It’s a well known fact that the casinos will go to great lengths to keep you within their four walls spending money. Need to shop? Your casino has shops. Want to see a show? Your casino probably has a show.
Want something to eat? The casino has a buffet, sit down restaurants and quick service places that will get you fed and back gambling in no time flat.
Of course, the convenience of eating in the casino does carry with it a bit of cost (in this case a literal cost since all that casino cuisine can get a bit pricey.) There’s also a little risk involved since there’s really no way to be sure that the casino eateries are going to be good despite their elevated price.
That’s why I wanted to dive into what are some of the best casino restaurants you can find in Sin City. To do that, I thought I’d look at a few casinos across The Strip and point out places where the in-casino eateries are worth the price you pay. So, next time you visit Las Vegas, check out of my recommendations down below.
If gourmet eating is your thing, then Mandalay Bay is probably the closest thing to paradise you’re likely to find this side of Heaven. Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino and its adjoining properties feature over thirty restaurants, many of which are absolutely unique and most are completely unforgettable.
It’s really hard to point at the list and argue that one is really that much better than the others, but I’ll do my best here.
First, if you’re looking for a steakhouse, there’s Stripsteak which is located near the convention part of the hotel. You can get Wagyu there or just get yourself a great cut of meat while enjoying one (or more) of their terrific selections of Scotch.
Still, it’s really hard to pass up Aureole with its famous wine angels. If you’re not familiar, Aureole has a four story wine tower and the bottles at the top have to be retrieved by athletic “angels” on harnesses. It’s one of the coolest things in Las Vegas (no seriously) and has a wow factor that only barely eclipses the dishes served by James Beard Awarding Winning Chef Charlie Palmer.
I would also recommend checking out Hubert Keller’s Fleur because the man is a genius. Finally, for something a little more reasonable, I would go to the Border Grill. It’s not cheap, but it’s not unaffordable, either.
I know what I said about Mandalay Bay, and I’m sticking to it, but it was kind of painful to single out Mandalay Bay as the place for food when I know what’s at Caesars Palace.
Out in front of the casino is the Hell’s Kitchen restaurant which features a kitchen that is the exact replica of the one on the show. When you walk in and behold the sight, it’s perfect down to the last detail with the exception of the fact there’s no Scottish man screaming profanities.
At Caesars Palace, I would basically recommend that you go on a celebrity chef tour. Giada De Laurentiis’ Italian eatery has gotten high marks across the board, as has Giada herself with the way she has taken Las Vegas by storm. Follow that up with a trip to Giada’s on-screen compatriot, Bobby Flay, at Mesa Grill.
If you want something a little more casual, the Bacchanal Buffet is often cited as one of the best in Las Vegas. Also, Beijing Noodle No. 9 is a fast and casual and features some really good Chinese dishes.
The MGM Grand is one of the largest casinos on the strip and, unsurprisingly, has an excellent selection of places where you can go to eat.
The headliner of the MGM Grand for me will always be Morimoto Las Vegas because Morimoto’s is my favorite place to eat in the world. The eponymous restaurant of Iron Chef Morimoto is one eatery that lives up to the chef’s monumental reputation.
When you go, avoid the sushi. Despite being pan-Asian cuisine, the sushi is good, but the other dishes are amazing. Instead, get the sticky ribs which are sweet, salty and amazing. Also try the angry chicken (some of the crispiest chicken you’ll ever have in a curry sauce), the filet and the wagyu beef (for which they will show you the actual certificate.) It’s so good.
Other celebrity chefs who have restaurants here include Joel Robuchon (who’s restaurant is called Joel Robuchon) and the comparatively less ego-boosting Tom Colichhio’s Craftsteak, which continues to turn out excellent beef every year.
Finally, if you are worried about your budget, try TAP Sports Bar. It’s good, but you don’t pay a lot.
The Cosmopolitan is one of my favorite places to get a drink because their bartenders are awesome. Then, if I am drinking there anyway, I might as well stay for the food.
There’s basically an entire floor above the casino dedicated to some really great places to eat. In fact, there are so many good ones that I can’t include them all. However, there are a few I will call out as being particularly good.
The first is Jose Andres’ bizarre but brilliant China Poblano.
It’s such a strange concept, but it’s amazing food. Get the shumai with quail eggs.
I also like Momofuku because it’s fun to say and the cuisine is really different. For something reasonably priced, go to The Henry and get a Henry burger and tater tots. They’re such a great pair together with the huge, meaty burger and crisp tots.
Finally, if you want to be different, go to Eggslut. I mean it’s called Eggslut, do you need another reason?
When going to The Rio, there’s one place that you have to go: The Carnival World Buffet.
I always really thought that all buffets were basically the same. Then I tried the Carnival World Buffet. It changed my life it was so good. The food was of higher quality. The chefs were meticulous and everything was great.
While you’re there, you have other options, too. Guy Fieri has his El Burro Borracho restaurant in which you can get elevated tacos from Guy Fieri.
You also have a lot of casual places (which I love because it means I can spend more at the tables.) These places include Pho Da Nang Vietnamese Kitchen (pho plus gambling is somehow awesome), KJ Dim Sum & Seafood, and Royal India Bistro are all way different than standard American fare and that’s such a good thing.
Last, if wine is your thing go ahead and treat yourself to the Wine Cellar & Tasting Room. They have a lot of wines you can drink by the glass. Also, don’t worry. This counts as a restaurant because they serve cheeses and spreads and offer a chocolate tasting menu.
The Golden Nugget
I had to include the Golden Nugget on here just so that this list would have a little “OG” Las Vegas style to it. Plus, when it comes to living in the Las Vegas of yore, the Golden Nugget is not a bad place to get that done.
First, there’s always The Buffet at the Golden Nugget, which is a very good buffet in Las Vegas.
Still, if you want something upscale, you’re probably going to go to Vic & Anthony’s, a retro steakhouse that is chockfull of the luxury of yesteryear. This is a place where you can get Wagyu beef or Petrossian caviar. Or both. You can get huge steaks and you can eat well.
Chart House takes up the “surf” half of surf and turf and offers a lot of great seafood selections. Claim Jumper and The Grill are also great lower cost options for those who want to spend more money on gambling.
Like I said, Las Vegas casinos know how to get you to stay in their confines. Let’s face it, part of that is the fact that Sin City is in the desert and you don’t want to go outside. Still, an even better reason is that the casinos offer enough shows, shopping and food (and enough variety of food) that you don’t need to leave.
You will simply be too busy eating to do anything else. That may not be the reason why you went to Vegas, but it’s a pretty good thing to do while you’re there.