10 Things to Eat in Las Vegas
This time of year, conversations at Chow Bella staff meetings tend to turn to who's eaten what and where. With the summer travel season in full swing, we bring you Food Tours, our writers' suggestions of what to eat and drink out of town.
JK Grence The Peppermill possibly has the most comfortable booths in the world. I'm in one enough that you might be able to forward my mail here.
I keep meaning to travel around the world. There's one problem: I'm spoiled by Las Vegas. It's an easy drive (or a short hop in a plane), and four-star hotels spoil me with ridiculously low rates to offset the considerable spending I do elsewhere. I think the food scene in Vegas is one of the best in the world. Strip restaurants offer big-name Michelin-star dining. Thanks to hospitality staff coming from around the world for work, outlying areas have a staggering array of amazing international eats.
Dining choices in Vegas are almost too many to imagine. I'm here to help. In no particular order, here's what you simply have to eat when you're in Las Vegas.
Arepas at Viva Las Arepas
JK Grence The sandwich at Julian Serrano was terrific, but it's the gazpacho I remember most.
1616 Las Vegas Blvd S (at Oakey Blvd)
It's a shame most Americans aren't familiar with arepas. The thick griddled corn cakes, native to Colombia and Venezuela, are one of my favorite foods. Dare I say, they're even better than great Sonoran green corn tamales. Viva Las Arepas is a great stop between the Strip and downtown Las Vegas, offering some of the best dirt-cheap eats in the entire Las Vegas area. I've tried most of the arepa fillings on offer, and they are all outstanding. If you made me pick just one, I think I'd go for Reina Pepiada, creamy chicken salad laced with avocado.
Wash down your arepas with agua de panela, a luscious Venezuelan drink made from unrefined cane sugar and lime juice. Afterward, long-time Vegas guilty pleasure Luv-It Frozen Custard is practically across the street.
Gazpacho at Julian Serrano
inside Aria Resort & Casino
I adore great gazpacho. Pity that good ones are so few and far between, more resembling liquid salsa. Julian Serrano's gazpacho is one of the best I've had. How good is it? After one sip, I wanted to go to one of the Strip's frozen drink vendors, buy a ridiculously huge drink, dump the contents, then take the cup to Julian Serrano and tell them "Fill 'er up!" Seriously, it's that good. The rest of the menu is also outstanding, but I can't stop thinking about that gazpacho.
Turkey Club Sandwich at MOzen Bistro
JK Grence I now have dreams that revolve around this picture.
inside Mandarin Oriental Hotel
The humble club sandwich is a mainstay of hotel café menus nationwide. I'd be willing to bet that nobody does a club sandwich better than MOzen at the Mandarin Oriental. It stays true to tradition, with turkey, bacon, two kinds of cheese, lettuce, and tomato on toasted sourdough. The only obvious upgrades are a smear of mashed avocado and some pesto in the mayonnaise.
The devil is in the details. MOzen thought of everything; every aspect of the sandwich is prepared to its absolute zenith. It's incredibly expensive at $18 (including fries and salad, but still, yikes). But when has the price of perfection ever been so low?