Delicious Ethnic Eating Off of The Vegas Strip

I wouldn’t say I’m a regular in Vegas, but when I do manage to go, I always make a habit of visiting at least one restaurant off of The Strip. It’s odd how locals think of The Strip (as a tourist-laden, overpriced, chef-worshipping mecca, mostly), and if you were to ask any of the local food writers about where to go, most would point you to Spring Mountain Road, which is jammed with Korean, Chinese and Japanese restaurants no one outside of Vegas has heard of.


One of the best along Spring Mountain is Raku, a tiny, quaint jewel box of a restaurant that is part sushi-focused (you can order an elaborate kaiseki menu), but also emphasizes the more casual izakaya-style, with its busy robata grill. Chefs like Paul Bartolotta go here on their night off.


I also love Lotus of Siam, barely 5 minutes off of The Strip, located in – drumroll please – a strip mall. The family that runs this bustling Thai restaurant doesn’t cater to tourists and never dials down the heat level (unless you explicitly ask). Their extensive list of Thai-friendly wines (gewurtz, riesling, grüner) is as impressive as their som tom (papaya salad) and ha mok (catfish curry). Jonathan Gold called it the “single best Thai restaurant in North America,” which is certainly a claim to fame. I’m not sure it meets that standard, but it is absolutely in my top three.


More recently, I’ve been introduced to Origin India, behind the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, thanks to my colleague who lives, writes and eats about Vegas, Mr. John Curtas. Forget about the sloppy lunchtime buffets of Devon Avenue or Gerard Street; Origin does have a lunch buffet, but everything here is elevated a notch or two: from flatware and china to the creative cocktails that feature Indian spices. We stopped by Origin on my out of town during my last visit, and were able to get back in the kitchen to take a closer look at what makes this restaurant worth a stop.

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