Not too long ago, it would have seemed ironic that Las Vegans--people who live in the go-go resort town--got mixed up with Vegans--people who live in a world where no animal has anything to do with your food. But while Vegas may still be the World Capital of prime rib and all-you-can-eat shrimp, the festive food town has now opened its arms to vegetarians and vegans alike.
Thank Steve Wynn for that. Sure, there were veggie spots here before, but when Mr. Wynn adopted veganism and decreed that every restaurant in the Wynn and Encore resorts would have vegan and veggie options, it made everyone else realize it was time to take the meatless folks seriously.
So, no need to sigh and order the grilled zucchini every time you dine out on the Strip--in fact, Veggies might have a hard time deciding between choices. At Wynn and Encore resorts, some personal favorites include the mushroom grits with pecorino at La Cave; veggie dim sum selection (available at Wing Lei, Andrea’s, Mizumi and other spots); asparagus and mushroom risotto at SW Steakhouse.
Here are just a handful of my favorite Veggie-dedicated places to eat in Vegas right now:
- Veggie House: Don’t be underwhelmed by the generic name—this Spring Mountain Chinese restaurant, upstairs in yet another double decker strip mall, is well worth a trip. Huge menu of Szechuan, Thai and other regional dishes made with faux “beef” “scallop” “chicken” and just honest tofu, lotus root and mushrooms, all of which will reward with fantastic flavors. Order with confidence. 5115 Spring Mountain Rd. (702) 431-5802
- Canyon Ranch Grill: Though not entirely veggie, this largely organic spa café upstairs at the Palazzo resort offers a wide array of meatless breakfast and lunch choices, like tofu scramble, butternut ravioli and wild mushrooms en croute. www.venetian.com/canyon-ranch-grill.html
- Komol Thai: Although not quite on the same level as its famous neighbor Lotus of Siam, Komol does offer an extensive vegetarian menu in a comfortable setting. 953 E. Sahara Ave. (702) 731-6542
- JuiceFarm: There are several great fresh and cold-press juice bars around Vegas, this is a favorite located on the Palazzo casino floor, coincidently by the guest elevators on the way to Canyon Ranch. http://www.venetian.com/juicefarm.html
- Garden Grill: Not a restaurant—or even a food truck!—Garden Grill is, for now, just a stand that pops up at local farmers markets, but wow, are they worth the effort to find them. All Vegan tacos like BBQ jackfruit (pork-like but lighter), beer battered avocado and faux carne asada that are flavorful and filling. Find them on Twitter (@GardenGrillLV) or call (619) 888-2579 for location Wed-Sun. GardenGrillLV.com
- Rani’s World Foods: Yes, this an ethnic market, in a rather nondescript strip mall to boot. But, atmosphere aside, Rani’s has a great all-vegetarian hot food counter with traditional dishes made in house, and often to order. Start with the Thali sampler, an under-$10 platter of delicious choices. 4505 W. Sahara Ave (702) 522-7744 ranisworldfoods.com
- Ronald’s Donuts: Want a guilt-free treat? Ronald’s, a Vegas legend not far off Strip, has long offered a wide selection of vegan pastries, at unpretentious prices. 4600 Spring Mountain Road (702) 873-1032
But more exciting than specific restaurants devoted to Veggie Folk, are some amazing Veggie dishes at “regular” restaurants—you know, the places where you can go with friends, no matter their habits. Let me shout out a few recent favorites:
- Tofu toban-yaki at Nobu: Warm fresh tofu with grilled mushroom, asparagus in a sake, soy, yuzu sauce, a satisfying entrée. Nobu also serves several vegetable-based salads, kushiyaki and other warm and cold veggie dishes. (inside Caesars Palace resort) http://www.caesarspalace.com/restaurants/nobu.html
- The Tex-Mex Vegan Wrap at Divine Café, the lunch spot overlooking Springs Preserve is a vegan burrito disguised as a wrap. (and a side of fries). 317 S. Valley View Blvd (702) 893-6444 divinecafelv.com
- Veggie Tacos at El Dorado: At this just-off -Strip unlikely locale (they share a building with Sapphire Gentlemens Club), El Dorado offers organic, non-GMO ingredient Mexican food from a Mexico City native chef (authentic enough for you?) in an elegant but relaxed environment. The savory veggie tacos feature diced grilled zucchini, Mexican squash, portobello mushrooms, carrots, celery, roasted peppers & red onion with salsa cascabel, pico de gallo & queso fresco in a toasted cheese tortilla. Oh, and the huge tequila selection is veggie too, you know? Just sayin’. 3025 S. Industrial Road 702 722 2289 http://eldoradovegas.com/
- Vegetable Soup Ramen at Jinya Ramen: Inside this sleek boutique ramen chain, let your friends feast on the traditional meaty options while you go for this Vegetarian-approved option, a complex savory broth accented by mushroom, baby leaf spinach, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, and of course, noodles. 4860 W. Flamingo Rd (702)868-8877 http://www.jinya-ramenbar.com
A special thanks to Food writer, Journalist and Public Relations professional E.C. Gladstone for most of the heavy lifting on this story. You can find more by him at sipsavorswallow.com