Las Vegas is one of the most exciting and chaotic cities in the world, awash with travellers who have come to find the hottest party, the biggest win and to bask in the glow of high-rollers, neon lights and the incredible atmosphere. There’s a party on every corner and each casino beckons you with more and more revelry to come. To guide you through this 24-hour party I’ve put together the Top 10 places to eat in Las Vegas partnered with the mood, scenario (and depth of hangover) that you will find yourself in. Enjoy!
- When you’ve had a big club night.
After a night at Hakkasan, Drai’s or XS, book a day bed or cabana at the MGM Grand Reviv pool (no kids!) and be waited on hand and foot in your hungover and confused state. Eat the Breakfast Sandwich (croissant, omelet, cheese and bacon) and the Club Wrap (ham, turkey, bacon, Swiss, mayo, avocado, salad and served with waffle fries). The Buffalo Chicken Tenders are also boss. Drink the Ginger Mojito in the massive souvenir cup and go float in the pool. Life will be much better.
Day bed cost – USD$150.00 including minimum spend on food and drinks, gratuity will be included on top of your final bill but it’s nice to put a bit extra in for your server who’s been running around in 41C heat all day.
- When you’re feeling fancy.
Café Bellagio at the Bellagio serves breakfast, lunch and dinner overlooking the very glam and retro pool area. I can vouch for the breakfast menu, especially the Maryland Crab Cakes Benedict, which are positively stuffed with sweet crab and served with an excellent hollandaise. The Brioche French Toast is also a favourite of mine; it’s not too eggy, very fluffy and exceedingly moreish so wear something baggy and enjoy every sweet and flavourful mouthful. When you walk in through the foyer of the Bellagio don’t forget to look up, the ceiling is adorned with blown Murano glass that looks like massive flowers. The Bellagio is also a major celebrity hot spot, I saw Nene Leakes while I was there! Get that money, honey!
Approximate cost for breakfast for two people (coffees, juice, meal) – USD$60 excluding gratuity.
- When you’re drunk after hanging out on Fremont Street.
Fremont Street is a drinker’s paradise and the bars are full of the kind of characters that you can only find in Las Vegas. Mr G&J and I parked ourselves at Bar 46 at the iconic Golden Nugget, which has an outdoor seating area and easy access to the spectacle that is the Fremont Street Experience. Americans have a reputation for pounding light, watery beer and acting like frat boys but they are actually serious drinkers. Look how far they went during the Prohibition to get smashed. That kind of dedication is admirable. So when you’re ordering your vodka, lime and soda bear in mind that they commonly do shots ‘free pour’. That way you won’t wind up pumping $200 into a terrible but shiny slot machine called ‘Bamboo Panda’ because ‘the panda was looking at me and his little fuzzy face is soooo cuuuuute’ like I did.
We were served (many) drinks at Bar 46 by the most charming Las Vegan barman called Jeff and made friends with some Hawaiians that were forced to move to Las Vegas due to being chased by the FBI. Only in Vegas, right? Admittedly I can only remember patches of the evening, but the garlic fries and onion rings at The Grille at The Golden Nugget are smashing. Get them in your face and continue the party, there’s live rock music on the main stage directly outside and Baby Man, who dresses as an adult baby that you can have your photo taken with. All this and more awaits you, friend.
Approximate cost for burger, garlic fries, onion rings and a drink – USD$?? I was drunk.
- When you’re a carnivore.
I have a theory that everyone who comes to Vegas is either channeling The Hangover or Swingers. Some people might say Casino, but I say you’re liars. You come to Vegas either wanting the most extreme party of your life or to channel the kind of effortless swagger that only Vince Vaughn could pull off.
Unfortunately not all of us are born with that swagger, but we can visit places that provide us with a reflected glow of swagger. Like hanging out with an arty friend or a mate that DJs immediately makes you that bit cooler, so does going for dinner at Brand at the Monte Carlo. The lighting is low, the booths are intimate, and the cream and black interior is sophisticated. It’s very fortunate that a place that looks this good can also back it up with a great kitchen that produces excellent food. Warning, the bread is INSANE. It’s like a brioche but with an almost marshmallow texture, it’s so good. I recommend the jumbo white shrimp cocktail to start (the clue is in the name) and then unhinge your jaw for the bone in rib eye (14 ounce), mine was cooked a perfect medium rare. I also went with the goat’s cheese sauce, which was whipped and baked and so savoury and tangy, and the mac and cheese and screamed spinach on the side. All excellent. Bring your appetite!
Approximate cost for dinner for two people (bottle of wine, two appetisers, two steaks, two sauces, two sides) – USD$180 excluding gratuity.
- When you’re channeling old-school Rat Pack Vegas.
Carmine’s at Caesar’s Palace has big balls. Meatballs that is, some of the largest I’ve ever seen. The meatballs are the only massive things, the portions are extraordinary as the majority of the menu is served ‘family style’, to get you right into the Italian-American mindset. So you will see Caesar salads the size of boats, mountains of pasta and magnums of wine all flying past you. They do cater for smaller groups and Mr G&J and I were more than happy with our jumbo white shrimp starter (the spicy dipping sauce is incredible) and a plate of meatballs to share. While you’re eating you keep expecting to see Frank Sinatra out of the corner of your eye, that’s the vibe of Carmine’s. Coming back to the meatballs, you really have to have them. They’re soft and moist and packed with herbs, genuinely they best meatballs I have ever eaten.
Approximate cost for dinner for two people (shared appetiser, shared main, four beers) – USD$60.00 excluding gratuity.
- When you’re having breakfast in bed because you have ‘Vegas ‘flu’.
‘Vegas ‘flu’ isn’t commonly talked about on message boards giving advice on how to manage the craziness that is Las Vegas, so let Auntie Tiffany give you a tip. The air conditioning in the casinos coupled with the dry desert air will wreck havoc on your sinuses, so don’t begrudge yourself some time in your room, unable to move and crunching on painkillers. Turn off the air con (bear with me) and open the outdoor ventilation vents, which should be near the windows in your room. If you’re staying at MGM Grand there’s an excellent patisserie called Corner Cakes where you can get pastries, donuts and a myriad of cakes. My choice is the screaming pink iced donut that’s prettier than Liberace and black filter coffee. You’ll feel better in no time. You’re welcome.
Approximate cost for one regular coffee and one donut – USD$6.00 excluding gratuity.
- When you’ve spent the day in the Mojave Desert.
Get out of Las Vegas. Yes, I know I’ve just spent the last few paragraphs making your head spin with how bacchanalian the place is and all the different foods you can stuff in your face. But listen, get out of Las Vegas. Hire a car or book a tour and get yourself out to Red Rock Canyon, one of the most beautiful and magnetic places of natural beauty that I have even seen. Las Vegas is crazy; the desert will heal your soul. Trust. And to nom? Hecho en Vegas tamales of course, daubed in sauces the colours of the Mexican flag and filled with corn, chicken and beef with green olives. Fresh and tangy, filling but like Red Rock, you’ll be left with energy to spare to get back to the circus of bright lights and temptation.
Approximate cost for dinner for two (chips and salsa, two entrees, one massive margarita and two beers) – USD$60.00 excluding gratuity.
- When you want more likes on your Instagram.
Las Vegas is a very Insta-worthy destination so expect your likes to go up anyway. But go and smash the classic Bacon, Egg and Cheese Sandwich at Eggslut at the Cosmopolitan and BOOM, INSTAFAME BITCHES. Everything on the menu is delicious and your follower numbers will rise as rapidly as your cholesterol count. #blessed
Cost for one Bacon, Egg and Cheese Sandwich – USD$8.00 excluding gratuity.
- When you’re jetlagged and you want the sweet escape of a food coma.
The flight from London to Las Vegas is about 10 hours, which can be a bit grueling for some people. My advice is to have a few drinks on the plane and pass out while watching a distinctly average film. When you arrive and have queued for two hours to check in to your hotel (I’m not kidding) go and get yourself to the Michael Mina Pub 1842 at the MGM Grand and order The Double Smoked Bacon Burger.
The Double Smoked Bacon Burger is a colossus. American portions tend to be unreal anyway, but this burger could pass as a birthday cake, such is its circumference. It’s comprised of a juicy beef patty, American and smoked Gouda cheeses, crunchy streaky bacon rashers and bacon jam. Eat it. Eat all of it. Relish in it until beef fills your lungs then take yourself directly to bed within 20 minutes because the Sandman will be coming for you. All the blood will drain away from your brain and limbs, leaving you ever so heavy and catatonic. Sleep deeply on a pillow of burger dreams and wake the next day ready for poker at 8am.
Approximate cost of dinner for two people (two beers, two burgers and fries) – USD$40.00 excluding gratuity.
- When you want a seat next to the greatest show in Vegas.
Jasmine at the Bellagio serves an elegant modern Cantonese menu and I would recommend ordering The Jasmine Experience so you can taste all the highlights of this restaurant. The standouts were the Imperial Hot and Sour Soup (rich and spicy with delicious crispy wontons), the Steamed Chilean Sea Bass (served with a delicate crust of green ginger) and the Braised Kobe Short Ribs (meltingly savoury). One thing to distract your gaze from the food is the famous Bellagio fountains, which Jasmine sits right next to. Get a table here and you’ll have found yourself the best dinner and a show in all of Las Vegas.
Cost of dinner for two people (two Jasmine Experience menus with matching wine) – USD$315.52 excluding gratuity.
Disclaimer: I did not receive any incentives, financial or otherwise for my reviews and recommendations, all opinions my own!