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Top-10 restaurants Vin wants to try out in Las Vegas

27 February 2012

One of the reasons Las Vegas is my favorite destination for vacations and conventions is it's a foodie paradise. There are loads of good restaurants (at a variety of budget points) to try. A couple of years ago, I detailed my 10-favorite restaurants in Las Vegas. I've had some memorable meals in some really good Vegas restaurants since then, but none of them crack my top 10. My goal this year is to find another restaurant or two worthy of the ones I profiled in 2010. So this week, I thought I'd take a look at 10 restaurants I'd like to eat at on my next trip to Vegas.

10. Verandah
I'm looking at Verandah as primarily a breakfast or brunch spot. It offers an idyllic setting adjacent to the Four Seasons pool (attached to Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino) and has indoor and outdoor seating. And its pancakes are supposed to be among the best in the country. Las Vegas doesn't have many spots that specialize in brunch, so Verandah is worth checking out.

9. Eiffel Tower Restaurant
I'm not a big fan of French food. But I'm willing to make an exception for the Eiffel Tower Restaurant. The restaurant is on the 11th floor of the Eiffel Tower replica at Paris Las Vegas and the views of the Strip are supposed to be excellent. The food appears to be traditional French fare and is a bit on the expensive side. But if the food is as good as the views, this restaurant promises to be quite the dining experience.

8. Nobhill Tavern
If you're more pub than fine dining, Nobhill Tavern at the MGM Grand Las Vegas might be your speed. They don't call themselves a gastro pub, but they certainly fit the description (or at least my description). Michael Mina is an excellent chef, and his menu looks sophisticated, delicious and absolutely at home in a tavern setting. The bar is reportedly fantastic. And there are apparently all sorts of nice serving touches that are supposed remind people of San Francisco. In fact, I'm going to be in Vegas shortly, and the more I look at the Nobhill Tavern menu, the more I feel like I have to eat there.

7. Jaleo
I used to be a semi-regular at the Jaleo in Washington D.C., so I'm curious about the Las Vegas incarnation of the restaurant. Chef Jose Andres does a very good job with tapas and paellas, so I know the food will be good. It's located in The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, so make you get reservations. The restaurants at the Cosmopolitan are perpetually full.

6. Public House
This gastro pub in The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino is for the beer lover in your life. It features Nevada's first beer cicerone, which is supposed to be the equivalent of a wine sommelier. And the beer selections are extensive, with more than 200 options available. The beer cicerone is supposed to help you pair your beer with what looks to be a tasty menu of "refined" pub food.

5. La Cave
La Cave could be one of those hidden Las Vegas gems. It's situated in an out of the way spot at the Wynn Las Vegas, adjacent to its pool. And it has indoor and outdoor seating. But what gives La Cave potential isn't the nice ambiance, but rather an impressive menu, combined with (I hope) the traditionally high level of service at the Wynn. La Cave bills itself as a tapas place. But it's only a tapas place in the sense you order a series of smaller dishes. The food isn't traditional Spanish fare. But that's hardly a concern because it looks delicious. And if you have a vegetarian or vegan in the group, La Cave is the spot for you. They offer separate vegan menus.

4. N9NE Steakhouse
I've wanted to visit this spot at The Palms Casino Resort for a while. This restaurant is known as much for atmosphere -- modern and luxurious -- as it is for its food and service. And it's food and service is supposed to be excellent. If you're looking for a quiet spot though, N9NE might not be the place for you. The club atmosphere that permeates most of the Palms apparently filters into this restaurant as well. For some people that's part of the charm. For others, it's a turnoff. I'm looking forward to seeing what it's all about.

3. Scarpetta
The bread basket at this Italian restaurant in the Cosmopolitan is already reaching legendary status. Everyone raves about it. The rest of chef Scott Conant's menu looks simple, but exquisite. The atmosphere is supposed to be the polar opposite of N9NE. At N9NE, there's supposed to be a constant buzz in the air while Scarpetta is supposed to be quiet and intimate. And if you get the right table, you'll have a great view of the Bellagio fountains.

2. Olives
Here's another restaurant that's supposed to have a view of the Bellagio fountains. But this time, the view comes from a restaurant in the Bellagio. Olives is an Italian restaurant operated by Todd English, and it has both indoor and patio seating. You can't reserve the patio seating though. That's available on a first come, first serve basis. Even if you don't get the patio seating, the food at Olives looks tasty. And if it's as good as the food from the Todd English P.U.B. in CityCenter, I know I'm in for a treat.

1. Mesa Grill
Chef Bobby Flay gets the top spot on my list. The Mesa Grill at Caesars Palace is supposed to be the best Tex-Mex spot in town. And I love Tex-Mex. Flay looks like he's added his own creative flair to Tex-Mex -- this menu really is worth checking out. And since I spend all of Iron Chef rooting against him, I figure the least I can do is sample some of his creations the next time I visit Las Vegas.
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Best of Vin Narayanan
Vin Narayanan

Vin Narayanan is the managing editor at Casino City. When he's not writing or editing stories, he likes to play Chinese Poker, Badugi, Razz and any other "non-traditional" poker game. He also thinks blackjack is his best game and loves game theory.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for USATODAY.com, USA WEEKEND and CNN.

A proud graduate of Michigan State University, Vin can be found on most nights and weekends trying to find a way to watch the Spartans play football or basketball.

Vin Narayanan
Vin Narayanan is the managing editor at Casino City. When he's not writing or editing stories, he likes to play Chinese Poker, Badugi, Razz and any other "non-traditional" poker game. He also thinks blackjack is his best game and loves game theory.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for USATODAY.com, USA WEEKEND and CNN.

A proud graduate of Michigan State University, Vin can be found on most nights and weekends trying to find a way to watch the Spartans play football or basketball.