Las Vegas

What to Eat at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas

The Vegas airport has more than planes and slot machines.

Photo courtesy of McCarran International Airport
Photo courtesy of McCarran International Airport
Photo courtesy of McCarran International Airport

Anyone who’s flown into Las Vegas knows that McCarran International is one of the most convenient airports in the world. Rather than being a city with an airport, Vegas almost feels like an airport with a city built around it. McCarran is right next to the Strip, making it easy and accessible to the hotels, restaurants, and attractions that everyone loves in Sin City. 

But as can be expected, things are a little quiet at the airport these days. The reduction in travel due to COVID-19 has prompted some dining options to temporarily close-including all of Concourse E and those affected by a large renovation project in Concourse C (Might as well get some work done during the downtime, right?).

So what does this mean for you when traveling in and out of Las Vegas? We’ve put together a guide to let you know about the best places to grab a bite in between flights. Keep in mind, eateries can close or (re)open at a moment’s notice so check in with the airport’s interactive map for the latest hours and operating information. By the way, if you’re wondering why there’s a Terminal 1 and 3, but no Terminal 2, that’s just the way things turned out (Roll with it).

Bagelmania
Bagelmania
Bagelmania

TERMINAL 1

CONCOURSE A

Siegel’s Bagelmania
Siegel’s Bagelmania may be a New York-style deli, but it’s a born-and-raised Las Vegas original. More than 30 years after opening east of the Strip, the family-owned business now has a second location at the airport, where you can get your fix for a lox-and-bagel and as many black-and-white cookies as you like. Sandwiches include a grilled Rueben with a choice of pastrami, corned beef, or turkey and the Yiddish Bird, which combines turkey and bacon with chive cream cheese and sprouts.     

Moe’s Southwest Grill
Yeah, it’s a chain, but worth noting because the airport has the only Moe’s in Las Vegas (we’re more of a Chipotle kind of town). Loyal fans of the brand might even be willing to endure a TSA security check to get their hands on burrito bowls made with relatively healthy ingredients, plus a new breakfast menu to explore.

The B Lounge
The “B” stands for Budweiser, which is pretty much what you get along with a few other drafts, a basic spirits selection, and some prepackaged food items. It’s really your only choice for booze and to catch a big game on TV in the A concourse. 

Photo courtesy of McCarran International Airport
Photo courtesy of McCarran International Airport
Photo courtesy of McCarran International Airport

Terminal 1

CONCOURSE B

PGA Tour Grill
This airport staple is a familiar sight to frequent flyers. Is it fine dining? Not by any means. Is it a place where you can sit down and have a meal? Yes. It’s also the only “regular” restaurant in the B concourse. The omelettes and burgers will hold you over until your next flight boards, and the Impossible Burger is available for vegans. The pizzas are a mixed bag, so we recommend sticking with the grilled chicken pesto. You also have a larger-than-expected lineup of beer and wine, which come in six- or nine-ounce servings, so don’t expect a heavy pour. While a newer and nicer version of the PGA Tour Grill is temporarily closed in Terminal 3, this one is still around-and the best restaurant you’ll find near the B gates.

360 Gourmet Burrito
The closest you’ll come to Mexican street food at the airport, but that’s almost an insult to street food. If you’re desperate for something to put in your belly, you’ll probably be fine with one of five food court-quality burrito/burrito bowl combinations on the menu. Otherwise, if you have time before your flight, it’s worth the walk to Concourse A for Moe’s.

McCarran International Airport
McCarran International Airport
McCarran International Airport

Terminal 1

A&B ROTUNDA

Shake Shack
Shake Shack is one of the newest dining spots at McCarran. The standalone fast food joint is positioned right between the A and B gates with an art deco design patterned after the burger chain’s original location in New York. Pretty much everything you’d expect is on the menu, including frozen custard shakes and ShackBurgers made with the company’s own distinct ground beef blend and served on buttery potato buns. Show up early and you’ll get a full lineup of breakfast sandwiches.   

Jimmy John’s
Another recent addition to the airport, this particular Jimmy John’s is on the small side, but easy to notice, thanks to the smell of fresh-baked bread making its way through the A and B concourses. Whether it’s the BLT or Turkey Tom, there’s something on the menu to do the trick. The only downside-no Little John sandwiches here, although the ultra-customer-friendly Freaky Fast Rewards system is in effect. Easily the best sandwich spot in the airport. Sorry Port of Subs. Sorry
Jersey Mike’s.  

Other Options in Concourse A/B: Burger King, Cinnabon, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Fresh Attractions, Freshens Frozen Smoothie Company, Jamba Juice, Mrs. Fields, Port of Subs, PretzelMaker, Red Star Lounge, Starbucks, Stella Artois Bar, TCBY, and Vienna Beef.

Temporarily Closed in Concourse A/B: Great Steak & Potato Company, Sprinkles Cupcakes 

Photo by Rob Kachelriess for Thrillist
Photo by Rob Kachelriess for Thrillist
Photo by Rob Kachelriess for Thrillist

Terminal 1

CONCOURSE C 

Ethel M Chocolates
Finally, something local at the airport to sink your teeth into. Ethel M Chocolates are made in Henderson with quality ingredients, nothing artificial, and a clean taste that’s a welcome alternative to all those other candy bars at the newsstand. This is basically a gift shop. Mix and match your own individual pieces from a display window or grab a pre-packaged variety box. Ethel M can also be found in Concourses D while another remains closed by the E gates.  

Sprinkles
Sprinkles closed its Strip location a few years ago, but you can still wolf down their cupcakes at the airport. The California chain has vending machines-known affectionately as “cupcake ATMs”-by the C and D gates (others in the A and E concourses are temporarily out of action). They operate 24 hours, offering a much-needed sugar buzz for redeye travelers when most restaurants close overnight. Despite the format, the cupcakes are fresh and just as good as what you’d find in a regular Sprinkles store. Go with the Red Velvet. It’s the best five bucks you’ll spend at McCarran. 

Other Options in Concourse C: Burger King, Crafted Bar, Jamba Juice  

Temporarily Closed: Auntie Anne’s, Barney’s Lounge, Brookwood Farms BBQ, Corcoran’s Irish Pub, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Fresh Attractions, Fresh Market On The Go, Great American Bagel & Bakery, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Jose Cuervo Taquileria, LAS MKT, Lucky Streak Lounge, Nathan’s Famous, Pei Wei Asian Diner, Popeyes Louisiana Chicken, Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill, Starbucks, Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen, and Wendy’s

Rachel's Kitchen
Rachel’s Kitchen
Rachel’s Kitchen

Terminal 1/Terminal 3

CONCOURSE D

Jamba Juice
Are the D gates part of Terminal 1 or Terminal 3? It kinda depends on where you check in. Here’s what’s important: the food is a significant step-up from older parts of the airport. We’re singling out Jamba Juice-even though it’s a familiar chain-since it’s the first thing you’ll notice after taking the long escalator up to the D concourse from the tram. The shakes and bowls always taste good, the fruit is always fresh, and the staff knows how to keep the line moving along. A welcome sight before an early morning flight. Jamba Juice is also in Concourse C and just past the A/B checkpoint. 

Rachel’s Kitchen
We have a soft spot for Rachel’s Kitchen, a local Las Vegas chain where everything is based on fresh, vibrant ingredients. The airport location is basically a grab-and-go version of the concept. As far as pre-made sandwiches and salads go, these are by far the best in the airport. You can also order up smoothies and juices made fresh on the spot. Watermelon juice all by itself is pretty awesome-and a good way to hydrate after a long flight.   

Ruby’s Dinette
A sit-down restaurant with a modest 1950s diner theme, rounded out with a jukebox and thick milkshakes that require a spoon to finish off. Pay at the counter and hang around until the food is brought to your table. Fair warning: it can take a few minutes. Burgers are made fresh on the grill and the cooked-to-order fries are a nice change of pace from the fast food alternatives. A separate bar area is adults-only, allowing you to sip on that airport-quality Old Fashioned without children screaming in your face.  

Wolfgang Puck Express
The closest you’ll come in the airport to experiencing Vegas’ fondness for celebrity chef culture, even if it’s pretty much in name only. This place isn’t Spago, but probably the only McCarran restaurant with butternut squash soup, kale and quinoa salad, or gluten-free fennel sausage pizza. The Wolfgang Puck brand of wines are also better than what you’ll find at the average airport bar. Whether sitting down in the dining room or grabbing food to go, this is definitely near the top of the list. 

Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza & Grill
Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza is a regional chain with a strong presence in both Nevada and California. As the name implies, pizzas are the big draw here, along with kobe burgers that don’t quite taste “kobe,” salads, and wraps. Definitely on the higher end of choices at the airport but between Sammy’s and Wolfgang Puck, there’s almost too many options for pizza by the D gates (especially when the sorely missed Metro Pizza reopens).

Burke in the Box 
This quick-casual concept by David Burke doesn’t feel like it has anything to do with a celebrity chef. It’s rather routine, especially now that the dining room is temporarily closed while the bar remains open. Still-the breakfast platter exceeds expectations. Only get a sandwich if it comes with a pretzel bun. The adjacent “On the Fly” to-go counter has little in common with the regular restaurant menu, but I guess you gotta buy bottled water somewhere.  

The Club LAS
We’re hesitant to mention airport lounges due to their exclusive nature, but happy to make an exception for The Club at LAS, which has upgraded its menu in a big way. Highlights include scrambled egg frittatas and vanilla-infused french toast for breakfast and mango bruschetta and coconut curry chicken for lunch and dinner. The lounge, which has comfy furniture and workstations is open to anyone with a flat-rate pass of $45 (with a discount for AAA members). A reasonable deal considering it includes unlimited beer, wine, and spirits in addition to all that food. A second version of The Club LAS is temporarily closed by the E gates in Terminal 3. 

Other Options in Concourse D: Auntie Anne’s, Burger King, California Pizza Kitchen, Great American Bagel & Bakery, Mrs. Fields, Port of Subs, Quiznos, Red Mango, Stella Artois Bar, and TCBY

Temporarily Closed: Baja Fresh Express, Cinnabon, Chili’s, Estrella Jalisco Bar, Fresh Attractions, Metro Pizza, and Starbucks    

Terminal 3

CONCOURSE E 

All Restaurants are Temporarily Closed in Concourse E: Burger King, Carl’s Jr., Ciao Gourmet Market, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, La Tapenade Mediterranean Grill, Las Vegas Chophouse & Brewery, The Local (bar), Pei Wei Asian Diner, PGA Tour Grill, Starbucks, and Village PubSign up here for our daily Vegas email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.

Rob Kachelriess has been writing about Las Vegas for Thrillist for five years. His work has also appeared in Travel + Leisure, Leafly, Supercall, Modern Luxury, and Luxury Estates International’s seasonal publication. He just eats pretzels on the plane. Follow him on Twitter.

Las Vegas

A Fresh Take on Italian Dining Opens in Southwest Las Vegas

A first look at Basilico Ristorante Italiano.

Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano
Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano
Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano

You can’t be all things to all people. Yet a new Italian restaurant strikes an intriguing balance between authenticity and inventive touches while helping to shape the identity of a new community in the booming Southwest Valley of Las Vegas.

Basilico Ristorante Italiano is now open at Evora, a master-planned apartment development still under construction that won’t be finished for at least five years. The 160-seat restaurant follows the vision of chef Francesco Di Caudo, a Sicily native who draws on his heritage and experience throughout Italy to build a compelling menu based on traditional techniques and modern ingenuity.

“I come from a country where farm-to-table is nothing new,” says Di Caudio, while emphasizing the importance of ingredient sourcing and simple, straightforward flavor combinations.

Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano
Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano
Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano

Just look at the appetizers. Americans are used to eggplant parmesan that’s breaded and fried without restraint. Di Caudo sticks to a traditional Sicilian recipe with the vegetable sliced thin, sizzled in a pan, and layered with tomato and basil. No mozzarella. On the other hand, the Smoked Cigar is destined to be a signature showstopper. Duck, foie gras, and porcini mushrooms are packed inside a thin, cracker-like shell, presented in a box, and dipped into a glass ashtray. The “ash” in the centre is a black sesame and truffle mix. Don’t be shy about double dipping.

The risotto is bound to be another conversation piece. The recipe uses Carnaroli rice, a starchy grain from North Italy that produces a creamy texture, balancing the saltiness of a parmesan broth with a sweet splash of chestnut honey. The real surprise is the inclusion of Lavazza espresso, manipulated to crackle in your mouth like Pop Rocks candy.

Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano
Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano
Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano

All pastas are made in-house, from a parsnip cavatelli to a lamb and thyme tortellini in a broth filtered from braised prosciutto. Some dishes have a subtle Asian influence, including a hamachi crudo with pomelo (similar to yuzu), Hokkaido scallops with oxtail, and a planned octopus braised in dashi. The flavours come to life inside a sharp, contemporary dining room with deep red chairs and stone, wood, and marble touches. The wine collection is dominated by Italian labels, with a few California and Oregon picks thrown in to round out the list. Bottles are on display near the front entrance and inside illuminated square shelves. “It looks like a fancy restaurant, but when you sit down, I want you to have fun,” adds Di Caudio.

Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano
Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano
Photo by Louiie Victa, courtesy of Basilico Ristorante Italiano

The bar is the heart of the restaurant, ready to serve up to 16 people inside and dozens more via accordion-style windows that open wide to a covered patio. The outdoor space, temperature-controlled with overhead fans and heaters, effectively extends Evora’s open-air plaza with dramatic water and fire features. It’s a natural spot for tastings and special events with a covered stage for live music. Evora is rolling out in four phases, with the first 342 apartments ready by fall. There could be as many as 1,400 when it’s all said and done. Rent begins at around $1,800 for studios and one-bedroom units and goes up to $4,000 for two-story top-floor residences with a loft and Strip views. The community will include swimming pools, pickleball courts, a putting green, a dog park, firepits, EV charging stations, and pavilions equipped with audio and video features.

“Basilico matches the demographic for our apartments,” says Danny Sorge of Digital Desert Development, the company behind the community. “The term ‘youthful sophistication’ has been thrown around about the restaurant and Evora as a whole. It brings something new to the area.”

Rendering courtesy of Evora
Rendering courtesy of Evora
Rendering courtesy of Evora

The development follows a deliberate strategy to have the commercial tenants in place before the first residents move in, occupying a stand-alone building that strikes a commanding presence on the corner of Patrick Lane and Buffalo Drive. Lemon Tree Cafe & Market is already open as a European-style grocery store with plenty of room to sit down with a sandwich and glass of wine. Keep your eyes peeled for Taps & Barrels (a self-service beer hall), Tachi Ramen, and EVOQ hair salon in the months ahead, with more businesses to come. The timing couldn’t be better. The Southwest Valley is on fire right now, with the Durango hotel and casino and UnCommons mixed-use development taking shape as new attractions in 2023. The Bend, a long-promised shopping and dining district, has been in a holding pattern for years but holds promise in an area where everything is getting bigger and better.

Meanwhile, the team behind Evora is staking a claim with Di Caudio running the kitchen at Basilico. The chef’s recent collaboration with Chef Oscar Amador helped Anima by EDO score a recent James Beard Award nomination and reputation as one of the best new restaurants in Las Vegas. Di Caudio first came to Las Vegas to work at Zeffirino at the Grand Canal Shoppes-a gig he expected to last about six months before returning home. Instead, he stuck around and continued to build his reputation at culinary destinations like Sinatra at the Wynn and Ferraro’s off the Strip.

Ultimately, Basilico will be a restaurant to keep an eye on as it develops under Di Caudio’s guidance. The menu will shift and evolve based on the chef’s preferences and the availability of seasonal ingredients. Di Caudio is also planning a smaller menu and social hour for the bar area and a reasonably priced tasting menu with around 10 dishes served family style.

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Rob Kachelriess¬†has been writing about Las Vegas in Thrillist for more than nine years. In addition, his work has appeared in¬†Travel + Leisure, Leafly, Supercall, Modern Luxury, and¬†Luxury Estates International’s seasonal publication. Follow him on Twitter¬†@rkachelriess.

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