The 3-mile stretch of Spring Mountain Road that lies just west of the Las Vegas Strip may represent more regional Chinese cuisines than the famous culinary neighborhood that is Chinatown in Flushing, Queens, but calling this neighborhood Chinatown is a bit of a misnomer. In the more than 150 restaurants—four dozen of which are open 24 hours a day—you’ll find Korean barbecue, strip malls packed with pho places, old-school tiki bars, Thai, some of the best sushi in the United States, fusion of all kinds, and Chinese cuisine representing Yunnan, Dongbei, Szechuan, Hunan, and many more.
With so many restaurants in so few blocks (and think two-floor strip malls packed to the gills with incredible places to try—and late-night foot spas for post-dinner relaxation), the restaurant scene can be intimidating. One way to dive in if you don’t have a lot of time to research is to sign up for a tour with Finger Licking Foodie Tours. The app-led private tour that’s an alternative to group tours by parent company Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, guides you to three acclaimed restaurants in Chinatown for a reserved dine-around.
But if you love a good wander on your own, there’s no better place than Spring Mountain and its surrounds. Here are some of the best restaurants in the area:
Chef Mitsuo Endo’s tiny, minimalist Japanese restaurant services robata dishes—small portions cooked over a traditional binchotan charcoal grill. Diners can order a variety of dishes (most start at around $3), or try the omakase, with chef-selected dishes that could include Kobe skewers, duck with balsamic soy glaze, a bacon-wrapped enoki mushroom that looks like a tiny bouquet of flowers, or Kurobuta pork belly. There are at least 75 bottles of sake in rotation, and you can get most of it by the glass or in half bottles. It has earned its reputation as the after-service hangout for some of the Strip’s best chefs.
Seating a maximum of 18 guests, this teeny-tiny restaurant is one of the worst-kept secrets in Las Vegas and a major culinary draw for in-the-know gourmands. Those who come here know that while the decor is understated, the real show is the fish—the purest, cleanest fish shipped straight from Tokyo Bay, treated with incredible reverence, and service with a fantastic sake selection. There are three omakase menus. Depending on what’s arrived that day, you might look forward to fatty tuna, albacore, Japanese sea urchin, or sweet shrimp.
When the Mongolian- and Tibetan-inspired Chubby Cattle—the first conveyor belt restaurant in Las Vegas—opened several years ago, the concept seemed like schtick. Specializing in hot pot (you get your own individual hotpot burner and can choose from a number of broths, garnishes, meats and vegetables to cook in your soup), you can also grab items from a conveyor belt as they chug along past your table. This is no simple concept restaurant, though. Chubby Cattle has taken authenticity so far as to raise its own sheep, so they could mimic the flavor of Inner Mongolia sheep, and serve A5 Wagyu from Japan with your hotpot. It’s an experience few will forget.
The traditional izakaya menu of Japanese small plates, sake and beer is a favorite among locals who gravitate toward the little second-floor spot in a shopping center on Spring Mountain. It’s a laid-back atmosphere of people enjoying shrimp and chive dumpling cakes, kimchi gyoza, shumai, and lots of sushi—and sharing bowls of adobo, mapo tofu, and noodle soups. If there’s one thing to save room for, it’s the honey toast—an inches-thick slice of toasted brioche-like bread topped with warm honey and giant scoops of vanilla ice cream.
EDO Gastro Tapas & Wine
Chef Oscar Amador—who staged at the famous three-star El Bulli and El Raco de Can Fabes, and cooked at Le Cirque in Las Vegas—opened his own tapas and wine bar in Chinatown in 2018. The innovative Spanish menu is inspired by cuisines around the world (and neighborhood) and is dripping with glam accents like rose gold chains and a hand-painted mural. Think drama: Dishes include showstoppers like the Montadito, a smoked salmon crostini with salted toffee butter that’s smoking in its own bell jar.
Joyful House Chinese Cuisine
This simple, standalone restaurant is a local staple for Cantonese dishes (it’s been here for years, and if you’re nostalgic for the Chinese restaurant table anchored by a lazy Susan, this is your place). The menu is virtually endless offering options like crispy fried salt and pepper calamari, Santa Barbara spot prawns, geoduck, Dungeness crab, tons of noodle dishes, and clay pot specialties like baked rice with preserved meat, fried tofu and eggplant.
The sister restaurant to Raku from patissier Mio Ogasawara serves a rotating selection of desserts that includes a three-course tasting with an aperitif, appetizer, and main course.
Despite its sweet name and proximity to Raku (it’s next door), this little white jewel box isn’t just a dessert place. You’ll also find beautifully composed savory dishes like salmon tartare and liver pate, which you can pair with an individual or two-course dessert set from a revolving selection. All are pieces of art, from framboise mousse to house-made sherbets, spun sugar shells, and gravity-defying meringues.
The French fine-dining restaurant opened by "Chopped" winner Yuri Szarzewski is pure midcentury-inspired glamour, serving composed three-, five-, and seven-course dinners. He and manager Nicolas Kalpokdjian paid their dues in Michelin-starred restaurants from Paris to Courcheval, and are now fancying up Chinatown with Partage (French for “sharing”), whose artful dishes are some of the most colorful and beautiful you’ll find in Las Vegas. Think venison pithiviers (venison cooked in puff pastry, stuffed with buttered cabbage and foie gras), and pastry that’s both wildly inventive and classically French. A private dining room and wine club now add to the exclusive feel.
A local favorite in the same strip mall as Raku and Kabuto, Big Wong serves a big menu of accessible Chinese dishes at low prices that remind plenty of people (by design) of the greatest hits around Manhattan’s Chinatown. Expect to find homey steamed chicken with mushroom and sausage, deep-fried pork chops with udon noodle soup, and remarkably light salt and pepper shrimp.
Chef-owner Dan Krohmer’s Other Mama is hidden in a west-side strip mall just south of Spring Mountain Road and has been credited by many for finally making neighborhood dining in Strip-centric Las Vegas a thing. Krohmer, who is a Morimoto alum and former private chef, attracts off-the-clock chefs and serious gourmands to his laidback spot that features a pristine raw bar, oysters specially sourced from the Pacific Northwest, and great sushi and sashimi. Having been covered nationally for several years, Other Mama is no longer a secret—but you’ll still get Vegas cred for coming here.
Weera Thai Kitchen and Bar
The beloved tribute to the cuisine of Chiang Mai, Thailand, expanded in 2019 from Sahara Ave. to a location in Chinatown’s massive new Shanghai Plaza. Look for Thai street food like ba mee moon yang (grilled pork with spinach noodles) and Isaan Northeastern-influenced dishes like its famous larb ped (ground boneless duck with spices and chili), nom tok nuar (thinly sliced beef steak), and khor moo yang (marinated charbroiled pork with tamarind sauce).
Sparrow + Wolf
Chef Brian Howard has been a Las Vegas fixture for two decades, working for years with Keller Group and as executive chef of Comme Ça in the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, among others. He made waves when he left the Strip and opened Sparrow + Wolf in the heart of Chinatown. The restaurant draws on his Midwestern roots, classical French training, global experience, and inspiration from his Spring Mountain neighborhood. You might find dishes like Chinatown clams casino, Spanish octopus summer rolls, and Vietnamese caramelized pork ribs.
Devotees of Sichuan cuisine love strip mall fixture (notice a theme?) Chengdu Taste for its spicy dishes that aren’t altered for American tastebuds. Braised fish with silky tofu and chili oil, marinated pigs feet, mung bean jelly noodles in chili sauce, rabbit with red and green pepper, and the promisingly-named “volcano” dishes: kidney, squid, sliced fish, and beef. Helpfully, Chengdu Taste notates its menu with numbness levels.
District One Kitchen and Bar
The late-night Vietnamese hub opened in 2014 by chef Khai Vu to recall Saigon’s own District One neighborhood has become the official late-night hub of the food and beverage industry. Chefs from the Strip arrive after service for pho oxtail, pho tom with shrimp, fish sauce chicken wings, and braised pork belly. Vu makes a theatrical pho with an entire Maine lobster, its head, tail, and claws so large they don’t fit entirely in the bowl. It’s a showstopper in one of the neighborhood’s coolest environments.