An integral part of any vacation or day trip—or even to make a regular weekday meal a little more special—is eating out. Whereas there are several well-known chain restaurants for those who prefer a safe bet, for adventurous culinary enthusiasts, trying a new place is just as exciting. Nevada is home to several innovative and delicious eateries you must try.
1. Carson Kitchen, 124 South Sixth St, Suite 100, Las Vegas, Nevada 89101
From its appetizers ("social plates") to its desserts, Carson Kitchen is not to be missed. Located in downtown Las Vegas, diners enjoy celebrity chef Kerry Simon’s truly inventive menu items. Its small plate atmosphere ensures that visitors can share multiple items because all the food is beyond amazing. Among the most popular menu items are Crispy Chicken Skins with Honey, Gyro Tacos, Bacon Jam atop Toasted Baguette with Melted Brie, Baked Mac & Cheese, and an assortment of mouth-watering burgers and flatbreads. Dessert is equally delectable from the Bourbon Fudge Brownie with Brown Butter Bacon Ice Cream to the Not Your Father’s Twinkies. Try it once and you will be hooked for life!
2. Crepe Expectations, 9500 S. Eastern, Suite 150, Las Vegas, Nevada 89123
This humble, family-owned and operated taste of heaven offers both sweet and savory crepe options—as well as gluten-free choices and options for your dog—made from fresh and seasonal ingredients. The food is so enticing that Crepe Expectation’s menu motto is "Yum in Action" and the menu consists of "Savory Yum," "Sweet Yum," and "Breakfast Yum." You can even get a crepe named after you. Vegas locals and visitors extoll this eatery’s virtues. Next time you are in Sin City, grab some crepes. You won’t be sorry!
3. CrawFish Asian Cuisine, 1296 E. Plumb Lane, Suite H, Reno, NV 89502
Amazing seafood in landlocked Nevada? Why not? In addition to a full menu of Chinese favorites such as Peking Duck, Lemon or Sesame Chicken, Mongolian Lamb, and Kung Pao Scallops, CrawFish has an impressive seafood menu as well. Seafood is sold by the pound so you’ll enjoy the unique experience of choosing how MUCH food you want. With shellfish options such as crawfish, shrimp, mussels, clams, and oysters—as well as amazing sauces (you must try the Thai Basil Sauce)—the possibilities are endless and will keep you returning for more.
4. Great Basin Brewing Company, 846 Victorian Avenue, Sparks, NV 89431 and 5225 S. Virginia Street, Reno, NV 89502
In addition to its multiple award-winning brews—particularly its Outlaw Milk Stout that has amassed numerous medals at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF)—this classic pub not only bakes its own amazing breads but also serves up classic pub fare that is just as delicious as its beers. From Beer-Steamed Pretzels and Molten Cheese Lava Loaf made with its famous Icky Bread to salads to amazing beer burgers to phenomenal pizzas to chef’s specials such as Wild Horse Ale-Battered Fish and Chips, you will want to come back and try everything on the menu. Twice. At least.
5. Poke Express, 655 W. Craig Road, Suite 118, North Las Vegas, NV 89032
A hidden gem tucked in the corner of a North Las Vegas strip mall, Poke (pronounced po’-kay) Express offers numerous varieties of Hawaii’s oh-so-popular raw fish salads. Its more common ahi and salmon poke and the more exotic crab and tako (octopus) poke are prepared with the freshest ingredients and various spices and heat levels that rival the best Hawaiian restaurants. A carry-out establishment only, what better way to channel the big island than with a poolside picnic?
6. Restaurante Yesenia, 581 E Moana Lane, Reno, NV 89502
This Mexican-Guatemalan-Salvadorian eatery is tops in the state. Known particularly for its authentic pupusas—a traditional Salvadoran dish comprised of a thick, homemade corn tortilla filled with different meat ground into a paste, cheeses, and beans. Another amazing best-seller is the Mojarra Frita (deep fried whole tilapia) that is beyond words.
7. Rollin Smoke Barbeque, 3185 S. Highland Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89109
With two new locations at: 4115 S. Grand Canyon Dr., Suite 100, Las Vegas, NV 89147 and 725 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Suites 110 and 210, Las Vegas, NV 89101, Rollin Smoke is THE barbeque joint in Sin City. With brisket, hot links, chicken, and several types of ribs—baby back, spare, and beef with a variety of rubs and sauces—as well as smoked fish, shrimp, and meatloaf, if you are in the mood for some good ole barbeque, this is where you need to be. Rollin Smoke also offers a daily all-you-can-eat special and hot and cold party packs to go.
8. Villa Basque Cafe,
730 Basque Way, Carson City, NV 89706
Home of the Best Breakfast in Carson City, owners/chefs Pete and Martha Coscarart’s Villa Basque Deli has tantalized the taste buds of locals and visitors alike with their take on traditional Basque delicacies. Pete’s Famous Chorizo—a family recipe born in Battle Mountain, NV in 1984—is used in sumptuous dishes like the Chorizo Stuffed Chile Rellenos and Traditional Paella, and is also sold separately along with other regional favorites. Rounding out the menu is incredible Pozole and a variety of traditional desserts.
There is far more to the great state of Nevada than the lights and glitz of Las Vegas. The state is naturally beautiful with much to see and amazing non-mainstream restaurants guaranteed to tickle your taste buds and keep you yearning for more. Did I miss your favorite Nevada eatery? If so, please let me know in the comments below.