What's new in food, drink and hotels in Las Vegas
Next year will be insane, too, as the city undergoes a major makeover.
Las Vegas is sizzling. And we don't just mean the summer heat that bakes the city to golden crisp.
A burst of new restaurants, bars and resort rooms has lent some serious sparkle to the city of lights and magic. What follows are some of the new hot spots, not limited to the famed Strip.
Palms Casino Resort is sinking $620 million into a major makeover of the property just off the strip. Art - think Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Dustin Yellin - plays a major part of the upgrade, including at the new Unknown bar where Damien Hirst's celebrated "The Unknown (Explored, Explained, Exploded)" - a 13-foot-long tiger shark divided into three parts - is the focal point. There's also a chic new steakhouse, Scotch 80 Prime; a new lounge, Camden Cocktail Lounge; and a new nightclub, APEX Social Club (in the former Ghostbar space with unrivaled views of the Strip). More to come: new guest-room design; restaurants from celebrity chefs Michael Symon and Marc Vetri; the new Vandal restaurant from the Tao Group; and a mammoth nightclub and pool club. And Blink-182 has its first residency at the remodeled The Pearl Theater.
WALK IN THE PARK
Goodbye, Monte Carlo; hello, Park MGM. Thanks to a $550 million upgrade, the stodgy Monte Carlo has been replaced by the panache of Park MGM, with 2,600 redesigned guest rooms; a new steakhouse, Bavette's Steakhouse & Bar; and the new Juniper Cocktail Lounge with the city's largest gin collection and a menu of classic cocktails. The top-to-bottom renovation's firepower is yet to come: Later this year expect a new Korean-inspired restaurant from Los Angeles culinary legend Roy Choi of Kogi BBQ fame; a huge new Eataly emporium of Italian culinary riches; the urban glam of NoMad Hotel Las Vegas, which will occupy 292 rooms on the hotel's top four floors (yes, a hotel within a hotel); and the Vegas debut of chef Daniel Humm and restaurateur Will Guidara, who made Eleven Madison Park in New York the world's No. 1 restaurant in 2017. All that and a Lady Gaga residency at the hotel's Park Theater that may just out-diva Celine Dion. Watch this space.
Park MGM, 2770 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; parkmgm.com. Rates from $90
HOT AS HELL
Gordon Ramsay is no stranger to the Vegas dining scene, with several concepts scattered on the Strip. But even the most jaded foodie had to take notice of the opening of Hell's Kitchen, the chef's hit television show brought to life as an immersive dining adventure. Set on the Caesars Palace property facing the Strip, Hell's Kitchen is a 300-seat restaurant designed to look like the show's set with an open kitchen divided into red and blue teams putting out signature dishes such as Beef Wellington, lobster risotto, crispy skin salmon and pan-seared scallops. It's busy, loud, theatrical. And visitors can't get enough of it. Tip: It's easier to get in for lunch service than dinner, and it's nearly same menu.
Gordon Ramsay Hell's Kitchen at Caesars Palace, 3570 Las Vegas Blvd. S.;caesars.com
Celebrity chef Scott Conant has opened a new restaurant far off the strip but in the thick of casino thrills. Masso Osteria is a casual but accomplished Italian restaurant at Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa on the city's far west side. The menu is crave-worthy stuff: wood-fired pizzas, perfect salads, dreamy pastas (including his signature Pasta al Pomodoro) and Italian classics such as Veal Chop Milanese.
Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa, 11011 W. Charleston; massoosteria.com
With a hit restaurant under her belt in Vegas, it was high time for food personality Giada De Laurentiis to expand. She has with Pronto by Giada, a new fast-casual restaurant and wine bar at Caesars Palace. Think of this restaurant as a way for De Laurentiis fans to enjoy the Giada experience if they can't get into the actual - and perpetually packed - Giada at the Cromwell hotel. Coffee, panini sandwiches, salads and antipasti fill the bill and there's a sweet retail section of branded kitchen and lifestyle goods.
Caesars Palace, 2570 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; caesars.com
Osteria Costa, the new Italian restaurant celebrating the flavors of the Amalfi coast at The Mirage, has added Sunday brunch to its dining options. That means dishes such as eggs cacio e pepe, baba al rhum toast, lemon ricotta pancakes, prosciutto eggs Benedict, and mushroom and egg pizza. And a bottomless sangrias, mimosas, Bellinis and Bloody Marys for $16 can't be beat.
The Mirage, 3400 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; mirage.com
It's hard to imagine that 25 years have passed since Wolfgang Puck opened Spago in Vegas. Today the celebrated California cuisine standby has a new home overlooking the dancing fountains of Bellagio Resort & Casino in the former Olives space. The new restaurant, which fits neatly into Bellagio's sense of glam, continues to reflect Puck's ongoing affair with seasonal, luxurious fare that exudes California dreaming. Smoked salmon pizza with caviar, anyone?
Bellagio Resort & Casino, 3600 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; wolfgangpuck.com