Restaurants and Bars - Eat and Drink
Large casinos will invariably offer a variety of dining options, ranging from the omni-present buffet to simple cafes and gourmet restaurants.
The best buffets typically run about $30 a person for a weekend dinner, and considering the selection on offer this is not particularly steep! Expect gourmet seafood and meats laid out with the utmost care, dishes prepared in front of you at chef stations and the most delicate deserts you've ever seen.
However, not all buffets are like that and it's easy to get sucked in by a tantalising price only to find the food on offer particularly untantalising. If you are worried about the cost, it is perhaps best to visit the good buffets for lunch or breakfast when the prices are lower, rather than risking an upset stomach! It is customary to tip your buffet waiter 10-15 percent; you can leave cash on the table at the end of your meal or tip the cashier at the counter on a credit card.
The most famous and reliably extravagant buffets are listed below:
- The Buffet @ Bellagio One of the best buffets, spectacular selections from Italy, China, and Japan as well as fresh seafood and traditional American food.
- The Buffet @ Wynn It has exhibition cooking stations and a luxurious selection of extraordinary dishes, all whilst surrounded by flowering plants and indoor hanging gardens.
- Le Village Buffet @ Paris French foods served under a faux sky in a village-like setting.
- Spice Market @ Planet Hollywood An elegant but casual buffet with cuisines from around the world.
- Village Seafood Buffet @ Rio One of the better buffets and lines can be long.
- Wicked Spoon @ The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Another fabulous buffet, full of fresh Asian inspired gourmet dishes, seafood and artisan deserts. It's $23 for lunch and $30 for dinner.
Restaurants On The Strip
- Bartolotta Ristorante Di Mare @ Wynn Dine al fresco alongside the man-made lagoon behind the restaurant; succulent seafood abounds!
- Craftsteak @ MGM Grand Considered to be one of the best steak houses in America and very very expensive.
- Cypress Street Marketplace @ Caesars Palace A casual “marketplace” where you get your food and enjoy it on picnic tables under "Cypress trees". It has every cuisine and is mostly cheap. Open daily from 11am-11pm.
- Diablo's Mexican Cantina @ Monte Carlo Popular Mexican eatery with an excellent bar and a yummy menu.
- Earl of Sandwich (3667 Las Vegas Blvd S) Everyone in Vegas grabs a hot sandwich from this local favourite, and as such you'll find a lengthy queue, however it moves fast with quick service. Most sandwiches are $6, and they have soup, sides and deserts also.
- Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville @ Flamingo A fun tropical-themed restaurant featuring dishes named after many of Jimmy Buffett's songs (for example: the Cheeseburger in Paradise).
- Kahunaville Tropical Restaurant @ Treasure Island It has a fun, family atmosphere and serves standard fare.
- L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon @ MGM Grand A fine dining French restaurant with dim lighting, ruby red furniture and spectacular food. You probably won't be ables to spend less than $100 per head on food and drinks, but it's worth it.
- Mesa Grill @ Caesars Palace Serves tasty Southwestern food alongside brightly colored decor and a festive atmosphere. Don't miss this one!
- Mr. Lucky's 24-7 @ Hard Rock Hotel Sandwiches, salads and sundaes are popular at this rock and roll diner open 24 hours.
- Mon Ami Gabi @ Paris A fabulous French restaurant serving mostly steaks and seafood with good service and a wonderful view of the Bellagio fountains. It's moderately pricey but you'll love it.
- Nobu @ Hard Rock Hotel A frou-frou sushi restaurant with high-end prices. Discover a fusion of traditional Japanese cuisine with Latin spices and flavors.
- Olives @ Bellagio A classy Mediterranean restaurant set against the backdrop of Lake Bellagio.
- Peppermill Las Vegas (2985 Las Vegas Blvd S) Step back in time into Old Vegas in this 1970's space-age decorated diner and bar, complete with waitresses that call you 'hon'. It's open 24/7!
- Shanghai Lily @ Mandalay Bay A cosy fine-dining Chinese restaurant.
- Stripburger (3200 Las Vegas Blvd S) An outdoor bar serving sliders in Fashion Show Mall. Stop in for a few mini burgers and beers that won't fill you up on the way to your next destination.
- Tao @ The Venetian A beautifully decorated pan-Asian restaurant that doubles as a nightclub. Moderately high prices at $30-$50.
- Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill @ Harrah's American cuisine like steaks, burgers, sandwiches, and even meatloaf and fried catfish. During the evening the restaurant features live country music bands.
- Top of the World @ Stratosphere A revolving gourmet restaurant more than 800 feet above The Strip at the top of the Stratosphere Tower.
Restaurants Off The Strip
- Ellis Island Casino & Brewery (4178 Koval Lane) This pokey little casino has a diner out the back which quite possibly serves the cheapest, not horrendous food in Las Vegas. Try the $8 steak special and you get a free beer or root beer with it! They also have a barbecue weekend nights from 4-10pm and brews its own beer.
- ENVY, The Steakhouse @ Renaissance Las Vegas Hotel Enjoy the highest quality Kobe fillet, prime rib roast, Black Angus fillet and prime bone-in rib eye. It's walk-in wine cellar features 1,500 bottles of wine!
- Firefly (3900 Paradise Rd) A cute little tapas joint with wonderful bites and moorish sangria! It's a few blocks from The Strip so probably best to drive. Try the bacon wrapped dates.
- Hot N Juicy Crawfish (4810 Spring Mountain Rd) It's hot, it's juicy, it's messy, it's busy, it's divine! Get there early.
- Ichiza (4355 Spring Mountain Rd) A gorgeous Japanese restaurant; modern but still with special dishes scrawled on butchers paper all over the walls! Their honey toast dessert is killer, don't go past it.
- Lawry's The Prime Rib (4043 Howard Hughes Pkwy) Steak, so much delicious steak. Slam a prime rib in fun Art Deco kitch surroundings!
- Luv-It Frozen Custard (505 East Oakey Blvd) Hidden two blocks north of the Stratosphere Tower; this family operation offers excellent frozen custards with outstanding toppings. Look for the blue building with white pillars.
Here's the low down on going out on the town in Las Vegas; you're gonna drop some paper. The drinks are expensive, the clubs have high cover charges and if you want good service you need to tip tip tip. However, free drinks are offered in the casinos to all gamblers (even those playing 5-cent slot machines) so you can top up there before hitting the bars and lounges. You should tip the waitress at least $1 per drink; failure to do so will likely cost you your free drink privileges!
During the day, keep your eye out for club promoters who will put you on their club's guest list for that evening; you may have to still pay a cover, but it'll be less and the queue shorter to get in. That being said, if you're a group of girls you're likely to get in anywhere for free without having to wait long. Sexist, yes, but awesome for the ladies! Guys, try and attach yourselves to a group of girls. When in a queue, if you tip one of the hosts (about $20 per person) you'll get to go to the front of a line, but you still have the cover charge to pay. Once in a club or lounge, if you shell out the cash for a table you'll get prompt drinks and excellent service. Tables can also be booked in advance. See? Money talks in Vegas!
There is a club or lounge in nearly every hotel and casino, and most are open until 4am. Get there before 10pm to avoid massive queues, otherwise, expect to wait or dough up. Lastly, dress up. Guys should avoid wearing tennis shoes, tank tops, hats, t-shirts or jeans.
A good way to find out what places are currently hot in Vegas is to ask service staff who look like party-people. People working inside hotels are bound to recommend the hotel's institutions, so rather go for waiters or shop-assistants in restaurants or malls outside the hotels.
- Centrifuge @ MGM Grand A circular shaped bar/lounge where every hour the bar staff dance on the bar-top or lounge tables. It has the perfect vibe to start your night before hitting the clubs.
- Casa Fuente @ Caesars Palace A Cuban-themed cigar lounge offering more than 100 different cigars and an impressive selection of whiskeys. Try the $40 Opus X cigar and enjoy the atmosphere!
- Cleopatra's Barge @ Caesars Palace A luxurious floating lounge in a ornate replica of the barge that transported Cleopatra down the Nile.
- Coyote Ugly @ New York New York Just like the movie; expect beautiful 20-something women serving you drinks and getting rowdy on the bar. It usually has a $5 cover charge.
- Double Down Saloon (4640 Paradise Rd) The finest dive bar in Vegas, home of the Bacon Martini and an excellent stop if you're sick of the fancy bars and fakeness of The Strip. It's a bit out of the way, but it's real and has plenty of atmosphere and usually a good band playing.
- Fat Tuesdays @ Planet Hollywood Serving cheap, potent, frozen slushee drinks to thirsty crowds, a must when is Vegas!
- Frankie's Tiki Room (1712 W Charleston Blvd) A fun little tiki bar away from The Strip madness with strong drinks and a whole lotta atmosphere; worth the cab ride.
- Freakin Frog (4700 S Maryland Pkwy) A pub off The Strip with a very large beer and whisky selection (like 600 beers or something!) and live music on weekends.
- Nine Fine Irishmen @ New York New York This pub was actually constructed in Ireland and then shipped to Las Vegas. An Irish band plays most nights starting around 9pm, the crowd is always energetic, and the Guinness and Bass flow easily.
- Stripper Bar @ Planet Hollywood Yeah, it’s what you think.
- Todd English Pub (3720 Las Vegas Blvd S) A sports bar with unbeatable pastrami sliders and over 30 beers on tap.
- Drai's @ Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon An after-hours club open until 9am, so expect long queues especially from 5am. The main floor features trance and Euro dance (otherwise rare in Vegas), and the VIP floor has hip hop. Entry is $20-$30.
- Haze @ Aria A beautiful club with beautiful staff open until 4am. Unless you get a table with bottle service you'll find it hard to find somewhere to sit.
- LAX @ Luxor When the stars of Jersey Shore come to town, this is where they hang out. Enough said. Entry can be pretty steep at $20-$50 per person.
- Marquee (3708 Las Vegas Blvd S) A massive, shiny club with big name DJs and an outdoor pool area. It's one of the hottest spots in Vegas, can be hard to get into and gets very busy, but it's really fun!
- Moon @ The Palms A large, fun club in the Palms that's usually not too crowded, has a retractable roof, an amazing view of the city and danceable tunes.
- Rockhouse Bar & Nightclub @ Imperial Palace An amusing club for a weeknight, and open until 2am.
- Tryst @ Wynn This is the lavish little sister to XS, with an indoor waterfall and basically guaranteed to be busy if you're looking for some action. The cover is usually around $20.
- Surrender @ Wynn Another Wynn nightclub; they sure know how to do it so they're all making the the most popular list! This is a pretty chilled and friendly club, and a good place to avoid crowded sweaty clubs and mean bouncers. That's not to say it's not a happening joint!
- Vanity @ Hard Rock Hotel A relaxed little club with VIP booths and a terrace overlooking Hard Rock Beach Club. Entry is $20 for girls, $40 for guys, and local ladies free.
- XS Nightclub @ Wynn This $96 million club is the most expensive ever built and one of the most popular in the city! Expect it to be big, beautiful and bouncing, with an hours wait in a queue before you get to all that!
An ultra lounge is a mix between a lounge and a nightclub, but the difference to "real" nightclubs is tiny and vanishes completely when the DJ pulls out hard-core dance hits.
- Ghostbar @ The Palms A hugely atmospheric bar located on the hotel's roof with a section of floor made of thick glass so you can see the ground 55 stories below! Gorgeous views and a relaxed crowd make this place a winner.
- Mix @ Mandalay Bay Located on the 64th floor; you can reserve a table on the terrace, indulge in some truly sublime food and sip a cocktail. It's wonderful.
- Shadow Bar @ Caesars Palace A smooth place to relax if you can't be bothered with trying to get into a club. Super sexy dances shake it behind shadow screens, the drinks aren't too expensive and the staff are jovial.
- Pure @ Caesars Palace Massive club/lounge with a great open air terrace and other rooms, including an exclusive (and expensive!) VIP lounge frequented by many celebrities. It's $25+ but girls may get waved in for free.
- Tabu @ MGM Grand A small but sophisticated bar, and an agreeable place to linger over an elaborate cocktail.
- TAO @ The Venetian Along with XS and Marquee, this is the most popular club in Vegas so expect long lines but a buzzing crowd, even on weeknights.
An Ultra Pool is a mix of a pool and club all in one. Also known as a 'plub'. Not really.
- Encore Beach Club @ Encore A large pool party with hot guys and gals and smooth DJs, lots of fun! If staying as the Wynn/Encore you can get tickets from the concierge, otherwise look for a promoter.
- Rehab @ Hard Rock A popular pool party in an amazing location.
- Wet Republic @ MGM Grand Have a blast swimming around in one of the many pools, or swim (yes, swim) up to a bar and order your favorite drink. They sometimes have DJ’s playing and it's open 11am until dusk.