For those who have asked, here (in alphabetical order) are our favorite places to eat and drink away from the Strip, and why we love them. Mileage given is distance from the Venetian (DFV); ymmv. Bonus: excellent food, unpretentious surroundings, and you’ll likely save more on your bill than you’ll spend on the taxi.
Carson Kitchen. New-ish downtown eatery from famed chef Kerry Simon. Absolutely delicious small plates, burgers, mac-n-cheese. Three words for you: fried chicken skins. No reservations and some tables are community style. Bonus: head around the corner to the Downtown Cocktail Room after. DFV: 3.6 miles.
Chada Thai and Wine. Spectacular food, with an impeccable wine list to match (particularly Rieslings and Burgundies), both brought to you by owner Bank Atcharawan. Call ahead; it only seats about 40. Pro tip: Open until 3am. DFV: 3.3 miles.
District One: In the same shopping center as Chada. Recent and much-lauded addition to the Vegas dining scene. Predominantly Vietnamese menu, and insanely delicious Vietnamese iced coffees. Open until 3am. DFV: 3.3 miles.
Herbs & Rye. Cocktail it like the locals do. Enjoy some steak or tapas while you’re at it. Open until 3am. DFV: 2.5 miles.
Honey Salt. Seasonal farm to table menu, and a darling of Westside locals for both lunch and dinner. Owned and operated by LV restaurant power couple – and darned nice people, too – Elizabeth Blau and Kim Canteenwalla. DFV: 9.1 miles.
Japanese Cuisine by Omae. Michelin-starred Tokyo chef Takeshi Omae opened his Vegas outpost not in a glittering casino, but in a nondescript Strip mall, and it’s well worth your time and wallet. This utter jewel box of a restaurant – it seats only 12 – is open for dinner only, Tuesday – Saturday. Prix fixe menus ($65-$150 per person) only. Reservations, if you’re lucky enough to score one, are mandatory. DFV: 2.4 miles.
Made L.V. This second restaurant by Blau and Canteenwalla, opened about 5 months ago, is more of a tavern than its sister Honey Salt. Try the flash-fried chicken wings; if you’re a veggie, the “eggplant pastrami” sandwich is for you. Lovely staff. DFV: 9.3 miles.
Marche Bacchus. Lakeside dining in Las Vegas not at Bellagio? Check. The longtime chef from Valentino in the kitchen? Check. A wine shop in front that serves as the “wine list” – just add $10 for corkage? Check. As in, check it out. Lunch and dinner daily. Free wine tasting on Saturdays (usually 11:30-1:30). DFV: 10.6 miles.
Raku. You don’t need me to sell this Japanese grill to you – just check out the number of “Best in Vegas” lists atop which it sits. Only seats 50 or so; calling ahead advised. Open until 2am. DFV: 2.3 miles.
Raku Sweets. Sister of Raku. A sparkling, tiny restaurant that offers a gourmet 3-course “meal” of desserts. Looking to impress a client, vendor or boss with a sweet tooth? This is your place. Only seats 20 and doesn’t take reservations. Hold out for one of the dozen seats around the counter. Closed on Wednesdays. Open until midnight. DFV: 2.3 miles.
Yonaka. Innovative, excellent Japanese tapas/sushi. Open ’til midnight Sunday-Thursday; ’til 2am Saturday and Sunday. DFV: 2.7 miles.
For more on these places and some further suggestions, read Las Vegas, Off The Eaten Path, a recent piece by NY Times critic Peter Wells, or check out the Eating Las Vegas Top 50 by longtime local critic John Curtas.
Have a fun CES, and bon appetit!