Hey Higashi, I'm in Las Vegas for the weekend, where should I eat?
I get this question weekly. For those who don't know me, my name is Chris Higashi, and I'm a longtime Las Vegas local, Magic player, and food connoisseur. From local "Hole in the Walls" to the finest tables on The Strip, Las Vegas has something for everyone.
In honor of Magic 30, I've drafted a list of my top 30 places to eat in Las Vegas, dividing them into 4 categories: "Standard" meals under or around $20 a person, "Modern" for diners with a budget between $25 - $75, usually about $30 a person, "Vintage" for the high-end dining experience, about $150 a person, with some meals going far above that, and in true WotC fashion, I've included a "Secret Lair '' at the end... "Secret Lair: Vegas Vegan", including 6 spots specializing in vegan and vegetarian cuisine.
Let's start with the "Standard" places. These are the tried and true "Cheap Eats" of Las Vegas, usually with fast service and no frills.
Japanese fusion street burgers! Former food truck now with two physical locations. Colin Fukunaga makes the best fast food burger in Las Vegas.
Higashi Order: Karai Burger, Jazz Fries, and a Draft Sapporo.
Best pizza in Las Vegas? Maybe not, but is it in the right location and still good pizza? Yes! Located in the Arts District and down the street from various breweries, Good Pie offers Brooklyn-style, Detroit-style, and grandma-style pies whole or by the slice. They also have vegan and dairy-free pies.
Higashi Order: Slice of Brooklyn White and a Slice of Brooklyn Good Hot, plus an order of meatballs if I'm really hungry.
Half Bird is exactly as it sounds, Chicken & Beer. Small menu with amazing flavors, 12-hour-marinated rotisserie chicken or fried sandwiches, plus a handful of asian-inspired sides.
Higashi Order: Spring Mountain "Hot Chicken", Brix's Mac 'N Cheese, "Cockfight" Pils, and a side of Togarashi Rolls to share.
Located in a small building close to the event center, Letty's is a hidden gem in downtown Las Vegas. Traditional Mexican food for an inexpensive price.
Higashi Order: Birria Torta and a Draft Beer.
Hands down the best ramen in Las Vegas! Very small, about 5 tables and a counter. Expect lines out the door from open to close.
Higashi Order: Tonkotsu Ramen with extra noodles, Kimchi Fried Rice to share, Asahi Draft.
Ramen Show 2
Great place to bring a group to hangout and get inexpensive Japanese street food such as; Takoyaki, Karaage, Ramen, and one of the only places in Las Vegas where you can find Okonomiyaki (Japanese cabbage pancake). However, their serving size has shrunk since the pandemic. Open late (2 AM).
Higashi Order: Chicken Karaage, Okonomiyaki, Asahi Draft.
Website: No website.
Best tacos in Las Vegas, and it shows, with the lines out the door. There are a number of locations in town, but I usually go to the one on Charleston Blvd. Ordering can be a little confusing: they have three separate lines to order different meats from, one is for carne asada items, one is for al pastor, and one is for the other meats (This line will be the shortest). Make sure to ask for grilled onions and extra pineapple.
Higashi Order: 3 Tacos; 1 Carne Asada, 1 Lengua, 1 Al Pastor
Simple but delicious! Perfectly prepared dumplings, fried rice, and stir frys using the best ingredients and made fresh daily. You can go as a group or as an individual, with any size appetite, just order as you go.
Higashi Order: Cucumber Salad, House Special Soup Dumplings, Fried Chicken in Chili Pepper.
Moving into the "Modern" section, we have a variety of wonderful restaurants that can stretch your budget just a bit. Maybe not your every night meal, but remember: you're in Vegas on holiday, enjoy.
This is one of my favorite spots in Las Vegas. Seasonal menus, fresh pastas, homemade breads, perfection! Located in the Arts District of Las Vegas, rumor is this is where WotC employees had dinner to iron out the details for Magic 30.
Higashi Order: The Chef's Spread With All the Things (Share), Duck Crespelle (Share), Beef Cheek Agnolotti, Resting Peach Face
To quote their website, "We make pretty good steaks, and REALLY good cocktails." Herbs & Rye has an amazing cocktail menu that is worth a visit alone, but they also have one of the best happy hours in Las Vegas: half off select steaks and other items, and don't let their cocktails overshadow their steaks, they're damn good! Make sure to make a reservation ahead of time. (All-day happy hour when I last checked). Also be sure check out their sister spot: Cleaver - Butchered Meats, Seafood & Classic Cocktails.
Higashi Order: 12oz. New York Strip with Creamy Horseradish, Garlic Mash, Blood and Sand (Cocktail).
Most people you talk to will tell you Lotus of Siam is the best Thai restaurant in Las Vegas, and that is probably true, but Lamaii is better in my opinion. First off, you can probably just walk in and get a table. Second, the owner, Bank Atcharawan, used to work at Lotus and a former favorite, Chada Thai (closed now), and brought all of the wonderful flavors Lotus has with half the pretension. (However, if you get a chance to go to Lotus, you should.)
Higashi Order: Panang Crispy Duck and Basil Eggplant.
The sound of 80s style K-Pop greets you as you enter through the doors and are placed in a 1980s Korean-themed pub. Napal Baji serves all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue (and a' la carte orders) in a vintage throwback atmosphere full of retro style, lively music and delicious cuisine.
Great place to go with larger groups to fill up on flavorful meats, tasty sides, beer and soju. For those who have never had Korean barbecue, make sure to bring someone who is willing to cook the meat.
Higashi Recommendations: L.A. Galbi, Ribeye, Beef Tongue, Beef Bulgogi, Kimchi Fried Rice, KFC, Tteokbokki, Cass Beef, Pomegranate Soju.
Located on The Strip, the Peppermill offers vintage Vegas feels, with mirrored walls, artificial trees, bright booths, lights, lights and more lights. The Peppermill is what you'd get if you mixed Hunter S. Thompson writing with Denny's.
Higashi Order: You have to get breakfast: Country Style Ham and Eggs and a Scorpion.
My favorite all-you-can-eat sushi spot in Las Vegas ($25.95 Dinner). Fresh fish, great fish-to-rice ratio, tons of side dishes to please your non-fish-eating friends, and open until midnight. They do get really busy on the weekends, but they have a sister location in the same parking lot, Neko Supremo. Additionally, you can try their other restaurants: Sakana Sushi, Mr. Shota's, or It's Sushi all offer the same quality of AYCE sushi just in different parts of town.
Higashi Recommendations: "The Sh!t", Salmon Belly, Uni, Ocean Trout, and all of the Tuna.
Website: No Website
Former sushi chef at the Mirage and the Venetian, Takashi Nakamura recently opened Takumi Izakaya in the suburbs of Las Vegas with the idea to bring quality Japanese Izakaya to the off-the-Strip audience. I usually stop by once a week to get fantastic Japanese food for a relatively inexpensive price. Very small location with about 30 seats, reservations recommended.
Higashi Order: Chicken Karaage, 12 Piece Sushi and Sashimi Plate, Draft Asahi.
Japanese-style Italian cuisine. At first this sounds really weird, right? But do yourself a favor and check it out. Located in the same unassuming strip mall as a number of my other favorite restaurants, Nakamura-Ya is an amazing journey in mixed cultures.
Higashi Order: Bruschetta Nakamura-Ya Style, Octopus Carpaccio, Linguini Uni Cream Sauce, Nakamura-Ya's Dolce 3 Sampler.
Welcome to Magic 30, did you bring an all foil Commander deck? What about a black-bordered Old School deck? Do you plan on buying 30th Anniversary packs? Or do you love to spend your money on AMAZING food? Then the "Vintage" section is for you. To be fair, some of these places are very affordable for what you get.
With a name that translates to "Charcoal Grill House Enjoyment" Aburiya Raku is possibly the most affordable restaurant on my high-end list, with items starting out a $3 each on the a' la carte menu, but the reason to come here is the "Chef Menu" or Omakase. Aburiya Raku specializes in Japanese Robata grill serving various skewers of the finest meats and vegetables.
As a bonus, they have a sister restaurant, "Sweets Raku", in the same parking lot that serves multi-course dessert sets of seasonal items.
Higashi Order: Deluxe Omakase Course & Sweets Raku Dessert Set
James Beard award-winning chef, Jose Andres, brings you a wild and wonderful celebration of the carnivorous! Serving a Chef's tasting menu or a' la carte, prepare to eat the best meats you've ever had, in the fanciest of presentations.
Higashi Order: The Ultimate Tasting Menu.
Modern-day supper club with live music and special performances. This is a true Las Vegas experience. Warning "No Photos or Recording" because you never know who you'll run into eating there. Vegan options are available.
Higashi Order: Wagyu Beef Wellington to share and the Beehive Baked Alaska.
The first time I went to Edo Tapas, I thought I was going to have a variety of Japanese Izakaya with a friend. After all, it's located in Chinatown hidden in a small stripmall with other Japanese and Chinese restaurants and karaoke bars. Plus Edo is a period in Japanese history.
To my surprise, Edo Tapas serves the most delectable Spanish dishes I've had since my time in Barcelona. Very affordable to be on my high-end list, $75 a person for the Tasting Menu, but once you start adding drinks and such, it gets out of people's budgets. Vegan menu available.
Higashi Order: Chef Tasting Menu.
Two of the best sushi experiences in Las Vegas. These two restaurants are basically the same place, the two chefs used to work together and then they split up. Both restaurants are small (around 25 seats), and you should make a reservation as soon as you read this. High-end Japanese Omakase (Chef Menu) with fresh fish flown in daily from Japan.
Higashi Order: Any of the Omakase offered.
High-end modern Japanese food led by Michelin star chef Min Kim. Located in the Wynn Casino, with a dining room facing an amazing waterfall and Japanese garden. Vegan options are available.
Higashi Order: Wild Snapper Sashimi Usuzukuri, Miso Toothfish Saikyo-yaki, Ishiyaki Kobe Beef
My personal favorite restaurant in Las Vegas. Partage serves a modern French dining experience created by Chef Yuri, pastry chef Vincent Pellerin, and manager Nicolas Kalpokdjian. Choose between 5 courses, 7 courses, or the signature 9 courses seasonal tasting menu.
Higashi Order: 7-Course Tasting Menu with 7 Glass Wine Pairing.
Expensive French food!!! That's all... No wait there must be more. While pricey, Guy Savoy is amazing. You know the saying "Money can't buy you happiness". At Guy Savoy, they are wrong. Designed to emulate the menu and experience of their Paris location, the food here is possibly the best in Las Vegas.
Higashi Order: 5 Star Celebration Menu
Secret Lair Vegas Vegan
One of the biggest questions I get about food is "Do you know of any vegan places?" So I've been making an effort to go to more vegan restaurants in Las Vegas. While I myself am not vegan, I try to have a meatless meal at least once a week. Here is a bonus list of 10 Vegan places in Las Vegas.
One of the best vegan restaurants in Las Vegas! Chef Kenny Chye used to be the chef at Veggie House (also on my list) but went solo and opened a couple high-quality vegan Asian food restaurants. Simply delicious!
Higashi Order: Spicy Vegan Crispy Beef and Crispy Oyster Mushroom.
A plant-based deli and eatery. Serving deli sandwiches, salads, and sides. Plus you can pick up all of your own ingredients to make custom charcuterie boards. Now serving Oktoberfest Schnitzel and German Sauerkraut.
Higashi Order: Italian Cold Cut Sandwich and a side of German Potato Salad.
Upscale vegetarian fusion restaurant with dishes inspired by Southeast Asia. Simple and pure ingredients elevated to the next level.
Higashi Order: Pumpkin Coconut Soup, Exotic Mushroom Tempura, Spicy Eggplant & Fried Tofu, Lemongrass Margarita.
All plant-based taco joint. Couple locations around town, with a convenient location in the Arts District close to the event center.
Higashi Order: Taco Platter w/Al Pastor, Barbacoa, and Carne Asada.
Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, VegeNation is the closest Vegan restaurant to the event site (5 min drive, about 1.2 miles). Great variety of flavorful vegan dishes.
Higashi Order: Chicky Chicky Bang Bang and Disco Fries.
The Vegan answer to In-N-Out Burger! Delicious burgers, sandwiches, hotdogs and wraps. Not very close to the event site, but well worth the drive.
Higashi Order: Double Trouble, Fries, and an order of Fried Pickles.
Thank you for taking the time to look over my food suggestions for Las Vegas during Magic 30. If you manage to go to any of these places, I'd love to hear your feedback whether it be positive or negative. And if you would like a specific recommendation for something not on this list feel free to send me a message on social media or in person. I'll be at the Ultra Pro booth all weekend long!