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The 10 Hottest Restaurants in Las Vegas

By Lesley Balla
March 31, 2014

The Las Vegas restaurant scene is hotter than ever, from the flashiest new mega-restaurants on the Strip to unconventional steakhouses in the suburbs. Whatever you're looking for, whether it's a night full of whimsy, live entertainment and small plates at The Cosmopolitan, lavish dim sum at the MGM or dessert spot in Chinatown, we've got you covered. Here are 10 of the hottest new discoveries you won't want to miss in Sin City.

  • Photo by: Rose.Rabbit.Lie

    Rose.Rabbit.Lie.

    Why It's Hot: Part restaurant, part cabaret and live entertainment venue, RRL is unlike anything that’s hit the Las Vegas Strip thus far. Several different rooms, all equally lavish, whimsical and over-the-top, completely fit The Cosmopolitan’s “just the right amount of wrong” tagline. You can have cocktails in a study after picking your own vinyl for the turntable, move a wall and enter a dining room that looks into various other rooms with random live acts on stages. There’s music everywhere - this isn’t a quiet dinner type of place - and things to see and experience at every turn. Like the name suggests, it's a rabbit hole of a restaurant - you may get caught having fun for hours.

    Must Order: The menu is comprised of small plates and dramatically presented large-format dishes, like the beef Wellington ($275), all meant for sharing. The caviar-stuffed tacos ($15 each), crispy oysters Rockefeller ($16), uni perciatelli ($36) and short rib Stroganoff ($19) are all winning dishes. Don’t miss out on the special cocktails in the Study.

    Insider Tip: While you have to buy tickets for shows in the Canto room - the latest show is the bawdiest - you can dine in any of the other spots with or without reservations. But it’s still best to make them. Book here.

    3708 S. Las Vegas Blvd; 877-667-0585

  • Echo & Rig

    Why It's Hot: Off the Strip in Tivoli Village, this new steakhouse and adjacent butcher shop from Sam Marvin (LA’s Bottega Louie) is worth the drive to Summerlin. The menu, which is comprised of a lot of small plates and side dishes so you can graze, is priced fairly for the suburbs, which is just one reason why it’s pretty hard to get in the door on most nights.

    Must Order: Fried spinach salad ($8.80), roasted garlic mashed potatoes with sharp white cheddar ($5.50), fava beans with burrata ($9.30), sweetbread “nuggets” ($9.30), Kobe hanger steak with herb marinade ($23.50), New York strip ($34.80), fennel-seared swordfish with radishes ($18.20)

    Insider Tip: the downstairs is basically a foyer, sandwich counter and butcher shop, and upstairs is the dining room. Waits can be long during prime time - the locals love the joint - but cocktails at the small bar will help bide your time. Because there’s a butcher shop, you can request special cuts for your plate.

    440 South Rampart Blvd.; 702-570-7400

  • Buddy V’s

    Why It's Hot: Vegas does not want for celebrity chefs, especially those we see on our TVs every week. Buddy Valastro, known mostly from TLC’s Cake Boss, isn’t exactly known for his savory dishes, but the sweets magnate knows a thing or two about Italian food. His sprawling restaurant tucked in a hard-to-find corner of The Canal Shoppes at the Venetian is full-on Italian-American decadence, complete with wine bottles, red leather booths, red checkered napkins, Italian canned goods, rolling pins and more as part of the decor.

    Must Order: You’ll find family-inspired dishes all over the menu, including his grandmother’s meatballs ($13), his wife’s eggplant parm ($12), Buddy’s own caprese ($16) and his dad’s bucatini with pancetta, cracked egg and black pepper ($24). We prefer the actual sweets over the too-sweet cocktails, like the Italian birthday cake with its cannoli filling ($9) or zeppole ($9).

    Insider Tip: There’s now a buffet-style brunch served throughout the restaurant on Sundays that includes a lot of the most popular dishes plus sangria, Bloody Marys, buckets of beer, mimosas and Bellinis. $32.95 per person ($14.95 extra for three drinks), and $14.95 for kids under 10.

    3327 S. Las Vegas Blvd.; 702-607-2355

  • Nobu at the Nobu Hotel

    Why It's Hot: Nobu is so popular in Las Vegas, there’s not just one restaurant but now two, and this one is located inside its new namesake hotel. Hidden inside Caesars Palace, the chic and sprawling space serves the same dishes that you’ll find at other outposts, including sushi and sashimi from the sushi bar, fusion specialties and Zen-inspired cocktails.

    Must Order: Go with what you know: yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno ($24), monkfish pâté with caviar ($30), crispy rice with big-eye tuna ($25), black cod with miso ($30).

    Insider Tip: If you're staying at the Nobu Hotel, make sure to order breakfast room service - it's the only place where you'll taste dishes like crispy rice cake "bagels" topped with lox and tofu cream, or green tea waffles and soba pancakes.

    Caesars Palace Dr.; 702-785-6628

  • B&B Burger & Beer

    Why It's Hot: The celeb-chef burger wars have really heated up in the last year around Las Vegas. Adding to their other properties within the Venetian and Palazzo resorts, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich’s B&B has ostensibly risen to the top of the pack with very good burgers (and more than burgers) and an amalgam of sides that go far beyond french fries.

    Must Order: The Caesar salad ($11), fried oysters with remoulade ($9), meatball sandwich ($16), pastrami sandwich ($14) and any of the burgers, especially the Drive-Thru with its two all-beef patties, American cheese and housemade pickles on a sesame seed bun ($9).

    Insider Tip: There’s a huge patio that faces the Strip for excellent people-watching.

    3355 Las Vegas Strip; 702-414-2220

  • Rx Boiler Room

    Why It's Hot: Rick Moonen ("Rx" stands for "Rick's") transformed the second floor of RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay into this steampunk-themed restaurant and cocktail lounge (think industrial hardware, crystal balls with skulls, bedazzled animal heads and draped velveteen fabrics). His mostly small-plates menu is playful and all over the map, from chicken pot pie nuggets and pickle jars to barramundi almondine.

    Must Order: Bacon-wrapped pork belly and egg on brioche toast ($12), kanpachi tartare tacos ($12), Greek lamb osso buco ($28)

    Insider Tip: When you’re looking for great cocktails on the Strip, the bar here is open till 2 AM serving concoctions like the Time Traveler’s Tea with rum, chai syrup, guava, citrus and ginger beer.

    3950 S. Las Vegas Blvd.; 702-632-7200

  • Photo by: MGM Resorts International

    Heritage Steak

    Why It's Hot: Top Chef head judge Tom Colicchio’s second Vegas steakhouse (he still has Craftsteak at the MGM) specializes in open-flame cooking and features antibiotic-free meats - including Brandt Beef and Snake River Farms - and seasonal market side dishes. Situated at The Mirage, it’s a new go-to for steaks and more.

    Must Order: Grilled romaine with anchovy dressing ($14), grilled octopus with charred leeks and roasted pepper ($18), foie gras with pickled figs ($22), braised short ribs with pickled chilies ($40), Wagyu rib-eye ($58) and hand-cut fries ($10)

    Insider Tip: As with most great Vegas restaurants, the bar is reserved for walk-ins. You can dine on the whole menu right there (and make friends while doing it).

  • Sweets Raku

    Why It's Hot: The dessert-focused sibling to white-hot Raku robata restaurant is hidden in a little shopping complex off the Strip. Spot the large silver spoon on the door and you know you’re there. It’s a tiny spot with only 21 seats, and there are a lot of locals and now tourists all angling to get one. You’ll want to eat everything, even the menu, which coincidentally, is edible.

    Must Order: It’s a prix fixe menu only, and the dishes change regularly. $19 for the dessert tasting, and an extra $7 for optional wine pairings.

    Insider Tip: Try to get a seat at the L-shaped bar where you can watch chef Mio Ogasawara painstakingly create each plate and place it in front of you herself.

    5040 W. Spring Mountain Rd.; 702-290-7181

  • Yonaka

    Why It's Hot: More and more interesting restaurants are opening off the Strip, much to the pleasure of the locals and to tourists willing to leave the glitz and glam behind for a few hours. Yanaka is one of the newer Japanese spots to open, a beautiful space with a large and varied menu of traditional and unique fusion-y dishes.

    Must Order: Sushi and sashimi is around $2-$4 a piece, with creative combinations like uni with candied quinoa, and flounder with preserved lemon and cilantro. Small hot plates include shishito peppers with housemade bacon, and fried chicken karaage with jalapeno and herbs. For meat, there’s Wagyu beef that you sear on hot stones at the table.

    Insider Tip: It’s open late - till 2 AM on the weekends - so you can hop off and on the Strip without missing a beat. There’s also a happy hour at the sushi bar daily.

    4983 W. Flamingo Rd.; 702-685-8358

  • Hakkasan

    Why It's Hot: Almost shrouded by the massive attached nightclub, the latest outpost of this global chain - there are 12 Hakkasans around the world - is a temple to high-end Cantonese cuisine - with the lavish decor and prices to match. 

    Must Order: As at all of the Hakkasan locations, the intricate dim sum platter ($28) is incredible. Other signature dishes include the hakka noodles, crispy duck salad and stir-fry black pepper beef. There’s a whole Peking duck that will set you back almost $300, but it’s served with caviar.

    Insider Tip: Dining at the restaurant does not secure you entry into the nightclub, which features famous DJs nightly.

    3799 S. Las Vegas Blvd.; 702-891-7888

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Places Mentioned

Raku

Japanese • Spring Valley

Food28 Decor20 Service23 Cost$57
 
 
 
Rx Boiler Room

New American • The Strip

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
Nobu Restaurant and Lounge

Japanese • The Strip

Food27 Decor23 Service24 Cost$88
 
 
 
Tom Colicchio's Heritage Steak

Steakhouse • The Strip

Food- Decor- Service- CostVE
 
 
 
Buddy V's

Italian • The Strip

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
Echo & Rig Butcher and Steakhouse

Steakhouse • Northwest

Food- Decor- Service- CostE
 
 
 
Sweets Raku

Dessert • Spring Valley

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
B&B Burger & Beer

Burger • The Strip

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
YONAKA MODERN JAPANESE

Japanese • Spring Valley

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
Hakkasan Restaurant

Chinese • The Strip

Food- Decor- Service- CostVE
 
 
 
 
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