels, which can be bought to go, or brought to the table for just $10 more. We like the second option better, since it gives you a chance to try the eggplant terrine, pan-roasted duck breast, rack of lamb, and other French-focused menu items. Throw in the waterside scenery of Lake Jacqueline and an expansive outdoor terrace and you've got a one-stop-shop for the perfect date night dinner.
How to order: Book a reservation online.
Mix steaks and cocktails with Herbs & Rye and Cleaver
Off The Strip
Nectaly Mendoza’s Herbs & Rye earns so much praise as a craft cocktail bar, it’s almost easy to forget it’s also a restaurant—one that serves house-made pasta and perfectly charred steaks. (The latter half-off during a legendary happy hour that generously runs 5-8pm and 12-3am.) It's a moody, dimly lit locals hangout and industry clubhouse, but reservations are tighter than ever with social-distancing guidelines in place. Fortunately, sister steakhouse Cleaver has much more room, but with a similar cocktail list and happy hour. There are flashier restaurants in town, but few have as much local charm. And admit it, you could use a stiff drink right now.
How to order: Book a reservation online with Herbs & Rye or Cleaver.
Elevate your experience at Eiffel Tower Restaurant
Paris Las Vegas
The Eiffel Tower Restaurant could easily coast on the dining room alone. Perched 110 feel high within the Eiffel Tower replica, it’s surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the Strip. The restaurant is known for hosting countless proposals and a popular spot for micro-weddings in the age of COVID. A corner table with a clear view of the Bellagio fountains is often described as one of the most romantic in Vegas—and how can you argue? However, the food by Chef J. Joho is what puts the restaurant over the top as a memorable experience with steaks, seafood, foie gras, and escargot front and center. The weekend brunch is especially fun. Try the lobster eggs benedict.
How to order:Book a reservation online.
Sign up here for our daily Vegas email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.