Crazy parties, fancy penthouse suites, impromptu marriages, tacky Elvis impersonators, and money-hungry casinos might top the list of associations that first come to mind when we think of Las Vegas, however, there’s so much more than what initially meets the eye.
Under the surface of the sleep-deprived, alcohol-fueled, gambling-centric Sin City, world-class food, Michelin-starred restaurants, and internationally-renowned chefs dot the streets. While there is plenty of high-quality cuisine, a number of whimsically-themed eateries and bars add some much-beloved flair to a city already booming with it. From ice-cold eating to rainforest-surrounded dining tables, Vegas seriously knows how to put on a show.
10 The Heart Attack Grill
Let’s kick things off with what is undoubtedly the most artery-clogging, heart-stopping, cardiac arrest restaurants across not only the entire city but probably the entire country as well. The appropriately-named Heart Attack Grill isn’t pretending to be something it’s not - they embrace the poor health choices and have a heck of a lot of fun along the way with it.
The wait staff dresses up as nurses, wine comes in an IV bag, customers need to slip into a hospital gown, and anyone who doesn’t finish their burger has to bend over and get slapped in the rear end with a paddle. Perhaps its most famous novelty, however, is that fact that anyone over 300 pounds gets to eat for free.
9 BLACKOUT Dining in the Dark
Eating has become such a secondary task these days - we’re usually chowing down on a burger in front of the TV or scoffing a bagel during our rush to work. At BLACKOUT Dining in the Dark, however, they bring us back to our basic roots and allow guests to appreciate eating for what it is. How, by completely turning the light off.
When our sight is taken away from us, our other senses become heightened, allowing the food to (supposedly) taste better and for us to appreciate food in a totally unique setting.
8 The Chocolate Lounge Las Vegas
Did someone say chocolate? If the thought of dessert before dinner makes you feel all giddy inside then The Chocolate Lounge at Las Vegas’ Sugar Factory will feel like you’ve died and ascended to a sweet-surrounded version of heaven - akin to the beloved chocolate factory of Willy Wonka himself.
This whimsical sweet-tooth fantasy isn’t just for the young ones either - kids of age and kids at heart can enjoy the array of tantalizing dessert, while those of age can dive into some eccentrics liquors as well. Just don’t forget to brush your teeth afterward.
7 The Rainforest Cafe
At the Rainforest Cafe on the infamous Strip near Planet Hollywood, the name really says it all - guests dine in the seamless overlap of restaurant and rainforest, surrounded by lush, tropical vegetation, simulated thunderstorm sounds, waterfalls, and a hoard of other novelty effects, and they’ve been doing so since it opened to the public back in 1990.
The rainforest surroundings are certainly not typical of the generally, excessive, dry heat of the Nevada desert climate, which makes a quick stop and bite at the Rainforest Cafe all the more refreshing.
6 Top of the World Restaurant
For our next intriguing dining experience, we’re throwing the palm trees out the window. In fact, we’re looking down on them for high above - 800 feet above the Las Vegas floor, to be exact.
At the peak of the Stratosphere hotel and casino, the tallest building in Las Vegas which sits midway between Downtown Las Vegas and the pointy end of the Strip, the Top of the World Restaurant offers dazzling views of the vast desert and the starlit sky. For prime vistas, head there just before sunset so that you can soak in the daytime and nighttime views in one sitting.
5 Mermaid Lounge
After crashing back down to Earth from the Stratosphere, we’re heading out to the Mermaid Lounge at Silverton - where, if the name is any indication, we’re in for a mystical treat. Alas, it’s no lie - diners take their seats adjacent to a massive 117,000-gallon saltwater aquarium which plays host to close to 4,000 species of stunning, inquisitive tropical fish.
For that extra touch of pizzazz, there are also swimmers who dive into the tank to feed the fish and servers who are disguised as mermaids.
4 minus5º Ice Experience
If the dreaded Las Vegas heat is finally starting to take its toll, fear not, because the minus5º Ice Experience is ready and eager to swoop in and cool us off. In reality, it goes far beyond just ‘cooling off,’ welcoming guests to seats at a bar made entirely out of ice, at temperatures well below freezing.
For anyone looking to freeze their bits off (don’t worry, you’re provided with warm clothing upon arrival), head to either the Venetian and Mandalay Bay. While certainly more of a bar than a restaurant, the novelty was too hard to ignore.
Some of us are happy to chow down on a greasy burger, and there’s nothing wrong with that. On the other hand, some prefer to show a little more sophistication and class, who usually also have money to burn and are attracted to elegant dining (we’re talking silk-napkin-on-the-lap kind of elegance).
Over at Picasso, which is found in at the Bellagio on the main Strip, diners can exchange their artistic critiques and brag about whose collection is more expensive as they admire a number of authentic Piccasso paintings while samping award-winning 4-course French meals and top-shelf wine.
2 Hi Scores Bar-Arcade
Who says that we have to grow up? At one of the two Hi Scores Bar-Arcade locations in southern Las Vegas, guests can release they’re inner Peter Pan and prove that nobody is too old for video games.
The best part is that despite its child-at-heart appeal, there won’t be any screaming kids running around - the venues are exclusively for guests 21 and over. Aside from impressive meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, guests can also grab a cold beer before trying their hand at Pac-Man, Space Invaders, or whichever other game - old or new - seems most enticing.
1 Café Sanuki
We hope you’ve still got some room in the belly because at our final unique destination, the theme os focused especially on one tasty thing - Udon noodles. The restaurant encourages a policy known as ‘sit, stay, and slurp away’, which promotes the idea of loudly slurping your food. While this might cause a number of people to shudder, at Café Sanuki, it’s their idea of a good time.
Aside from the slurp-factor, the food is highly regarded - it’s free of MSG and always fresh, marketing itself as a must-visit for any foodies traveling through Sin City.