Food & Drink

Las Vegas: The place the Locals Eat

Food halls, off-the-Strip chef-driven eating places, neighborhood eateries: Here’s how you can eat like a neighborhood in Las Vegas, in response to one.

Las Vegas is chock-full of eating places, all clamoring in your {dollars}. There are vacation spot eating places like Restaurant Guy Savoy the place you possibly can splurge on the Michelin-starred French chef’s 10-course meal (together with his signature Colors of Caviar); common eateries named for movie star cooks (Gordon Ramsay has six alone); a handful of supper clubs that present a chic dinner and a present; tons of fast grab-and-go spots, and all the things in between. But did you ever surprise the place the locals eat in Las Vegas?

When the eating scene in Las Vegas adjustments, it occurs quickly. And the pandemic did simply that. The metropolis’s buffets had been hit onerous; a lot of them closed and by no means reopened. Lots of these areas have been reworked into spectacular meals halls with significantly better choices than these staple buffet dishes, attracting extra locals alongside the vacationers. Take, for example, Resorts World Las Vegas’ Famous Foods Street Eats, which affords correct Shandong dumplings and char kway teow, Filipon lechon, and (straight out of Houston) Vietnamese-tinged Texas BBQ, at Blood Bros. Aria Resort & Casino’s Proper Eats Food Hall is one other one with nice range in delicacies.

Another large change in Vegas that served the locals nicely? Many of the highest cooks have moved away from The Strip and into the neighborhoods, the place individuals truly stay. While there are nonetheless loads of worthy eating places on the Strip, we’ll save these suggestions for an additional day and concentrate on a couple of locations the place locals like to eat in Las Vegas.


Honey Salt

Honey Salt is a main instance of why locals don’t depart their neighborhoods: It’s been a stable eating vacation spot for over a decade. Not removed from Red Rock Canyon, it opened on town’s far west aspect, locally of Summerlin, in 2012 and continues to shock with an revolutionary, ever-changing menu. Husband-and-wife staff Elizabeth Blau and chef Kim Canteenwalla have constructed a little bit of an empire all through the Las Vegas Valley and with eating places in Dallas and Vancouver, Canada.  

Honey Salt combines informal vibes and upscale shows with the bonus of off-Strip costs. Fancy doesn’t stay right here, besides in terms of the menu. This place is all concerning the inventive dishes you possibly can’t actually discover wherever else.

Start with an order of pull-apart mozzarella and Parmesan cheese monkey bread and a few spinach-and-artichoke blue crab fondue. A go-to starter, seasonally out there, is the burrata and mission fig arugula salad, with shaved barlett pears, pomegranate seeds, and a sunflower seed brittle—and don’t ignore the “add shaved dark chocolate” possibility (belief me, it really works). Entrees vary from braised quick ribs and a home-style bacon-wrapped meatloaf to a forged iron-seared branzino and a rattling good burger—all of it depending on the very best seasonal components. 1031 S. Rampart Blvd., map

Cheesy chive egg toast from Esther's Kitchen, Las Vegas

Esther’s Kitchen

Chef James Trees, a James Beard Award finalist, is a little bit of an outdated soul. Born and raised in Las Vegas, Trees stayed residence and constructed a profession and repute with an important eatery. Esther’s Kitchen, named after the nice aunt who taught him to prepare dinner and financed his culinary training, was one of many first openings within the metropolis’s revitalized Arts District when it relocated to Casino Center Boulevard in 2023.

If I needed to choose a time to go to Esther’s it could be for brunch. From the “Toast Things” part of the menu, there’s all the things from tacky chive eggs to prosciutto-and-fontina biscuits or smoked trout. Cinnamon apple pancakes, Nutella and orange French toast, porchetta Benedict, and truffle polenta are among the many egg-heavy brunch choices. Housemade pasta, three-day sourdough pizza, and seasonal dishes reign on the lunch and dinner menus. 1130 S. Casino Center Blvd, map


The Black Sheep

This is completely one among my favourite eating places within the metropolis. It’s a troublesome reservation, deservedly so—the meals right here is simply excellent. Tucked away within the southwest Rhodes Ranch neighborhood, The Black Sheep is thought for its amped-up, top-notch Vietnamese-American meals. 

The restaurant is helmed by 2022 greatest chef James Beard finalist and Top Chef: Portland contestant Jamie Tran, who tweaks the comfort-food recipes she discovered from her dad and mom with the basic French approach she gained working underneath cooks Charlie Palmer and Daniel Boulud.

The bao sliders, with crispy shallots and a fried quail egg, get a kick from jalapeño aioli. The Thai basil shrimp ceviche is tangy and contemporary, and the grilled Spanish octopus can compete with any I’ve had within the Mediterranean. You’ll additionally discover a crispy seared duck breast entrée and complete fried fish served with jasmine rice and a gingery rice wine vinegar sauce. 8680 W. Warm Springs Rd., map

A spread of Japanese food from Raku in Las Vegas

Aburiya Raku

Poll the cooks on this metropolis to see the place they slink into for a chunk and most of the time, you’ll hear them say Raku. And why not? Despite its strip-mall location, it’s been a hub of the hip and the in-the-know because it opened in 2008, and its long-standing repute continues to stay on.

For all these years, three-time James Beard Award semifinalist Mitsuo Endo has specialised in charcoal-grilled skewers, serving dishes like foie gras skewer, Iberico kushi, teriyaki pork rib, and direct-flamed eggplant. (Condé Nast Traveler says Raku is for diners who’re “dead serious about their ingredients.”) The housemade tofu is outstanding, and the 2 omakase tasting menus are positively the best way to go. With 85 kinds of sake and pairings out there, it’s a spot that invitations indulging. 5030 Spring Mountain Rd., map

A spread of hand-pulled noodles and pancakes from Shang Artisan Noodle

Shang Artisan Noodle

This smooth and stellar noodle home has only a few tables with a few dozen counter-service seats dealing with the open kitchen, the place cooks hand-pull the noodles Shang is thought for. Using methods and recipes that date again centuries, Shang prides itself on honoring and elevating the wheat-heavy delicacies of Shanxi, in landlocked northern China, and it definitely delivers.

Even although you’ll need to get proper to the springy, silky noodles, don’t skip the appetizers. The beef pancakes are an absolute should, one thing I order upon strolling within the door. Other spectacular starters are the pork and cabbage potstickers and the meat and onion dumplings.

Shang’s well-known noodles are available in some ways, moist or dry. I often gravitate towards the noodle soup aspect of issues. Depending on temper, it may very well be a conventional beef brisket, a pork stomach, or a seafood noodle. No soup for you? There are additionally good stir-fried rice and chow mein dishes, together with scrumptious dan-dan noodles and an always-comforting tomato and scrambled egg noodle. 4983 W. Flamingo Rd. A, map


Le Thai

Le Thai was actually a game-changer for downtown Las Vegas. A staple because it opened in late 2011, it was one of many first critical eating places to dive into the Fremont Street enlargement. The small area is at all times packed, due to the dedication of chef Dan Coughlin. Inspired by his grandma’s Thai dishes, he elevated his household’s basic recipes into the dishes Le Thai is thought for in the present day.

Specialties embody his quick rib fried rice, his signature three-color curry (a mix of crimson, yellow, and inexperienced curries), an oxtail beef and meatball noodle soup, and a waterfall beef stir-fried in a garlic soy sauce with sticky rice. You actually can’t go improper. Two areas, together with the unique at 523 Fremont St., map


Spread of tacos from Tacos El Gordo.

Tacos El Gordo

From meals vans to genuine Mexican heritage mom-and-pop outlets, there are a bunch of respectable taco spots throughout Las Vegas. And though this can be a chain with roots courting to Nineteen Nineties San Diego (2010 in Las Vegas), it’s included right here due to its inexpensive, scrumptious menu of straightforward Tijuana-style tacos tucked into handmade corn tortillas.

This is a fast-paced ambiance, so that you’ll need to know what you need earlier than stepping in line. The meals is served cafeteria-style, so that you’ll file via ordering (or pointing at) what you need. Past the cashier you’ll discover a salsa bar (inexperienced and crimson, each gentle and spicy) together with contemporary guacamole.

Aside from carne asada, beef, and pork, El Gordo is exclusive in providing the kinds of meats usually discovered solely in Mexico (and throughout Latin America) and closely Mexican communities. We’re speaking cabeza (beef head), tripa (beef gut), buche (pork abdomen), and tender lengua (beef tongue). These are delicacies value giving a whirl. I by no means thought I’d develop into a fan of a few of them, and but right here I’m. The menu, after all, extends past tacos; there are carne asada fries, quesadillas, sopes, tostadas, and extra.

The subsequent time you’re in Las Vegas, make it level to get off the Strip and eat like a neighborhood at a few of these different eating choices—you gained’t be upset.


About the creator: Ryan Slattery has lived in Las Vegas for twenty years. When he’s not writing about meals and town’s different quirks, he’s touring. Ryan has visited greater than 60 international locations searching for the very best locations to eat.

Featured picture by 123 Chroma Pixels/Flickr.

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