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May 1, 2012 07:10 AM

Why no LV restaurants on San Pellegrino top 50?

Just wondering, because there seem to be some very good places in LV (although admittedly, this is hearsay because my first true LV dining experience will be in July).

Although I suppose if MiniBar in DC is not on there, I shouldn't expect other places on there.


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  1. Certainly restaurants of the caliber of Le Cirque, e by Jose Andres, Joel Robuchon and Sage are more deserving than some of the restaurants that did make the list.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ellenost

      Seems very weird that even from 51-100 there is still no sign of a Vegas restaurant. Ppl say that Vegas is one of the country best culinary destination but as of recently the restaurants have not been recognized.

      I know that they have stopped handing out Michelin stars in Vegas, and it seems like thats whats happening with the pelligrino list.

      I have never dined in Vegas but will be in 40 days, I have made reservations for Le Cirque, twist, sage, raku, and e by Jose. All of these restaurants seem to be very regarded in these forums as well as others around the web, some ppl have compared the restaurants I mentioned alongside top 10's like alinea, per se, and eleven Madison park, with some ppl actually preferring the Vegas joints, so I don't really understand why none of the Vegas establishments made the list.

      The pelligrino list is a good guide to what are the best restaurants in the world but it is also just other ppls opinions, so I'm not really worried that my dinners in Vegas won't be up to pelligrino standards.

      1. re: lechonbaboy

        You have an excellent list of restaurants. I've dined at all of them except Raku, and I've dined at Per Se and Eleven Madison Park each several times, and will (hopefully) be dining at Alinea at the end of this month for the first time. I can honestly say that the restaurants in LV compare very well with those on the San Pellegrino list, and there is no excuse (other than ignorance/bias on the part of the selection committee) to ignore LV as a top dining destination.

        1. re: ellenost

          Ellen, let me know what you think of Alinea. Going there again this year and I must say, that experience blows every other one of my dining adventures away.. It was simply phenomenal. I literally almost started crying when I had the white truffle dish, it was that perfect (or it could have been the result of the amount of wine I had by that stage with the rather generous wine pairings). Although, if I remember correctly, the wine pairing option was close in price to the actual meal, because the bill was in the 4 digits for 2 ppl (!).

    2. There is a perception issue at play here, which may not be entirely wrong, though perhaps a bit misguided. Most of the high-end Las Vegas restaurants are either sister properties of another location (like Le Cirque), or fall under the umbrellas of the masters. As such, Joel Robuchon, Guy Savoy, Pierre Gagnaire, Jose Andres, Thomas Keller and others have establishments here, but are only in the kitchens on rare occasions. There are actually precious few (Sage, Bartollota, Raku, etc.) in which the visionary is in the kitchen and the catalyst for the daily operations. Hence, the critics tend to look down a bit on the Las Vegas offerings. It is understandable, but a bit in err.

      Here is the unique "Twist", for a particular play on words - at the truly high-end, the Las Vegas representatives are still very strong because of the quality control involved. But when you drop down a level (Mario Batali, Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay, Michael Mina, etc.), we often find the disappointments that the critics are able to easily spot. Those restaurants play it closer to the vest than their anchor locations, seemingly with as much focus on not giving the patron a bad experience, as actually giving them a memorable one. Sometimes it really does come down to numbers - Las Vegas is way out of proportion in terms of high-end restaurants to population base, and while we have the tourists to fill the tables, there simply is not enough available talent for these kitchens to truly represent their flagships. That leads to the critiques of many of the restaurants as weaker imitations of the originals. Some of that is indeed fair, but it does not ring true across the board (Le Cirque being a prime example).

      Robuchon, Savoy, Keller and Gagnaire all have restaurants that did make the Top 100. In some ways it alleviates the panel from perhaps giving the Las Vegas locations their due, since those masters are already represented. But because they are who they are, the experiences that they offer here are substantial.

      5 Replies
      1. re: QAW

        Actually Le Cirque LV is far superior to Le Cirque NYC in terms of food and service which is why I fly to LV to dine at Le Cirque. Le Cirque NYC is only 2 blocks from my office. I did have a very nice Restaurant Week dinner this past winter at Le Cirque NYC to which my friends had to drag me "kicking and screaming". I might be tempted to try them again, but on 2 prior visits through the years, while the food was very good, I found the service to be quite robotic. I've become quite spoiled by the stellar service at Eleven Madison Park.

        1. re: QAW

          Greats points that makes it a lot easier to understand why it was ignored. If you also factor in the cost for a meal at these places it is not very tourist friendly, let alone local friendly.

          We have saved up $2500 for food alone for our 5 day Vegas culinary trip, gf and I are both chefs so we do actually have to save up for sometime in order to splurge like this. Your point about not having top end talents workin in the kitchen due to limited business is very convincing. Not a lot of people can afford to dine at these places due to Vegas mark up, and not a lot of people will think that a $500 dinner is worth saving up for.

          Vegas is regarded as a culinary destination so there is business from the foodies that embark to Vegas for a culinary adventure like us.

          1. re: QAW

            Yet somehow they managed to give the Robuchon in Macao a place in the top 100. So apparently they are not totally opposed to casino towns - just Las Vegas

            1. re: QAW

              Maybe its the tube tops and the plastic guitar margaritas !
              ELITISTS !

              I kid.

              1. re: QAW

                I dined at é in May 2011 and Jose Andres was there himself!
                It really seems that it's his special baby, not just an "outpost of his empire" ... Some of the decorations are inspired from his childhood...

              2. The Italy board has been talking about the San Pellegino list and their comments make for interesting reading. Most of the Italian posters are quite dismissive of this list, mentioning trend-driven decisions, the likely requirement that the restaurants must use some brand of Nestle bottled water, and other issues that have little to do with food.. Here's the link to that thread.


                1 Reply
                1. re: Indy 67

                  Interesting, I guess a list no matter how recognized should not be able to decide what is the "best". Everybody on the pelligrino committee and everyone on the web all have different opinions on what is considered best.

                  I will try and take each opinions with a grain of salt when it comes to restaurants because just like opinions, taste/pallete can differ from person to person.