Tonight is the night you’ve planned for; you downloaded every free budgeting app you could find and started saving coins instead of throwing them in the couch. Now you can spend a meal acting like someone who can afford a serious wine glass collection and orders oysters regularly, not just when they’re a dollar during Happy Hour.
Whether you’re with a group of friends, your significant other, or that cousin that calls themselves an “entrepreneur” (but might be orchestrating a pyramid scheme), you want to eat somewhere with ridiculously good food. But we’re not just cutting and pasting together a list of the most expensive restaurants in Vegas. We’ve put together the 15 best spots where you’ll probably spend a lot of money, but between the food, space, and experience, you’ll have one of the best dinners of your trip.
Herringbone is about as close as you’ll get to a beach trip in Vegas - minus the high school-aged lifeguard getting really whistle-happy - since this restaurant in the ARIA serves some of the best seafood you’ll find in town. (Though if not everyone in your group is as into seafood, there’s also a great coffee-rubbed NY strip on the menu.) The lobster puttanesca and day-boat halibut are two dishes you should focus on, and the nightly DJ will help prepare you for the rest of your night, as will sitting at a table on the patio and pretending you can feel an ocean breeze.
From the corner store/bodega-themed entrance to the high school pictures on the menu pages, there’s no better restaurant to reminisce with a group of friends about how great youth and the absence of back pain was than Best Friend. You’ll find Korean barbecue dishes you thankfully don’t actually have to cook yourself - because everyone still remembers the five-alarm-fire night of senior year - in addition to a full menu of “LA-meets-Korea” food. Get a few orders of Kogi short rib tacos and the V.I.P. duck, along with an alcoholic slushie that comes in a non-plastic red solo cup and really lean into the theme of the night.
There are two groups of people that you’ll find in the parking lot of the El Dorado Cantina: those going to the strip club on the right and those heading left to get some of the best Mexican food in Las Vegas. Both are about to spend some money - but the group that goes to the left is the one you want to be in. Between the massive dining room that’s always full of groups drinking margaritas, the thought of what’s happening next door, and the fact that they never close, this place is usually loud and rowdy anytime after 7pm. And since the menu is clearly marked with lots of dishes that are gluten-free (empanadas), vegetarian (chile rellenos), and vegan (cauliflower tacos), no one has to leave hungry or unhappy.
Unfortunately for the friend who watched hours of videos on French braiding hair and archery, District One is not a Hunger Games-themed restaurant. Lucky for everyone else, it is a Vietnamese restaurant in Chinatown that serves incredibly inventive food. Start with the beef carpaccio with peanuts, citrus soy, and truffle oil, before deciding between the whole Maine lobster pho or aioli king crab legs (each one is listed as market priced and usually ends up costing around $50). They’re both basically mandatory if your table likes seafood and fun presentations. Then console your friend by promising to watch The Hunger Games on the plane back home with them.
Maybe this trip is with a group you see every week. Or maybe you’re reuniting with people you haven’t hung out with since your main source of memory-making was Polaroids. Either way, take everyone to Momofuku and you’re guaranteed to be sharing the secret ingredient in your banana bread before dessert. There’s really nothing that brings people together quite like tearing apart a whole duck or fighting over the last salt and pepper lobster tail or tempura shrimp. Those dishes are from the definitely-expensive large-format part of the menu - but they each serve three or four people and go perfectly with sake and Momofuku’s view of the Strip.
There are different ways to have a big night out in Vegas. You can go to a club, pretend to be an oligarch from a country people “probably haven’t heard of,” and order bottle service. Or, you can spend a similarly large amount of money on a long, incredible meal at Jean Georges Steakhouse. This is the type of place where you can show up in the fanciest clothing you own and still somehow feel underdressed. You probably already know to order way too much red meat, but make sure someone gets the soy-glazed short rib with apples and rosemary. It’s good enough that you’ll want to run downstairs and buy a full outfit from one of the high-end stores so you can have an excuse to come back. Just make sure you know what the return policy is for steak-stained dress clothes.
When most people think of Vegas, they think of classic landmarks like the Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas sign and the Bellagio fountains. But for us, the first thing that comes to mind is Lotus of Siam. This Thai restaurant in Southeast Vegas opened almost 20 years ago and serves some of our favorite Thai food around. The menu is pretty massive, but stick to the garlic prawns and seared scallops and anything from the Northern side of the menu. It’s a bright and lively space, and it feels like everyone there is at the same party, but it’s not somewhere you need to show up in - and inevitably stain - your “going out” clothes.
From folding your napkin into a swan to refilling your water glass every three minutes, there are a lot of ways a restaurant can make you feel taken care of. The on-call gin and tonic cart at EDO Gastro Tapas, though, is one of our favorites. Start with the tapas tasting menu: 10 different dishes for $45 per person (the whole table has to participate) because it’s one of the best dinner deals you’ll find, before ordering all three of their paellas for the table. And for the people who don’t like to feel special, or maybe just aren’t fans of gin, there’s a great wine list.
You are currently faced with your hardest decision since that time you were at Sam’s Club and had to calculate the financial responsibility of investing in a two-gallon jug of Sriracha: Do you choose one of the tasting menu options at Partage or order from the menu? Thankfully, there’s no wrong answer at this French spot in Chinatown because the tasting menu is one of the best in the city, but we prefer the a la carte option if we’re with a group because there’s more flexibility when picking things to share with the table - like a 16oz Kurobuta pork chop prepared tableside. Whatever you do end up choosing, make sure you get either the wine pairing or something from their long wine list. It will help ease the anxiety of the decision, unlike when you were stuck figuring out what to do with all of that hot sauce.
There’s something comforting about Bavette’s. Maybe it’s the fact that you don’t have to make a reservation or maybe it’s that you can bring your parents or a client here and not have to explain through gritted teeth why there are go-go dancers on top of the table. You can just walk in and, after a usually short wait, be seated and enjoy a great steak. The 42-day-aged ribeye is our favorite, but the double-bone Berkshire pork chop and spiced fried chicken with sweet pea and cipollini gravy are worth sharing with the table as well if you’re with a group. Though, if you have a corporate card available and a convincing enough fake cough, a solo seat at the bar in front of numerous backlit amber-colored bottles is probably one of the best in the house.
The three most important reservations you’ll make for your Vegas trip are flights, hotels, and Sterling Brunch. It’s, as is obvious, a brunch spot and not dinner, but it’s one of the biggest, most enjoyable blow-out meals you can have. It’s a buffet that’s only open on Sundays from 9am-2:30pm and requires reservations months in advance. “Why am I making reservations for a buffet?” is probably the first thing that comes to mind. It could be for the mini pancakes topped with caviar, but we have a suspicion it’s because of the unlimited champagne, mimosas, and lobster (and an incredibly long list of other dishes) all for $125. We probably should have led with that last part.
The less said about last year’s anniversary dinner involving unlimited breadsticks the better. This Vegas trip is your chance to erase that memory, and Vetri Cucina is the perfect spot to do it. When you make a reservation, request a table by the huge windows so you’ll have a view of the Strip from the 56th floor of the Palms, which alone should make this dinner memorable. The Italian food, though, is what you’ll still be talking about five years from now. The tonnarelli cacio e pepe is one of the best dishes in the city and an instant upgrade over anything you had last year - or really any other year you’ve celebrated.
From the spiral staircases to the walls lined with books, it would be easy to mistake the Nomad for a library. And we probably would have studied way harder if all libraries served the food they do here. But instead of a place to test out the non-prescription glasses you bought to look smarter, the Nomad is one of the best places in Vegas to have a really fancy celebratory dinner, whether that’s for an anniversary or when you happened to pull down the right lever and win a sum of money that rivals your monthly rent. Order the cavatelli pasta with tomatoes, ricotta, and basil or the Nomad roast chicken stuffed with foie gras and black truffles. The food is good enough that it’ll distract the person you’re with when they ask how many of the books on the shelves you think you’ve read.
Behind a fake Coke-machine door is Greene St. Kitchen, a restaurant/bar in the Palms that looks like it was decorated by Willy Wonka if he were a millennial and moonlighted as a DJ. It’s full of color and quirky details like a bar inside of a birdcage, graffitied walls, and giant Mickey hands making an LV sign. It’s also the perfect pregame dinner spot for you and your friends before a night full of questionable decisions on the Strip. And since this spot is going to be full of other groups with the same idea, odds are you’re going to leave here with more people than you came with and a few phone contacts with the last name “Vegas.” You could order the great whole steamed striped bass with melted leeks or the Jidori chicken kabobs, but the best thing on the menu is the lobster, which comes stuffed with lump crab and Ritz crackers.
Back at home, dessert is usually a pint of ice cream, no bowl, and two episodes of whatever new show your Netflix algorithm suggested. But you’re not home and there’s no way your friends are going to let you go to the hotel, because they know you’ll never come back out. So when you have some time between dinner and the rest of your night, and you don’t want to eat yet another creme brulee or molten lava cake that’s on every restaurant menu, head to Sweets Raku. This spot in Chinatown has a few savory dishes on the menu, but what you’re here for is the Chef’s Special dessert set - which, since you’ve already set the bar high for the night, should be complemented by the $7 wine pairing. The desserts here can only be described by short paragraphs, things like a white chocolate cup with pie crust and strawberry mousse served with strawberry candy filled with strawberry sorbet and condensed milk mousse.