Our annual Cheap Eats issue is especially important in Las Vegas, because we’re among the most expensive cities in America for dining out. Dinner for two at the town’s best restaurants can cost more than a rent or mortgage payment. And while that’s inconceivable to many, it’s pretty commonplace on the Strip. So, as we concentrate on the bargains in most of this issue, it seems only fair to show you the other end of the spectrum. I’ve dined at all of these places (usually on someone else’s dime), and I can tell you they’re all spectacular, although I wouldn’t dare pass judgment on whether they’re “worth” the high price of admission—that’s between you and your accountant. (All prices are before tax and tip, and smaller and/or a la carte meals are also available.)
Walking into Joël Robuchon is like entering a French palace—this is undoubtedly the most elegant restaurant in town. And while menus are offered for as “little” as $120 per person, splurging here means the Menu Degustation. Priced at $445, it starts with an amuse bouche of Oscetra caviar over a delicate king crab gelée, then progresses to five savory courses (four of which are trios) and three dessert courses. Oh, yeah, they also boast the town’s most impressive bread cart. Wine pairings are available at various price points. In MGM Grand, 702-891-7433.
Restaurant Guy Savoy
Parisian superstar Guy Savoy’s Caesars Palace restaurant has a minimalist, modern décor and a menu that combines French classics with contemporary innovations. If it’s your first visit, you may want to try the nine-course Signature Menu that features some of the chef’s best-known dishes, including his bright Colors of Caviar and his famed artichoke and black truffle soup for $290. A few years ago, however, the restaurant introduced the more modern 14-course Innovations Menu, with flashier items such as lobster “candy” with seaweed granité, a piece of salmon cured on a slab of dry ice, and sea bass with sauerkraut and oyster. The latter menu will set you back $375, plus wine. In Caesars Palace, 702-731-7286.
Twist by Pierre Gagnaire
Of the French chefs on this list, Pierre Gagnaire is the most experimental, offering countless whimsical modern touches. His five-course tasting menu starts with sea urchin custard, cold potato soup with vodka, smoked haddock, and a pear and lettuce wrap with smoked eel and oro blanco—and that’s just one course. Similarly, dessert is composed of four separate elaborate dishes. And it’s all served in a gorgeous dining room with a phenomenal view of the Strip. That tasting alone is $155, and various available wine pairings can bring the total as high as a whopping $777 per person. In Mandarin Oriental, 702-590-8888.
É by José Andrés
Tucked in the back of Jaleo in the Cosmopolitan, É by José Andrés is one of the most exclusive restaurants in Las Vegas. The tiny room seats only eight people at a single curved bar where the chefs prepare your meal in front of you. Among the 20-plus courses, you’ll find plenty of Andrés’ signature scientific avant garde techniques. The basic meal is $195 with beverage pairings available for $130 and $300. You can only secure reservations via email, starting at midnight 90 days from the date requested, and it’s confirmed by mailing you a golden ticket. In the Cosmopolitan, Reserve@EByJoseAndres.com.
On the ground floor of the Nobu Hotel Caesars Palace sits the world’s largest Nobu restaurant. It’s also the only Nobu in the U.S. with teppan tables. If you prefer the chef’s classic Peruvian/Japanese fusion dishes, opt for the main dining room, where omakase tasting menus are priced at $125 and $175. Over at the teppan tables, the high-end menu costs $125. A word of warning: Do not expect the knife and fire tricks you know from Benihana—unless you ask really nicely. In Caesars Palace, 702-785-6628.