12 Places Where You Can Experience Old Vegas

By Lip Smacking Foodie Tours
May 7th, 2020 - 12:03 AM

12 Places Where You Can Experience Old Vegas

Las Vegas is a city that’s ever changing, and always evolving with endless new restaurants. But if you know where to look, you can still find dining institutions left that have stood the test of time.

Visit one of these old-school Vegas restaurants and discover history, character, quality food, impeccable service, and vintage ambience.

Step back in time and experience Vegas the way it used to be.

1. Pamplemousse Le Restaurant

Pamplemousse Le Restaurant is the oldest French restaurant in Las Vegas. It was founded when owner Georges LaForge moved to Las Vegas and worked his way up in the restaurant business from busboy to chef. He opened Pamplemousse in 1976, naming it for his friend, singer Bobby Darin, who was enamored of the French word for “grapefruit.”

LaForge passed away in 2019 but his wife, Diana, keeps the legacy going at this fine-dining gem. It’s all about the ambience here. The interior resembles a charming French cottage — a perfect complement to the French Provençal food.

Indulge in French favorites including foie gras, French onion soup, and escargots, as well as profiteroles and chocolate soufflés for dessert. Pamplemousse also offers a tempting selection of steaks, seafood, lamb, duck, and much more.

2. Top of Binion’s Steakhouse

For classic steakhouse fare with a view of the glittering Las Vegas lights, it’s hard to beat Top of Binion’s Steakhouse on the 24th floor of Binion’s Gambling Hall.

This downtown Las Vegas restaurant has been welcoming guests since 1988. Be transported to a different era with its vintage Vegas décor, top-notch service, and romantic atmosphere.

Steak lovers will enjoy the Creekstone Farms Black Angus Beef, aged 40 to 45 days, and charbroiled on an open flame. The steaks, including ribeye, filet mignon, prime rib and porterhouse, are served with a choice of Bordelaise, peppercorn or béarnaise sauce.

Top of Binion’s Steakhouse also serves a nice selection of seafood, including Northern Atlantic lobster, live Maine lobster, halibut and salmon.

3. The Golden Steer Steakhouse

The Golden Steer Steakhouse has one of the most storied histories in Las Vegas dining.

The restaurant opened in 1958, luring famous customers including Elvis Presley, Joe DiMaggio and Natalie Wood, as well as some infamous ones like mobster Tony Spilotro.

The Golden Steer was also a favorite of Rat Pack members Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, who always retired to the same regular booths. You can still sit at those tables today. Just look for table No. 22, which has a large picture of the Rat Pack above it, and you’ll be at Sinatra’s favorite.

While the restaurant has been remodeled over the years, it still has a distinctly vintage vibe. It also boasts a loyal staff, some of whom have been there for more than 35 years.

The Golden Steer is of course, famous for its steaks, which are wet-aged for 35 days. You’ll find chateaubriand for two carved tableside, porterhouse, prime rib and filet mignon. The Golden Steer also offers seafood and a menu of Italian favorites.

4. Capo’s Restaurant & Speakeasy

If you want to imagine what Vegas might have been like during the Prohibition and Mob era, look no further than Capo’s Italian Steakhouse & Speakeasy.

The experience starts when you arrive and are instructed to ring the bell that prompts a host to open a window and ask who sent you. You’d better know the password.

Once inside, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back into the days of Al Capone. The dimly-lit dining room features romantic red décor, mugshots of Vegas mobsters, cozy booths, and jazzy live entertainment.

There’s a large menu of traditional family specialties that have been passed down through generations of owner Nico Santucci’s family. Try the “Made-Man” pastas like Uncle Pauly’s Arrabiata – penne tossed with spicy “Capone Family Secret” sauce with garlic and crushed red pepper.

House specialties include Capo’s Parmigiana (breaded chicken, veal or eggplant topped with Capone Family Secret Sauce and mozzarella) and Mad Dog Marsala. Specialties come with a choice of soup or salad, and a side of spaghetti, vegetables, mushroom risotto or garlic mashed potatoes.

5. Battista’s Hole in the Wall

Local icon Battista’s Hole In The Wall has been serving up authentic Italian food, friendly service and charming old-school atmosphere since 1970.

The kitschy restaurant is filled with old time Vegas memorabilia, pictures of entertainers, wine barrels, and other knickknacks lining the walls and ceilings. The menu offers hearty, all-inclusive meals: pasta, seafood or veal, served with unlimited glasses of red and white house wines. Choose from favorites like ravioli, lasagna, spaghetti, ziti, chicken cacciatore, veal marsala, cioppino and more. Meals include garlic bread, minestrone or salad, a pasta side, and cappuccino.

6. Luv-it Frozen Custard

Luv-It Frozen Custard has been satisfying sweet-tooth customers in Las Vegas since 1973.

The founder worked at a frozen custard shop in Wisconsin, before bringing the frozen custard concept to Vegas with unique new flavors. Today, the shop is run by the family’s fourth-generation.

The classic walk-up counter serves delicious custard sundaes, shakes, cones, malts, and quarts to go. There’s a flavor sure to suit any taste, from birthday cake to blueberry, almond chip, apple pie, gingerbread cookie, and red velvet.

Its most popular sundae is The Western with hot fudge, caramel and pecans. Another favorite is the Cherry Yum Yum with cherry pie topping and crushed Oreos.

7. Peppermill Restaurant and Fireside Lounge

Known for hearty dishes and large portions, the Peppermill Restaurant and Fireside Lounge has been a mainstay on the Las Vegas Strip since 1972.

The blast-from-the-past interior is done up with plush booths, and pink and purple neon accents. Step into the swanky, 24-hour Fireside Lounge adjacent to the restaurant, and find yourself in another era with its cozy firepit, and cocktail waitresses in long gowns.

The Peppermill is so iconic that it’s been a featured setting in films like “Casino” and “Showgirls.” Among its famous patrons over the years were Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.

The menu at Peppermill features original items that have been around since day one like the fresh fruit salad, signature burger, and French Toast Ambrosia (thick slices of French toast with cinnamon and vanilla, chunks of seasonal fresh fruit, a choice of whipped topping or sour cream and blueberry syrup).

8. THE Steak House at Circus Circus

THE Steak House at Circus Circus has been acclaimed as one of the best and longest-running steakhouses in town for more than 30 years.

Step inside to be greeted by staff members who have been there almost as long as the restaurant, itself. The décor has a distinctly old-school vibe with dark woods and large booths.

THE Steak House is known for serving the finest quality Midwestern beef, dry-aged to perfection in a glass-enclosed room visible from the main dining room. Prime cuts are prepared over an exhibition-style, open-hearth mesquite-charcoal broiler.

Steak dinners include fresh baked breads, vegetable, and a choice of black bean soup or house salad, and garlic mashed potato, baked potato or wild rice blend. The steaks can be further elevated with mushrooms, garlic grilled shrimp, lobster tails and more.

9. Hugo’s Cellar

Hugo’s Cellar at the Four Queens is a true hidden gem. The restaurant opened in 1973 as Hugo’s Rotisserie and was part of the Hyatt hotel chain. While the hotel changed hands, the Hugo’s name remained.

Walk down the stairs and prepare to be enveloped in nostalgic charm. At the hostess stand, all ladies are handed a rose. The retro décor features brick walls, dim lighting, and antique chandeliers.

Hugo’s Cellar still features iconic old Vegas trappings, including tableside salad preparation, and flaming bananas Foster prepared by tuxedo-clad waiters. The menu offers charbroiled steaks, seafood and specialties including roasted duck, rack of lamb, veal Oscar, and more.

10. Piero’s Italian Cuisine

During its nearly 40 years in operation in Las Vegas, Piero’s Italian Cuisine has hosted celebrities, politicians and even mobsters.

Freddie Glusman opened Piero’s near downtown Las Vegas in 1982. The restaurant moved to its current location across the street from the Las Vegas Convention Center in 1987.

The menu still has most of its original signature dishes, as well as a time-honored convivial Italian spirit, a friendly family atmosphere, and top-notch service.

Try dishes like spaghetti Portofino with squid ink spaghetti, shrimp, scallops, calamari, clams, mussels, white wine and garlic or traditional Sunday gravy with rigatoni, meatballs, Italian sausage and ricotta. There’s also a nice variety of seafood, veal and chicken dishes.

11. Michael’s Gourmet Room

Michael’s Gourmet Room has been an acclaimed fine dining restaurant in Las Vegas for more than 30 years.

The restaurant originally opened in 1982 at the former Barbary Coast hotel, before moving to its current location at the South Point Hotel & Casino.

The intimate 50-seat restaurant has earned accolades over the years for its impeccable service and gourmet cuisine.

Enjoy steaks and lamb chops cooked over a charcoal broiler. There’s fresh seafood including broiled Maine lobster and imported Dover sole. House specialties include veal chops, tournedos of beef, and veal saltimbocca. For dessert, indulge in classic bananas Foster or cherries Jubilee for two.

12. Vickie’s Diner

Vickie’s Diner is one of Vegas’ most iconic locations. Originally, the spot housed White Cross Drugs and its adjacent diner, Tiffany’s Café. Both ‘50s staples, they drew legends that included Elvis Presley and Rat Pack members.

The drug store is long gone, but Vickie’s Diner still stands proudly in the old Tiffany Café spot, and is named for owner and former Tiffany’s waitress Vickie Kelesis.

Vickie’s Diner still possesses that charming 1950s-diner vibe with its vinyl booths, counter stools, and menu of comfort food staples for which Tiffany’s Café was known.

That means homey breakfast food, classic diner sandwiches like grilled cheese and tuna melts, and chicken schnitzel, burgers, steak, liver and onions, and grilled pork chops with applesauce. Save room for a banana split for dessert.

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