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We’ve put together this Las Vegas Local’s guide to the city based on the places Andrew and I enjoy the most and recommend to friends and family when they visit the desert.
Andrew and I have lived in Las Vegas for about 10 years. Andrew will forgive most things if either the view or food is spectacular. I, on the other hand, love a good view, but well made food and excellent service trump the views any day. Hope you enjoy our picks and leave us a comment below letting us know which ones you tried.
Andrew and his wife, Busi, hit the hiking trails at Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas, and Neeme flies the drone around for some great aerial views. Can they make it back to the car before nightfall hits? Back at the apartment, Andrew pours himself a glass of egg nog and gives us a lesson on expected win rates in live poker.
Downtown Las Vegas
Public Us This is my favourite breakfast spot in downtown Las Vegas. To drink, I recommend the London Smog. (Earl Grey tea with a shot of Espresso). The menu changes seasonally but the breakfast potatoes are to die for and the Buddha bowls are fresh and delicious. For dessert, do help yourself to a slice of bourbon banana bread.
If you’re milling around East Fremont or Container Park and you’re looking for a quick bite, try these spots:
Le Thai Some of, if not the best Thai food you’ll find, and especially at this price point. Quaint little spot on East Fremont that’s become a staple for those in the know.
Cheffinis Hot Dogs: Gourmet hotdogs for the taking. Three favourite hot dogs are the Classic, El Mexicano (Andrew’s fave) and the Grandfather. Vegan dogs available as well.
Park on Fremont Gastropub, good cocktails and a decent draft beer list in a quaint setting. If the weather permits (i.e. it’s not 120 degrees) grab a table in the back patio. Bonus points for discovering the hidden see-saw.
Carson Kitchen is my favourite type of restaurant. Great food, good wine and cocktail list in a beautiful space. It’s hip and trendy but not so much that you need to know the dress code (come as your are). The place is always busy, so be sure to make a reservation for dinner over the weekend. Andrew loves their deviled eggs and the lamb gyros are delicious.
Cornish Pasty Co with it’s church pew seating, and rock playlist, has a GREAT draft beer list. And these amazing baked-to-perfection-pastries with a variety of fillings are hearty. Think peppered steak, chicken tikka masala, hamburger and fries… Yum! Vegetarian and vegan options are available too. Tough to describe but once you have it, you’ll want it again next time.
Velveteen Rabbit A hipster bar in the Arts District with mismatched furniture, serving delicious cocktails and a decent draft beer list. It’s my favorite spot in all of DTLV.
Downtown Cocktail Room serving unique (and very stiff) cocktails paired with deep house music. This is an adult cocktail lounge and I love it. DRC was around before East Fremont was cool. If you’re a lightweight like me (Busi), you need only one cocktail here.
Laundry Roomis a prohibition-themed speakeasy hidden inside the Commonwealth. Enjoy your classic cocktail while you enjoy live music. Reservations by text are necessary as there is only room for about 20 people.
Oak and Ivy is located in the container park. This craft whiskey bar is a must for whiskey enthusiasts. Non whiskey drinkers also have plenty of options here. A sister property Corduroy has just opened on East Fremont. Andrew really digs the 90s-focused playlist at that location.
Atomic Liquors has made many a vlog appearance. It is a beer lover’s must visit destination in DTLV. It is said to be Las Vegas’ oldest free standing bar. The story is that patrons used to climb up on the roof and watch nuclear testing take place in the distance. While you won’t be able to get on the roof today, they have a great patio to enjoy a beverage on while taking in the desert air and East Fremont vibes.
Able Baker Brewing Ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves a proper brewery in DTLV! Great vibe in here, and a great selection of brews. Sit inside at family style bench tables, or on the Main Street patio for some fresh air.
Las Vegas Strip and Surrounding Areas
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BouchonA little cliche but everything–from pastries and classic french dishes to delectable French Toast– is made so well that Bouchon had to make the list.
Mon Ami GabiIf you slept in and missed brunch, grab some lunch or a cheese plate here. Try to get a table on the patio so you can people watching and the enjoy Bellagio Fountains show.
There are so many great dinner options on the strip, if we named them all it would take all day. These are just some of our favourites.
Cleo Although he doesn’t look it, Andrew is part Lebanese and Mediterranean food is the way to his heart. This is the fanciest Mediterranean restaurant we’ve eaten in, and every item we tried on the menu was outstanding. (UPDATE: Cleo has unfortunately departed the SLS/Sahara, but there are rumors about it making a return to the south Strip. We’re waiting to learn more…)
Rose. Rabbit. Lie. A feast for all your senses. Just go and thank me later.
Beauty and Essex Classic American cuisines with a twist. Decor is luxurious and service is solid. Good date night spot.
Javier’sis located at the Aria. It’s fancy Mexican in a gorgeous, cave-like setting with super soft leather seating. Waistcoat wearing servers delivering a tall menu of margaritas and all the 1942 Don Julio your liver can handle in here. The service and food at Javier’s is just lovely.
Mint Indian Bistro is located about 15 mins off strip in a little bit of a dodge-looking part of town. It’s fairly safe, but I would recommend that you take an Uber there and back. You’ll enjoy some pretty delicious briyani, samosas and curry once you’re there.
Kabutooffers an edomae experience. This means that the chef prepares the food right in front of you. The dinner menu is based on the fresh catch for the day. I took Andrew here for his birthday and we both agree that it was the best sushi we’ve ever had. Kabuto is located in a small Korean plaza about 15 minutes off strip. This is a not-to-be-missed experience for all sushi lovers.
Sushi KayaFor an off strip “all you can eat” sushi experience, head here. Everything is always fresh, and service is courteous and fast. This is my pick. Andrew’s is Yama Sushi. We’ve agreed to disagree on this one.
Kinh Do An unpretentious and clean, family-run Vietnamese restaurant that serves delicious pho, banh mis and vermicelli bowls.
NoMad Bar The NoMad Hotel is neatly tucked inside the Park MGM resort, and you’ll find the namesake bar just inside the main driveway entrance. The bartenders are as on point as you’ll find anywhere. Do yourself a favor and order the best-you’ll-ever-have Espresso Martini.
Skybarat the Walforf Astoriahas the some of the best views of the center strip. Add it to your list if you enjoy vistas. Pricey wine and cocktails are the fare for this night time experience, but they do come with free snacks. During the daytime, you can visit the Tea Lounge for some afternoon views. Reservations for the tea lounge are encouraged.
Skyfall Lounge was home to one of the MUGs after-play meetup spots. Another great location to take in strip views (this time from the south, looking north) as you enjoy a libation.
Chandelier Bar Multi story bar, where each floor has it’s own feel and menu. It’s beautiful to gaze and the cocktail offering is impressive.
Parasol Up/ Parasol Down This two story casino bar is just gorgeous. Enjoy the twirling parasols at Parasol Up or the 40 ft waterfall and outdoor seating at Parasol Down. Also, for one of the coolest lobby bar experiences, walk through check-in on the Wynn side, out onto the Terrace Bar.
La Cave competes for my absolute favourite place on the strip. Ask for a seat in the glassed off patio and feel as though you’ve been transported to France. The wine list is wonderful and the food simple and delicious. (I kind of want to keep this place secret.)
Herbs and RyeDon’t be fooled by the unassuming facade, this local’s favourite boasts a dim interior and delectable food. If you are making a pre or post dinner visit, the best seat is at the bar. Let the bartender know your taste and allow him or her create a one of a kind ‘made for you’ cocktail to suit your mood.
Cleaver Newer, sister spot to Herbs and Rye, which just as good and probably a little less of a wait on busy nights over there. Same fantastic drink staff who will create something based on your personal tastes if you don’t want to sort through the extensive menu.
Late night eats
Tacos El Gordo is open until 2am. They serve authentic Tijuana style tacos and they are the best $2.25 per taco you will spend in Las Vegas.
550 pizza located inside the Aria, very close to the poker room, serves exceptional pizza. I used to think the 550 was the price of the pizza. Turns out that’s the temperature of the pizza oven.
Secret Pizza is located down a passage on the third floor of the Cosmopolitan. Open until 4am and slices are under $10. Special feature here: You can choose which toppings to be added to your slice(s).
Peppermill Las Vegas Andrew brought us here in a very early vlog, probably around 5:30am following a poker session. Expect huge portions from the 24-hour diner in a setting that will transport you back to 1950’s Las Vegas. Over on the other side of this legendary location, you can grab a big drink in the Fireside Lounge where they shot a scene from Casino.
The ‘Burbs – Summerlin
Andrew and I lived in Summerlin before moving downtown and my favourite spot for Sunday brunch, any day lunch, and/or dinner spot is Echo & Rig.
This butcher and steakhouse is at least 20 minutes by car, but if you’re looking for a suburb adventure, mosey on down to Summerlin and enjoy exquisite food and very gracious service.
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The drunken goat sandwich is one of our favourite lunch choices, but pick anything that sounds good from the menu, because it probably is.
Poker hands – everything you need to know. If the board (the five community cards called the flop, turn and river) fails to connect with your two private hole cards, then you. Three of a kind. Texas holdem values. Basic Poker Chip Colors and Standard Values. Pink $2.50 (rare for poker; sometimes used in black-jack) Red, $5.
And a little secret… Echo & Rig does not charge corkage, so you can bring your favourite bottle of wine to lunch or dinner.
Hope you enjoy the list and get to try a few of the restaurants and bars while you are in Las Vegas.
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