How to Win Big (at Eating) in Las Vegas

Between day-drinking at the Wynn’s Encore Beach Club, taking in the obligatory Cirque du Soleil show, and catching Lady Gaga’s jazz piano set at the Park MGM, you’re bound to work up an appetite. Here are a few new essential spots to add to your Las Vegas itinerary.

Best Friend

If you’ve ever enjoyed a bulgogi taco (or anything else delicious off a food truck in the last decade) Roy Choi is the guy to thank. After pioneering the LA food truck scene Choi branched out into an empire of innovative bricks-and-mortar restaurants that meld Korean influences with Mexican street food. His first outpost outside of Los Angeles is Best Friend at the new Park MGM (formerly Monte Carlo). Offering a dizzying array of dishes from Korean BBQ and Kogi short Rib Tacos to Lobster Kung Pao and Chili Cheese Spaghetti, it’s high-meets-low, east-meets-west in the best possible way.

Scotch 80 Prime

After a two-year, $690-million renovation, the Palms is back and better than ever. While their art collection, featuring works by Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Banksy, and other modern heavyweights is a draw on its own, you’re going to want to book a dinner at Scotch 80 Prime while you’re there. Exceptional steaks — from Angus tomahawk ribeyes to A5 Japanese Kobe filets to dry-aged porterhouse — are the order here, along with classic steakhouse sides like creamed spinach with smoked bacon and parmesan gratiné. They have an in-house scotch master, too, to help you navigate their deep cellar of vintage bottles, so plan to stay for a few.

Catch at Aria

As one of NYC’s buzziest seafood joints, Catch has leveraged its hometown success into outposts in LA, Playa del Carmen and, most recently, Las Vegas at the Aria. A glittering selfie tunnel, lush green banquettes and a giant artificial tree set the scene for the opulent menu of hot and cold seafood dishes on offer. Seafood towers, Maine lobster cocktails and sashimi are fine choices, but you can’t go wrong with large-format dishes like the whole roasted branzino with artichokes, or alaskan king crab served with honey lime vinaigrette.

Mott 32

From Hong Kong to the Vegas Strip via NYC’s Chinatown: that’s the rough trajectory of this new upscale Cantonese restaurant at the Venetian. Start off with a Hong Kong Ice Tea (Volcan Cristalino Anejo Tequila, Lillet Blanc, Blackcurrant, Jasmine Tea) before working your way into the extensive menu of classic and nouveau Chinese dishes. While the Lobster Ma Po Tofu is tempting and the stir fried Australian Wagyu sirloin with shiitake mushrooms, baby leeks and chili sounds incredible, the real stunner here is the Peking duck. Available only by special order and prepared over the course of 48 hours, including roasting to crispy perfection in a custom-built oven, it’s served with steamed pancakes, cucumber, scallions, and house-made “thick hoisin sauce.” Who could say no to that?