There’s always something new in Las Vegas, especially in the dining scene. Late 2018 and early 2019 saw a flurry of restaurant openings on and off the Strip from notable names like L.A. food truck guru Roy Choi, New York superstars Daniel Humm and Will Guidara of Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Eleven Madison Park and Food Network personality Michael Symon. And luckily for gourmands, the spurt doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.
Navigate Sin City’s gargantuan gourmet scene like a pro with these new must-visit desert dining destinations.
Enter through a replica of a liquor store selling fried bologna sandwiches, ’80s-era cocktails served in Big Gulp cups, trendy souvenirs and nostalgic candy. Then, hit the high-energy dining room that features soul and hip-hop DJ sets and a menu of eclectic Asian eats from hot pots and dumplings to Korean barbecue platters and tacos.
Choi originally gained fame thanks to his Kogi taco truck, which took L.A. by storm more than a decade ago. Best Friend is the place to sample all of his creative SoCal cuisine, from slippery shrimp with chili mayo and uni dynamite rice to Korean-style short rib tacos and chili cheese spaghetti. Trust us, this unique menu plays just as well in Las Vegas as it does across the state line.
Tucked behind an unmarked door inside the new, casual Mabel’s BBQ at Palms Casino Resort, this retro-chic restaurant has been described by celebrity chef Michael Symon as a “meat-easy,” his playful interpretation of a speakeasy concept for classic American dining.
An intimate supper club with only a few coveted tables that demand reservations, the room is covered in a luxe hue of cool blue with brass accents, stone tables, mosaic tiles and a leather-wrapped bar — the kind of place Jay Gatsby might have frequented.
Harkening back to the heyday of hospitality, the eatery spotlights tableside service with a decadent prime rib cart serving three cuts and an ornate guéridon stand with flaming dessert options like crêpes Suzette. Must-haves include classic steak Oscar (filet crowned with king crab and béarnaise) and truffle fried chicken with sage, honey and Parmesan.
The star of the menu, though, is the hearty crispy beef bones appetizer with horseradish, parsley, chilis, citrus and shallot. They are fall-off-the-bone juicy bites with a pleasant char. These prime rib bones are first dry-rubbed and then marinated in celery seed, salt, black pepper and coriander, providing a juxtaposition of flavors to the classic opulence of dishes like escargot casino, sturgeon caviar with tater tots, or the overflowing shellfish tower.
In addition to five styles of Old Fashioneds, the cocktail list includes drinks like the Golden Slipper Chocolate Martini, the Palms Perfect Martini and Pair-O-Dice Greyhound, each, naturally, named after a famous casino.
Rows of cheese and charcuterie, fresh pastas and pizzas, seafood and meats, wines and cocktails — the culinary riches of Italy are on full display across the 40,000-square-foot foodie playground of Eataly Las Vegas.
Also housed within Park MGM, this ode to all things Italian is also home to an exciting dining venture. Opened in mid-February, Manzo (meaning “beef” in Italian) is a sit-down butcher’s restaurant with a custom-made, three-tiered wood-burning grill and dry-aged program helmed by executive chef Arnold Corpuz.
Set apart from the marketplace in its own sheltered nook, the establishment is a carnivore’s dream, with sustainable meats cooked to perfection over live coals and the smell of applewood and white oak enlivening the senses from the moment you step foot into the romantically lit space.
The star here is the 42-ounce ribeye appesa, a dry-aged beauty suspended over the grill, slow-roasted and reverse-seared (singed on the stove after roasting) to lock in those succulent juices. Other standouts include housemade agnolotti del plin (veal and pork-filled pasta with savory sugo d’arrosto sauce), roasted chicken, whole branzino with fennel and artichokes, grilled lamb dishes and an entire prosciutto menu.
There are more than 400 bottles of wine divided by region and an extensive list of cocktails. The uniquely titled tipples each tell a story, like the Gin & Tonic n. 6 ½, named for the number of Eataly stores in North America.
More Memorable Morsels
Continue your culinary journey with a tasting tour through the Strip and beyond at these other buzzy, newly opened addresses.
New York-based toque Mario Carbone followed up the success of his eponymous eatery at Four-Star ARIA Resort & Casino with another Manhattan import, Sadelle’s at Bellagio. Open 6 a.m. to midnight, this all-day breakfast joint serves up tableside theatrics along with chewy bagels (which we are happy to report are not sliced up like bread) and smoked fish platters in a setting reminiscent of a European café.
Catch, a seafood-centric, A-lister hot spot with creative presentations and worldly interpretations on sushi, sashimi and whole fish, has been trending on Instagram with its 80-foot-long pergola accented by twinkling trellises and blooming walls since its debut in October.
Off the Strip, innovators are shaking up the culinary scene in Chinatown (off Spring Mountain Road) with ventures like EDO Gastro Tapas and Wine, with its Spanish flair; Partage and its skillfully executed modern French fine dining; and Mordeo Boutique Wine Bar, where Latin and Japanese flavors blend beautifully.
And on the westside at Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa, Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill (formerly inside Forbes Travel Guide Recommended The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas) has found a new home for its famous chicken with honey-wasabi dipping sauce.