Your Insider’s Las Vegas Dining Guide

by Matthew Wexler
Monday Apr 22, 2013

Las Vegas is uncorking a decadent weekend of events that celebrates the city’s now well-established culinary scene with an endless buffet of tastings, Master Series dinners, cooking demonstrations and more.

Recently named one of the country’s top five restaurant cities by Bon Appétit, this four-day extravaganza (May 9-12) will pull out all the stops as celebrity chefs slice and dice their way through one-of-a-kind multi-course menus, and other industry professionals shake up specialty cocktails and present vintage wines from around the globe.

EDGE offers you an inside peek at Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appétit with our exclusive recommendations to plan your bacchanalian weekend along with what’s on the hot plate for Vegas’s next course of new restaurants, and chefs who hope to make their mark on an increasingly discerning clientele.

What Not to Miss

The challenge at any food festival (especially one that features Michelin star chefs and award-winning wines) is to plan an itinerary that includes a variety of experiences without bursting the seam in your pants on the first night.

Of the seven deadly sins, gluttony ranks number two (right below our favorite - lust), but this is Vegas and the number seven has quite a different connotation. Here are our seven lucky picks to plan the ultimate weekend feast. Antacids not included.

1. Master Series Dinner with Michel Richard Gourmand
What better way to kick off a weekend of culinary extravagance than with the pioneer of French-California cuisine, Michel Richard? With two James Beard Awards under his belt, Richard’s Central in Washington D.C. has received rave reviews and the Las Vegas outpost is the first-ever restaurant helmed by a James Beard Award-winning chef to be open 24 hours a day. You’ll be able to experience Richard’s contemporary cuisine through an exclusive menu planned just for this series.
Central - Caesars Palace, 7 p.m., May 9, $160

2. Market Fresh Mixology
Finally...the farm-to-table movement has moved from the plate to the cocktail! Join Hawaiin-born chef Royden Ellamar as he shares locally inspired dishes paired with cocktails inspired by Sensi’s four quadrants: herbs, bitters, sake and citrus.
Sensi - Bellagio, 2 p.m., May 10, $110

From Feast to Flowing Champagne

3. The Grand Tasting - Caesars Palace
Go big or go home. The five-acre Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis at Caesars Palace serves as the stunning backdrop for this bacchanalian sunset feast. Roam the grounds like a Roman general and take part in delectable bites from more than 50 award-winning chefs along with over 100 wine and spirits from around the world.
Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis - Caesars Palace, 7: 30 p.m., May 10, $225

4. Vodka & Caviar Social
???? ????????! (Your Health!) Chef Brian Thomas Massie and team gather in the stunning Red Square at Mandalay Bay for a Russian-style late night feast of caviar and vodka. Whether you’re drinking it straight up, on the rocks or in a classic martini, this pure and clear libation is the perfect pairing to a selection of the world’s finest caviar.
Red Square - Mandalay Bay, 10 p.m., May 10, $160

Next page for more Uncork’d highlights and the best of Las Vegas’ dining scene any time of year...

Culinary Classics Old and New

5. Beef & Whiskey, "Japan Style"
Forget the sushi and sake, Japan is also known for its famous wagyu, a beautifully marbled beef with higher amounts of unsaturated fat. Chef Michael Mina shares a tasting journey based his culinary experiences from a recent trip to Japan, paired with artisan cocktails that celebrate the country’s burgeoning whiskey culture.
STRIPSTEAK - Mandalay Bay, 2:30 p.m., May 11, $165

6. When in France: A Joël Robuchon Dinner
Experience a culinary legacy at this highly coveted table, where only 12 diners per seating can experience Chef Robuchon’s legendary cuisine. Born in Poitiers, France, Robuchon has been in the kitchen since the age of 15. This lifetime of experience culminates in a one-of-a-kind six course menu that celebrates the evolution of French cuisine.
Joël Robuchon Restaurant - MGM Grand, 8:30 p.m., May 11, $595

7. Nature of a Good Party with Alain Ducasse
Who’s your momma? It doesn’t really matter at this extravagant Mother’s Day brunch hosted by Alain Ducasse, an internationally acclaimed chef with more than 20 restaurants worldwide. Set at his picturesque miX restaurant atop THEhotel, the stunning view of the Las Vegas Strip may only be outshined by the flowing champagne and specialty cocktails that will accompany an array of savory and sweet delights.
miX - THEhotel at Mandalay Bay, 11 a.m., May 12, $175

Decadent Dining Anytime

Fear not if you are unable to jet set to Las Vegas for Uncork’d this May. The city is overflowing with new restaurant openings to satisfy any palette. In fact, southern Nevada is home to the more than 1,450 restaurants and 250 buffets. Whether you’re craving a Michelin-star experience or a more casual dining option, Vegas has something to delicious to offer.

Some of the most notable openings include:

Nobu Hotel, Restaurant and Lounge
What happens when you match one of the world’s most renowned chefs (Nobuyuki "Nobu" Matsuhisa) with Hollywood elite-turned-restauretaur/hotelier (Robert De Niro) and an award-winning designer (David Rockwell)? You end up with Nobu Hotel, Restaurant and Lounge. The 11,200-square-foot dining and bar space is at the epicenter of this brand now property, tucked within Caesars Palace. Experience teppanyaki, sushi and other Asian inspired dishes. Don’t want to leave your room? No worries... it’s the only place in the world where you can enjoy Nobu in-room dining - 24 hour per day.

Javier’s at Aria Resort & Casino
If you’ve eaten your way through southern California or Los Cabos, Mexico, you’re familiar with the regionally influenced cuisine of Javier’s. Their Vegas incarnation amps up the volume with dozens of premium tequilas and a stunning chainsaw wood carving of Aztec civilization.

Culinary Dropout at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Too cool for school? Restaurateur Sam Fox brings his rebel style to the Strip with elevated pub grub with soul-satisfying items such as black mussels with spicy sausage and 36-hour pork ribs. The revolving cocktail menu highlights housemade spirits and mixers like raspberry infused tequila and bacon infused vodka.

Joe Vicari’s Andiamo Italian Steakhouse at The D Las Vegas
The Motor City rolls into Las Vegas as this Detroit icon opens its doors in downtown Vegas. Handmade pastas and breads are the perfect vessels to the award-winning sauces. The restaurant also features products from the country’s finest butchers including Pat LaFrieda Stockyard Premium beef and Strauss lam and veal. If you’re feeling particularly carnivorous, go for the Andiamo Tomahawk - a long bone 32 oz. rib eye steak.

Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace
If you’re traveling with a group or can’t seem to decide what you’d like for breakfast lunch or dinner, head to Caesars for the new $17 million Bacchanal Buffet. From made-to-order omelets in the morning to Chinese dim sum, South Carolina shrimp and grits and more than 500 other items, you’ll be satiated beyond your wildest dreams. Fortunately, you’ll have plenty of room to expand in the 25,000-square-foot dining room.

Next page for dining/entertainment options and hands-on experiences...

Dinner Theatre v2.0

If you’re looking for more of a flourish than fervently tossed pasta or the pomp and circumstance of a decanted wine, Las Vegas delivers dining options with some theatrical flair as well as new concepts that integrate dining and nightlife.

Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding at Bally’s Las Vegas
The most dysfunctional couple in dinner theatre history celebrates 10 years in Las Vegas. More than 500,000 guests have witnessed the hilarious nuptials and feasted on the comings and goings of the fictional Nunzio and Vitale families. This production is helmed by Larry Pelligrini, "Tony n’ Tina’s" original New York director. Dance the night away and watch out for the bride’s face full of wedding cake.

Andrea’s, Encore at Wynn Las Vegas
Andrea’s completes the Encore Beach Club and Surrender Nighclub complex and is the first restaurant to be fully integrated into the swanky environment. "Vibe dining" incorporates live DJs spinning throughout the night, creating a pulsating sensation to enjoy sharable plates like shishito peppers and Wagyu beef sliders or heartier dishes such as duck confit lo mein or five spice garlic lobster.

Tournament of Kings at Excalibur
Are you a lady in waiting or a knight in shining armor? A vast arena sets the stage for an evening of drum processionals, cheering and Medieval theatrics. Expect to drink dragon’s blood (hot tomato soup) and wield a turkey leg without a knife and fork. And if that isn’t entertaining enough, there’s a court jester on hand for extra laughs.

DIY Dining

If you start feeling guilty after several mind-blowing multicourse meals, consider going into the kitchen yourself for a hands-on class taught by highly trained culinary professionals. You can learn everything from basic knife skills to how to prepare traditional dishes from around the world.

Le Cordon Bleu
Get a taste of what aspiring chefs go through with a three-hour MasterChef class taught by the same instructors that train full-time students. You’ll receive a MasterChef apron, recipe cards and certificate of completion that proves that you can stand the heat in the kitchen. Future classes include American Street Food, Cake Decorating, a Taste of Mexico and more.

Mon Ami Gabi Cooking Classes at Paris Las Vegas
What better locale to learn about French-inspired dishes than at a classic bistro like Mon Ami Gabi? Executive Chef Terry Lynch and his soirée of sommeliers lead cooking demonstrations and tastings on select Saturdays throughout the year.

For more culinary insights and tips to plan your next Las Vegas eating adventure, visit:

Matthew Wexler is EDGE's National Style and Travel Editor. More of his writing can be found at He is also a trained chef and currently writing a food memoir.


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