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Dine at restaurants loved by Las Vegans

Just as Vegas visitors are returning to the city to re-engage with their favorite experiences, locals are out and about as well, mostly revisiting the most beloved area bars and restaurants to savor the food, drinks and service that really resonate. These days there are dynamic dining destinations in every neighborhood throughout the valley, but there are many restaurants that have stood the test of time as true institutions and can reliably be called local favorites.

In the quiet Desert Shores neighborhood, Marché Bacchus (702.804.8008) is exactly that type of place. With its diverse boutique wine shop, handsome bar, comfy dining room and beautiful lakeside patio, there are a multitude of experiences under one roof, and it’s long been a favorite for weekend brunch, too. That’s why a new brunch-all-week menu was just unveiled, available every day until 3 p.m. Choose from decadent dishes like chicken and waffles, bananas Foster pancakes, truffled shrimp and grits or the popular lobster salad croissant to complement bottomless mimosas.

For authentic flavors from the Far East, head to China Mama (702.873.1977), one of the all-time greats in the city’s Chinatown district along Spring Mountain Road. Pan-fried pork bao buns and juicy pork soup dumplings are among the specialties here, each bite so delicious and memorable they’re worth the visit alone. But the menu is expansive so come hungry and eat like a local.

There’s a cliché that claims local Las Vegans don’t spend much time on the Strip, but don’t believe it—plenty of great restaurants on the Boulevard are just as popular with residents as they are with visitors. Bazaar Meat by José Andrés (702.761.7610) might be at the top of that list since the fantastic restaurant at the Sahara offers something for everyone, from the chef’s innovative tasting menus to simple but satisfying salads and sides like patatas bravas, cauliflower couscous and roasted leeks. One wouldn’t expect the same restaurant that specializes in giant steaks and Iberico pork to offer equally impressive vegetarian dishes, but that’s why this spot is so popular.

Locals love a great buffet, too, and the magnificent Bacchanal Buffet (702.731.7928) at Caesars Palace just recently reinstated its weekend brunch. Tour the pancake and waffle bar, the meat carving station with slab bacon and honey-baked ham, the egg and omelet bar and the hot and cold dish selection with everything from crab Florentine Benedict to Hawaiian-style loco moco before you make your culinary choices.

One newer restaurant on the Strip that has been making enough noise to reverberate into the local consciousness is Roy Choi’s Best Friend (888.769.2464) at Park MGM. The Korean barbecue and late-night party food that anchor this menu were inspired by the chef’s coming-of-age in Los Angeles, but there’s something about these flavors and presentations that translates perfectly for Las Vegans. Try the housemade kimchi, the beef shortrib tacos, buttermilk fried chicken and the pork belly bowl with fried egg and you’ll make the connections.

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