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Las Vegas is full of celebrity chefs and prestigious fine-dining restaurants.
There’s Jose Andres’ Bazaar Meat, a grill, raw bar and fire stage rolled into one at SLS Las Vegas, and CUT by Wolfgang Puck, the seminal steakhouse, at the Palazzo. There’s also Puck’s original establishment, Spago, in the Forum Shops at Caesars.
There’s L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand, Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace, Twist by Pierre Gagnaire at the Mandarin Oriental and Lago by Julian Serrano at the Bellagio. And so on, and so on, and so on. Another place has probably opened while you’ve been reading this paragraph.
To get into any of them you need to reserve far, far in advance, be very nicely dressed and possess alarmingly deep pockets (or be very good at blackjack).
The burgeoning foodie reputation of Las Vegas is not so much based on the upmarket eateries just devoured, as its excellent budget eats and lesser-known spots where the locals eat.
To find these you have to venture beyond the Strip, into the real, less-polished city.
Ticking the affordable box is China Mama (3,420 South Jones Boulevard), whose steamed pork dumplings are the stuff of legend.
Another locally loved treasure is the Naked City Pizza Shop, which now serves its meatball-topped masterpieces and peppery fries in two locations: inside Moondoggies Bar (3,240 South Arville Street) and on 4,608 Paradise Road.
Los Antojos (2,520 South Eastern Avenue), meanwhile, is a family-run, hole-in-the-wall Mexican whose spicy cochinita pibil tacos, cooked in banana leaves, are rightly popular.
And visiting chefs always stop at Aburiya Raku (5,030 West Spring Mountain Road), a tiny 48-seater grill house known for superior small plates of Japanese robatayaki.
In Downtown’s Container Park you’ll find casual eateries serving gourmet hot dogs, meat-filled tacos and hearty BBQ treats.
If one dish is synonymous with Las Vegas, it’s the shrimp cocktail: a huge portion of boiled shrimp drenched in spicy cocktail sauce, and served in an ice-cream-sundae glass. The meal’s original purveyors, Du-par’s (1 Fremont Street) – a 24-hour coffee shop and diner within Downtown’s historic Golden Gate Hotel – is still going strong. Visit for a taste of Vegas history.
From there, move back towards the Strip and the Golden Steer (308 West Sahara Avenue). The city’s oldest steakhouse, this is a restaurant doused in Rat Pack glamour. Sinatra ate here, as did Elvis, Joe DiMaggio and Muhammad Ali. At the end of the 20th century, the Steer loitered in an unfashionable pocket of town, but the Gateway District has undergone a recent renaissance and the celebs have returned. Modern-day chompers of its T-bones and rib eyes include Nicolas Cage.
Need a calorie-busting boogie after all that beef? Use our Las Vegas nightlife page to plot your after-hours course.
Buffets are a Vegas institution – the bigger and more indulgent the better! Of course, each of the Strip’s themed hotels offer up a generous helping of buffet indulgence, but there’s an unlimited eating experience you really should know about.
Available on weekends only, the Sterling Brunch at BLT Steak (3,645 South Las Vegas Boulevard, formerly Bally’s Steakhouse) is regularly voted as the city’s best. Watered with unlimited Perrier-Jouët champagne, mimosas and Bloody Marys, visitors can gorge on entire lobster tails, caviar, shucked oysters, racks of lamb, dim sum, sushi station, hand-carved meats, crepes, cheesecakes and heaps more, much of it cooked to order. The house speciality is a lobster, cognac and Boursin cheese omelette.