John Curtas is …

The Top 30(?) Foodie Destinations in Las Vegas

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Because they were buried somewhat in an earlier post….and because numb nut newspaper and magazine stringers just might learn something, here they are (again), updated and in no particular order, for your debate and delectation:

1) Raku

2) Kabuto

3) Sweets Raku

4) Carnevino

5) Spago

6) L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon

7) Joel Robuchon

8) Restaurant Guy Savoy

9) Chada Thai

10) Twist by Pierre Gagnaire


11) Comme Ça

12) Milos

13) Bouchon

14) China Poblano

15) CUT

16) Marche Bacchus

17) Lotus of Siam

18) Jaleo/Julian Serrano

19) Sage

20)  Due Forni

21) Chocolate & Spice

22) Yonaka

23) Art of Flavors Gelateria

24) Stripsteak

25) District One

26) Nakamura-Ya

27) Zen Japanese Curry

28) Allegro

29) Mizumi

30) Settebello

31) Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare

32) I-Naba

33) Sen of Japan

The funny thing is, somebody named David McKee (writing about Vegas foodie faves for USA Today last week) could’ve included any ten of these in any order and still maintained some credibility. Instead, he listed such sorriness as Heritage Steak and….wait for it….Olives as “go to” joints for those obsessed with the best our humble burg has to offer.

Yet another reason to fear the foodie apocalypse is upon us.

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29 Responses to The Top 30(?) Foodie Destinations in Las Vegas

  • Most of this list is spot on… Although Zen Japanese Curry is extremely underwhelming. That’s the only name on this list that shouldn’t be here. Good Japanese curry is the one item that Las Vegas lacks.

    I will say that Jaleo is much better than Julian Serrano.

    How can é not be on this list? That’s the pinnacle of foodie-ism in Las Vegas.

  • ELV responds: The Jaleo v. Julian Serrano debate is one we have toggled between for several years now. While both have dazzled us on occasion, both have also disappointed (and seemed formulaic and boring after a few visits).

    But there’s no denying the superiority of Jaleo’s paella, so, in honor of the comment, we will list them both as a tie for our 18th spot — which admittedly, screws up our numerology, as well as with the heads of Julian Serrano and Jose Andres, who don’t exactly send each other Christmas cards.

    As for ‘e’: An eight-seat restaurant, that costs $250/per, serving gimmicky fad-food that was out of date (at least) 5 years years ago, is not my idea of a foodie favorite — unless you’ve been (figuratively) living under a restaurant rock since 1998.

  • If Wynn/Encore can put Allegro and Mizumi on the list, then Bartolatta also deserves a spot.

  • ELV responds: Ay caramba! Ay dios mio! Ay Chihuahua! BARTOLOTTA was the restaurant we were in the process of adding when we got sidetracked by the earlier comment. Thanks for keeping us on our toes.

  • Shit! I misspelled it.

  • No way ichiza is greater than Yonaka, I still frequent this 2 places a lot depending on my mood. Ichizas food is more hit and miss plus really lacking good customer service, sometimes good sanitation. Usually loud crowd, while Yonaka is more refine, finesse and delicate flavors. You can tell the food is well thought off. Service is always good. Never had a bad meal at Yonaka. Both places are worth visiting just depends what you’re looking for.

  • Everyone has different experiences. I have eaten at Carnevino twice and both times not only was the service bad but the food was not great. The steak choices for small groups of people is not great. If two people cannot agree on a level of cooking, then you are stuck with either the filet or the reserve ribeye. $110 an inch for blue cheese tasting moldy steak. I found Homestead to be much better.

  • ….Carnevino…LMFAO…I remember the time I went in there with two friends who where nice and toasty…next thing I know the server is shaving truffles like a mad man saying FAMILY STYLE…I LMFAO as I was not paying…and…I have a dear friend who also dined there who works at a BIG TIME name on your list and when dining in LV always says he is from LA…he told me his server also tried to slam him non stop as a stupid tourist…when I hear the name Mario I just bend over and wait for the kiss…

  • ….how is Picasso not on this list…Yonaka has the most pedestrian food I have ever tasted- everything else about the place is good…I thought you did a taste test with Settebello and Pizza Novecento and Novecento WON…so what gives…sometimes me think with your logic you graduated from one of the SEC schools…oh wait…

  • ELV responds: We have heard similar complaints about many an upscale restaurant in Vegas (upselling wine, truffles, etc.), and while we believe the practice goes on, have always found Carnevino to be scrupulous in explaining how much these things cost.

    Couldn’t disagree more about Yonaka (if Hector finds its food “pedestrian” we wonder where he’s taking most of meals – El Bulli in 2001?).

    As for Picasso, ELV loves the place, but a rather staid atmosphere and unchanging menu, makes it more of a “big meal deal” joint, than a “foodie favorite.”

  • ….Fair enough on Picasso….but…tell me the ONE dish I can go back and try at Yonaka that says “foodie favorite”….and…Carnevino may explain costing dishes but the issue is how they SLAM the extras on you- and its not just me, I have heard that about them from many others….there is a difference between the friendly up sell and attempted RAPE….

  • …on second thought with Picasso..their food really is exponentially better than Raku….and I eat at both 4-5 times a year…and…”staid atmosphere”- when was the last time you went to Raku…and and…Raku NEVER changes their menu EVER…so….

  • Stripsteak? Every other choice seems reasonable but Stripsteak is no bueno for the two times I went there. I’ll easily take GR Steak or SW.

  • “As for ‘e’: An eight-seat restaurant, that costs $250/per, serving gimmicky fad-food that was out of date (at least) 5 years years ago, is not my idea of a foodie favorite — unless you’ve been (figuratively) living under a restaurant rock since 1998.”

    You have never eaten there Mr. Curtas, and the price is $195 for 20+ courses. Just a small example of how wrong you are. You might want to hold off on offering an opinion until you have a basic understanding of the restaurant.

  • ELV responds: We would love to see a bill from a paying customer at ‘e’ for only $190. That may be the prix fixe, but the tariffs we’ve seen were well over 300+ and we thought we were being kind.

    As for the food, ELV was eating “molecular cuisine” when the chefs at ‘e’ were in diapers and the previous commenter was (probably) still playing dodgeball. We’re pleased as punch that Jose Andres and the big money behind him can still make bank serving tweezer food tomfoolery to those 10 years behind the curve…but give us a big plate of Jaleo’s ethereal paella (or terrific tapas) any day!

  • John, I notice you list Stripsteak and Cut on your list. At Stripsteak I ordered the prime rib and what I was served was nothing like prime rib….more like a slice of sirloin and terrible service also. Cut was good but nothing to right home about. I suggest you check out Brand at Monte Carlo, my personal favorite steak house in LV. Besides great steak they have a Tomahawk Pork Chop that is incredible. Excellent Happy Hour in the lounge for 2 for 1 drinks and great appetizers @ $9.00 a pop.

  • @hector, every two weeks I have clients from out of town and one of the places I bring them is Yonaka, I notice that they change their menu every time I visit. Although they have regular sushi fare but what separates them from other Japanese restaurant is their cold selections, the salmon dish with navel oranges and yuzu is a favorite.

  • I cannot believe “Brian” posted ichiza > yonaka…what are you smoking?? 2 completely different styles of japanese food.

    @JohnCurtas I cant believe you don’t have sen of japan on your list?!?!?! its a great local sushi bar thats been around for years and the sushi/quality is consistent. THANK YOU for adding I-Naba… rather than a ramen noodle shop!

  • RE #6

    Ichiza > Yonaka…

    In terms of dirtiness. I believe CC Health shut down Ichihara a couple times.

  • I will go to bat for Carnevino. I think they have the most unique and arguably best meat in the city, if not country. It is pricey there, but I have never felt like I wasn’t getting value compared to the cost versus quality I see elsewhere in Vegas. Lastly, they have arguably the best bar, and best barmen (go see Coop!) in all of Las Vegas. It’s a given that I will dine there every visit. And I have never been disappointed.

  • I agree with “hector”‘s first comment about Picasso. I guess it depends on what a “foodie” expects, which for me has more than the 1 dimension of food. Picasso’s service is unmatched, the ambiance is incredible, and the wine pairing by Robert Smith is exceptional. And the food is amazing. As for the menu not changing, I would agree that the -printed- menu doesn’t change too much.

    Once my wife and I went out there for a thanksgiving, and I joked that the ubiquitous U-10 day boat scallop was not on the menu. 10 minutes later, we are served a perfectly cooked scallop. I was joking!

    Picasso is the only Vegas restaurant we routinely see the chef make the rounds.

    Not sure how Milos could make the list and Picasso not, as to me the Milos menu never changes. Thanks to ELV and Hector the Milos lunch is a must stop, and I always have the Lobster pasta.

    Interesting list. Picasso would be on the top of my list.

    I think Lotus of Siam is the most overrated restaurant I’ve ever eaten at.

  • On Carnevino, I also must agree with Hector. Nothing really special there. As for his “toasty” friends, I submit that Hector is probably a grandpa that gets tipsy with his morning prune juice.

    If you want steak in Vegas, sit at the bar at Jean Georges@Aria. Get Darren or Mike as your bartender/server.

  • Sen of Japan gets my vote. Best food in town. SOY steak and Veggies, yellowtail, and extra spicy tuna handrolls! Fresh and clean eating!

  • We usually go to Yonaka just for their desert, their deserts are better that sweets raku.

  • This is a good list. What jumps out at me is how lucky Las Vegas residents and visitors are. Think of it: A realistic list that does not include Picasso or Le Cirque! Unfortunately, I spend a lot of time in Minneapolis. If you did a similar list there, you would get to about #9 and choose Applebee’s.

  • Wow, you have attracted some real clown shoes to your site unfortunately.
    I am mostly puzzled why chada is above lotus? What??? Please explain been to both 10+ times lotus more like 35 time.
    And Spago what??? Did something major change there??

  • ELV responds: Our list was in no particular order – you can read them in reverse if you like. (Listing Vegas’s foodie favorites in numerical, descending order of merit would be a daunting task, indeed, although we’re pretty certain Olives and Heritage Steak would be at the rock bottom – or possibly just above Outback, Bahama Breeze and Carl’s Jr.).

    As for our regs or commenters wearing clown shoes (sic) — we happily put aside our coulrophobia in curating this site as long as certain bozos behave themselves.

    As for Spago’s inclusion — 20+ years on, it still brings the gourmet goods as well as any all-purpose top-flight eatery in the country.

  • No Le Cirque? That place is just great. It’s at least as good as any place on the well crafted list.

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