When people head to Vegas, all they have is The Strip on their mind. When it comes to restaurants, all they can think of are the celebrity chef restaurants and the plethora of buffets to choose from. However, if you venture off the beaten path, you can find gems are that even tastier and easier to get a seat in without having to battle casino crowds and parking.
1. Aburiya Raku
Aburiya Raku is just west of the Strip located in a very unassuming strip mall. You wouldn’t think that such a high quality dining establishment serving top notch Izakaya style Japanese food, a.k.a. Japanese tapas, would exist in this location. Chef Mitsuo Endo’s restaurants attracts everyone from foodies to chefs from the Strip’s top restaurants, so you know that Raku has to be good. Their fresh made tofu has turned tofu haters into tofu lovers. From its fresh fish selections to famous items from the robata grill of tender Kobe beef to delicacies of foie gras to even seemingly normal items of chicken wings with flavor to another level, this is the place to be for anyone who appreciates QUALITY food. Round out your meal with delicately crafted desserts such as green tea crème brulée and a very light and delightful fluffy cheesecake.
5030 W Spring Mountain Rd #2, Las Vegas, NV
If Raku is your mature and refined sibling, then Ichiza can be the younger sibling that is hip and fun. Just like Raku, it is an Izakaya style establishment, but it is in a fun environment that encourages beers by the pitcher and encourages sampling of many dishes as illustrated all over the walls written in Japanese and English. Looking around, you’ll notice that everyone has their favorites, and you can’t really go wrong closing your eyes and saying “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe”. However, some must try food includes yellowtail tartare, jalapeno fried rice, agedashi tofu, butter corn, variety of kushiage (deep fried tempura items), robata grill items and last but not least, HONEY TOAST, which combines a crispy and buttery hunk of white toast with honey drizzled all over creamy vanilla ice cream.
4355 Spring Mountain Rd #205, Las Vegas, NV
Lotus of Siam is located on the east side of town in the Commercial Center. This area is known to be seedy day and night, but Lotus of Siam is worth the trek known for some of the best Thai food in the country! Some dishes that you don’t see often at “regular” Thai joints are chilean seabass (buttery and savory), nam koi tod (crispy rice with tangy, salty and sweet flavors) and crispy duck penang (all the wonderful flavors of penang curry with uber crispy duck). I suggest going with at least several friends, so that the meal can be enjoyed family style to allow for optimal tasting of as many dishes as you can stomach.
953 E Sahara Ave, Las Vegas, NV
Eating at Parma by Chef Marc is like eating at your favorite Italian mama’s home kitchen. Though it is a bit of drive to the Northwest part of Las Vegas, you will not regret it once you step into the restaurant and your nose gets a whiff of the food. The ambiance is cute, romantic, homely (in a good way) with a touch of hole in the wall feel. Everyone on staff is super warm and friendly and make you feel like family. Also, if you have any dietary restrictions, Chef Marc will always take care of you. All of the pastas and sauces are always fresh. The complimentary bread is always perfectly crusty. Once you get a taste of these dishes, you won’t be able to stop thinking about the bolognese sauce, amazingly tender chicken marsala, and highly sought after portobello mushroom appetizer made of creamy sauce, chunks of portobello over baby spinach greens that is sold out every night.
7591 W Washington Ave #110, Las Vegas, NV
Bring your Pepcid AC, Pepto Bismo and Tums because Hot & Juicy Crawfish is a place where you throw down and eat seafood until you drop. This is no place to dig in and eat with your hands. Have no fear though because the staff provides you with rolls of paper towels, plastic bibs, and plenty of drink refills. Here you can order seafood like shrimp, alaskan king crab legs, crawfish by the pound with choices of different sauces, Lousiana Style, Juicy Cajun, Garlic Butter, Lemon Pepper, and the Hot & Juicy Special. If you want to up the ante, you can also order spicy levels from mild, medium, spicy to EXTRA spicy. You can also “enhance” the your cholesterol profile by ordering deep fried delicious sides like sausage, deep fried catfish, chicken wings, crispy cajun fries, and don’t forget your side of fluffy white rice. Word of advice, be ready of strange stares because you might be reeking of garlic for a few days, but it’ll all be worth it.
4810 Spring Mountain Rd, Ste C-D, Las Vegas, NV 89102
(702) 891-88893863 Spring Mountain Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89102
When Michelle Wong is not writing on her food blog at Cravings of a Fat Girl, she is often found pinning new recipes, fantasizing about her next meal, or reading about the next food find on other food blogs.