Vegas Seven

Best Restaurants 2011

  • What We’re Into / What We’re Over

    By Max Jacobson, Xania Woodman

    What We’re Into Sharing. Think of it as a pooling of resources: Tomahawk chops for two, tableside salads, tapas, small plates … Need we go on? Adultifying foods. It’s been another rough year, and more and more we’re finding comfort in childhood favorites of all kinds, whether it be mini hot dogs or fried PB&J. Next thing you know, chefs will be cutting off our crusts.

  • Ryland Worrell of Picasso

    By Max Jacobson

    Worrell is a North Carolinian with a slow, self-assured drawl. He’s 6-foot-3, always impeccably dressed, moves like a trained dancer and has been at Picasso since the very beginning—about 12 years. But what’s even more impressive is his memory. If you’ve dined here before, he’ll somehow remember your name, and maybe even greet you as an old friend.

  • Seven Questions

    Ruth Reichl

    By Max Jacobson

    Ruth Reichl would cringe if she heard herself referred to as the First Lady of American Food Journalism, but it wouldn’t be an exaggeration. A native New Yorker, she started her career as a restaurant critic at New West magazine before assuming the position of Los Angeles Times restaurant critic and, later, food editor.

  • Megan Romano

    By Grace Bascos

    When a meal at Aureole ends, it ends with a flourish. As the head of chef Charlie Palmer's pastry program, Romano is not only responsible for the sweet finishes at Aureole and Charlie Palmer Steak next door, but she is conscious of keeping them in line with Palmer's seasonality-driven philosophy while maintaining the sense of whimsy that dessert should express.

  • Bouchon

    By Max Jacobson

    Everyone, it seems, has his favorite little neighborhood breakfast joint. There’s been bragging around the office about the coffee cake at the Cracked Egg; another faction is partial to omelets at the Original Pancake House. But for overall quality, variety, imagination and efficiency, Bouchon at the Venetian, Thomas Keller’s bistro, is in a class by itself.

  • Bon Breads

    By Max Jacobson

    Peruvian-born, San Francisco-trained Carlos Pereira has long been doing custom breads for top Strip restaurants. Now he also has a retail outlet at Town Square, so you can take home breads such as sourdough, multigrain cranberry and the best baguette this side of the Seine.

  • Dining

    Best of the West

    By Max Jacobson

    A good many of us travel on our stomachs. And what’s more fun, really, than discovering a dining destination on the road? Here are five excellent, diverse places to dine, each one reflective of its location, all magically, totally different from one another. Los Angeles: Rivera

  • Butterscotch Pudding at Bradley Ogden

    By Grace Bascos

    A small glass of butterscotch pudding comes complimentary after every meal here—and it won’t be available for much longer, as the restaurant will shut its doors after the new year. The dessert, made from Ogden’s own mother’s recipe, is served chilled, creamy and rich, buttery and only slightly sweet—hitting all the right notes to even out a palate after a decadent meal. It has always been a homey final bite and a thank-you from the kitchen. And as final bites go, this will always be one of the best.

  • DW Bistro

    By Max Jacobson

    Many favorite local dining spots vanished abruptly this year. (See our “R.I.P.” story.) But in their place, others flourish and even inspire. One example is DW Bistro, partly owned by Dalton Wilson, the Jamaican-born, New Mexico-raised host (hence the DW). The space has recently expanded into an adjacent storefront, but still retains its original charm, star-like chandeliers, white brick walls and a surfeit of contemporary art.

  • Due Forni

    By Max Jacobson

    Mom said sharing is caring. And that’s exactly what you’ll want to do at this west-side hot spot, where lovers canoodle over panzanella salad, charred octopus and authentic thin pizzas (chewy Neapolitan or crispy Roman). Everything can be enjoyed family-style, although after 8 p.m. the kid-friendly scene begins to give way to romantic lighting and bottles of wine.

  • Best Restaurant (on Strip)

    Guy Savoy

    By Max Jacobson

    Chef Savoy has a son here, Franck, who is now director of food and beverage at Caesars Palace, home to this palace of gastronomy. As a result, the renowned chef comes to visit us often, which gives his restaurant better quality and consistency than those owned by his rivals.

  • Greenland Market

    By Max Jacobson

    In a Korean food court, you won’t find a Sbarro’s, Panda Express or Hot Dogs on a Stick. What you will find are kalbi (Korean-style barbecued short ribs redolent of sesame oil), meats griddled in an egg batter, chicken ginseng soup and jap chae (noodles sautéed with Korean spices). Here, at five separate kiosks, each specializing in their own two or three dishes, you’ll also be treated to banchan—side dishes that accompany any Korean entrée—at no additional charge.

  • Japanese


    By Max Jacobson

    Japanese food is far more than sushi; in fact, our best Japanese restaurant serves no sushi at all. Chef Mitsuo Endo uses bincho-tan, special charcoal imported from Japan, to grill and smoke many of the delicacies he serves robata-yaki-style—cooked on a tiny hibachi in the back kitchen.

  • Forte European Tapas Bar & Bistro

    By Xania V. Woodman

    Spain shares not even one inch of border with Bulgaria. But here there is a delicious culinary marriage between the two countries—as well as with Greece, Russia and much of Eastern Europe. You’ll get the idea when you tuck into a Bulgarian mixed grill of kebapche, kufte and karnache sausages, and wash them down with an Astika lager (also Bulgarian).

  • Vintner Grill

    By Max Jacobson

    When Vintner opened five years ago, people complained that they couldn’t find the place, hidden as it is in a generic office mall. These days, customers jockey for parking spaces, as the restaurant has become a de facto social club for upscale west-siders.