Tucked into an apartment community in the southwest part of the valley is DW Bistro, a bright, open restaurant accented with orange flair with sunlight streaming in. Admittedly an untraditional pairing, New Mexican and Jamaican flavors flourish in tandem across chiles, jerked meats, rice and tortillas, adding piquancy to brunch fare. The weekend brunch is a local staple, with items like challah French toast, jerk chicken and waffles, and pork or curry bowls.
BTW: Keep an eye on the calendar for themed brunches and special tastings.
DW Bistro, 9275 W. Russell Rd., Ste. 190. Las Vegas, Nev. 89148
The statement “it doesn’t feel like Vegas” is uttered frequently by locals about venues that transport you out of this ultracommercial desert — places like Marche Bacchus. Inside the Desert Shores community is this wine shop and French bistro perfect for Sunday brunch by the water. Get a table red or white on the way in, and enjoy eggs Benedict, crepes and frittatas while soaking up the sun on the lakefront patio.
BTW: Make time to browse the wine shop for something to pair with the escargot “Persillade,” because it’s a must-have.
Marche Bacchus, 2620 Regatta Dr., Ste. #106. Las Vegas, Nev. 89128
Lotus of Siam
This off-the-Strip Thai spot was one of the first internationally recognized restaurants to come out of Vegas and is a perpetual local favorite. James Beard winner and former royal chef Saipin Chutima took over the restaurant in 1999 in a strip mall with a sex club (very Vegas) before moving to its location closer to the Strip. The restaurant specializes in Northern cuisine; be sure to try a dish like khao soi, sai oua or kang ka noon and pair it with one of the 300 wine choices.
BTW: Make reservations before you arrive in Vegas; it’s often booked.
Lotus of Siam, 620 E. Flamingo Rd. Las Vegas, Nev. 89119
The Arts District is the fastest developing neighborhood in Vegas right now, much to the delight of locals who have been waiting for Main Street revitalization to deliver restaurants exactly like Esther’s Kitchen. Esther’s offers rustic, seasonal Italian dishes made from scratch daily. It’s a comfortable spot with familiar fare but also a special, imaginative take on Italian cuisine perfect for loading up before a stroll through Antique Alley.
BTW: Order the homemade sourdough and add the burrata alla panna; just don’t plan to do anything that involves moving afterward.
Esther’s Kitchen, 1130 S. Casino Center Blvd. Las Vegas, Nev. 89104
Chef Mitsuo Endo’s Aburiya Raku is one of the most celebrated restaurants in Las Vegas, and for good reason — his Chinatown gem offers authentic fine Japanese dining without pretense. The atmosphere of Raku, much like the cuisine, is sleek and almost austere but beautifully simple. The menu is constantly changing with daily specials and delightful creations.
BTW: If you’re intimidated by the menu, go for the omakase tasting and let the chef put something together for you.
Raku, 5030 W. Spring Mountain Rd. No. 2. Las Vegas, Nev. 89146
From the outside, Other Mama looks like an unassuming strip-mall chain spot, but inside is a delightful raw bar and quirky seafood spot with a casual atmosphere, Pinterest-worthy decor and a creative menu built around small plates: perfect for sharing and for date nights.
BTW: Check the chalkboard for the daily offerings.
Other Mama, 3655 S. Durango #6 Las Vegas, Nev. 89147
Herbs and Rye
Vegas is still a three-shift town, and Herbs and Rye has made a name for itself as the industry after-hours spot because of its great late-night dishes and always-vibrant atmosphere. Just off the Strip, it’s a perfect answer to the “I’m not ready to end this night” feeling. The place has a speakeasy vibe and a deep cocktail list sorted by era, from Gothic to “tiki boom.” Just be prepared to wait for a table, even if it’s 2 a.m.
BTW: Steak happy hour, which also covers certain drinks, runs from midnight to 3 a.m.
Herbs and Rye, 3713 W. Sahara Ave. Las Vegas, Nev. 89102
Head to Jammyland when you’re looking for a chill vibe and a cocktail you’ve never had before. Another recent addition to the Arts District, Jammyland celebrates Caribbean dance hall culture alongside West Indian spices and spirits. Its twist on traditional bar food strikes gold in sweet and savory dishes like ugali sticks (deep-fried polenta), rotis and more. Perfect for dessert, full meals or to sample a rotating menu of seasonal cocktails.
BTW: Dive into the rum. There is a lot of it. Ask the staff about the small batch and aged selection.
Jammyland, 1121 S. Main St., Las Vegas, Nev. 89104