The Best Restaurants I’ve Eaten at in Las Vegas

By Nomadic Matt | Published April 24th, 2012

Las Vegas is heaven for foodies, which should be no surprise considering all the money that flows into the city. People want fantastic meals when they’re on vacation, celebrating a casino win, celebrating their Vegas wedding, or dropping millions at the blackjack table. Celebrities and “whales” (the Vegas name for high rollers) want top-of-the-line celebrity chefs to cook their food. Every trip to Vegas, I discover even more new and amazing restaurants—from hole-in-the-wall diners to first-class sushi restaurants.

For me, eating in Las Vegas isn’t always about eating on a budget. While budget travel and saving money are priorities for me, and I do a lot of things to save money on food, in Vegas I do none of them. I want to eat, and I want to eat well. After all, what fun is life if you can afford a world-class meal once in a while but don’t enjoy it?

So after three visits to Las Vegas, here are my favorite restaurants (so far):

Firefly (3900 Paradise Rd)
Firefly in Las Vegas serves famous dates wrapped in bacon that are delicious
This place is famous among Vegas locals and is a popular after-work dinner/happy hour spot. There are two locations in the city and the one listed above is about a five-minute cab ride from the Strip. Its signature dish is bacon-wrapped dates with blue cheese, which is as fantastic as it sounds. The white sangria here is also very flavorful and thirst-quenching, with just the right mix of wine and fruit.

The Peppermill (2985 Las Vegas Boulevard South)
People watching in The Peppermill, in Las Vegas
There’s something about The Peppermill that screams “old, cheesy Vegas.” Maybe it’s the neon décor, the fact that it’s a diner, or the people drinking buckets of booze at noon. Walking into The Peppermill was like walking into 1978, and I loved every second of it. The food isn’t great—typical oversized portions of heart-clogging diner food—but the people-watching opportunity here is the best. There are just so many interesting groups of people making their way through here that I can see why this place is a Vegas institution.

American Fish (Aria Resort and Casino)
A circular seafood platter at American Fish, a great restaurants
I love seafood. I probably mention it often enough on this blog that you know anything from the sea is good with me. Like all casino restaurants in Vegas, the décor at American Fish is top-notch and everything here is very classy and beautiful. If you’re looking for a world-class seafood meal, this is the place. I loved the seafood platter, the caviar, and the rainbow trout, which was cooked to tender perfection.

Nobu (Hard Rock Casino)
A single piece of sushi served on a wooden platter at Nobu, in Las Vegas
I’ve been to many Nobu locations around the world, and the one in Vegas is the best. Nobu is an outstanding sushi chain, and the quality of the fish is always top-notch. What I like about Nobu is that they offer a wide selection of fish you don’t normally see on the menu at “normal” sushi restaurants, so there’s always something unique to try. The Vegas location is pretty small, but unlike many other Nobu locations, you don’t need any reservations.

Yellowtail (The Bellagio)
The Yellowtail serves the best colorful plate of sushi at the Bellagio
Probably the second-best sushi place in Vegas, Yellowtail is a Japanese fusion restaurant located in The Bellagio. It’s pretty much all sushi here, unlike Nobu, which offers other Japanese dishes. There are a couple of non-sushi appetizers and dishes, but you really come to Yellowtail for the wonderful sushi. The décor is equally amazing, and the open space allows you to watch people wander by.

Aureole (Mandalay Bay)
Aureole serves some of the best wine from it's cellar at Mandalay Bay
What I love about Aureole is the four-story glass wine tower, which “wine fairies” on cables ascend and descend to retrieve bottles of wine. Like at all casino restaurants, the food is delicious. They serve modern American food here, but I really visit because I enjoy watching people sail through the air as they get bottles of wine. I wonder how much I need to spend at Mandalay before they’ll let me do that!

Otto (The Palazzo)
A sausage pizza Otto in the Palazzo in Las Vegas
Otto is Mario Batali’s pizza place in The Palazzo. It’s not a greasy slice of New York pizza, but this chef really knows his stuff. There’s also a huge selection of antipasto and salads if pizza isn’t your thing. Otto also offers “outdoor” dining, which allows you to see everyone walk past you through the fake city of Venice. I still dream of going there and seeing Mario twirling my pizza in the air but until then, I’ll drown my disappointment by stuffing my face.

Sirio (Aria Resort and Casino)
An amazing plate of cheese, breadsticks and Italian food served at Siro
The food at this restaurant is some of the best Italian I’ve ever had (outside of Italy, of course). Just thinking about the antipasti plate I had there makes my mouth water. The pasta is homemade, flavorful, and served in huge portions. I found the food here to be very traditional Italian, which is great—you shouldn’t mess with a good thing.

Lemongrass (Aria Resort and Casino)
Lemongrass at the Aria Resort has a fantastic simple interior and lighting scheme
As someone who’s lived in Thailand, I take Thai food very seriously. There are very few places that come close to meeting my expectations, and I always walk away with varying levels of disappointment. But I liked Lemongrass—probably because the cooks are actually Thai and know what they’re doing. In fact, I was impressed that they could make a good Thai iced tea. While nothing will be as good as eating in Thailand, I walked away from my meal at Lemongrass less disappointed than I normally am.

Bellagio Buffett (The Bellagio)
Many different desserts on display at the Bellagio Buffet
I’ve been to three buffets in Vegas and must say that I like the one at The Bellagio the best. The selection is huge, the food delicious, the price right. You can get everything from breakfast to salads to king crab to sushi to sandwiches to everything in between. (I personally love the French toast here.) Really, what else do you need but sushi followed by French toast followed by eggs at 3am? Not much!

Other good buffets in Vegas include Paris, Aria, and Monte Carlo.

Milos (Cosmopolitan Resort and Casino)
Food from Milos in the Cosmopolitan, one of the best restaurants in Las Vegas
This Greek and Mediterranean restaurant has an excellent selection of food and Greek wine. There’s a big focus on fish here, but honestly, there’s a big focus on fish everywhere in Vegas. (Maybe they’re making up for the lack of water?) Besides the fish offerings, there is a limited selection of very traditional Greek food that comes close to what I ate in Greece.

Bouchon (The Venetian)
The entrance to Bouchon, a great French restaurant in the Venetian hotel
Bouchon is a French bistro located in The Venetian Casino. The food was unbelievably delicious. I had an amazing roast chicken along with escargot. It was my first time having escargot, so I don’t have anything to compare it to, but what I had was tasty. I was nervous, but it turns out escargot is quite good! (I wasn’t brave enough for the frog’s legs, though.) I also had a delicious salmon pâté. While the food and wine were excellent—as should be expected from a place this swanky—the level of service was what really set this establishment apart for me. My waiter was very attentive, helpful, and responsive. I don’t know much about French food, and after telling him what I didn’t want to try, he just brought out food for me. This place supposedly also has a killer brunch, which I’ll try on my next visit.

Sushi Mon (9770 S Maryland Pkwy)
Sushi Mon is far from the Strip, and you’ll need a car to get here. But if you can make it here, you’ll find reasonably priced and delicious sushi and other Japanese food. I know there’s a lot of sushi on this list already, but this place is the local Vegas spot. They have a ton of roll combinations (you can get full or half orders), and they offer all-you-can-eat sushi for lunch and dinner. This restaurant is a gem and has the best value for your money in Vegas.

This is only a handful of the restaurants Las Vegas has to offer. Though I do eat a lot while I’m there, I’ve barely scratched the surface of dining in Vegas, and I’ll be updating this list often. But for now, if you find yourself in Vegas with no idea where to eat, I recommend starting with one of these restaurants.

comments 33 Comments

Just had dinner before reading this and now I’m hungry again. LOL. Bellagio buffet is definitely one of my favorite too with their giant king crab legs and enormous chocolate covered strawberries. YUM!

The Peppermill is great for the atmosphere. I’ve been there a couple times for an enormous Sunday morning breakfast with friends who are local to Las Vegas. I was at Otto once, but only to have a coffee in the fake St. Mark’s Square. I haven’t been anywhere else on your list. Out of curiosity, did you hit Chinatown at all? Other than a quick lunch at a nondescript Vietnamese restaurant, I haven’t explored that area much.

NomadicMatt

I’m doing Chinatown during my next visit.

Firefly is the best! Those dates are sooooo good. I was lucky to have a local take me there and now I recommend it to everyone who doesn’t know where to eat in Vegas.

The only nice restaurant I’ve eaten at in Vegas is Red Square at Mandalay Bay, and I still think it was one of the best steaks I’ve had in North America.

I LOVE that wine tower! It’s SO huge! Can I have one of those in my house??

NomadicMatt

When you find out how to have one, please let me know.

Desi

Thanks for the suggestions. I’m headed to Vegas next month, and this list will definitely come in handy.

Sirio looks particularly yummy!

NomadicMatt

One of my favorites.

Yumm! I’ll be visiting Vegas next week and I’ll have to get a bite to eat at some of those restaurants. Thee American Fish restaurant looks delicious!

NomadicMatt

Definitely try it out if you like seafood.

Wow looks like you’ve run the gamut on Vegas restaurants! I’m glad you covered a diverse selection as well; I think eating might be my favorite thing to do in Vegas.

NomadicMatt

There’s still more places to try. I’m going back in 3 weeks.

Steph

The fact that Lotus of Siam hasn’t come up yet is surprising! Best Thai food by a mile that I’ve eaten in the States. So good that I went twice during my four-day visit. Sure, it’s a little far from the strip (barely) in an unassuming strip mall, but that should add to the appeal. Don’t miss it next time! And it’s inexpensive!

NomadicMatt

I’ll check it out when I go back.

Some of these look delicious! I certainly had my fair share of buffets when I was in Vegas. They have desserts to feast on!

Hi! I also loved the Bellagio Buffet, I went there for dinner and did not have to wait long despite it was Friday evening

Firefly is a definite in Las Vegas. We love to go with a big group of friends when we have the chance … and we always order lots of dates!

Johnny

where do you stay in Las Vegas? Any recommendations?

NomadicMatt

I love Aria. That’s my favorite. Other good hotels are: Cosmopolitan, Palazzo, Monte Carlo for something cheap, and Hard Rock

Will - Gap Daemon

Some great recommendations there Matt. If you had to rank the best out of all these restaurants however what would come in at first? The Italian mezze you had looks pretty phenomenal.

I visited Vegas back in 2008 and while I wasn’t a big fan of the city, I LOVED the buffets. I remember the Bellagio Buffet as being one of my favs along with the Mandalay Bay seafood buffet restaurant. I’ve thought of going back just for the buffets.

The Italian plate from Siro and the sushi at Nobu and Yellowtail look like really good non-buffet options.

Matt you have to try Sushi Samba! I love that place. It’s the perfect marriage of Spanish and Japanese food. Trust me, you will love it. There are actually 2 in Las Vegas. But if you find yourself in South Beach before Vegas, there is one there too!

Yummmm! We have some pretty fantastic restaurants up here in the Pacific Northwest. Ever make it up this way? I’d love to hear your insights on our coastal cuisine.

NomadicMatt

I’m heading to Portland in July. Will report back then!

Still trying to figure out why we skipped Firefly on our last trip. Had great meals at the Wynn Buffet and Picasso so I guess I can’t complain…plenty to go back for though it seems…

I love the Peppermill. It is one of the few old school Vegas places left. They have great breakfasts.

Great suggestions. I just went to the buffets! I need to go back to Vegas and try some of these!

NomadicMatt

The buffets can be good too. Did you go to Wicked Spoon?

We will be back in Vegas in May; Firefly, Otto and Yellowtail are now on the list! Thanks Matt….dates, bacon and blue cheese… genius!

Tracy

I will add these to our list! We love Mon Ami Gabi at the Paris. It is bistro style French food, but without the attitude. The bartender there is very friendly and we always run into people from our neck of the woods–upstate NY! And you can sit outside and watch the fountains at the Bellagio. I know we ate a decent Vietnamese place just off the strip but I can’t recall the name. Thanks for the great blog posts!

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