Las Vegas is one of America's hottest restaurant markets. Nearly every big Strip property has at least one and often two or more celebrity-chef restaurants. Away from the Strip, the unprecedented population growth in the city's suburbs has brought with it a separate and continuous wave of new eateries, both familiar chains and increasing numbers of legitimate destination restaurants. Casino-resort
dining basically falls into one of three categories. In the top echelon are the properties that have a half dozen or more bona fide star-status restaurants: Aria, Bellagio, Caesars, the Cosmopolitan, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Venetian/Palazzo, and Wynn/Encore. At the next level are those resorts with one or two stellar restaurants and a smaller range of worthwhile but not quite top-of-the-line options. On the Strip, these include The Cromwell, Mandarin Oriental, Mirage, Monte Carlo, New York–New York, Paris, Planet Hollywood, SLS Las Vegas and Treasure Island. Off the Strip, you can add the Palms, the Hard Rock, M Resort, the Rio All-Suite Hotel, Green Valley Ranch, the JW Marriott, and Red Rock Resort. Then there's everybody else: casino-resorts with maybe a decent eatery or two but that simply aren't known for great food.
Downtown Las Vegas has seen a big revitalization in the past several years, and that extends to restaurants. Although Downtown still lacks a destination restaurant, notable spots are Le Thai and La Comida in Fremont East and Pizza Rock and the older Triple George Grill in the Downtown 3rd District.
Outside the tourism corridor, Las Vegas has a number of marquee restaurants with increasing cachet among foodies from out of town—places such as Todd’s Unique Dining, Marché Bacchus, and Lotus of Siam. There's great food to be had off the beaten path in Las Vegas, and you'll pay a lot less in these areas, too.
If you haven't been to Vegas in three or four years, you'll notice some major changes. Names like Wolfgang Puck, Michael Mina, and Emeril Lagasse still have plenty of pull in this town, but the Vegas chefs commanding the most attention are French imports such as Pierre Gagnaire, Joël Robuchon, and Guy Savoy, along with vaunted U.S. chefs like Charlie Palmer and Mario Batali.
There's also a trend toward high-minded restaurants with exclusive-nightclub vibes. Note the success of see-and-be-seen Pan-Asian hot spot Hakkasan and Tao Asian Bistro & Nightclub, the youthful late-night haunts LAVO and FIX, and bordello-chic establishments such as Strip House—to name just a few. Elsewhere in town, Las Vegas's growing international, and especially Asian, population has created a market for some of the best Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, and Pan-Asian restaurants in the country.
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