Best Restaurant Bar: Nora’s Cuisine
Nora’s leather-bound cocktail compendium boasts 17 classics, from Aviation to Vesper; 17 originals, from Antonio’s Basil Drop to the Violet Violin; and 10 just for dessert. But if you seriously can’t decide, just ask and your bartender will create something new on the spot. 6020 W. Flamingo Road, 365-6713.
Best Bar Menu: Bradley Ogden
It might be enough just to say that Ogden’s ground steak burger—widely acclaimed as the city’s best burger—puts this plush lounge over the top, but then you get to consider the warm roasted mixed nuts, the crack Caesar salad and the asparagus tasting, which includes a soup. Although the gastropub concept hasn’t quite taken root here, this is as close as it gets. In Caesars Palace, 731-7410.
Best Patio (off Strip): Brio Tuscan Grille
It has a nice view of the park at Town Square, snakes around the perimeter of the restaurant, and offers festive Tuscan-style furniture to sit on—plus a pleasant little fire pit for those cool autumn nights. 6653 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 914-9145.
Best Patio (on Strip): Mon Ami Gabi
Even if the Belle Époque design and wrought-iron railings don’t win you over, the street-level people watching—the best in Vegas—should do the trick. In the Paris hotel-casino, 944-4224.
Best Service: Michael’s
This South Point Continental holdover, which moved lock, stock and barrel from the Barbary Coast, still has the maitre d’ and the waiters it had 20 years ago, plus the elegant table-side service. In the South Point hotel-casino, 9777 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 796-7111.
Best Bread: Bouchon
Man does not live by epi alone, but the restaurant’s attached bakery also turns out a baguette that would make a Frenchman cry, and the best croissants and breakfast breads in town. In the Venetian, 414-6203.
Best Sushi: Sen of Japan
Nobu alum Hiro Nakano treats rice with the proper respect, sources fish of impeccable quality and makes handrolls that would pass muster in Tokyo. 8480 W. Desert Inn Road, 871-7781.
Best Appetizers: American Fish
Ever-creative chef Michael Mina and his protégé, Sven Mede, turn out shrimp with grits, little shabu-shabu tastings and other treats in a modern American context. In Aria, 877-230-2742.
Best Wine Bar: Nora’s Wine Bar & Osteria
Slow-food proponent Gio Mauro pours more than 250 wines, including 60 by the glass, and serves small-plate treats such as arancini rice balls and various salumi in this attractive, clubby place. 1031 S. Rampart Blvd., 940-6672.
Best Cheese Plate: Alex
The elegant setting here is more than matched by superb cheeses sourced from France, Italy and Spain, including seasonal favorites like Reblochon and Tomme de Brebis. In the Wynn, 248-3463.
Best View: Mix
At the top of THEhotel at Mandalay Bay, Alain Ducasse’s temple of gastronomy has a terrace that affords a view of the entire Las Vegas Valley, enhanced by the fact that you’re dining al fresco. 632-9500.
Best Sustainable Menu: RM Seafood
Chef Rick Moonen is the heavyweight champion of sustainable seafood, and his two super-talented mainstays in the kitchen, Adam Sobel and Gerald Chin, do creative things with the product. In Mandalay Place, 632-9300.
Best Creative Dishes: Yellowtail
Chef Akira Back pushes the envelope with original dishes such as big-eye tuna pizza and lobster carpaccio, each embellished with exotic flavors. In one case, the Popping Spicy Crab Roll, he uses Pop Rocks alongside cucumber and asparagus. In Bellagio, 693-7223.