How to Take the Foodie World Tour of a Lifetime in One City

Sep 20, 2018

To experience the variety and fabulosity of the food in this story, you could a) travel approximately 40,000 kilometres across four continents and five bodies of water, or b) go to Las Vegas.

Yes, so many top chefs now have outposts here that you can get a spectacularly wide-ranging taste of the world in one epic trip. Read on for a region-by-region breakdown, sprinkled with tips to help get the most out of your moveable feast.

The Americas

If you subscribe to the belief that bigger is better, head to Aureole at Mandalay Bay, home to—among other things—the longest wine list in town. So whatever you choose from Chef Charlie Palmer’s modern American menu (think rib-eye with caramelized shallot, Fresno pepper and bearnaise sauce, or chicken with bourbon-raisin apple slaw), be sure to order vino—in part for the free show: Your flying, acrobatic “wine angel” will find your selection among 10,000 bottles spread over four storie, then gracefully touch down with it (okay, with the aid of a harness-and-pulley system).

Another variation on the outsized theme: the all-American cheeseburgers and milkshakes at Black Tap in the Venetian. These diner classics are elevated to pop art by Chef Joe Isidori, who overloads both with decadent toppings until the most epic, Insta-worthy creations emerge.

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Just because you’re breaking the internet doesn’t mean, of course, that you have to break the bank: For the most reasonably priced tour of the American Southwest, head to Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill at Caesars Palace, where US$50 scores you a three-course tasting menu that includes the likes of tiger shrimp and roasted corn tamales, chipotle-glazed rib-eye steak and coconut cream key lime pie.

Continuing southward before the tour takes a turn across the Atlantic, stop into one of the newest hot spots on the Strip—and the first with a Latina celebrity chef: Chica at the Venetian. Helmed by "Top Chef Masters" alum Lorena Garcia, who’s Venezuelan, the kitchen serves up delicacies from all over Latin America, including Peruvian ceviche, Brazilian rodizio or—of course—Venezuelan arepas.

La Belle France  

The French practically invented fine dining as we know it, and one of its most celebrated modern masters—the late Joël Robuchon—was honoured with the Chef of the Century title by the revered Gault & Millau guide. His restaurant at the MGM Grand remains an haute-cuisine pilgrimage site, where favourites include the Osetra caviar in a crustacean gelée and frog leg fritter with red miso and Espelette pepper. Whatever you order, leave room for the mignardises (tiny sweets and pastries).

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For a different kind of opulence, visit Le Cirque in the Bellagio, and say the magic words: “surf and turf.” They'll get you a secret off-menu creation, whether wagyu steak in perigourdine sauce with foie gras and shaved truffles or a butter-poached Maine lobster tail with lobster caviar and 24-carat gold leaf fried potato fondant with a marrow-filled beef bone.

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Twist by Pierre Gagnaire at the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas is the extremely rare high-end French restaurant where vegetarians eat sumptuously: Though the chef is known for spectacular foie gras, duck and other carnivorous pleasures, the vegetarian tasting menu is equally lavish.

Meanwhile, Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace, lets you take lavishness into your own hands: Executive Chef Julien Asseo offers private lessons (from US$265 per person), during which you’ll learn his recipe secrets, whip up a tasty meal and dine at a table with behind-the-scenes access.

For a more laid-back French bistro experience, head to Chef Thomas Keller’s Bouchon in the Venetian—a particularly great deal at breakfast, when you can order the quiche du jour or a freshly baked assortment of Keller’s renowned pastries for less than US$20.

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Across the Channel

For classic British food by one of its most televised proponents, try the three-course tasting menu at Hell’s Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay in Caesars Palace. You’ll get the chef’s famed seared scallops, beef Wellington and sticky toffee pudding for a comparatively reasonable sum: US$72 per person, yelling not included.

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If you fancy something less ... fancy, hit a gastropub instead: The Smashed Pig, a downtown Las Vegas purveyor of (mostly) British comfort food. Think Yorkshire popovers, fish and chips, and sticky toffee pudding.

Say ¡Olé! 

At Jaleo in the Cosmopolitan, Chef José Andrés dishes out a hearty taste of Spain. Think paella cooked over a wood-burning grill and cured jamón ibérico de bellota. To have more fun with less cash, order a group-friendly drink: a traditional Spanish porrón (25-ounce pitcher) filled with wine, cava, spiced cider, lemon beer clara—even G & T.

For side orders of high art and pop culture with your Spanish cuisine, try Picasso at the Bellagio, where Chef Julian Serrano’s team serves up the likes of warm quail salad in a cinematic setting featuring a collection of originals by the eponymous artist. Ask for Table 34, where George Clooney and Julia Roberts sat for a scene in "Ocean's 11."

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Greco-Roman Goodness

The tastiest place to go Greek is Estiatorio Milos at the Cosmopolitan, where the three-course prix fixe lunch by Chef Costas Spiliadis is one of the best deals in town (US$29). There’s also his Santorini menu to consider: a five-course early-bird special for $49.

For a Roman holiday in Vegas, head over to the Cromwell, where GIADA serves up the chef’s most beloved classics from her TV show: arugula salad with candied lemon, pancetta and parmigiano-reggiano, shrimp spaghetti with mascarpone and, of course, lemon ricotta cookies. Ask for a table by the window, and you’ll get a bella vista of the Bellagio fountains.

A culinary cruise through the Italian Riviera begins atop the Delano, at Chef Alain Ducasse’s Rivea, where the crispy chickpea socca, grilled octopus and butterbean salad, and tomato basil tigelle—among other specialties—come with sweeping Vegas views.


To taste your way through huge swaths of the Mediterranean under one renowned roof, head to Chef Danny Elmaleh's Cleo at the SLS. North Africa and the Middle East are particularly well represented, from the chicken tagine, to the multitude of kebabs (even wagyu, because Vegas) to the laffah and divine dips (baba ganoush, labneh ... the works).

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Crazy Good Asian

Wing Lei at the Wynn is the only Chinese restaurant in North America to earn a Five-Star Award from Forbes Travel Guide, thanks to the Imperial Peking duck and truffle soup dumplings, among other delicacies by Chef Ming Yu.

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For Japanese food in a class of its own, head to Nobu in Caesars Palace and order the black cod with sweet miso, yellowtail with jalapeño—or the A5 Japanese Wagyu banquet prepared in front of you (this is the only Nobu in the U.S. that offers teppanyaki tables). No reservation? No sweat. Pull up a seat at the sushi bar, open for walk-in diners.

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If you’re a fan of Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, visit Morimoto in the MGM Grand, where Japanese tradition meets Western cooking, and results in the likes of the famed yellowtail “pastrami.”

Or go to the casual end of the spectrum—the new Palace Station Casino Boathouse Asian Eatery—where Cat and Tu Do (a brother-and-sister team) dish out such delicacies as claypot catfish in caramelized pepper sauce or blackened edamame with chili, lime and sea salt. As for the giant octopus mural, it's meant to signify good fortune—and after all the amazingness you've just tasted, that symbolism will feel especially fitting (even if your pants don't).

Ready to go? Start planning your foodie adventure to Las Vegas and make sure to check out these deals on hotels, restaurants and entertainment.

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