Earning a Michelin star is one of the greatest symbols of recognition for any restaurant in the world. The honor is determined by Michelin representatives who dine anonymously, and the results are published in Michelin Guides for destinations around the world. (In case you’re wondering… yes, it’s the same French company that manufactures Michelin tires.)
A restaurant can earn one, two or three stars under the following guidelines:
1 Star: high quality cooking, worth a stop
2 Stars: excellent cooking, worth a detour
3 Stars: exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey
Unfortunately, Michelin only rated Las Vegas restaurants in 2008 and 2009 before dropping the city. At the time, poor sales in the wake of a bad economy were blamed. However, nine restaurants recognized by Michelin during that time are still open. For the most part, the ratings still reflect the quality of the restaurant, but take them with a grain of salt. The stars are only officially valid for the year issued. However, it’s still worthwhile to review and revisit restaurants that once had a cherished Michelin star to their name.
The namesake restaurant by the late Joël Robuchon is worthy of Michelin’s highest honor, whether it’s 2009 or today. Located in the lobby of the MGM Grand, it serves high-end French fine dining in an elegant atmosphere.
The Bellagio restaurant gets its name from the pieces of Picasso artwork that decorate the walls. It also has an outdoor patio overlooking the resort’s iconic fountains. Buzz for the restaurant was worn off a bit in recent years, but it remains an excellent choice for fine dining.
Restaurant Guy Savoy
The Caesars Palace restaurant by acclaimed French chef Guy Savoy is one of the best restaurants on the Strip. Many believe it’s just as good as Joel Robuchon and should have received three stars as well.
Aureole has gone through lots of changes since it received its Michelin star, including dining room renovations and a lineup of executive chefs that have come and gone. It’s consistently great and remains a top choice at Mandalay Bay, yet it feels like a completely different restaurant from the one ranked a decade ago. Its famous wine tower will forever be iconic.
The biggest head-scratcher on the list. DJT at the Trump International Hotel is a fine steakhouse, but rather routine compared to better and more interesting restaurants on the Strip. Maybe the Michelin folks saw something different all those years ago.
L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
Joël Robuchon’s second Las Vegas dining spot is slightly less expensive and a bit more affordable than the chef’s eponymous restaurant next store. Both have aged well since receiving their Michelin accolades, remaining among the best restaurants in not just the MGM Grand, but anywhere in Las Vegas.
This Bellagio restaurant has retained its classic super club feel, but has only seen its menu improve over the years. The place keeps getting better and would probably be elevated to two or three stars if MIchelin was still ranking Las Vegas today.
The chef’s namesake restaurant has also evolved over the years, seeing a menu revamp and extensive dining room renovations. Its location right next to the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens makes it as popular as ever for tourists on the Strip. The menu focuses on fresh seafood.
Technically, this restaurant no longer exists. It was renamed and rebranded as Rivea in 2015. Yet it remains under the umbrella of European chef Alain Ducasse with minimal changes to the dining room. The views from the 64th floor of the Delano hotel tower never get old, regardless of any name change.
Wing Lei was the first Chinese restaurant in North America to receive a Michelin star. It also set the stage for high-end Cantonese restaurants to come in Las Vegas, including Hakkasan, Mott 32 and Red Plate.