This year, the Las Vegas Strip saw iconic restaurants reopened, celebrity chefs expanding their empires and new spots that are both eclectic and eccentric. Best of all: there’s more on the horizon. Here’s the roundup of Las Vegas resort restaurants openings and announcements this year.
The 2017 Las Vegas gastronomy scene started out strong right off the bat; at The Venetian Las Vegas, The Dorsey cocktail bar debuted on New Year’s Eve. A collaborative effort from several New York City mixologists and chefs, The Dorsey carries the famous Scotch-based Penicillin cocktail, one of the 11 essential drinks of the “modern cocktail revival,” according to the New York Times.
That same month, The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas became the fifth location of David Chang’s Momofuku restaurant supergroup. Its iconic Asian menu draws from American, Korean, Japanese and Chinese influences with favorites such as Fuku chicken sandwiches and ramen. This Vegas location also has an adjacent Momofuku Milk Bar, where foodies can try celebrity chef Christina Tosi’s quirky, but nonetheless acclaimed desserts and pastries.
January was a strong month for The Cosmopolitan; not long after Momofuku the resort welcomed Zuma, an ultra-modern Japanese izakaya restaurant concept. The restaurant has three unique kitchens—a main kitchen, a sushi counter and the robata grill which features plates both small and large designed to be shared. Some chef recommendations are the tori no tebasaki (sake glazed chicken wings with sea salt and lime) and the dynamite spider sushi roll (soft-shell crab, chili and wasabi tobiko mayo).
Over at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, the neo-American restaurant Aureole re-opened in early 2017 following a major redesign. Helmed by Chef Charlie Palmer, Aureole has earned its Michelin star every year for the past decade. Aureole has a lengthy wine selection and upscale American cuisine, like its beef and octopus carpaccio.
Up the strip from Mandalay Bay, the Plaza Hotel & Casino introduced Brightside – Breakfast and Burgers. Rounding out the luxurious Vegas culinary scene with a more modest dining experience reminiscent of a New York style deli, Brightside is open all day and late into the night (till 2AM on weekends!), serving traditional breakfast items, made-to-order sandwiches and burgers.
Similar to The Dorsey at The Venetian, The Palazzo Las Vegas introduced The Aquatic Club this past April. Besides its, retro, vintage beach-vibe and live poolside music, The Aquatic Club offers a number of cocktails as well as poolside fare from Wolfgang Puck, including sushi, salads and the chef’s signature pizzas.
Few openings this year are quite as exciting as that of Tipsy Robot this past June. Though not quite a resort location, the bar is just across the way from The Cosmopolitan. Tipsy Robot ushers patrons into the world of automated cocktails; guests order their drinks, like the Galactic Grapefruit or Titanium Fusion, on one of 33 tablets. One of the two titular robotic arms then prepares the cocktail within 60 to 90 seconds, blending, shaking, stirring and pouring. When not preparing cocktails, the robotic arms slice fruit and even dance to the spot’s EDM soundtrack. Luddites can head to the adjacent bar where flesh-and-blood humans can serve the beer, wine and soda that the robots do not.
A number of celebrity chefs and Food Network personalities also made forays into the Las Vegas restaurant scene this year. This past June, Top Chef Masters Chef Lorena Garcia became the first Latina to helm a restaurant at a major strip resort with CHICA, at The Venetian. At CHICA, guests can experience Garcia’s take on her native Venezuelan cuisine with other South American and Mexican influences, like Meyer lemon rotisserie chicken with Peruvian purple potato salad.
Emeril Lagasse also expanded his Vegas portfolio this year. At The Palazzo this past July, Lagasse debuted The Biergarten, which serves up Lagasse’s upscale take on traditional German fare alongside an array of craft beers and cocktails. The venue also serves as a spot to watch sports and listen to live music.
Following a bold restaurant announcement last year, where he rappelled 22 floors down the side of the Tropicana Las Vegas, Food Network personality and celebrity Chef Robert Irvine officially opened Robert Irvine’s Public House earlier this month at Tropicana. The 9,000 square foot venue serves global comfort food selections with a gastropub inspiration, such as chicken fried duck confit and mason jar apple pie. Keeping with its pub theme, the restaurant also has 32 on-tap beers and over a dozen signature cocktails.
Though 2017 has evidently been quite a productive year for the Las Vegas food realm, there is still more to look forward to. Accompanying the $450 million transformation of the Monte Carlo resort into the Park MGM is the addition of the sprawling Primrose restaurant. Announced this year, the 12,155-square-foot Primrose will be helmed by Michelin-star chef Bryce Shuman at its 2018 debut and will be capable of seating 495 diners.
Also amid this huge overhaul, former Iron Chef Mario Batali and celebrity restauranteur Joe Bastianich have found a site for their latest incarnation of Eataly at the planned Park MGM. The Eataly complex plans to have cafes, to-go counters and sit-down Italian restaurants sourced by local producers. Bavette’s Steakhouse and Bar, with its 1920s speakeasy vibe is also finding its home at the Park MGM this coming October.
Just this week, Wolfgang Puck announced that a new Spago restaurant will be opening in the spring of 2018 at the Bellagio Resort & Casino. This iteration of Spago is a reimagining of Wolfgang Puck’s first ever Beverly Hills restaurant, which also had a location at Caesars Palace. The new-and-improved Spago will continue to embrace haute California cuisine, such as gourmet pizzas topped with salmon and caviar, from its scenic overlook of the Bellagio fountains.
Last but not least, culinary dynamo Gordon Ramsay announced his fifth Las Vegas location with the world’s first Hell’s Kitchen restaurant, coming this winter at Caesars Palace. The restaurant draws its inspiration from the popular eponymous TV show; the opening will coincide with the show’s 17th season. The restaurant will seat nearly 300 guests, and hopes to impart the experience of the television show to its diners—whether or not there will be any filming of the show done at this new venue is unclear.
New Culinary Tours
While not technically a restaurant unto itself, a foodie with their eyes and stomachs set on Las Vegas ought to consider the two new tours from Lip Smacking Foodie Tours that opened up this past June. The first of the program’s expertly guided culinary tours, Vegas Sights Worldly Bites takes guests through the Venetian and Palazzo resorts, making four restaurants stops: the southeast Asian SUGARCANE raw bar grill, Japanese-South American fusion SUSHISAMBA, the classical French Bouchon, and the aforementioned CHICA . The second new tour, Bright Lights and Lip Smacking Bites takes guests through the Vegas Sights itinerary, as well as a culinary tour of the Las Vegas strip.
For more information on Las Vegas events and openings, culinary or otherwise, visit the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority website.