Las Vegas is known for fun. Over the last two decades, however, it also has cultivated a reputation for another, more delicious 'f' -- food.
While the Vegas of yore was known for its free buffets, modern Vegas is beloved for over-the-top indulgences, innovative menus, theatrical dining rooms and celebrity-chef tastemakers, all of which have made Las Vegas a true Mecca for foodies, gastronomes and gourmands. Because Vegas has never been one to rest on its laurels, however, one has to wonder: What's next for Sin City's scrumptious side?
If the latest attraction at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is any indication, the answer might be food that's not only delicious, but also experiential.
The addition, Block 16 Urban Food Hall
(pictured), opened Labor Day weekend on the second floor of the resort's Boulevard Tower. Like other urban food halls that have opened in cities across the country, Block 16 -- the first food hall in Las Vegas -- is an elevated take on the food court that's designed not only to feed visitors, but also engage them by creating an affordable marketplace in which they can graze with each of their five senses. Diners can taste different foods, of course, but they also can see and smell them as they physically navigate the space, socially interacting with vendors as they go. It's a bar crawl for the belly.
All told, Block 16 offers six different restaurant concepts that were plucked from foodie cities across the country. In the mix are: District, a New Orleans favorite that specializes in donuts, biscuits, sliders and beer; Ghost Donkey, a New York tequila and mescal bar that also serves Mexican bites; Hattie B's Hot Chicken, a Nashville institution serving hot chicken and Southern sides; Lardo, a popular sandwich shop from Portland, Ore.; Pok Pok Wing, also from Portland, which serves Thai-inspired chicken wings courtesy of James Beard Award-winning chef Andy Ricker; and Tekka Bar, a Vegas-born restaurant that specializes in simple sushi and sake.Four More Tasty F&B Experiences
Las Vegas is home to hundreds of exceptional restaurants. Groups that seek a true taste of Vegas, however, should do more than make a dinner reservation. Instead, they should take a cue from Block 16 and take a bite out of the experiential food trend. Here are four interactive F&B experiences that fit the bill:• 'Savory Bites & Neon Lights' Tour:
If you want a feast for both your eyes and your stomach, look no further than the "Savory Bites & Neon Lights"
tour from Lip Smacking Foodie Tours. The evening tour begins with stops at four exclusive Las Vegas restaurants, each of which presents a tasting of three to four signature dishes. Afterwards, a custom limo coach escorts you to Maverick Helicopters for a helicopter tour above the Strip.• Downtown Delights Foodie Tour:
When it comes to good eats, the Strip usually attracts all the attention -- and all the appetites. Groups that want to savor a different side of Vegas, however, should check out the Downtown Delights Foodie Tour
from Taste Buzz Food Tours. The experience includes a walking tour of "Old Vegas," plus one or two tastings from seven different local restaurants -- including a food truck.• Las Vegas Dessert Tour:
If your group has a sweet tooth, check out Vegas Valley Food Tours' Las Vegas Dessert Tour
, which includes a walking tour with six stops for sweets inside The Venetian Hotel & Casino's Grand Canal Shoppes. Participants can expect "everything from chocolate delicacies, to French-style macarons, to pastries, to shortbread cookies and fine oils," according to the company.• Urban Foodcourt:
In Las Vegas, some of the best eats roam the streets. In food trucks, that is. Of course, you've got to find them first. Doing so is easy thanks to Urban Foodcourt
, a new outdoor dining destination that debuted in May in the Las Vegas Arts District. The outdoor food court has space for up to 10 different food trucks at once and also boasts live music.