Robin Leach on What's Upscale in Sin City

Mr Rich and Famous on What's Up(Scale) in Sin City

Mr Rich and Famous on What's Up(Scale) in Sin City––Robin Leach

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What happens in Las Vegas is change. The biggest one took place 21 years ago. Thanks to Steve Wynn’s Bellagio, the former $8 buffet town flowered almost overnight into a world-class destination. But the little changes haven’t stopped, or even slowed.

When is the last time you Vegas-ed? If it’s been more than two years, you can make a week-long vacation out of only the highest-end restaurants, shops and nightspots that have opened since your last visit and never repeat a single thing.

With so much change to choose from, we asked one of the only constants in town, Robin Leach, to pare the field down to his favorites. The former “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” host arrived in Las Vegas 21 years ago—coincidentally, along with the Bellagio—and has been the arbiter of expensive Sin City taste ever since. 

Beauty Essex

Fine Dining in Las Vegas

Beauty and Essex - Cosmopolitan

You can’t go wrong starting at the Cosmopolitan, the ritzy epicenter of haute-couture dining, shopping and nightlife in the new Las Vegas. Its most impressive new culinary offering, according to Leach, hides behind a pawn shop on the third floor. This TAO Group transplant from Manhattan features tattooed chef Chris Santos’s unique “sharing small bites” menu.

According to Leach, “it’s all about communal eating unforgettable food that takes classic, old- school comfort favorites and gives them a totally new twist at the highest level.” Its eclectic offerings include French Onion Soup Dumplings (baked inside a ball of crusty fromage), Tuna Poke Wonton Tacos and Tomato Tartare on a parmesan crostini. Leach calls it “never boring and quite addictive.” While you eat, raincoat-clad models wander the two large dining rooms “ready to flash you in their take-your-breath-away lingerie as they display the watches and trinkets the pawnshop has for sale.” 

Lago Bellagio

Lago - Bellagio

This primo Italian spot operates under the guidance of famed chef Julian Serano, known for the small plates and bold flavors on display at his tapas joint at Aria. “Incredible modern mini-bites take on Italian food and impeccable service,” Leach raves. And the eats are paired with the best view in town: of the Bellagio lake and its water- fountain shows.

Cesar's Palace

Mr Chow - Caesars Palace

The celebs who have flocked for decades to restaurateur Michael Chow’s upscale Chinese eatery in Beverly Hills finally have a Las Vegas home base. The former Empress Court space at Caesars Palace is now what Leach refers to as “the high temple of Chinese delicacies.” And the floorshow—a noodle chef turning a bag of flour into the world’s longest noodles—is, Leach says, “a spectacle worth putting into Absinthe—even without a topless chef!”