Conversations and quotes in this article have been transcribed from the Foodbeast Katchup podcast episodes titled "#96: Meth Addiction and the Vegas Foodstagram Scene," and "#97: Unlocking the Vegas Food Scene," both out now on Spotify, the Apple Podcasts App, and all major platforms where podcasts are heard.
We get it. When you go to Las Vegas, you want to blow your money on the strip. Between betting half your paycheck "on red," the $100 buffets, the $100 Criss Angel show, and whatever those 2-foot alcoholic slushies are, you want that extravagant weekend.
But whenever you're ready to step away from Las Vegas BLVD and eat like the locals do, you'll find there is a poppin' food scene away from the glitz and glamour of The Strip.
On the Foodbeast Katchup Podcast, two of Las Vegas' most prominent food connoisseurs sat down to give some of their craziest Vegas stories, but also gave us the low down on restaurants worth hitting up away from the strip.
Both Paul Ryu better known as @ryusauce on Instagram, and Drew Belcher, co-founder of Unlokt have a pulse on Las Vegas like no other. While they understand why you'd want to spend time on The Strip to dine at a celebrity chef's restaurant, they know the heart of Vegas' food scene lies in its local cities where even executive chefs who worked The Strip's most highly touted restaurants, branch out and start exciting new eateries.
So from sushi, to tacos and even boba, here are the spots you need to hit up just beyond the lavish casinos on The Strip:
8-Ounce Korean BBQ
"I don't fuck with all you can eat shit. Eight Ounce is the only Korean BBQ that serves premium, prime beef." -Belcher
The 8-oz Korean Steakhouse may not be all-you-can-eat, but all you can eat there is fantastic steak. We actually got a chance to try it out and their meats vary from a beautifully marbled short rib, to a luxurious lobster, and even A5 wagyu beef.
"The best sushi in all of Las Vegas. Off strip, on strip, it doesn't matter." -Belcher
If you're a sushi lover and don't want to be let down by something on the strip with shaky reviews, Tokyo Boys is a gem where a good amount of the fish is actually flown in from Japan. It doesn't get more authentic than that.
"The best tacos in Vegas, not even a fucking question, Los Tacos." -Belcher
If you love the legendary tacos at La Taqueria SF, you definitely need to get your Vegas tacos from Los Tacos. La Taqueria's founder's son branched out, and took the family recipe to Vegas. That means the juicy asada with globs of delicious guacamole you get at Taqueria SF has been transferred over to Los Tacos.
Herbs and Rye
"Herbs and Rye is a steakhouse on Sahara, close to the strip. They have a happy hour from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Half off all steaks and appetizers. They have this like, $320 King Kong ribeye for half off, and it feeds like 10 people. The best spicy mussels in town." -Belcher
Happy hour for steaks is like a dream come true. As Drew mentioned in the quote above, you can get half off all steaks from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., and if you missed that one, you can try again in the middle of the night from midnight to 3 a.m. Yes, you can get a thick, beautiful piece of steak that late.
Truffles N Bacon Cafe
Belcher fully disclosed that Truffles N Bacon is a client of his, but that shouldn't deter you from checking it out as it is also Foodbeast approved, and we wouldn't lead you astray. The first thing you see when casually looking them up, is their giant 15-pound "Belly of the Beast" burger, or stacks of Ube Pancakes and how do you pass that up?! This place is very Instagram friendly if you need an eating experience to flex on people with.
Barcode Burger Bar
"The best Burger in Vegas, Barcode Burger Bar. It's a little unassuming location on East Flamingo, in the hood." -Belcher
Barcode doesn't serve your run of the mill beef patties, as they put together brisket short rib burger blend. If the mention of those two meats in one bite doesn't get your heart rate pumping, you should probably check your pulse.
In the midst of Las Vegas' Chinatown, sits Mordeo and Belcher says it is a unique eating experience. With no traditional tables, it's simply a long bar area where everyone who dines, eats together.
CJ's Italian Ice and Custard
This one is another eatery that Belcher admittedly had a vested interested in, but it is also one that has been making waves on social media. With provocative marketing, led by Drew, their dessert choices are just as provocative. This is also one that was recommended by Ryu.
"The menu's wild. Right now we have a pumpkin pie concrete for all the basic bitches. The cereal cones, pumpkin pie soft serve in rotation. Crazy shit." -Belcher
Brew Tea Bar
"The two [drinks] I order right now... a lychee and coconut smoothie with egg pudding on the bottom. The other is a canteloupe green tea, non sweetened, with sea salt cream on top." -Ryu
When we met up with Ryu in Vegas and told him we were craving some boba, his eyes lit up and said we absolutely had to try Brew Tea Bar, and he wasn't wrong. Both of his recommendations were fantastic, but the smoothie with the egg pudding is a whole new experience that will blow your mind.
Jjanga Sushi Bar
While Jjanga has solid traditional sushi you're used to, their monstrous Sushi Burger, Sushi Tower, and Sushi Pizza are a must for The Gram.
"It's called Jjanga and there's two locations in town. They just opened one by The Strip that you guys went to. It used to be AYCE, but that sushi burger started a new trend of "sushified" shit." -Ryu
This one was another restaurant that Ryu disclosed is a client of his, but as he explained in the podcast, you can get all they Instagram hype you want, but if the product isn't good, it won't make it, and as we learned firsthand, Jjanga is a must off The Strip.
The Magic Noodle
Ryu says that the Sichuan peppercorn soup is a must at Magic Noodle.
"I like hand-pulled noodles. I don't know if there's a lot of places like that in L.A., where there's Chinese guys pulling super long noodles. There's two spots in town I like. One is called Magic Noodle. Then there's another place called...
The Noodle Man has noodles as long as your mom's hair. It's quite a sight to see someone making fresh noodles in front of you, and the Noodle Man's style has built quite a bit of fanfare over the years.
"If you go to Noodle Man, they have a Mapo Tofu noodle."- Ryu
If you're in the mood for a classic Neapolitan style pizza, Ryu suggests Settebello is his go-to spot.
"I lean toward these Neapolitans, and the cool thing about Settebello is they're VPN (Vera Pizza Napolitana) certified." -Ryu
This spot was not mentioned in the Katchup Podcast, but Ryu had recommended it to us before, and we finally tried it out for ourselves. The Szechuan food here is fantastic. This is another spot that is now personally Foodbeast approved, and everything from the Mapo Tofu, to the Dry Pepper Chicken was straight fire.