Las Vegas Has Blossomed into a Foodie Paradise

Food & Beverage, Magazine Features

Celebrity chef restaurants add sizzle to the city’s dining landscape. Famous names like Buddy Valastro, Guy Fieri and Bobby Flay jazz up Vegas’ culinary scene

Just the name of the place and knowing that it belonged to a celebrity chef’s Las Vegas portfolio drew me in. Being a lover of pizza and cake, how could I not check out Pizza Cake my first night in town?

The pizzeria, with a few outdoor tables right on the Strip and indoor seating overlooking Harrah’s casino floor, is one of five Las Vegas eateries run by Buddy Valastro, TV’s Cake Boss. A celebrity chef from Hoboken, New Jersey, he is not alone in attaching his name to high-profile restaurants in this southern Nevada entertainment capital.

As a tourist draw, Las Vegas’ culinary scene—fueled by the star power of some of America’s best-known chefs—rivals the gambling parlors, stage shows, eye-popping mega hotels and over-the-top glitz that define Sin City. Indeed, some folks go to Vegas for the food. 

Even if they don’t snare tickets for a big-name entertainer, celebrity hounds at least can bask in the glow of a famous chef or two, perhaps ones seen on television or in food magazines. Admittedly, some of these destination restaurants are clearly in the big-splurge category.

Buddy Valastro Bakes Cakes and Pizza

As the star of TLC’s reality series Cake Boss from 2009-2020, Valastro does wonders with dough and it shows at his fast-casual Pizza Cake, where customers get in line to order slices of cake and slices of pizza (or whole pies). Of Italian heritage, the TV personality has taken his family’s Hoboken bakery, Carlo’s Bake Shop, and turned it into a bakery and restaurant empire. Currently, he stars in Buddy Valastro’s Cake Dynasty on A&E Network. 

At Pizza Cake, my son and I shared four slices of pizza, choosing the thick, bready Sicilian; the delicious white pizza with ricotta, mozzarella and garlic butter; the chicken and bacon Alfredo; and The Boss, a gut-buster loaded with pepperoni, sausage, meatballs and smoked bacon crumbles. And we had to try a packaged slice of Buddy’s best-selling, eye-catching Rainbow Cake.

His cake is also available from the Cake ATM at Pizza Cake—and other locations on the Las Vegas Strip. You’ll even see Buddy vending machines that dispense “Fresh Hot Pizza!!”

Buddy V’s Ristorante at The Venetian Resort, Las Vegas

Buddy V’s Ristorante at The Venetian Resort, Las Vegas

Dining Delights at Buddy V’s Ristorante in Las Vegas

For the buffet-style Sunday brunch at Buddy V’s Ristorante in The Venetian Resort’s Grand Canal Shoppes, we saved room for the dessert table’s Italian donut balls, chocolate chip cannolis, tiramisu, mini banana Bundt cakes and mini “New Jersey-style” cheesecakes. That was after indulging in Italian comfort food like chicken parmigiana and the irresistible mac ’n’ cheese carbonara. We also enjoyed the creamy, rich tomato basil soup, Caesar salad with soft polenta croutons and an antipasto station offering everything from prosciutto, shrimp and smoked salmon to olives, hummus and big blocks of bleu and Parmesan cheese. 

The restaurant’s homey Italian flair is reflected in the framed black-and-white family photos and shelves brimming with cans of tomatoes and bottles of olive oil. Rolling pins, cake molds and whisk-shaped chandeliers evoke the Valastro clan’s baking prowess. Many of the recipes come from Buddy’s wife, mother, aunts and grandmothers. Grab a window table for views of the Strip. 

Across the hallway from Buddy V’s is Carlo’s Bakery, where a viewing window exposes bakers at work. In the nearby LINQ Promenade you’ll find Buddy’s Jersey Eats and The Boss Cafe.

Celebrity Chefs from Britain and Spain Make a Big Splash in Las Vegas

Several other celebrity chefs have multiple restaurants in Las Vegas. Britain’s Gordon Ramsay counts six, with the seventh on the way. His flagship, Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen at Caesars Palace, is a tribute to the TV show of the same name. Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips is located near the High Roller observation wheel. Gordon Ramsay Steak at the Paris Las Vegas is one of the Strip’s best steakhouses. 

Other top steakhouses on the boulevard include CUT by Wolfgang Puck, housed at The Palazzo at The Venetian Resort, and Bazaar Meat at the Sahara Las Vegas, one of Spanish chef Jose Andres’ four Sin City establishments. 

For tapas and paellas, head to The Cosmopolitan and savor the flavors of Spain at Jaleo, which mirrors Andres’ restaurants of the same name in Washington, D.C., Chicago and Disney Springs. Tapas fans rave about signature small-plate treasures like croquetas de pollo (chicken croquettes), gambas al ajillo (shrimp sautéed with garlic) and patatas bravas (fried potatoes in spicy tomato sauce). The menu also offers a wide selection of Spanish cheeses and cured meats, including the finest Iberian ham. For noodles and tacos, try China Poblano by Jose Andres, a Cosmopolitan restaurant blending the tastes of China and Mexico.

Guy Fieri at Guy’s Flavortown Sports Kitchen, Horseshoe Las Vegas

Guy Fieri’s Flavortown Sports Kitchen, Horseshoe Las Vegas

Guy Fieri and Emeril Lagasse Leave Bold Imprints on Las Vegas

Guy Fieri, star of Food Network shows like “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” and “Guy’s Grocery Games,” dishes up burgers, wings, tacos and other comfort foods at Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar at The LINQ hotel. You need a knife and fork to tackle the massive Bacon Mac ’N’ Cheese Burger, a juicy stack of succulence topped with onion straws and tucked in a garlic butter brioche bun. Guy’s signature Trash Can Nachos, presented in a mini trash can, is a tower of corn tortilla chips, smoked pork, cheese, black beans, jalapeno and more. This shareable plate also is available at El Burro Borracho, Fieri’s color-splashed Mexican restaurant at the Rio Hotel & Casino. The Forum Food Court at Caesars Palace hosts Chicken Guy, which offers mouthwatering chicken tenders and chicken sandwiches. Guy Fieri’s Flavortown Sports Kitchen is at the Horseshoe Las Vegas.

Emeril Lagasse, another celebrity chef with a larger-than-life personality, is well represented at Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House at the MGM Grand, a beautiful restaurant with an atmosphere reminiscent of the French Quarter. An institution in New Orleans for over 30 years, Emeril offers the best in fresh seafood and twists on classic Louisiana Creole dishes. The Creole Seafood Boil is a symphony of jumbo shrimp, clams, mussels, corn, Andouille sausage and potatoes with Creole garlic butter. Some swear by the seafood gumbo, jambalaya and Southern fried catfish, while others flock to the raw bar for the freshly shucked oysters and Alaskan king crab legs. Reserve a corner in your stomach for the heavenly banana cream pie. 

Cajun-Creole dishes, along with steaks and fresh seafood, lure gastronomes to Lagasse’s Delmonico Steakhouse at The Palazzo at The Venetian Resort. 

Paris Las Vegas is home to The Bedford by Martha Stewart, the celebrity’s first restaurant.

Paris Las Vegas is home to The Bedford by Martha Stewart, the celebrity’s first restaurant.

Martha Stewart and Giada DeLaurentiis Make Their Marks in Las Vegas

Famous female cooks also light up Las Vegas’ culinary landscape. Lifestyle diva Martha Stewart last August opened her first restaurant, The Bedford by Martha Stewart, at Paris Las Vegas. It’s a replica of her 1925 farmhouse, with culinary inspiration drawn from her garden and love of French cooking.

At The Cromwell, a boutique hotel on the Strip, GIADA by Giada de Laurentiis features the TV star/cookbook author’s take on family-style Italian cooking. Decor includes posters of movies produced by her grandfather, Dino de Laurentiis. At Caesars Palace, Pronto by Giada offers Italian fare in a fast-casual format.

Bobby Flay and Other Top Chefs Work Their Magic in Las Vegas

Amalfi by Bobby Flay, another Italian restaurant at Caesars Palace, is the creation of Food Network star Flay. Inspired by his travels to Italy’s Amalfi Coast, it focuses on fresh fish and seafood. Guests may order a whole fish, prepared grilled over charcoal or roasted al forno, served with lemon, capers and salsa verde. There’s a large menu of rich pastas. Dessert staples include pistachio olive oil cake and dark chocolate tiramisu. 

Adjacent to Amalfi is the brand new Brasserie B by Bobby Flay, a French restaurant where one of the signature items is Parisian-style French fries. At Caesars, Paris Las Vegas and Harrah’s Las Vegas, you’ll find Bobby’s Burgers by Bobby Flay.

Restaurants orchestrated by other top chefs dot the Las Vegas Strip. To name a few: Thomas Keller’s Bouchon at The Venetian; Border Grill at Mandalay Resort & Casino, the creation of Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken, formerly of Food Network’s “Two Hot Tamales;” Rivea at Delano Las Vegas, with tastes of the French and Italian Rivieras offered by Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse; Nobu, Nobu Matsuhisa’s temple of Japanese cooking at Caesars Palace, Virgin Hotels and Paris Las Vegas; and Guy Savoy’s Restaurant Guy Savoy, Caesars Palace.

For more information on culinary delights around the world, be sure to Subscribe to Leisure Group Travel for FREE

By Randy Mink, Senior Editor

Lead photo – Emeril Lagasse’s New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp


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