When we first moved to Las Vegas in 1987, three-dollar steak dinners and all-you-can-eat buffets ruled the restaurant scene. As the city quickly grew and the number of both residents and tourists soared, the dining scene flourished.
In the 1990s, the first celebrity chefs opened restaurants on the Strip, and others followed. They helped redefine the city’s dining scene, and today, with more than 3,000 restaurants, Las Vegas is a foodie’s paradise. But beyond the bright lights and gourmet rooms of Las Vegas Boulevard, there are great food experiences in the “burbs.”
Let me introduce you to the 5 restaurants in Summerlin that are worth a trip to our community west of the Strip.
5 Must Try Restaurants in Summerlin, Las Vegas
400 S. Rampart Blvd. #10165 // 702-684-5853
Located in Tivoli Village on the edge of Summerlin, Leoné Café brings a bit of the Italian coffee experience to the desert. In addition to the familiar espresso-based drinks, Leoné’s coffee menu includes its innovative take on them with drinks such as Nutella, Lavender, or Hazelnut Cappuccinos and Cinnamon or Sugar-free Caramel Lattes. They also offer brewed coffee, iced drinks, and smoothies. I hear the peanut butter smoothie is amazing.
In addition to the great drinks, Leoné also offers European-styled pastries and an extensive menu from which you can order anything at any time of the day. They offer everything from pastries and crepes to omelets and waffles for breakfast. If anything in Leoné reminds me of Italy, it would be the quality of the pastries. Good croissants are hard to find, but the ones at Leoné—plain or filled—are buttery, flaky, and delectable.
Lunch and dinner offerings are varied and many—hot or cold panini, salads, pasta, and pizzas. While I like their Avocado Toast (avocado, sprouts, and tomato on wheat), I usually order either their Pear Salad (grilled chicken, lettuce, pears, pecans, dried cherries, bleu cheese) or their Champagne Chicken Berries Salad (grilled chicken, lettuce, fresh berries, walnuts, bleu cheese). In the desert heat, both are light and refreshing. As they make most things fresh, you can eliminate or substitute items from your salads or sandwiches.
Leoné Café offers both indoor and outdoor seating, and the staff is friendly and accommodating. No matter how busy they are, and they do get busy, staff members make the rounds to check on your meal and to offer refills on coffee, iced tea, and water. This attention to customer service makes Leoné Café a great spot among the restaurants in Summerlin.
10970 Rosemary Park Drive // 702-982-0770
MTO is one of my go-to lunch places. Located in Downtown Summerlin, MTO has a large menu with extensive breakfast offerings (omelets, skillets, pancakes, waffles, etc), salads, burgers, sandwiches, wraps, and bowls. Every item is made-to-order, the portions are huge, and many come with sides.
I usually order one of the two sandwiches when I head to MTO. The BLTAE—bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado, and egg on brioche—comes with a choice of fries or salad. The sandwich usually includes basil pesto and mayo, but I opt-out.
The Hangover Burger includes bacon, a fried egg, cheddar cheese, and lettuce on a Hawaiian Bun. Again, I opt out of the sauce. What makes both of these sandwiches unique is the addition of the egg which adds a richness that is just perfect.
One of my friends highly recommends the Fat Elvis. MTO’s take on the King’s invention includes bacon, bananas, peanut butter, Nutella and strawberries. My taste was ooey-gooey delicious, but it was so rich that I’d probably have to share it.
There is plenty of seating both indoors and out, and the patio is dog-friendly making MTO a contender for one of the best restaurants in Summerlin.
9560 W. Tropicana Blvd. // 702-960-0695
Having lived in Mexico for a semester in college, I developed a taste for good Mexican food. I hate the heaps of microwaved cheese and beans that so many places serve. Give me fresh, hot, and tasty fare. I found all of that at Juan’s Flaming Fajitas & Cantina, named for its owner, Juan Vazquez.
Fajitas are king here, though, and they flame them tableside. Fajitas for two include your choice of two proteins (pork, steak, chicken, shrimp), grilled onions and peppers, guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo, and tortillas. The portion is huge, and even with two of you eating it, you’ll probably end up taking some home.
Beyond the fajitas, Juan’s menu is extensive and includes tacos, burritos, chimichangas, and enchiladas. If you are adventurous, I suggest trying Juan’s enchiladas de mole. Mole, if you don’t know, is a sauce that contains an average of 20+ ingredients; fruit, peppers, nuts, spices, and a little chocolate. When made correctly, mole adds a layer of intense flavor that enhances whatever it touches. Juan’s mole hits those notes.
All of Juan’s entrees come with rice and beans or steamed veggies and rice.
Juan’s Happy Hour runs daily from 3:00-7:00 PM In addition to both domestic and import beers, house wines, and well drinks, Juan’s offers plain or fruity margaritas in two sizes—all priced at under $5. Also available are 10 food items for under $10, and Juan’s sampler, which includes taquitos, nachos, and quesadilla, is a great choice.
1031 S. Rampart Blvd. // 702-445-6100
Founded by culinary visionary Elizabeth Blau (who is credited with revolutionizing Las Vegas dining) and her husband Chef Kim Canteenwalla, Honey Salt offers diners the kind of food that makes people feel at home. They use locally sourced and seasonal ingredients as much as possible, and the menu features items from both of their families.
Honey Salt offers many good options—sandwiches, pizza, soups, and plates—for lunch. One of the most popular choices is the Biloxi Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich. Topped with creamy slaw and homemade dressing on a brioche bun, the chicken is moist while its crust is crispy. A Caesar salad accompanies the sandwich. The Backyard Burger, my favorite, has aged cheddar, tomato jam, butter pickles on top, and salted fries on the side.
If you need something lighter, there are a variety of salads, including, believe it or not, salad in a glass. The Green Goddess Juice is a smooth mix of kale, apples, lemon, cucumber, fennel, celery, and ginger.
While the dinner menu includes some of the lunch offerings, it includes many more plates such as Caramelized Sea Scallops with cauliflower and a vanilla bean, truffle sauce, or Farm House Meatloaf with roasted carrots, mashed potatoes, tomato jam. Try a side of the creamy Mac ‘n Cheese. The addition of Anaheim peppers gives it a bite that elevates the taste of any dish it accompanies.
Honey Salt offers a daily Happy Hour from 3:00-6:00 p.m. Sips (select beers, wines, and cocktails) and Savors (small plates that include tastes of some of their main menu items) are available in the bar, lounge, or patio. Be sure to ask for the Happy Hour daily specials.
400 S. Rampart Blvd. // 702-489-3525
The brainchild of Chef Sam Marvin, Echo & Rig is both a butcher shop and a steakhouse occupying the same space in Tivoli Village. Classically trained butchers prepare everything from beef and pork to chicken and lamb. They also make their own sausage without the use of fillers or artificial colors or flavors.
While Echo & Rig has an extensive menu that includes sandwiches, salads, and seafood, meat is king here. You’ll find the finest cuts of pork, lamb, and chicken, but topping it all is steak.
All of the steaks—and there are about 10 cuts—on Echo & Rig’s menu are cooked over red oak and come with homemade chips and mushroom Rockefeller. Although you can choose one of seven sauces to accompany your steak, I suggest going plain to get the meat’s full flavor.
While you can order a baked sweet potato or garlic mashed potatoes, try their roasted broccolini, brussels sprouts with pistachio and fresh lemon, or asparagus and egg as a side dish. And, if they offer acorn squash, order two orders. It is that good!
Echo & Rig offers Happy Hour daily from 3:00-6:00 PM (4:00-6:00 on Sundays). Available in the bar are draught beers, premium cocktails, and daily wine specials. The food offerings—steak (two-three ounces) and egg, shrimp cocktail, or hotdog—are a great deal as all cost less than $3. During brunch, you can enjoy bottomless Mimosa ($16) or Bloody Mary ($22) in the dining room.
Echo & Rig has both indoor and outdoor seating. As the noise level in the dining room can get loud, I prefer sitting on the balcony and enjoying the Tivoli Village vibe.
Which of these restaurants in Summerlin do you most want to try? Let me know in the comments section below!
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Christine Cutler is a writer, photographer, editor, guide, teacher, traveler, Ohio native, Nevada resident, and world citizen. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and crazy Welsh Terrier, but she can’t sit still very long. In addition to maintaining her own websites Cold Pasta and Red Wine and Christine Cutler, she is executive editor of Food, Wine, Travel Magazine and teaches special grammar and writing classes for UNLV.