“Where should I eat?”

I get a ton of questions about where people should eat when they’re visiting Vegas from out of town.  Most of them are staying on the strip and assume that’s where all the good stuff is.  When possible, I try to convince them to take a cab to where the real good stuff is.  If you’re looking for the best in a cuisine, this is the place.  Reviews to my choices will be linked as I do writeups.

So, Jimmy, where should I go to get some…

STEAK

This is probably the question I hear the most.  WHAT’S THE BEST STEAKHOUSE?  What are you judging it on?  Most places in town can cook a pretty great steak, and to me it usually comes down to service and the sides.  Though I give honorable mention to CUT, my heart still belongs to Delmonico. The service here is really something else. I’ve never gone and had a bad experience, even once showing up looking damn near homeless 10 minutes before closing and they treated us like kings (when you win money and want steak, there is no stopping to change pants).  The house special is the bone-in ribeye and I can’t say I blame you for ordering it.

I will say, however, if you feel like going to an old school location instead of one in the new resorts, check out the Golden Steer on Sahara.  It’s one of the few really old places left and it has the added benefit of having a grandfathered in open flame license.  So if you fancy a bit of danger along with the stink of 60 year old cigars with your steak, this would be the place to go. (In all seriousness, it’s a pretty awesome place.)

FINE DINING

This is a broad topic and certainly people will give many answers to this and I’m not going to say they’re all wrong (they are).  I think after weighing all the factors including price, location, service, ambience, and overall food quality, my favorite place in town has always been Picasso at the Bellagio.  This is probably the only subset of cuisine that I think is necessary to be in a casino, but don’t let that persuade you to go anywhere else.  Picasso has been open since the Bellagio opened in 1998 and was featured in Ocean’s 11. But who cares about that, the food is amazing.  The main degustation menu hasn’t changed since the restaurant’s opening and I don’t see a reason why it has to.

SUSHI

This is one I hear a lot, mainly from people on the west coast since they enjoy coming to Vegas from LA or San Francisco and they miss their delicious sushi.  I have recently started bragging that we have a place that is likely better than anywhere they’ve been in their hometown, and they generally roll their eyes until they try it for themselves.  Thank your personal deity for Kabuto Edomae Sushi. Where is it?  A shitty strip mall.  Almost all of my favorite restaurants here are in shitty strip malls.  My friends who have been to Japan say that stepping into this restaurant is like stepping into Tokyo.  I heartily recommend getting the largest omakase on your first visit here and ordering several pieces of O-Toro.  You won’t be disappointed.

For those who want a good sushi experience without spending so much, there are COUNTLESS all you can eat sushi places around town that serve more or less the exact same set of rolls and fish quality.  There are small differences and everyone has their favorites.  Mine is Oyshi simply because I live so close to it.  They are also all priced at $26 for dinner, and I don’t see a reason to necessarily rate one above the rest of them.  They all suck compared to Kabuto.

ITALIAN

I’m going to be honest.  Italian food is not my personal favorite style of cuisine, but I have realized that many people who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s and earlier feel that Italian to them is something strange and exotic and something you generally get when you go for a nice night out.  There are a bunch of hole in the wall Italian places in town but I’m going to go ahead and say that going to CarneVino at the Palazzo is going to please most people.  It’s more expensive than most other choices in this, but if you’re going to go out for a nice meal might as well make sure it’s the best one you can get.  It’s a steakhouse that also serves amazing authentic pasta. For a more budget option, check out the entry for…

PIZZA

Pizza is awesome and I’m from Illinois which means I’m a dirty heathen who likes deep dish, right?  WRONG.  Well, I do like deep dish but I think it pales in comparison to Settebello. It’s far away compared to most places on this list, but if you have a car and want some really incredible authentic Neapolitan pizza, this is the only game in town.  They have an extensive beer menu and have paired some of their favorites with their pizza slices.

THAI

I’m going to say right now that I absolutely love the Thai food in this town.  The place that I am going to recommend is a place that I rave about to everyone who visits Vegas, and if you’re reading this now and listen to my ramblings on twitter you have probably already heard me talking about this place before.  Think I’m talking about Lotus of Siam? Wrong side of town, get your ass down to Chada Thai and Wine.  This place is absolutely incredible.  Easily one of my most visited restaurants living here, and after you go there I doubt you will question why.  It’s cheap, it’s open late, it’s absolutely incredibly delicious, the service is friendly and fast, (AW SHIT THAT’S AN OXFORD COMMA) and it’s equidistant to my apartment and the strip. When I die, I want to drown in Tom Kha Gai.  Feel free to tweet at me for specific menu items as I have their menu memorized at this point.

CHINESE

To be honest I’m not a huge Chinese food guy.  I grew up in the midwest where there wasn’t really any good Chinese and the only help I have to give here in this regard is that Ping Pang Pong (one of the most racist sounding names I have ever heard) is supposed to be great.  I have been there and it was certainly a step up from the greasy take out I generally associate with Chinese food, but I’m not an expert enough to break it down.  If it helps, I think I was the only non Mandarin or Cantonese native speaker there.

KOREAN

Korean BBQ is a popular thing in Vegas, and my personal favorite of the many restaurants is Tofu Hut.  An inexplicable name, because I’m not sure they serve Tofu there.  But since they’re open to 2AM, have an all you can eat option for only $16, and have amazing boneless short ribs, they could call themselves Feces Hut and I would still go there.

INDIAN

One of the restaurants I’ve been going to the longest on this list is Mint Indian Bistro. I’m generally not one for buffets, but the lunch buffet at Mint is easily the best one I’ve ever been to.  Period.  In a town known for their buffets, that should mean something.  (My buffet hate may get its own article. I’m sure you’re all very excited for that.) They regularly change their buffet selection from day to day and on the weekends, and their beer selection is one of the best in town.  I’ve never had “real” Indian food from the UK, but this is the best you’ll find in town in my opinion.

MEXICAN

I will divide this topic.

Do you want what most people think of Mexican food? Greasy, cheap, delicious tacos with different meats and wrapped in a tortilla? Bonito Michoacan is a pretty good choice.  Sometimes you’re just in a mood for that, myself included.  A pretty classic tex-mex style place.

For tacos, Taco y Taco is a pretty awesome choice.  Though the most popular strip location closed, Tacos El Gordo on Charleston is also extremely popular.

BACHELOR/BACHELORETTE PARTIES

This is a nod to the man who gave me my first really amazing meal in Las Vegas.  Musashi Japanese Steakhouse.  This is teppanyaki done absolutely 100% correctly.  Tiger is the head chef/proprietor of the restaurant and my vote for best teppanyaki chef in the world.  A menu that will please anyone along with a raunchy show, this is the greatest place to book 10 people for in hopes of having a great night after hitting up a club.  Did I mention they’re open till 4 AM?

BARBECUE

I definitely get this one a lot from people in the south who are here for extended periods of time.  For a long time, all the BBQ we had in town was shitty chain restaurants.  In the past year or two, however, a few brothers from Arkansas came and opened up a great place called Rollin Smoke. (Thanks to Kevin Tone for pointing out this big hole in my list)  Make sure you order the burnt ends.  It’s off menu, but they’ll be happy to oblige.

ANYTHING ELSE?

No, seriously, did I forget anything?  There will be lots of additions to this page I’m sure but feel free to message me on twitter and let me know if I’ve forgotten anything.  Ask me what the best restaurant is in your favorite cuisine and maybe I’ll post it in here!

Trust the fat man.