Las Vegas is easily known as a land flowing with King Crab Legs and cocktails, but in recent years, the home of the ridiculously cheap surf and turf special has become a culinary mecca in its own right. Yes, there are still buffets, and several of them are worth eating at — but Vegas has more than that. If you’re willing to do a little research before your trip, eating in Vegas can be as much as experience as some of the shows (Cough, Britney Spears, cough) you see. We wanted to take a little of the guess work out of planning your trip for you, so we took it upon ourselves to start eating our way through Sin City. Choosing favorite foods is always like choosing a favorite child, but we’ve compiled a list anyway.
1) Fried Chicken Benedict at Hash Hash A Go Go
We had breakfast at Hash Hash A Go Go on our first morning, and made the mistake of ordering two entrees. One sat completely untouched, because the two of us couldn’t even finish off one order of their famed Benedict. We highly recommend the fried chicken and chipotle cream benedict — and unless you have the appetite of a young elephant, its enough for two. If you need any more of an incentive to check this place out for breakfast, or a late night snack, Neil Patrick Harris has eaten here before. This might not be a huge selling point for most people, but Barney Stinson has a golden stamp of approval in my book.
2) Goat Cheese Queso at Mundo
We’ve already sung the praises of Mundo, a gem that we discovered outside the Strip. For starters, it has impeccable ambiance, with mixed seating, and ornamental lamps hung from the ceiling. The look is complete with a bounty of softly lit candles in wall sconces. Seriously — this place is romantic and beautiful. The food is some of the best we had in Vegas. Mundo does a fantastic job putting a creative twist on traditional Mexican dishes. Our favorite was the goat cheese queso, served with tortillas instead of chips. They also have the best elote we’ve ever eaten.
3) The Turkey Pastrami at Culinary Dropout
We loved having brunch at Culinary Dropout in the Hard Rock Hotel. For starters, their coffee cups are the size of soup bowls. I don’t know if anyone else is as inflicted with caffeine addiction as I am, but tiny coffee cups at brunch places is a major turn off. Culinary Dropout has their breakfast and lunch menu available on weekend brunches, and at the recommendation of our great waitress, I got the Turkey Pastrami. It came on a pretzel bun, and was one of the best sandwiches I’ve had. Plus, the chic, eclectic decor of Culinary Dropout is a great compliment to their food.
4) Champagne at the Chandelier Bar
While this is not technically a food related item, it’s such a cool experience that it had to make our list. There are plenty of bars in Vegas, but only one of them is inside a multi-story chandelier. The chandelier is actually the centerpiece of the Cosmopolitan Hotel, and is stunning. This whole experience is great — and makes you want to sing ‘Glamorous’ by Fergie.
5) Espresso and Pastries at Sambalatte
We will passionately argue with anyone that doesn’t think Sambalatte has the best coffee in Las Vegas. They do everything well — drip coffee, lattes, cortados. Whatever your poison, its safe in their talented baristas hands. We also had some of the best pastries here since we left Paris, and have been dreaming of their croissants.
6) Dark Chocolate Cupcakes from Sprinkles
Yes, I realize that there are Sprinkles cupcakes in cities besides Vegas, but none with quite as late of hours. Also, there’s something incredibly comforting about picking up the most delicious box of a sugar after being out late.
7) Anything from The Wicked Spoon
Most people will try to tell you that Bacchanal is the one Vegas buffet you can’t miss, but we whole heartedly disagree. The Wicked Spoon, inside the Cosmopolitan, might have a little less variety, but makes up for it in presentation and flavor. Personally, I would rather have few options that are well executed, than an abundance that’s poorly done.
There are plenty of restaurants and dishes for you to try on your trip to Vegas — more than you could sample over a lifetime of trips. We hope that our personal favorites, as fellow food-lovers, will help make your trip planning a little easier.