Jenny Southan gets good odds on the huge variety of eateries in Downtown Las Vegas
The majority of people visiting Sin City stay on the Strip, and it’s easy to understand why – it’s where all the luxury hotels are, the flashy casinos and fancy restaurants. Love it or loathe it, you can eat incredibly well in Las Vegas – over the years it has seriously upped its game from the all-you-can-eat buffets of before. You can eat black cod miso at Nobu in Caesar’s Palace, Oscietra caviar at the MGM Grand’s Joel Robuchon and whole roasted branzino at David Chang’s Momofuku in the Cosmopolitan. Las Vegas is no longer just about slot machines, but haute cuisine.
There is a limit, however, to the amount of fine-dining your stomach and wallet can manage in one trip. Fortunately, just a 20-minute drive away in Downtown Las Vegas, a host of trendy new dining places are emerging, putting this eclectic area of the city on the map. In fact, the area as a whole is being revitalised thanks to investment from local millionaire entrepreneur Tony Hsieh, founder of online shoe store Zappos, which has a campus nearby. There are still some unsavoury parts of Fremont Street, but if you know where to go you’ll discover eating and drinking worthy of the hippest parts of Brooklyn and Shoreditch.
Head to Donut Bar (124 S 6th St) on your coffee break and take your pick from trays of fresh doughnuts. The most popular is the pocket-sized creme brulee, a crisp glaze on the outside with a smooth vanilla cream filling. The maple bourbon, Nutella, and strawberry split are also delicious. At lunchtime, pop into Evel Pie (508 Fremont St) for New York-style pizza slices in a bar inspired by famous American daredevil Evel Knievel; Goblin Sausage, Cheesy Rider and Veg’d Out are all up for grabs. When your meetings are over, Bin 702 (707 E Fremont) in the Container Park does charcuterie cheese boards and wine on tap.
While the outrageous Heart Attack Grill (450 Fremont St) has been plying its trade for years, publicly weighing customers before beckoning them in for the world’s tallest hamburger, the Kitchen at Atomic, just up the road at 927 Fremont St, is a rather more stylish joint. It’s actually one of the oldest bars in the city – back in the 1950s it used to let people sit on the roof to watch the atomic bomb tests going off in the desert. Opened last year, the restaurant now serves elevated New American fare (poached lobster mac and cheese bites anyone?).
If you’re in search of Mexican flavours, La Comida (100 S 6th St) serves more brands of tequila than it has seats, and dishes up all manner of tacos, enchiladas and burritos, piling pico de gallo, jalapeño and creamy guacamole into moreish bundles. Meanwhile, Park on Fremont (506 Fremont St) has a picturesque garden out the back where you can order tender, smoked beef brisket sandwiches, and Carson Kitchen (124 S 6th St) goes out of its way to impress with gourmet small plates. The baked brie with bacon jam, wild mushroom and smoked mozzarella flatbread, and cocoa-espresso NY strip steak are standout. Eating out in these parts is no gamble.