Let’s not kid ourselves; the most important part of any vacation is The Food.
Not the views, or the experiences, or the friends-and-memories-made. It’s The Food. Also, The Drink.
I am joking, but only mostly.
There’s an Eataly in Chicago that the boy and I frequent, so finding it in our first hotel in Vegas was a nice treat. A planned one, since we did our research before booking. But as we trekked, exhausted, through the over-crowded casino, bodies tired from the flight, stomachs as empty as a whale is big, seeing the marquee felt like a revelation.
The Las Vegas Eataly is all done up in glass and curves, steel beams and eggshell blues. It smells like baking bread, carbs and good decisions.
If you aren’t familiar with the concept of Eataly, I’ll lay it out for you: Eataly is an Italian marketplace that also hosts several restaurants, bars, bakeries, and a cooking school. Each restaurant tends to specialize in a certain type of food; one, for example, serves various pastas, while another specializes in pizza.
Also, there’s wine everywhere. And a Nutella bar with crepes. If that doesn’t convince you to visit, I don’t know what will.
You know when you’re really drunk and just want to put a lot of food in your mouth? Nacho Daddy has got you covered.
I was too drunk to take any photos, also it was blessedly dark in there, so just let me describe it to you. A mountain of nacho. A white peach margarita served in a literal bowl-of-a-cup the size of my head.
Go there and prosper.
Gordon Ramsay Burger
Man, you really know you’ve made it when you can call your restaurant “Burger.” He’s also got a “Steak,” a “Fish & Chips,” and a “Pub & Grill.”
There is always a line for Burger. I’ll admit, we went there twice, and both times the line stretched at least fifteen bodies long. For the comfort of our wearied souls, Gordon Ramsay’s design team have created a wall that is constantly burning right next to said line. So you can sweat before you eat.
All joking aside, the food here is fantastic. The bun, toasted. The meat, seasoned. The toppings, well-chosen. And the french fries! Any place that has Truffle Parmesan Fries on the menu is a place I want to gorge myself at.
If you’ve ever turned on a TV, chances are you’ve heard of the show Cake Boss, in which a like-able guy bakes and decorates cakes. This is that bakery.
Not the exact one; that one’s in New Jersey. But it’s got the same foods. And damn, is it good. I ate mine too quick to bother with a picture. It was a mound of cheesecake, not a slice, topped with a glazed strawberry. The cheesecake was the perfect consistency; not too hard, not too crumbly. I could have cried.
The bakery also serves cannolis, cookies, pies, cakes…the lot. I’ve sampled a large variety of their inventory and can confirm that it is all worth your time. We also went to this place twice. What can I say.
OTORO Robata Grill & Sushi
If you crave sushi at any point in your visit, OTORO is the place to go. It’s not too pricey, and the ingredients are quality and the ambiance sophisticated.
We ordered several plates to share, which I would recommend as there are so many different delicious and interesting dishes to try.
The Garlic Edamame was spicy and snack-able. The Tiger sushi rolls were the best I’ve ever had; admittedly, I don’t usually like sushi, so the fact that I enjoyed these says something.
We ordered several items from the Robata menu, as well. Robata simply refers to a method of cooking in which the food is cooked over hot charcoal, similar to barbecue. From my experience, it is usually skewered and served on a stick. The Chicken Meatball, Pork Belly, and Togarashi Sirloin Steak were my personal favorites.
Another Gordon Ramsay establishment, this time named after his cooking competition television show.
We really like Gordon Ramsay in our house. He taught me how to make scrambled eggs. Also his food is really good.
Hell’s Kitchen is set up to mirror the set of the show, with the kitchen divided into a red team and a blue team. The thin, modelesque waitresses all wear tiny golden pitchforks on chains around their necks. The waiters all look like devils, though the only thing that makes me think that is the suspenders. I don’t know why.
There are pitchforks hanging from the ceiling and embroidered on the napkins.
I loved it.
Through the far window, you can see Las Vegas’s version of Paris and the Eiffel Tower lighting up the Strip. Writing it out, it sounds kitschy, but it really isn’t. All these weird little details combine to make the establishment stand out in the best way.
We got the Wagyu Meatballs and Lobster Risotto for starters, then followed it up with Jidori Chicken, Baked Macaroni and Cheese, Brussel Sprouts, and, of course, the famous Beef Wellington.
Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill
My favorite restaurant of the trip, we also went here on two separate occasions. On our first visit, I ordered the Chicken Tortilla Soup and a Blackberry Moscow Mule, which changed my life. We also tried the Truffled Potato Chips. Chef’s kiss.
Jealous of my boyfriend’s Prime Flat Iron Steak topped with Blue Cheese Butter with a french fry accompaniment, we went back to split it and the Lobster Bisque.
Five out of five stars, I would eat here for every meal of my life if distance and money couldn’t stop me.
Trevi Italian Restaurant
This restaurant deserves a spot on this list simply because it provides free bread and olive oil. It is my humble opinion that every restaurant should do this, no matter the genre.
Please, make this happen.
Pair the soft, warm bread with a nice white wine, and you’ve got yourself paradise. They also make a darn good Chicken Marsala and Veal Parmigiana.
The coolest thing about this restaurant, though, is the location. Inside of the Caesar’s Palace shopping district, it sits next to a fountain brimming with water and pegasi. The ceiling is high and domed and painted and lit to look like the sky at sunset, and the shops around it are all designed to look like storefronts in Rome. It was the most relaxing meal of the trip.
So there you have it. Eight awesome places to stuff yourself in Vegas. Of course, this is just a small sampling of everything Las Vegas has to offer; there are literally hundreds of restaurants to choose from on the Strip alone. If you’re able to try them all, please let me know.