Hi Foodie Friends!
I don’t know about you, but I’m craving shrimp ceviche, beef tartare, salmon sushi, oysters with raspberry mignonette, a ribeye with crispy Brussels sprouts, truffle mac and cheese, tater tots, a slice of pepperoni pizza, tacos al pastor, a Caesars salad, strawberry cheesecake, a chocolate souffle, a Negroni, and a big glass of Cab to wash it all down.
It’s been almost two months since the closure of nonessential Las Vegas restaurants and other businesses to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. All restaurants and bars had to close their doors to the public. So for the past few weeks, foodies like you and I have had many more meals at home than we are used to. I’ve been cooking A LOT, trying to execute several of my favorite dishes like chicken adobo, panang curry, pasta carbonara, and bbq pulled pork (which all turned out pretty good if I must say so myself!) Despite my renewed interest in cooking at home, I am anxiously looking forward to the day when I get to go out and eat again.
There were so many Las Vegas restaurants that had just opened their doors to the public and so many more that we were expecting to embrace right before the Las Vegas restaurants closure. I promise I will make my way over to you, but for this special occasion, I will be visiting some of my favorite local restaurants where I know I can satisfy my cravings with their 5-star flavors and service to match.
Echo and Rig – A butcher shop and top notch steakhouse at ⅓ the price of steakhouses on the Las Vegas Strip. Located in Tivoli Village in Summerlin.
This popular butcher shop and award-winning steakhouse has been a local favorite since its opening in 2013. As you walk into the foyer, you won’t be overwhelmed by a host asking you within seconds of entry, “How many people are in your party?” You’ll have a minute to take in the scenery, a cute little lounging area decorated with succulents while you look for the rest of your dining companions. Getting here before your party is actually a bonus because you can drool over the meat display at the butcher shop to the right or you can enjoy a cocktail from the bar on the left. Once upstairs, you’ll notice a plethora of large parties. Of course, you can order traditionally but dining here is an experience to share with your friends. Split a bottle of wine and order several small and main dishes. The menu is vast, offering a variety of fresh favorites with a modern twist. Make sure to order the portobello mushroom fries, the cauliflower and crispy shallots, and the pork belly burnt ends. Your server will bring over the meat tray. Order accordingly to your palate and you will not be disappointed.
Esther’s Kitchen – A lively restaurant boasting seasonal soulful Italian dishes and hand-crafted cocktails.
This restaurant embodies the Las Vegas local spirit. It’s cozy, it’s stylish, it’s familiar, it’s delicious, and it’s exciting. You won’t even know it, but the executive chef from Guy Savoy will be dining in the corner of the restaurant, former Mayor Oscar Goodman will be dining in front of you, and your neighbor will be sitting next to you. Come in with a date, your mom, or your friends. It’s a great place to spend a Friday or a Saturday night (or a Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or a Thursday night). Your server will be friendly, in a down-to-earth kind of way, and go over the menu with you. Everything I’ve ever tried has been delicious so I’d say go with whatever your heart desires. Just make sure to start with their house-baked sourdough bread and one of their seasonal market cocktails.
Nittaya’s Secret Kitchen – A modern take on Thai food. Each dish will have you saying, “Wow.”
Tucked away in a quiet commercial center in Summerlin, this is truly a gem to discover. How many Thai restaurants are there in Vegas? Plenty. But none are like Nittaya’s Secret Kitchen. You’ll find all of your favorite traditional Thai dishes, some of the best I’ve ever had, beautifully prepared, and packed with flavor. You’ll also find some off-the-wall creations like the grilled skirt steak and avocado green curry or the salmon avocado curry and Nittaya’s World Famous Spinach Salad. Please order this. I am convinced that her spinach salad is one of the best things you’ll ever put inside your mouth. If you don’t agree, let me know, and I will personally buy it for you.
Ohlala French Bistro – Traditional French cuisine done right and without the stuffy atmosphere.
When I used to live in France, bistros were everywhere. You’d go to a bistro for lunch, dinner, coffee break, or an apéro in the middle of the day. This concept does not exist here. French cuisine in the United States translates to fine dining and therefore it’s difficult to find great French food unless you’re ready to get dressed up. Ohlala offers all of the traditional French classics like steak tartare, escargot, French onion soup, moules frites, steak frites, and charcuterie boards with a wide variety of French wine to pair with your meal without the excuse of a black-tie event. You’ll find Ohlala French Bistro in the same commercial center as Nittaya’s Secret Kitchen.
Tacotarian – A trendy tacoria and hip place to hang out.
Everybody loves tacos right? Well, here’s another one, and I insist that you check this place out. You might have guessed from the name that this place is vegetarian (it’s actually vegan). Vegetarians, I don’t need to convince you more. Non-vegetarians, don’t look at this as a turn-off, just look at it as incredible tasting tacos! There’s a long list of vegan tacos and other plant-based traditional Mexican delights to choose from. Everything is a la carte. You’ll order your food at the counter, take your number, and sit wherever you’d like. There’s a bar if you’re flying solo, there’s a couch if you’re feeling relaxed, there is a community table if you need to work, and there are tables if you’re joining friends. Stay as long as you’d like, order more tacos, get a margarita, and finish your meal with dessert. Coconut cake. Qué rico!
Going out to eat is not just about the food, it’s about the excitement of being social and sharing the experience with loved ones. It’s about getting out of my sweats and putting on mascara. It’s about the smells coming from the kitchen, the sound of the clinking glasses, the music in the background, and the chatter of people all around. Vegas isn’t exactly sure when restaurants will be allowed to open up their doors to the public as of yet, so for now, home cooking and daydreaming will do. But upon reopening, we can’t wait to start a food tour!
How have you been handling not being able to dine out at Las Vegas restaurants during quarantine and which restaurants are on your list? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below. I’d love to know where you would go!
Hi, everyone! My name is Kathryn and I’m the founder of Taste Buzz Food Tours in Las Vegas. Born and raised in Sin City, I’ve seen Vegas evolve from 99 cent footlong hotdogs and one dollar breakfast specials to the foodie empire it is today. My passion is enjoying a wonderful meal while sharing stories amongst family and friends. One day, I’d love to show you my favorite foodie spots around the city. Until then, it’s my pleasure to share my foodie diaries with you.
See you in Vegas!