Looking for a break from the Strip? Check out these local favorites, a little out of the way from the rest.
Texas de Brazil
6533 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Meat lovers unite at the Town Square mall’s new Brazilian restaurant Texas de Brazil, where the waiting time often tops an hour on weekends. “We highly recommend reservations,” said GM David Parra. “And bring an appetite!” Hungry carnivores wait it out in the chic bar, before digging into the house specialty, pichana (the uppermost cut of sirloin), as well as flank steak, pork, filet mignon, chicken and more. The churrascaria, which opened in September, has the traditional Brazilian setup, with a salad bar ($20 at lunch, $25 at dinner) and diners’ pick of meats served right off the skewer ($24 at lunch, $45 at dinner). Bottles of wine range from $40 to a whopping $3,500, a shot of port goes for $7 to $30,and cognacs range from $7 per ounce to $150 for an ounce of Louis VIII. “We appeal to a very local crowd,” Parra said. “But we do have about 30 percent tourists.”
Details: The restaurant is child friendly (lower prices apply) and open for lunch from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. on weekdays. Dinner is served 5-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5-10:30 p.m. on Fridays, 4-10:30 p.m. on Saturdays, and 4:30-10 p.m. on Sundays.
Casa di Amore
2850 E. Tropicana Ave.
Sometimes, Las Vegans have a hankering for sitting down to a full meal after 10 p.m. (the standard Strip restaurant closing time). That’s when they choose Casa di Amore, which bursts with oldschool Vegas charm — and boasts a full kitchen until 4 a.m. Of course, the hotspot is popular earlier in the evenings, too, when a crooner sings Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra songs every night starting at 6:30 p.m. During all dinner times, Casa di Amore offers traditional Italian fare, from a pork chop entrée with vinegar and sweet cherry peppers ($23) to “Steak Sinatra” New York strip ($27) and seafood Cipino ($32), which includes lobster, crab, scallops, shrimp and clams. “We bake our own bread and make everything from scratch,” said owner Michael Campagno. “And the pesto sauce is addictive.” The restaurant also offers a full bar and extensive wine list, and every bottle is half off on Sundays and Mondays. No designated driver? The restaurant’s famous red limo will pick up diners from the Strip or convention center, free of charge.
Details: Casa di Amore is open daily from 4 p.m.-6 a.m.
6653 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Brio, in the Town Square mall, has fast become an “it” spot for business lunches during the week and drinks and snacks during late weekend afternoons, but the enticing Italian menu (pizza, pasta, steak and more) also packs the house during dinner time. “The terrace has cozy couches and a fi re pit,” said Kenna Warner, GM and managing partner. “So when the weather is perfect in the spring and fall, it’s a great spot to have appetizers and a glass of wine.” Happy hour offers $3 half orders of appetizers. Most popular? Bruschetta with roasted red peppers and sliced beef carpaccio. Lunch favorites include wood-grilled salmon over angel hair pasta, cooked in citrus pesto, and a new fi let steak salad with spicy pecans. For dinner, try wood-grilled salmon, gorgonzola-encrusted lamb chops or mushroom ravioli in brown butter sauce (entrees are $17-$30). The 1-year-old Brio is part of a chain of 30, but expect a special treat at the Vegas locale. “Not all cities have a Colosseum inside,” Warner said. “You have to be a little over the top here.”
Details: Happy hour lasts from 3-6 p.m. Restaurant hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
308 W. Sahara Ave.
Diners craving an authentic Rat Pack-style meal should head straight to Golden Steer, which, at 50, is officially Las Vegas’ oldest steakhouse. “To Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, this was their place,” said GM Johnny Durke. “Some booths have the names of who sat there and used to hang out there.” Fuel up for the trip down memory lane with a tableside Caesar salad ($11), Golden Steer’s signature French onion soup ($9), a 20-ounce rib-eye ($39) or Chateaubriand Bouquetier for two ($55). And portion size is not an issue. “Our baked potato is so big, that in the kitchen, we say, ‘Pass me the football,’” Durke said. If you have room for dessert, the restaurant serves old-fashioned treats such as cherries jubilee and bananas foster. The entire meal comes with a guarantee from Durke: “If you walk out hungry, I’ll pay for your dinner.”
Details: The Golden Steer is open only for dinner, 5-11 p.m., seven days a week. Reservations are strongly recommended; call ahead to book the private room, which seats 12, or the banquet room, which holds up to 45.