Whether you’re a graveyard worker or a weekend warrior, these late-night dining spots are an upgrade from your nearest drive-thru
There’s a popular theory that eating after a certain time of the day is bad for you. Perhaps it’s true — which is exactly why you should make each late-night meal worth the damage. Just say no to the cheap chicken fingers and frozen French fries served at your nearest 24-hour video poker bar. Whether you want a midnight snack or a full-blown feast, the city has plenty of options for finding legit, flavorful food at any hour. Here are a few places to get your fix in the wee hours of the night.
The first and most obvious option is to visit the Strip. While I don’t normally endorse chains, a personal guilty pleasure is Grand Lux Café (Venetian, 702-414-3888, grandluxcafe.com, 24 hours). The menu is as encyclopedic as the one found at its sister restaurant, the Cheesecake Factory, but one particular standout is the pasta carbonara. Studded with nuggets of smoked bacon, its breakfast-like quality makes it the perfect pick at 4 a.m. For polenta past midnight (until 1 a.m.), try Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill (MGM Grand, 702-891-3000, wolfgangpuck.com, 11:30-6a) for a version made with spicy fra diavolo shrimp. A solid late-night menu includes proper entrées like flat iron steak and grilled salmon, but anyone with munchies will probably prefer the wild boar poutine or one of the celebrity chef’s signature wood oven pizzas. The Henry (Cosmopolitan, 702-698-7000, cosmopolitanlasvegas.com, 24 hours) also has a limited after-hours menu from 10p-6a. Sure, it’s a bit pricey, but glimpses of the gorgeous patrons leaving Marquee come at no additional charge. For food that doesn’t require a trek through a casino, sink into a booth at The Peppermill (2985 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 702-735-4177, peppermilllasvegas.com, 24 hours). The freestanding coffee shop has been serving classic diner fare for more than 40 years — you’d be hard-pressed to find a local who hasn’t basked in the glow of its gaudy pink neon lights at least once in their life.
Chinatown diners are often fiercely loyal to their favorite spots, but for the uninitiated, there is no shortage of options on Spring Mountain Road. Chefs and in-the-know foodies head to Raku (5030 Spring Mountain Road #2, 702-367-3511, raku-grill.com, 6p-3a) for gutsy (literally and figuratively) Japanese cuisine. Highlights include a foie gras chawanmushi, or egg custard, and kobe beef liver sashimi. At KJ Kitchen
(5960 Spring Mountain Road #1, 702-221-0456, 11-2a), look for authentic Cantonese cuisine with a few Western-friendly dishes thrown in for good measure. (Sorry to break it to you, but honey walnut shrimp is not Chinese.) The clay pots are good; the seafood preparations are even better. Try the fragrant clams with basil or fill up on a plate of greasy-in-a-good-way shrimp fried rice. Fans of Korean barbecue can fill their bellies down the road at Dae Jang Keum (3943 Spring Mountain Road, 702-638-2222, daejangkeumbbq.com, 24 hours). While kalbi, or marinated beef short ribs, is a universal crowd-pleaser, you can also try relatively unusual proteins like pork neck and grilled intestines. For Vietnamese food with a side of eye candy, Pho Kim Long (4029 Spring Mountain Road, 702-220-3612, 24 hours) is packed with scantily clad clubgoers on weekends. Just be sure to know your etiquette: slurping your noodles is acceptable, but gawking at female patrons is not.
Surprisingly, some of the most creative Asian food is elsewhere in the valley. Stuff yourself silly with chicken skin skewers and sake at Kyara Japanese Tapas (6555 S. Jones Blvd. #120, 702-434-8856, kyaraizakaya.com, 5p-2a) or gorge on some of the city’s best á la carte sushi at Naked Fish (3945 S. Durango Drive, 702-228-8856, vegasnakedfish.com, 5p-2a). A selection of specialty rolls is available at happy hour prices from 10p until close. For street snacks from Seoul, head to Soyo Korean Barstaurant (7775 S. Rainbow Blvd., 702-897-7696, weekends 11:30-4a). A taste for kimchi is not required; there are plenty of approachable items, including a platter of fried chicken that puts the Colonel’s to shame.
Don’t let the skinny jeans fool you — downtown denizens need to eat, too. Raves for the always-raucous Pizza Rock (201 N. Third St., 702-385-0838, pizzarocklasvegas.com, weekends 11-2a) abound, and an extensive menu of multiple pizza styles (e.g. New York, Neapolitan and even gluten-free) are ideal for quieting the picky eater in your group. Or you can visit its neighbor inside the new Downtown Grand, Stewart & Ogden (206 N. Third St., 702-953-4343, downtowngrand.com, 24 hours). A graveyard menu, served from 11p-5a, mixes coffee shop classics with playful dishes like a loco moco and signature bacon-stuffed waffles. But yours truly will always have a special place in her heart for Kabob Korner (507 E. Fremont St., 702-384-7722, kabobkornerlv.com, weekends 10:30a-midnight). A loaded gyro at this grungy hole-in-the-wall —
one of the last remnants of pre-Zappos Fremont — always hits the spot after an evening of drinks.
Late, fast and cheap
It’s possible to eat cheap and onthe fly without settling for a fastfood chain. The not-so-secretSecret Pizza (Cosmopolitan, 702-698-7860, cosmopolitanlasvegas.com, 11-4a) has been a favorite for street slices eversince its debut. Or you can hitup the new Haute Doggery(The Linq, 702-430-4435, hautedoggerylv.com, 10a-midnight) for a fourth meal of poutine and bacon-wrapped hot dogs. Henderson residents can grab stellar pizza pies at Carmine’s (445 Marks St., 702-434-4848, carmines group.com, noon-midnight) — the stuffed and seafood versions are standouts. In Southern Highlands, the recent opening of Distill (4830 W. Pyle Ave., 702-834-4700, distillbar.com, 24 hours) welcomes nocturnal noshers with an enormous bar food menu and happy hour special from 3-6a.