Monte Carlo’s transformation into Park MGM includes two newly opened restaurants, Provence-inspired Primrose, and from Chicago, Bavette’s Steakhouse & Bar. Plans also call for an outpost of NYC’s Italian-style market, Eately.

Event-capable eateries at MGM’s adjacent outdoor entertainment district, The Park, include the Beerhaus. Built in Ireland and assembled in Vegas, Nine Fine Irishmen is among the options at neighboring New York-New York Hotel & Casino. 

 Across the Strip, MGM Grand’s star attractions include three-Michelin-starred L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon (the all-time Michelin champion, with 30 stars), and Morimoto Las Vegas from Masaharu Morimoto, star of Food Network’s Iron Chef America.

Set to open in early 2018, MGM’s new 30,000-square-foot Esports Arena Las Vegas at the Luxor will feature a gaming-inspired food and beverage menu by Chef Jose Andres, becoming his fifth Las Vegas venture. And in true Vegas style, flying wine angels acrobatically retrieve and restock bottles from the four-story, 10,000-bottle wine tower at Mandalay Bay’s Aureole, the Vegas outpost of storied Chef Charlie Palmer’s legendary Gotham restaurant.

Downtown Dine-Around 

In 2016, Downtown Las Vegas recorded more than $161 million (more than 14 percent of total revenue) for food and nearly $107 million (more than 9 percent) for beverages, or roughly $268 million and 24 percent, respectively. Past UNLV Center for Gaming Research figures show that Downtown has bettered the Strip in increased F&B win over the last three-plus decades, up nearly 100 percent for food and 50 percent for drink since 1984. 

Less pricey than the premium-grade Strip, Downtown’s restaurants and bars continue to play a forefront role in the rejuvenation and rediscovered appeal of the original Las Vegas. Old favorites like Atomic Liquors, the oldest freestanding bar in Vegas, add to Downtown's character.

Wide-ranging group options include Oscar’s Steakhouse at the Plaza Hotel and Casino. Housed in a glass dome fronting the Main Street end of the Fremont Street Experience, the restaurant, named for former three-term Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman, offers private dining for 100 guests. 

Across the street, developer brothers Derek and Greg Stephens are proceeding with the demolition of the former Las Vegas Club and adjoining properties, ahead of creating Downtown’s first new-build casino resort in decades. Their other properties include the adjacent, newly expanded Golden Gate Hotel & Casino (1906), and at the other end of the Fremont Street Experience, the 39-story D Las Vegas, where group dining venues include Joe Vicari’s Andiamo Italian Steakhouse.

Midway along the Fremont Street Experience, Landry’s-owned Golden Nugget Las Vegas features the nationally acclaimed Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse and seafood-driven Chart House, both event-capable brand standards. 

Fremont East draws include Therapy, a gastropub offering the 50-capacity Loft, or 150-person buyouts. Housed in the former Mid-Century John E. Carson motel, nearby Carson Kitchen, from late celebrity chef Kerry Simon (his brother Scott now at the helm), is a lively small-plate haven and event standout. Along with dining room and outdoor patio space for 45 to 70 guests, groups also have prefunction space in the motel’s courtyard. 

Opened last summer, group-capable 7th & Carson, with its “Oven, Garden, Land and Sea” menu, offers cooking demos with Executive Chef Gregg Fortunato (formerly with Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill at the Cosmopolitan) and custom cocktails from “Liquid Chef” Oscar Takahashi.

La Comida, from the Morton Group, which is also behind La Cave Wine and Food Hideaway at Wynn Las Vegas and CRUSH eat, drink, love at MGM Grand, tempts groups with authentic Mexican fare and 100-plus tequilas. Meanwhile, Turmeric Flavors of India offes a modern take on classic South Indian fare, full vegan menu included.

Just opened in Downtown’s burgeoning Arts District, Esther’s Kitchen marks the return to town of Vegas chef James Trees. Named after his great-aunt, his “seasonal Italian soul food” concept includes private events and catering.

Off-Strip Specialties

Surging gaming and entertainment operator Station Casinos is amplifying its acquisition of Palms Casino Resort by overhauling the storied property’s restaurant collection as part of a $485 million phased makeover slated for the next 12 months or so.

In the last quarter of 2017, Palms closed six F&B concepts, including N9NE Steakhouse, Ghostbar and celebrated local chef Andre Rochat’s 56th-floor dazzler Alize (the latter two both opening at the resort in 2001). 

Celebrity-driven replacements reportedly include a seafood concept from Bobby Flay, barbecue restaurant from Cleveland’s Michael Symon and Italian restaurant from Philadelphia’s Marc Vetri. Furthering its reputation as one of Vegas’ most energetic resorts, Palms is also introducing a 100,000-square-foot dayclub, nightclub and dining venue from the powerhouse Tao Group, tapped as the “largest dance music venue in Las Vegas.”      

 Following a roughly $6 million transformation, The Palms’ former Bistro Buffet reopened last December as A.Y.C.E. (“All-You-Can-Eat”) Buffet, serving hundreds of dishes prepared by Station Casinos’ Certified Master Chef David Kellaway and colleagues in an open food hall format.  

Station Casinos’ family of 10-plus properties include the luxurious Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa, some 10 miles west of the Strip, and Green Valley Ranch Resort Spa & Casino in Henderson. 

Red Rock’s multiple restaurants include the flagship T-Bones Chophouse, offering private and patio dining for 10-200 guests, and slated to debut this month, Masso Osteria from acclaimed chef, author and restaurateur Scott Conant. Green Valley’s award-winning collection includes Hank’s Fine Steaks and Martinis and Tides Seafood & Sushi Bar.

Also in Henderson, luxurious M Resort Spa Casino, offering 92,000 square feet of dynamic space, including catered event options at its 25,000-square-foot pillarless M Pavilion, features dining draws such as Jayde Fuzion. Recognized as one of Vegas’ best overall restaurants by OpenTable's Diners' Choice, this Asian-fusion concept offers three all-you-can eat sushi and Asian menus. Other options include Anthony’s Prime Steak & Seafood, honored with Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence last year.

Located a few miles south of Mandalay Bay, South Point Hotel, Casino and Spa offers 11 dining options, including local favorite Michael’s Gourmet Room. Opened in the former Barbary Coast in 1982 and relocated to South Point in 2007, this 50-seat red-velvet Vegas icon is renowned for its tableside service and old-school classics like chateaubriand for two. Diverse other selections include Silverado Steakhouse, Big Sur Oyster Bar and Zenshin Asian Restaurant.

Unique off-Strip options include the hip Booze District in Henderson, an alliance of artisanal producers including CrafHaus Brewery, Bad Beat Brewing, The Chocolate Makery and Las Vegas Distillery. Grape Expectations, the Nevada School of Winemaking, which just opened the Valley’s first winery—family-run Vegas Valley Winery— offers tours, tastings as well as a wine lounge.

Set on 180 acres just west of Downtown Las Vegas, Springs Preserve is a national historic site commemorating the ancient desert location that would become Las Vegas. 

Offering year-round programming and multiple event venues That include Southern Nevada's most extensive botanical gardens and the LEED Platinum-certified Desert Living Center, the venue is also home to the Divine Cafe. Featuring indoor and outdoor patio seating with scenic Strip and valley views, the restaurant offers hands-on cooking classes in its chef’s kitchen, which can be customized for groups.  

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