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Las Vegas for Foodies

September 2, 2013 By: David Moseder


Key West Luxury Village
ARIA’s Five50 Pizza Bar blends the soul of an iconic pizzeria with the dynamic of a lively bar scene.



According to the MMGY Global 2013 Portrait of American Travelers, more than six in 10 (64 percent) leisure travelers find “an opportunity to eat different and unusual cuisines” desirable on a vacation. This is especially so among affluent travelers, as well as Millennials and Xers. And while dining out may not be top-of-mind with clients interested in visiting Las Vegas, it can be a strong selling point. Let them know that they can easily find a great variety of “different and unusual cuisines” in Las Vegas—in many cases without even leaving their hotel.

Las Vegas and its hotels pride themselves on the great number and variety of dining options available, part of the well-rounded vacation experience that keeps visitors coming back for seconds.

From upscale restaurants with eye-catching decor to trendy bistros and gourmet burger and pasta eateries, visitors to Las Vegas can find virtually any type of cuisine, complemented by an ambiance suited to their tastes. Odds are they’ll also find a place to dine curated by one of their favorite celebrated chefs; Gordon Ramsay, Emeril Lagasse and Wolfgang Puck are just a few of the top names attached to Las Vegas dining rooms, and they are a legitimate draw. In fact, Art Jimenez, senior director of leisure sales for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, believes that “Las Vegas has grown to become a premiere culinary destination fueled by [its] comprehensive collection of celebrity chefs.” 

Food & Wine All-Star Weekend

For the truly dedicated foodies among your clientele, the fourth annual Food & Wine All-Star Weekend will be held in Las Vegas from October 4-6, 2013. Chefs Joel Robuchon, Michael Mina and Shawn McClain will headline the event, hosted at ARIA Resort & Casino, Bellagio and MGM Grand. Guests can meet and dine with the chefs at nine events, including a six-course menu with a wine pairing at Robuchon’s namesake, three-Michelin-star restaurant, after which diners will receive an autographed copy of his cookbook.

Five50 Pizza Bar at ARIA will host a late-night party featuring signature slices from Chef McClain paired with a selection from a collection of American craft beers. Chef McClain will also showcase his first casual concept during the event. During “Burger Bash with Joel Robuchon and Michael Mina,” seven Las Vegas restaurants will compete in creating a burger for guests. Attendees can enjoy the burgers with celebrity chef judges Mina, creator of the new PUB 1842 at MGM Grand, and Robuchon.


New restaurants keep popping up all the time at hotels and on the Strip, so even repeat visitors—a demographic that represent five out of every six guests over the last five years—will always have a new gastronomic adventure to look forward to.

Following is a sampling of some of the most recent restaurant openings in Las Vegas and a few that are about to burst upon the scene.

Asian Cuisine

Hakkasan, the newest restaurant at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, opened in May. The menu, supervised by Michelin-starred Chef Ho Chee Boon, takes a modern approach to authentic Cantonese cuisine. Boon and his team of wok and dim sum chefs are responsible for Hakkasan classics such as stir-fried black pepper rib-eye beef with Merlot, and silver cod with champagne and Chinese honey. On the first level is the main dining area, separated by latticed woodwork known as the “Cage,” allowing for intimate dining spaces within the main room while still sharing the signature bathed-in-blue atmosphere of the entire dining area. There’s a private dining room on the second level.

The Nobu Restaurant and Lounge at the new Nobu Hotel Caesars Palace has a sushi bar, a private dining area and an impressive selection of dishes including Nobu’s signature items such as black cod with miso, rock shrimp tempura, yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno and squid “pasta.” Other options include kushiyaki, specialty tempura and sushi.

At Andrea’s, which opened at Wynn’s Encore Resort late last year, Chef Joseph Elevado’s hip Asian menu includes Wagyu beef and lobster roll, rock shrimp tempura, and New York strip steak with Wasabi demi glace. Live DJs provide the accompanying soundtrack. Note: Be sure to let your vegan clients know that Wynn and Encore have teamed up with vegan Chef Tal Ronnen to offer gourmet vegan dishes at Andrea’s and other restaurants through the two hotels.

Steak and Seafood

Some people may only know Chef Tom Colicchio as a judge on the Bravo reality TV series Top Chef, but dedicated steak lovers know him for his passion for cooking with fire. And that’s what he’s doing at the brand new Heritage Steak, which opened last month in the Atrium at The Mirage. The focus is on meats (from antibiotic-free, heritage-breed animals) prepared entirely over an open flame—from wood-burning ovens to charcoal grills.

In February, the Heraea bistro and sports lounge opened at the Palms Casino Resort. Heraea serves up a contemporary take on classic American food, such as filet mignon and New York strip steaks, along with king crab cones with avocado and sriracha aioli sauce, piquillo pepper poppers (a mix of short rib, mascarpone and horseradish stuffed peppers) and chili cheese fondue. At night Heraea has live music, percussionists, beat boxing and DJs.

Pasta, Pizza and Burgers

At Aria, Chef Shawn McClain put his spin on classic East Coast style pizza to create Five50 Pizza Bar, which opened earlier this summer. McClain, creator of Aria’s Artisanal American cuisine haven, Sage, has concocted a menu that goes beyond pizzeria fare to also include a selection of shared plates, small bites, handmade pastas and decadent desserts, complemented by an array of craft beers. 


At The Palazzo, “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro is busy preparing the menu for his new Italian-American eatery, Buddy V’s, schedule to debut in the fall. Inspired by Valastro’s family gatherings and the beloved recipes passed down by his mother, grandmother and aunts, Buddy V’s is the first restaurant venture for the internationally renowned baker known for his exuberant personality and intricate custom cakes.

Next door at The Venetian, B&B Burger and Beer is set to open in September. It will be run under the auspices of Chef Mario Batali and his partner/winemaker Joseph Bastianich, the team responsible for the gourmet Italian B&B Ristorante, also at The Venetian.

This past December, celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay opened two eateries, the Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Palace, and Gordon Ramsay BurGR at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. Fellow TV icon Guy Fieri will open a restaurant, his first in Las Vegas, at The Quad Resort & Casino later this year.

Above the Town and Downtown

Scheduled to open this fall, Dinner in the Sky is exactly what the name implies. Diners will be suspended 180 feet above Las Vegas, securely strapped into 22 seats at one of two seven-ton tables. Dinner packages will start at $290 per person and include a three-course meal, with wine pairings, and a complimentary photo as a memento of the experience.

Among the top new choices in Downtown Las Vegas is La Comida, an upscale Mexican restaurant run by Michael and Jenna Morton, who own the wine bar La Cave at the Wynn.



La Comida
La Comida serves upscale Mexican cuisine in a festive setting.


Las Vegas News

Agents Can Cash in With Forum Shops

The Forum Shops at Caesars in Las Vegas is now a designated participant of the Simon Shopping Destinations program. The program, valid through June 30, 2014, gives travel agents and tour operators a chance to earn quarterly awards on a property-by-property basis. Twenty five Simon Malls, 67 Premium Outlets and 10 Mills properties will be included in the program.

Each quarter there will be: one prize of $1,000 for most clients referred to any of the participating Simon properties; one prize of $250 for most clients referred to each Simon property (102 prizes awarded each quarter); and one prize of $500 in a random drawing to take place on October 5, 2013; January 5, 2014; April 5, 2014; and July 5, 2014. There is no purchase necessary to win.

Be a Rock Star—at a Discount is offering $100 off “Be a Rock Star for a Day” packages in Las Vegas. Valued at $899, they include a two hour session in a studio, jam session with three professional touring/studio musicians, a digital recording of your session, a Fantasy Camp photo of you jamming with your rock stars, a digital video of your live performance, and a $250 credit voucher toward a future Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp experience. Offer applies to bookings made between now and December 31, 2013, and you must book the promotional ticket type to receive discount. Some restrictions apply.

The D Las Vegas Hosts Rock Concerts

Speaking of rock stars, The D Las Vegas will host three concert events on the Third Street Stage of the Fremont Street Experience. The lineup will include Uncle Kracker on September 26, and Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington on September 27 and Kid Rock on September 28. VIP packages are available through the website. It’s something of an anniversary celebration for The D, which opened just over one year ago. Set for Conference at Caesars

Registration is open for’s 16th Annual International Conference & Trade Show, June 8-12, 2014, at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Early bird registration for members is available for $79 through the end of September, allowing attendees to reserve a spot in classes and for pre- and post-tour opportunities.

What do you think of this $type?


About the Author

David Moseder
David Moseder is the Managing Editor for Travel Agent Magazine.

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By David Moseder | September 2, 2013
New restaurants representing a variety of cuisines are opening all the time.