By No Vacation Required, on May 15, 2013

Vegas for food fanatics

It’s easy to forget that Las Vegas is a food city. Amid all of Vegas’s activities and hustle and bustle, one can understandably overlook that this gambling mecca is also home to some of the world’s best restaurants. Thankfully for us, milestone birthdays, bachelor parties, and anniversary celebrations in Vegas have afforded us the opportunity to check out some of Vegas' finest restaurants and ensured that top-notch meals have remained on our agenda.  Here are some of the places we recommend.


South Strip

The meal we had at Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak in MGM Grand remains on our list of best meals ever. At Craftsteak, they “get” everything – service, pace, simplicity, ambiance. The restaurant’s open and warm design invites you to sit all night, giving into the leisurely flow of your meal. Plus, because the place is located just off the active casino floor, there’s a contagious energy that fuels the atmosphere.


Menu highlights at Craftsteak included the Wagyu, the potato gratin and the braised kale. When the vegetables are as remarkable as a perfectly done Wagyu steak, you know you’re on to something.


Center Strip

Todd English’s Olives has become a Vegas tradition for us.  We are both totally crushed out on the short rib pappardelle, which has emerged as our favorite go-to Vegas meal. The pasta is smothered in a slow-braised ragu of short ribs with a kick provided by horseradish.


Beyond the food, what makes Olives special is its location. Housed in Bellagio Las Vegas, it’s adjacent to the iconic fountains, which go off every 15 minutes in summer. Ask for a table on the patio and watch the water “dance” to music as you enjoy your meal. Careful though, if it’s windy out, the experience can go from a nice meal on the terrace to a day at the water park.

Viewfinder Tip: If possible, sit on the outdoor patio at Olives; views from here are second to none.

We also highly recommend the flat breads (try the fig and prosciutto) and the scallops – both are great dishes.


North Strip

Perhaps the swankiest meal we’ve had in Vegas was at SW Steakhouse inside of Wynn Las Vegas. It’s exquisite in every way.


On a recent visit (for which we were in town to celebrate a couple of relatives’ birthdays) we ate at SW and the meal was divine. The iceberg salad with bacon surprised us when it arrived with a hunk of bacon like we’ve never seen – a candy bar-sized piece of deliciousness. 


The pan-roasted scallops with black truffle sauce on risotto were great, too – probably the freshest, largest scallops we’ve had. Most noteworthy, though, was the creamed corn with a hint of black truffle. We could have polished off at least two additional orders.


Finally, SW Steakhouse is nice because it gives guests a chance to watch Wynn’s famous Lake of Dreams while you dine. Throughout the evening, the three-acre lake comes to life – complete with lights and statues. Only in Vegas!


What’s your favorite dining experience on the Vegas Strip?