The great news for attendees of The Cable Show is that top chefs and restaurants from across the country have set up shop in Vegas, and there’s almost no culinary star who is not represented in one or more venues: Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, Michael Mina, Joël Robuchon, Todd English, Thomas Keller, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Tom Colicchio…the list is seriously endless.

As always, our restaurant recommendations are a compilation of Chuck Klein Productions’ favorites, top picks of local and national food and wine critics and input from Las Vegas friends and associates.

We hope you enjoy our recommendations, and we’d like to hear from you about anything you especially loved or loathed. Plus, we’re always interested in any new finds you come across that are not in our guide. Let us know by phone, fax or email ( Also, remember, we post past and present guides at: Let the eating begin.

The Key to Eating Well in Vegas

While we’ve made specific comments in our brief reviews, ratings, from • to •••••, are overall ratings, most heavily influenced by the food, but ambiance, décor and service also are taken into account. Cost estimates are based on one dinner with a cocktail and tip: inexpensive, less than $20; moderate, $21 to $40; expensive, $41 to $60; very expensive, $60 to $80; and most expensive, more than $80.

Keep in mind that in Las Vegas, as everywhere, restaurants and clubs open, close, change hours, credit card policies and even move with very short notice. Many restaurants are closed Sundays and Mondays, or even Tuesdays. Call ahead to address special needs…and at most places, reservations are a must. — Chuck Klein


The Top Ten

702-731-7731 ••••• $$$$$:
Cuisine is fanciful New American, and the seasonal menu changes daily. Bradley O. himself mans the kitchen…so no mere franchise here. Expect the unexpected …like the mulligatawny soup accompanied by crunchy crusted frogs’ legs, or a prime rib with Maytag blue cheese soufflé and trumpet mushrooms in red wine reduction. How about grilled bison tenderloin with potato cannelloni or Wisconsin pheasant with sweet potato spaetzle? And for dessert, the so-decadent "chocolate, chocolate, chocolate" sampler should not be missed. Note: A limited menu — including the great Caesar salad, the seared big eye tuna, ground steak burgers, Baron Point oysters and the artisan cheese selection — can be ordered at the bar.

702-632-9400 ••••• $$$$$:
French, fabulous and flowers galore — catch the gorgeous live floral sculpture comprised of 3,000 pink roses. Chef-owner Hubert Keller re-creates his San Francisco gem for the Mandalay Bay Resort. Start with the succulent tuna tartare or the trio of quail (breast, leg and fennel compote with quail foie gras, topped with a fried quail egg). The filet mignon with foie gras and black truffles is superb…likewise the diver scallops with smoked mussels. For dessert, don’t miss the peach mousse cake, served with champagne sorbet.

702-891-7925 ••••• $$$$$$:
Declared Chef of the Century by his native France, Joël Robuchon brings his world-class cuisine to the MGM Grand. Prepare your palate for spectacular dishes like the truffled langoustine ravioli and a crispy amadai snapper done in pistachio oil. Carts toting some 17 different kinds of bread, baked daily, will tempt you to forsake your diet, and it’s definitely all over once their glorious petit four trolley appears tableside. Really expensive. (By the way, Marcel Vigneron, the adorably eccentric "wolf-boy" finalist from Bravo’s Top Chef 2, was a master cook here!)

702-693-8255:702-693-8255 ••••• $$$$$: 
Just say it…lobster pot pie. Why does that sound so incredibly delicious? Another menu headliner at this megawatt, superstar seafooder is the incredible caviar service.For those who love the stuff this is like finding the Holy Grail. Also commanding awe: the seared ahi tuna, Mina-style, i.e., topped with sautéed foie gras, spinach and a seared potato cake, finished with spoonfuls of a heady port wine reduction and sautéed portobellos. My goodness!

702-891-7337 ••••• $$$$$:
Even visually, this Michael Mina tribute to the Bay Area perfectly captures that foggy San Francisco thing with a dramatic sweep of grays and chrome. Walls, furniture, floors and fixtures all seem to float in a silvery sea. The inspired menu also reflects San Fran sensibility, celebrating diversity, creativity and a host of regional, seasonal ingredients. Recommended: The Nobhill Kobe beef tasting menu or the Michael Mina Cookbook tasting menu.

702-693-5090 ••••• $$$$$:
Stark, linear and minimal in its look and feel, Nobu’s irresistible siren song is always the brilliant food. The Japanese Peruvian fusion fare is a knockout…and the sushi is probably the best you’ll ever have. The miso-infused cod and the creamy but oh-so-tangy cracked crab are not to be missed. If you know anyone who knows anyone, see if you can wrangle yourself a reservation…the place is booked ahead through the next millennium. Once you’ve been there, you’ll know why.

702-770-9966 ••••• $$$$$:
At Okada, you can literally dine beside tranquil Japanese gardens and a waterfall that seems hewn from a mountain. Pamper your inner Zen with the wonderful sushi, teppan yaki and an array of creative, exquisite dishes that take inspiration from seasonal ingredients. Cold dishes, like the Japanese oysters with wasabi oil and sweet onion soy dressing, contrast perfectly with hot plates like the seared foie gras and barbecued eel with braised daikon and miso mustard. Lamb chops from the robata grill are to die for. Also noteworthy, the braised Kurobuta short rib and the baked sweet sake black cod.

702-693-8255 ••••• $$$$$:
The Mobil Five Star rating and the James Beard Award don’t begin to prepare you for how very impressed you will be by Picasso. First, there’s the glorious food (New French with a Spanish accent) created by Julian Serrano (Bellagio mastermind Steve Wynn moved heaven and Earth to pry Serrano from his San Francisco sensation, Masa). Now add a king’s ransom of original Picasso art on the walls, throw in a breathtaking terrace view of the Dancing Fountains, add the beauty and fragrance of the most exquisite flower arrangements imaginable, perfect romantic lighting and profoundly elegant service, and you begin to get the picture. Reserve well ahead, unless you know someone or are a very high roller.

702-693-8255 ••••• $$$$$:
This is one beautiful room. Décor feels very 1930’s, with swirls of lavish deep blues and rich browns. Vegas’ three intoxicating M’s — meat, martinis and money — perfume the place. Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten creates his usual magic and the steak is divine. Try the five-pepper New York steak with celery puree and chickpea fries. The short ribs with horseradish spaetzle are beyond fabulous. Also, totally noteworthy: the truffle mashed potatoes. For desert, check out the chocolate volcano cake with molten chocolate center. Try for a table with views of the spectacular Bellagio Dancing Fountains…it’s quite a show.

8125 W. Sahara Ave. 702-869-2251 ••••• $$$$:
Husband and wife chef-owners Michael and Wendy Jordan make folks travel way off the beaten path to sample their fab-tastic New American creations. Their food ratings are aces high in a town loaded with culinary talent (Zagat places them No. 1 for food, 2006.) Brilliantly simple seasonal soups like truffle potato are perfection. And check out the seared Alaskan halibut, served over a mound of garlic spinach, wrapped in a buttermilk crust, and drizzled with muscadet butter sauce. Celebrity sightings here include Liz Taylor and the Clintons.

The Rest of the Best

702-770-9966 ••• $$$$$:
Chef Allesandro Stratta (a.k.a. Alex), once protégé to culinary greats like Alain Ducasse and Daniel Boulud (and renowned for his stint on Iron Chef), has emerged as a true star with his sumptuous dining room at the Wynn Las Vegas. Glorious old world touches include a dramatic entryway that has guests descending a grand staircase, à la Hello Dolly, to reach their table. Another class act is the purse bench, which is a small table placed chair-side to hold a lady’s evening bag. The exquisite cuisine is Mediterranean with a French accent, and it’s frequently described as edible art. The carpaccio of Santa Barbara prawn topped with osetra caviar, the foie gras ravioli in yruffle bouillon with duck confit, the porcini gnocchi and the squab with sautéed foie gras, rhubarb, and spiced pineapple are all divine. Dine prix fixe or choose one of the tasting menus.

702-414-3772 •••• $$$$:
This room is just gorgeous. Swirls of blue, green and purple seem to ripple throughout the space, underlining the hypnotic ocean-inspired story of Aquaknox. There’s even a water-encased walk-in wine cellar. Seafood from every port of call is flown in daily and prepared to perfection by chef Tom Moloney. The raw bar is excellent and the crab legs divine. Aquaknox draws a pretty glitzy crowd and remains a favorite for Hollywood’s young glam-a-rati.

702-632-7401 •••• $$$$$:
If you enjoy the grape and a great presentation, don’t miss the four-story Plexiglas wine tower at Aureole. It holds nearly 10,000 bottles and mechanically hoists sexy wine stewards up and down this slippery slope. So very Matrix! (Say it with me: "I love this town!") Chef Charlie Palmer is adored for his fabulously creative American cuisine. Expensive, but the place is a wow.

702-693-8255 •• $$:
One of the most luxe buffets in town and, no surprise, one of the priciest. Expect upscale treats like cracked crab, venison and Kobe beef, plus elaborate pastas and dim sum. Our office has this quote directly from the mouth of Chuck Klein: "If you’re only going to one buffet on your trip [and we and your MD suggest that you limit your visits], you might as well splurge and go to the best." Word up!

702-733-7373 •••• $$$$:
Big name Hollywood celebs consider Boa their home away from home, and we’re talking the likes of Paris, Lindsay and Clooney. Serious beef, cut the way you like it…and accompanied by great sauces and sides. Perfect martinis are de rigueur. Tables on the patio offer a great view of the magnificent fake Eiffel Tower at the Paris Hotel across the street.

702-414-6200 •••• $$$$:
Chef-creator Thomas Keller is a James Beard recipient and famous for his Napa Valley French Laundry, considered by many the best restaurant in the country. Bouchon has already racked up numerous awards including Gourmet magazine’s Top Ten Tables and Las Vegas Life’s Epicurean Award for best overall restaurant. At Bouchon, bistro classics are the draw. Crusty French loaves (baked daily and served with a crock of butter and pistachios) taste great alongside the endive salad done with Roquefort, toasted walnuts, apple and walnut vinaigrette. Luscious, hearty soups, like the tomato fennel with basil mousse, and rich, country-style pâté merely fan the appetite. From there, consider the fabulous croque madame (toasted ham and cheese on brioche, served with fried egg, Mornay sauce and French fries). The trout, pan-roasted in brown butter with almonds, is simply perfect. Leg of lamb roasted and served with yellow corn polenta is a masterpiece. Outstanding wines, of course. And there’s the heavenly pot de crème for dessert.

702-892-8272 •••• $$$$:
This New Orleans classic brings old world charm and Big Easy hospitality to the table, along with some mighty fine Creole cooking. A wonderful three-course lunch special can be had for just $18.80, with dirty martinis priced at just a quarter apiece. The front of the house is choreographed by Santino, one of the most charming maître d’s in town. Whether it’s your first visit or your hundredth, he’ll make you feel like visiting royalty. The food at Commander’s Palace is wonderful, of course…spectacular turtle soup, perfect blackened catfish, savory andouille sausage cake and for dessert, the legendary bananas Foster. The Sunday jazz brunch rocks.

702-891-7318 •••• $$$$$:
Chef-creator of Craftsteak is the dashing and über-talented Tom Colicchio, who many now recognize from his star turn on Bravo’s way-fun foodie show, Top Chef. On to the food…glorious food! We recommend the chef’s sampling menu, featuring the Kobe beef and Alaskan king crab legs, plus all kinds of extras (starters, appetizers and sides like grilled and shucked-off-the-cob fresh corn and pureed potatoes). Sounds simple but it’s so not. Check out the Dark and Stormy cocktail — dark beer, lime and ginger beer — it complements the Kobe. And for dessert, go for the Monkey, a scrumptious combo of ice cream, sorbets, monkey bread and fruit. It’s a beautiful place, full of burnished metals, rubbed woods and sensual, coppery lighting — the kind that makes women look sexy and men look slightly dangerous. It’s expensive, and absolutely worth it.

702-770-9966 •••• $$$$$:
This New French offering, complete with a patio that overlooks Wynn’s Lagoon, is simply divine. Check out their famous burger stuffed with short ribs (how’d they do that?). Seriously, everything here is utterly cravable — hearty, tasty, lip-smacking good. Dishes like steak au poivre, pâté de campagne forestière (wild mushroom) served with homemade pickles and the roasted chicken tarragon au jus are simple, perfect and done to a T. In case you need any further persuasion, we’ve got one more thing to say: profiteroles.

702-414-3737 •••• $$$$:
Another Emeril Lagasse winner, offering perfectly aged, perfectly seasoned cuts of meat, served alongside generous helpings of Big Easy charm. Try the bone-in rib eye, along with an outrageously good homemade Worcestershire sauce. Delicious sides like the sweet potato puree are sure to please, and for dessert you can’t go wrong with bananas Foster cream pie.

702-737-0555 ••• $$$$:
Kind of dark, dangerous and way cool…Drai’s draws a trendy crowd who embrace the kinda-sorta tacky flavor of the Barbary Coast (I don’t know where this is!). The excellent food is described as New French, and the party starts on the late side. Intimate after-hours vibe, rockin’ bar scene, cool music and a hot-looking wait staff are all part of the draw.

702-948-6937 ••• $$$$$:
This is an absolutely stunning room, perched 11 stories high in the Eiffel Tower replica at the Paris. Criss-crossing steel girders (literally the bones of the tower itself), circular metal- trimmed booths and a curved metal bar pop against a background of warm red and burgundy appointments and furnishings. Huge windows with amazing views contribute to the feeling that you’re almost floating in space. Winner of the 2004 AAA Four Diamond Award, the cuisine designed by world-famous chef J. Joho is classic French, of course. Expect elaborate seafood platters, succulent tournedos of beef done with foie gras and truffle sauce and amazingly decadent desserts, like the died-and-gone-to-heaven banana soufflé.

702-731-7731 ••• $$$$:
Just so you know, 808 is the telephone area code for Hawaii. Cuisine is created by French-born, French-trained chef Jean-Marie Josselin and melds the flavors of many exotic cultures — Chinese, Japanese, Italian and assorted tropical islands. Exceptional dishes include a coconut Thai bisque laden with lobster and calamari. The bento box features a selection of tempting tidbits like scallops, pot stickers and ahi roll. The sesame coated mahi mahi and the pan-roasted New York strip with sauce Choron are house favorites, and for dessert don’t miss the passion fruit cheesecake with dried fruit nougat ice cream.

702-891-7374 ••• $$$$:
The gumbo, the peel-and-eat shrimp, the lobster salad, all done with that flamboyant, fabulous Emeril Lagasse touch — spicy, Southern and oh so good. Good ol’ New Orleans hospitality and charm make everything taste extra good. And best of all, it’s possible to get a table without a reservation.

3763 Las Vegas Blvd. (near Tropicana Ave.) 702-736-4733 •• $:
Only real competition for the well-loved In-N-Out Burger chain, Fatburger is another L.A. import of note. Devotees claim that the magical grease oozing from your cooked-to-order Fatburger will cure any hangover posthaste, and that this California classic stands alone in the Best Burger Hall of Fame. Great shakes, too. Eat in or take out. Open 24/7. (For additional locations, go to

702-891-7600 ••• $$$$:
This beautiful space at the MGM is the Vegas outpost of Steve Hanson’s Manhattan hit. Start the evening with espresso martinis, then sample the fine calamari with salsa rosa dipping sauce. Follow with the exceptional lobster gnocchi served with a creamy sauce scented with black truffle and topped with a heavenly hunk of lobster meat. We can’t report on the desserts here. Thus far, everyone we know has been too full to order one.

702-693-8400 ••• $$$$:
Another way-cool and beautiful space at the Bellagio featuring classic American dishes reimagined with a contemporary twist. Especially good: the lobster tacos, the mac and cheese sticks with truffle sauce and, for dessert, the Cake and Shake’ (chocolate cake and an espresso milk shake). Celebrity sightings are not uncommon here, and ambience is more about action than romance. The bar scene here gets lots of play. It’s a perfect spot for late-night suppers and pretty-people watching.

129 E. Fremont St. 702-385-7111 • $:
This downtown oldie but goodie is still a player. The big draw: former owner Steve Wynn’s mother’s recipes for matzo ball soup, bread pudding and blintzes.

4888 Industrial Rd. (at W. Tropicana Ave.) •• $:
This Southern California burger chain has taken Vegas by storm, with seven locations and counting (for the one nearest to you, check The menu is simple and to the point: freshly made burgers, hand-cut fries and shakes. The office favorite is the Double-Double burger with cheese and grilled onions. Fast, cheap and sooo good.

702-792-9222 ••• $$$$:
Now, as fans of the original Joe’s in Florida it pains us to report that a recent visit by a CKP staffer to the Vegas outpost was not a success. The food was deemed "so-so," as were the lighting, décor and service. However, for the mighty crab, this is "the only game in town." Joe’s is also known for their bone-in filets and key lime pie.

702-891-7353 •••• $$$$$:
For those foodies who are anxious to try Joël Robuchon’s cuisine without the really big ticket prices of The Mansion, L’Atelier is the perfect solution. Don’t get us wrong, it’s still fairly pricey, just not The Mansion sort of pricey. An open kitchen provides great views of true culinary talent in action. Preparation and presentation are exacting, exciting and perfect. Savor unique dishes like the spectacular smoked salmon with herbed cream and potato waffle, or a ravioli filled with foie gras floating in a delicate chicken broth scented with basil. For fun, check out the beef and foie gras sliders. Some consider the portions here small, but all agree that for flavor, imagination and wow factor, you’ll be well satisfied. The tasting menu is highly recommended, especially for curious first-timers.

702-693-8100 •••• $$$$$:
Smaller than you might expect, circus-themed, very pricey and you better be dressed to the nines. Authentic French cuisine — extremely rich and buttery. Try the lobster salad with black truffle dressing. For dessert, there’s a white chocolate crème and banana confection, wrapped in phyllo dough. It will knock your socks off.

4750 W. Sahara Blvd. 702-870-8432 ••• $$:
Don’t mind the humble strip-mall location and dated décor. Go for the wonderful French-Asian cuisine created by Hong Kong born chef-owner Ming See Woo. Especially good: the ginger chicken ravioli with Szechuan peanut scallion sauce.

702-731-7731 •••• $$$$:
The ever charismatic Bobby Flay, of Food Network fame, offers his tangy Southwestern specialties at Mesa Grill. If it’s on the menu, try the blue corn pancake stuffed with barbecued duck and topped with a lively habanero chile sauce. The tiger shrimp with roasted corn tamale is a wow. For dessert, check out the roasted pecan flan with coffee caramel.

702-737-7111 •••• $$$$$:
The food is four diamond, the décor is red velvet opulent, and clientele are not just tourists but loyal locals as well. For nearly 20 years, this intimate gourmet supper club has won praise, awards and rave reviews for its scrumptious Continental cuisine, served by the most gracious staff in town. King crab, chateaubriand, cherries jubilee…elegance never tasted so good. (We thank our good friend Micki for the lowdown on this one.)

702-944-4224 ••• $$$:
The perfect Parisian sidewalk café, Mon Ami Gabi is a cozy and romantic hideaway tucked beneath the "Eiffel Tower" and offering great views of Bellagio’s Dancing Fountains. Coq au vin, coquilles Saint Jacques and the mouthwatering steak frites are house favorites at this charming, beautifully appointed bistro. A few more glasses of wine…it’s almost like being in Paris!

702-693-8255 ••• $$$$:
If you can get one, a table on the patio affords great views of the Dancing Fountains. Crusty breads and focaccia, served with two kinds of olive tapenades, get things started at this Todd English offering. Try the beef carpaccio over fried polenta. One of the excellent flatbread pizzas, along with the terrific salad, makes a tasty lunch or dinner, and it won’t break the bank.

400 E. Sahara Ave. 702-733-2066 •••• $$$$:
Second home to the Rat Pack back in the day and still a major hangout and dinner destination for local regulars and visiting celebs, Pamplemousse continues to pack ‘em in. Located just a bit off the Strip, this is the classic, romantic supper club… mirrors, music, fine French food and the most flattering pink lighting in town. Well-loved chef-owner George LaForge, along with his gifted and engaging wait staff, continues to charm one and all. Expect to be pampered like you’re headlining at Caesars.

792-414-8888 ••• $$$$:
Star chef Joachim Splichal offers up bistro Vegas style. Here you’ll find the freshest shellfish in town, shucked before your eyes by waiters sporting rubber boots and tromping through shells behind the raw bar. Somehow this little gem remains a place you can usually get into without a reservation. Service, style and especially the food are all first class. The terrific steaks and a to-die-for bread pudding are not to be missed. Open for lunch and dinner, served with all kinds of charm and no attitude.

702-731-7267 •••• $$$$:
Just opened at Caesars, this is the supersized version of a beloved and tiny New York City institution. The East Harlem original holds only 10 tables and is considered the hardest reservation in town. Folks have waited a year to get in (we heard even Madonna was turned away). The cuisine is homestyle Italian…Neopolitan to be precise, and it tastes just like mama used to make, if mama was Italian and a culinary whiz.

Chinatown Plaza 4215 Spring Mountain Rd. 702-368-7628 ••• $$:
This storefront in Chinatown Plaza is the real deal for terrific and cheap barbecue and noodle dishes. The 95% Asian clientele attests to the authenticity and quality of the food. The fried salt and chile-crusted prawns are fantastic. More adventurous diners might even dare to try the classic hot pot of intestines, turnips and pig’s blood. Open till the wee hours.

702-632-7414 •••• $$$$:
San Francisco celebrity chef Micheal Mina (of Aqua fame) offers Vegas his take on steak. Not everyone knows that Mina’s youth included a gig in a meat-packing plant, but all agree the man has a way with meat. He insists on certified Angus and Kobe beef, and his lamb dishes are Colorado all the way. His unique slow-poach process (eight to 12 hours of seasoning and simmering, then fire-roasting over wood-burning grills) seals in the juice and amps up the flavor. Also great, the salt-grilled Maine lobster. Over 600 wines, over 100 scotches.

11011 W. Charleston Blvd. 702-797-7576 ••• $$$$:
If you watched fiery celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey put aspiring chefs through the wringer on his Fox TV show Hell’s Kitchen, you may want to check out T-Bones, where the big winner (Heather) is now head chef. House specialties: bone-in meats, dry-aged prime steaks and fish flown in fresh daily. The mellow piano bar is open weeknights till 11, Friday and Saturday till midnight.

702-891-3166 ••• $$:
Sandwich lovers cheer. This N.Y.C. import, created by the fabulous Tom Colicchio (of Craftsteak and Top Chef fame), offers fast, fabulous and affordable ($6-$9) sandwich combos that will knock your socks off, like the meatloaf sandwich on a ciabatta roll topped with cheese, bacon and relish. Vegetarians can indulge in delights like the grilled broccoli rabe, roasted peppers, sautéed onion, olive and cheese combo on a crispy, perfect baguette. Seriously, if you’re one of those folks who considers sandwich making an art form (as we do), eat here.

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