Having experienced everything Las Vegas has to offer on numerous occasions, my latest trip to the neon paradise was a mouthwatering dive into the city's growing food scene.
If you can get past the all-nighter gambling sessions, rooftop pool parties and a somewhat kitschy appearance of the Strip, you’ll discover a bubbling metropolis with an incredible culinary culture comprising of some of the best restaurants and eateries in not only Las Vegas but America itself.
Many of the world's top chefs now have restaurants in Vegas, with the likes of Gordon Ramsey, Joël Robuchon, Wolfgang Puck and Roy Choi delivering incredible dishes alongside local eateries, gastro pubs and classic American fast food joints such as In-N-Out Burger and Taco Bell.
A smorgasbord of gastronomic delights and fine dining establishments await your next visit to Las Vegas, so to make sure you don’t miss out on the tastiest breakfast, lunch and dinner options along the Strip.
There's a high chance you'll wake up with a cracking hangover during your time in Vegas, and there's no better way to soak up the alcohol than a buffet brunch at Wicked Spoon. The breakfast area is what dreams are made of and I quickly found my plate stacked high with scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes and french toast. There's also an omelette station where you can have one custom made and cooked by one of the experienced chefs, or choose from a healthy selection of fruit to balance out the bacon.
If breakfast isn't on the agenda, there's a wide array of Asian and Italian cuisines along with a mouthwatering carvery with an assortment of roast meats and veggies. Make sure you keep room for sweets, with the dessert bar offering a salivating selection of donuts, cookies, cakes and other sweet suggestions. I couldn't recommend the gelato enough. It's so good I wolfed down three cups and could have gone a fourth if people weren't looking at me awkwardly.
The Smashed Pig
If you can take your eyes off the remarkable artwork on the walls, you'll soon be feasting on bacon-wrapped peppers with chive sauce, spicy roasted cauliflower and buffalo wings covered in ranch sauce. Serving high-quality munchies with craft beer, The Smashed Pig is a contemporary gastropub in the heart of downtown Las Vegas.
While the starters are delicious, the main meals take things to the next level. While the fish and chips is a massive portion and the voodoo tuna is a seafood lover's dream, it's the Smashed Cubano that had me at hello. A house favourite, the Cubano is a Cuban take on the toasted sandwich, filled with ham, mojo pork, swiss cheese, pickles and Cuban aioli with a healthy serving of fries on the side. In short, one of the best sandwiches I've ever devoured.
Not to be outdone, the drinks menu is just as enticing, with a range of local and national craft beers (get around the Big Dogs Las Vegas Lager) and cocktails available to wash down your lunch.
Greene St. Kitchen
If NoMad is MGM's take on New York fine dining, then Greene St. Kitchen is the Palms Casino Resort's salute to the famed Soho district. You enter the restaurant via a secret door in an old arcade before passing a number of pop culture artworks, including the only Banksy piece in all of Vegas. It feels like you're eating in an art gallery, with the walls adjourned with eye-catching paintings and a number of sculptures dotted about the space.
Like many establishments in Vegas, sharing is the name of the game, with Greene Street's menu bursting with flavoursome dishes ideal for large groups. The tuna pizza, duck pancakes and Philly cheesesteak eggrolls will tantalise your tastebuds, but it's the sliced Wagyu tableside hot rock that stood out. Anytime I get to cook my own food I'm a fan, and watching as the Wagyu sizzles away on the hot rock only heightens the experience of eating it.
The Giada Restaurant
Curated by celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis, Giada offers both an indulgent brunch and dinner service. Overlooking the Strip and the adjacent Caesars Palace, the views are as appetising as the food, with a great variety of pasta, toasted sandwiches and egg dishes available. Feeling a little rough after a big night, the cheese grilled sanger with prosciutto certainly put me in a better mood. Paired with an energising apple fruit juice, I was quickly back in business and ready to go large all over again.
Another downtown spot with a big reputation amongst locals, Carsons Kitchen is a casual urban eatery in a nondescript building a block from the always busy Fremont Street. The simple yet refined space has a surprisingly warm feeling with a menu specialising in tapas-style food the staff call "social plates".
Picking a favourite dish is hard, but some of the top plates include the lamb filled gyro tacos, the baked mac & cheese and blackened catfish, with all three tantalising the tastebuds. But the real stars of the show are the desserts, with both the Glazed Donut Bread Pudding and Bourbon Fudge Brownie a great way to cleanse the pallet.
Nestled inside the Bellagio Hotel & Casino opposite the ever-changing Bellagio Conservatory (currently inspired by designer Ed Libby’s travel to India), Sadelle's delivers signature New York dishes that'll silence the grumbling of your stomach. Specialising in traditional American cuisine, breakfast, sandwiches and bagels dominate a delicious menu that tastes just as good as it sounds on paper.
I went for the classic egg sandwich and wasn't disappointed, although I did get food envy at my colleague who chose the salmon bagel with the fillings stacked separately alongside a selection of bagels and cream cheese spread. Sadelle's iconic French toast dripping with maple syrup was hands down the best French toast I've ever eaten. Along with fantastic food, the cocktail list is impressive, with the refreshing Blood Orange (made from Aperol, Fresh Blood Orange Juice and Prosecco) the perfect way to kickstart your afternoon.
Matteo’s Ristorante Italiano
As a big fan of Italian cuisine, I have to recommend the authentic eatery Matteo’s Ristorante Italiano inside The Venetian. Opened by good friends Matteo Ferdinandi and Chef Angelo Auriana, Matteo’s Ristorante Italiano first appeared in Downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District in 2013 as 'The Factory Kitchen' before the duo opened a second spot in The Venetian with a recent name change.
This is simple yet scrumptious Italian food in a warm and welcoming space. While the menu has an abundance of dishes to choose from, it's the homemade pasta that will sway you. The Mandilli - handkerchief egg pasta with almond basil pesto and Ligurian olive oil - is as close to heaven as you'll get in food form, while the tortellini - parma prosciutto filled pasta with pistachios, mortadella and shaved Australian winter black truffles - will convert anyone who thinks truffles are overrated. Oh yeah, if you're a dessert fan, the cannolis will blow your mind.
Rose. Rabbit. Lie.
Part club, part fine dining, Rose. Rabbit. Lie. is a swanky supper club that's fast become one of Vegas' most in-demand places to enjoy a meal while being entertained. Giving familiar dishes a new twist, the extensive menu offers a selection of share plates and main meals to please all that walk through the door. No matter what you order, don't sleep on the Caviar Tacos. Voted "Best Small Plate" by Vegas Seven, this subtle burst of flavours contains hackleback caviar in a Yukon gold potato shell with a slathering of hamachi, easily one of the greatest things I've ever put in my mouth.
Other standouts included the succulent bone marrow that looked like it had been taken from a dinosaur, the pork belly with baby potatoes, green beans and a cherry pepper purre, Brentwood corn popover and the incredible looking chocolate terrarium, which as the name suggests, is a fully edible terrarium made from six different chocolate creations.
Not only is the food out of this world, but the entertainment is fantastic, with both male and female vocalists serenading you while you eat as tap-dancing barman does his stuff on top of the grand piano. This is the full Vegas experience in one awesome place.
I can honestly say I've never been to a restaurant as classy as The NoMad Restaurant in all my life. Inspired by the iconic Library of NoMad New York, the space consists of numerous booths and tables surrounded by two levels of bookshelves boasting over 25,000 books, including David Rockefeller's personal library. Pair this with the rose-red leather banquets, mahogany furnishings, twin chandeliers and 18th-century staircase imported from France and I felt like royalty.
Once I got past the scenery, the food soon became my number one focus, but it was hard to know where to start. Literally everything I tasted was worth devoting hundreds of words too, but to keep things succinct, here are a few highlights; the white truffle tagliatelle, NoMad's own mouth-melting roast chicken, the scallops and the carrot cake with walnuts, raisins and pineapple sherbet.
This is Vegas fine dining at its best and if I could only recommend one place to eat during your next visit to Vegas, this would be it.