Many Strip spots offer lunches to please any palate


"Locals," some locals like to say, "don't go to the Strip."

Well, if you're among them, you're definitely missing something, especially as far as restaurants go.

But maybe you'd rather skip the Strip in the evening, when the crowds come out and the craziness is really crankin'. If that's the case, maybe you'd consider lunch, when things are generally quieter and prices more affordable.

We found about 85 restaurants on Strip properties that serve lunch -- and that doesn't include the buffets, cafes, sports bars, nationwide chains and walk-up counter service. Of those, we chose 25 where we think lunch would remind you why it's so great to live in Las Vegas.

ARIA

Julian Serrano: Tapas are the focus here -- which is fitting since they're from Spain and so is Serrano, acclaimed chef of Bellagio's Picasso. There also are paellas and more.

BELLAGIO

Olives: You can lunch with a view of the Bellagio lake while indulging in Todd English's signature Mediterranean cuisine, such as fig and proscuitto flatbread or butternut squash tortelli.

CAESARS PALACE

Mesa Grill: The menu at celebrity chef Bobby Flay's only Las Vegas restaurant is characterized by his innovative takes on American cuisine, such as goat cheese queso fundido.

CRYSTALS

Todd English P.U.B.: A sandwich from the carvery at this "public urban bar" enables you to create your own lunch, or you can rely on English with something such as the Grichebactom -- grilled brie with bacon and tomato.

ENCORE

Wazuzu: The deep crimson walls and dragon crafted of 90,000 Swarovski crystals set the scene for a pan-Asian menu of sushi, sashimi, dim sum and Thai dishes.

FASHION SHOW MALL

The Capital Grille: The mellow french onion soup is a great way to start lunch at The Capital Grille; follow up with a sandwich, salad or entree such as grilled swordfish.

FLAMINGO

Margaritaville: You can waste away at lunch, too, at this home of the giant margarita blender, which offers plenty of fish choices and the quintessential Cheeseburger in Paradise.

FORUM SHOPS AT CAESARS

Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab: Stone crabs may technically be out of season right now but you can usually depend on a supply at Joe's, which also has sandwiches, fish and homemade pies.

GRAND CANAL SHOPS

Enoteca Otto Pizzeria: This casual spot from Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich offers the expected pizzas and pastas, plus homemade gelato and an extensive cheese selection.

HARRAH'S

KGB: Kerry's Gourmet Burgers: Kerry Simon focuses his attention on the classic American hamburger with a ton of build-your-own choices, plus a footlong hot dog, short rib sloppy joe and Captain Crunch milkshake.

LUXOR

T&T: T&T -- for tacos and tequila -- is high-style Mexican with artful punched-tin ceilings, plus lots of familiar dishes and a few offbeat offerings such as falafel, and spiced-apple margaritas.

MGM GRAND

Emeril's: This was Emeril Lagasse's first restaurant in Las Vegas and it still is a haute spot for Creole and Cajun fare, including po'boy sandwiches, gumbo and crawfish.

MANDALAY BAY

Rick Moonen's RM Seafood: Lunch is available in the downstairs part of this up-and-downstairs restaurant, and includes a raw bar and such dishes as barbecued pork mac and cheese in addition to seafood.

MIRACLE MILE SHOPS

Pampas Churrascaria Brazilian Grille: The meats keep on coming -- and coming-- at this rodizio-style restaurant, where servers bear skewers filled with them. A la carte dishes also are available.

THE MIRAGE

Carnegie Delicatessen: You can skip a trip to New York if you stop by this local branch of the Seventh Avenue landmark, serving piled-up-to-here sandwiches, potato pancakes and brisket.

MONTE CARLO

Diablo's Cantina: Diablo's is nothing if not colorful, and in good weather, you'd be wise to angle for a patio table right on the Strip, where you can nosh on chips and guacamole, skirt-steak nachos and grilled shrimp.

NEW YORK-NEW YORK

Nine Fine Irishmen: Shepherd's pie, bangers and mash and colcannon are on the menu but there are plenty of other choices, and you can get a mug of draft Guinness to wash it all down.

PALAZZO

Carnevino: The Taverna at Mario Batali's Palazzo steakhouse has the expected carpaccio and clams al forno, but also such surprises as a pastrami ciabatta with fontina.

PARIS LAS VEGAS

Eiffel Tower Restaurant: Take the elevator high in the tower and grab a window-side table for a view of the Bellagio fountains as you sample from a variety of sandwiches, salads and more.

PLANET HOLLYWOOD

Pink's Hot Dogs: You don't have to go to Los Angeles to sample the fare of this legendary frankfurter fantasy. The Planet Hollywood offshoot is right on the Strip and dresses dogs in about any way you can imagine.

SAHARA

NASCAR Cafe: Motorsports memorabilia lines the walls and dominates the video screens and the menu, which has mega-burgers, sides by the pound and the admonition that "real men don't eat" the salads on the menu.

TREASURE ISLAND

Gilley's: Rising like a phoenix from the rubble of the New Frontier to be resurrected at the Treasure Island, Gilley's does, yes, still have a mechanical bull, plus a menu of barbecue, bar food and steaks.

VDARA

Silk Road: The menu here carries the flavors of the legendary trade route; you can indulge in curries and chicken-coconut soup, but also sit back with a burger or pizza.

THE VENETIAN

Zeffirino: This multistory, multichambered spot will make you feel like you're on the real Grand Canal, and you can dine on homemade pastas, seafood and beef, prix-fixe or a la carte.

WYNN LAS VEGAS

The Country Club: Carlos Guia's shrimp and grits are on the lunch menu at this restful spot overlooking the resort's golf course, but so are burgers, salads and steaks.

Contact reporter Heidi Knapp Rinella at hrinella @reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0474.

 

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