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Welcome to the first of my “Food Stop” series. No – these are not restaurant reviews. No – I will not mansplain to you how to eat in an unfamiliar culture. No – I will not pretend to tell you that the establishments listed here are “The Best” of that city. I’m sure you can find plenty of those articles elsewhere.
Instead – this will be my little food diary. All I’m hoping to do is tell you about 5 spots (if I can) on my travels to a certain place that I hit up… and that I enjoyed. That’s it. Simple. If you want to read a critical review after a solitary visit to a restaurant, or about the complexity that is in a broth, or about how a butter has strong notes of the Highland grass that the leprechaun farmers fed the cows.. then you’ll be disappointed.
I want this to act as a quick resource for you if/when you find yourself in one of these cities and find that you need some recommendations. Some places I’ll cover casual dives, in others more refined dining… but pretty much everything from coffee shops to taco trucks to tasting menus might come up here. I’d love to hear readers own experiences and recommendations in the comments section as well – which will only serve to add value to others.
With that out of the way and in no particular order – lets get on with the show! First up – a place where I’m pretty sure a thousand people will have a thousand different opinions – the Las Vegas Strip!
Resorts World Food Court
Resorts World Las Vegas is fast growing on me. The property itself has three Hilton managed hotels – The Conrad, LXR and Hilton – and is the newest development on the strip since the Cosmopolitan opened in 2010. Sitting right across the Wynn, Resorts World is already high up on my list of places to stay. If it hadn’t been for the Hyatt-MGM partnership, I’m pretty sure I would’ve already had half a dozen or so stays under my belt already – not least because the revenue rates are often quite reasonable, along with the occasional gem rate offered by Amex FHR/ Hilton Impresario programs.
I digress – we are not here to talk about hotels.. we are in fact here to talk about food – and there is plenty of it at Resorts World. For this edition, I’m going to focus on their food court down by the Casino floor.
“Famous Foods Street Eats” is an Asian Hawker-inspired food hall concept, and by my count had over 15 food outlets featuring primarily Asian outlets, though had the occasional Western outlets as well (i.e. Texas BBQ, Fried Chicken). There was a lot of anticipation built up for the opening of this food hall as RW really seemed to have made an effort to go abroad testing and convincing international outlets to come to Vegas – and convince they did – a number of whom also hold Michelin distinction’s such as the Bib Gourmand and Michelin Plate.
The hawker style concept encourages you to stall-hop as ordering can be done through various touchscreens installed around the food court and also at the actual food stalls. Once you are done ordering, you have the option of being notified when your order is ready via text or email, allowing you to place orders for multiple items across any outlet at the same time while sitting at your table.
Two of the standouts on my last visit were “Geylang Claypot Rice” and “Blood Brothers BBQ” – the first is an outlet straight from Singapore serving South Asian rice dishes in claypots, and the latter a Houston based bbq eatery where I had some delicious brisket alongside some Asian inspired fried rice. On a separate visit, the roti canai from the Singaporean outlet – Springleaf Prata Place was excellent as well. We could spend the whole article talking more about these concepts, but you get the idea. Here’s a link to a Resorts World article talking briefly about each of the outlets.
So whether you’re feeling like some Peking duck burrito’s, or some lechon or maybe something closer to home like some of Marcus Samuelsson’s fried chicken – Famous Foods Street Eats will leave you with full tummy on great eats, all which cost less than USD $20.
P.S Resorts World guests can allegedly order room service from here via Grubhub.
Must Try Stalls: Geylang Claypot Rice | Springleaf Prata Place
Other Recommended Stalls: Blood Brothers BBQ | Ten Suns Braised Beef
Location: Resorts World, 3000 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Hours: Mon-Thurs: 11am-10pm | Fri-Sun: 11am-11pm
Lotus of Siam
Is this Las Vegas’s worst kept secret yet? An absolute iconic establishment – the Lotus of Siam was founded in a strip mall in 1999 on East Sahara Avenue and is firmly placed as one of Las Vegas’ most famous home grown eateries. Then came Bourdain’s feature on his show ‘Parts Unknown’ in ~2014 and well… you can guess what happened next. I failed miserably my first 3-4 times in trying to get a reservation… well one time because they had a fire and were closed.. so couldn’t begrudge them too much that one time.
And then finally one trip – after having stuffed ourselves at the ‘Wicked Spoon’ for brunch – I got a text message saying a last minute cancellation has cleared my waitlist… the catch? The reservation was in 2.5 hours. Well – frankly it could have been in 30 mins from then for all I cared – I was not going to let that chance go begging.
Nowadays, located closer to the strip on Flamingo Road, Lotus of Siam has an extensive menu but pays special homage to its Northern Thai roots. Reservations can be made through Resy and I would HIGHLY recommend that. If you’re too late to get a timeslot – fret not – as in recent trips I’ve had a lot of success by wait-listing many days in advance, and then even calling day off to get a slot for lunch/dinner.
Hey – it’s Vegas.. things happen.. all the time.. so expect cancellations. Oh and most importantly – enjoy! There can be no regrets at the lip smacking food you’ll get here – which is probably ranks amongst the best Thai food I’ve had in North America (Sorry Khao San Road/ Pi in YYZ)
Must Haves: Garlic (Crispy) Prawns | Drunken Noodles w Crispy Duck | Panang Curry w Short Rib | Nam Kao Tod (substituted Tofu in place of meat)
Other Recs: Chili Basil | Khao Soi | Thai Frid Rice
Location: 620 E Flamingo Rd., Las Vegas, Nevada 89119
Hours: Open for lunch & dinner throughout the week
Taco’s El Gordo
Total dive vibes – and good luck deciphering the menu (in English no less) if all the Mexican food you’ve had before this were nacho’s and enchilada’s. Taco’s El Gordo – home of the Tijuana style taco’s and one of the best value eats on the strip in my opinion. There are long lineups here at most hours of the day – but it moves fast.
So what are Tijuana style taco’s? Honestly.. I’ve been here half a dozen times and I’m still not sure.. but whatever it is – it’s delicious. I love how they have a whole variety of meats – when ordering you choose a meat from lengua (beef tongue), cabeza (head), sesos (beef brain), asada (steak), suadero (beef shoulder), adobada etc; and then chose a style such as in the form of tacos, tostada’s, vampiro, mulas and on and on.
For those not too familiar with the different variations on this street food – take a look at their website to get a better idea… or do what I did on my first visit there… panic and order one of most things. They do have a few locations around Vegas, but its the one right next to the Wynn hotel at the North end of the strip that will be the most accessible. Highly recommend making it out here if you’re able to – its an experience on its own. Together with great prices, even better food, late night hours, and the occasional musician serenading you table side – you won’t be disappointed!
Make sure while you’re up at the counter to ask for some complimentary grilled peppers too. They go great with the salsa, guac, cilantro and onions toppings on the taco’s.
Some Recs: Meats: Suadero | cabeza | lengua Style: Tacos | Vampiro | Mulas
Location: 3041 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Hours: Sun-Thurs 10am-2am | Fri-Sat 10am-4am
Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips
So – I was skeptical. Another celebrity who put their name on a flashy Vegas joint and collected a paycheque. But Gordan Ramsey Fish & Chips is legit.
Located on the street between Flamingo and The Linq, and across from Ceasers, Gordan Ramsey Fish & Chips has a smallish space, with a tiny outside patio and often is quite busy. Weekends in good weather and you’ll often find a line out the door. I probably went back in 2017-2018 and again more recently in 2022 and was pleasantly surprised to still have enjoyed it. The batter was as crispy as I remembered and the fish was steaming hot, juicy and flavorful. I’m a sucker for sauces and its offers a good variety of 6 different flavors and aside from the classic chips, it offers a few different varieties including a truffle and Mexican-inspired variation. Try to avoid peak lunch rush when going!
Some Recs: Fish & Chips (duh) | Truffle fries
Location: 3545 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Hours: Sun-Thurs 11am-10pm | Fri-Sat 11am-11pm
Sometimes in Vegas.. you just don’t want to stand in line to order some food. Maybe a wild night awaits… or a date at the craps table… or maybe your screaming kids remind you that they are hungry. For those times the Crack Shack is great. Like most places in Vegas, this too had its start in other parts of the country – SoCal in this case, before opening up an outlet in Sin City.
It’s situated adjacent to Eataly’s entrance at the Park MGM (on the strip side). Nothing fancy here aside from a couple of variations of some good ol’ fried chicken. Crucially – it never has a berserk wait between getting through the door and receiving your food – or so I’m told. As long as you avoid the evenings when the Las Vegas Knights are playing at the nearby arena.
So what’s on the menu? Eight varieties of chicken sandwiches, fried chicken, some bowls and the usual sides you’d come to expect, with a spin. The Royal Hangover and the BAE have you covered for breakfast; the California drip is more a tasty pressed panini, and the Firebird is a variation of the classic fried chicken sandwich and done well..
Restaurant has a couple of large screens as well – so makes it an ideal Sunday afternoon place place to watch a bit of the NFL while you recover from the weekend’s activities. Can’t go wrong here if you’re just looking for a tasty, no fuss bite.
Some Recs: California Drip Sandwich | Firebird Sandwich | Katsu Lookin’
Location: 3770 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Hours: Mon-Thurs 10am-9pm | Fri-Sat 9am-10pm | Sun 9am-9am
Condensing my Vegas list down to 5 was an almost impossible task – so I decided to do the ones from my most recent trip or two. So many others deserve an honorable mention – but fear no – I have another Vegas trip in the books this year – so we’ll definitely be following up with another article on that. Would love to hear your recs in the meantime!
Awesome! Lotus of Siam eh? Too bad I bailed on you in November 2022, eh @Mo?
No amount of MGM spend can make up for missing Lotus!
Put yourself in my shoes – trying to narrow down to 5 from all the pictures I had at 1 am :'(