Las Vegas is both a haven for gamblers as well as for foodies, since many casinos like Aria offer fantastic buffets to go with their gaming. For many though, the real action is on the Strip. That’s where you’ll find about 30 casinos. And of course, many fantastic restaurants are nearby as well—they go where the money is.
Raku, 5030 W Spring Mountain Rd #2, Las Vegas, NV 89146
You can find this place just a few doors away from Monta Ramen and Big Wong. Raku is actually in a rather ordinary-looking strip mall in the Chinatown area of Las Vegas. It’s best that you get advance reservations here, as the place is extremely popular despite its location. Also, it’s one place where you can really spend on an omakase meal that could have been served in Japan.
Each dish here is fantastic, whether you’re getting the duck skewers, the gooey beef tendon, the sashimi that seems to melt in your mouth, or the house-made tofu. You can then follow up your meal with a great dessert in Sweets Raku, also in that same strip mall.
Raku isn’t just one of the best off-strip restaurants in the city. It’s one of the best restaurants on the whole city, full stop!
The Black Sheep, 8680 W Warm Springs Road, Las Vegas, NV 89148
This is a contemporary Vietnamese-American restaurant (The Black Sheep) that’s also in a modest corner strip mall location, but the food here is so good that you won’t regret leaving the strip at all. It’s also a prime example of the new Las Vegas cuisine going on these days.
The genius behind the place is Chef Jamie Tran, who even placed 4th in the 2021 season of Bravo’s Top Chef. Her standout dishes include the grass-fed ribeye with Peruvian purple mashed potatoes and crispy artichokes. You should also try the pork sausage bao sliders with crispy shallots and fried quail egg.
Then there’s the unique crispy salmon skin that’s offered as a taco. It’s stuffed with salmon tartare and then topped with popping tobiko roe. With the smoked shishito peppers and micro cilantro, this is one dish you absolutely must try if it’s in the menu for the day.
The place is only open for dinner, though, but that means you can spend the whole day at the Strip and then get here in the evening. They have a solid wine list, and they also serve beer. And if you’re in the mood for cocktails, you have plenty of creative concoctions to sample.
Sparrow + Wolf, 4480 Spring Mountain Road, Suite 100, Las Vegas, NV 89102
The Spring Mountain Road area has always been famous for its many Asian restaurants, but the recent entry of restaurants such as Sparrow + Wolf reflects the changing demographics in the neighborhood. Sure, the meu here still comes with plenty of Asian-inspired dishes, but there are quite a few special options that offer really bold flavors.
You’ll understand what we mean when you try the special heirloom tomato salad here. It features sweet American tomatoes, that are complemented by the somewhat funky taste of dashi broth and seaweed. These are rather daring flavor additions, but they’re not too overpowering at all.
Sea urchin is also a favorite ingredient here at Sparrow + Wolf, and it’s included in plenty of dishes. You’ll find it in the clams casino topped with lap cheong sausage and uni hollandaise, and even in a yummy sandwich with burrata brightened with blood orange kosho.