In keeping with the Eater tradition, we asked a group of restaurant critics, journalists, bloggers and friends of the website to weigh up the year of eating. Your answers to the annual Year in Eater survey will be published in multiple posts. Next, the restaurants share the restaurants that have closed permanently in 2020 and that they will miss the most.
What was the saddest restaurant closure in 2020?
Emmy Kasten, freelance writer: I found it unbearable to watch the Estiatorio Milos bid farewell to its prime location in the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Although the restaurant will soon be reopening at the Venetian, I’ll miss enjoying Milos’ signature lunch menu while enjoying the view from the sun-drenched terrace.
Philip Tzeng, food blogger at Las Vegas Fill:: It has to be Pamplemousse. As one of the oldest and most iconic restaurants in town, I have very fond memories of every dinner over the years, but since conventions were gone and in-room dining capacities were what it is, there was no way it was in town current situation would last. It’s a Vegas landmark that should be here forever.
Krista Diamond, Freelance Writer at Eater Vegas: Losing Pamplemousse means losing a piece of Las Vegas history. I drove past there the other day longing for a final meal in this wonderful, intimate dining room. Oh.
Rob Kachelriess, Las Vegas writer Thrillist:: I was disappointed to hear that Maui Exiles in Henderson was closing. It was opened at the start of the pandemic by a couple who had just moved here from Hawaii. The chef made an exceptional cuisine that far exceeded the casual atmosphere of the dining room. I understand Pamplemousse is an emotional loss for many longtime Las Vegans. Sage was a strip restaurant that had everything – food, atmosphere, absinthe – and which still seemed to get lost in the mix between all the restaurants in the Aria. Now that it is closed I regret I haven’t eaten there more often.
Sonja Swanson, Food and culture author: I was sorry that Flock & Fowl closed their doors – although I hear you can still get Sheridan’s Hainanese Chicken at their new Every Grain restaurant.
Louiie Victa, Eater Vegas photographer and co-host of Two hot cooks and a microphone:: There are so many restaurants I will miss, but if I had to name my top 3 it would be Pok Pok Wing, Pamplemousse, and Sage. Damn it, COVID !!!
Lorraine Moss, co-host of Two hot cooks and a microphone:: Gelatology – they are a great family with a nice message of inclusion. The ice cream was fabulous; It’s just been a tough year.
Nina King, Las Vegas Magazine Editor in Chief: sage
Melinda Sheckells, editor OffTheStrip.com, OnTheStrip.com:: Elio! I hope it’s just temporary … they’ve never had a proper opening and I’m a huge Enrique Olvera fan. One of my best meals outside of Las Vegas in 2020 was at Manta, his restaurant in Cabo.
Scott Roeben, Vital Vegas:: This year has been a brutal year for everyone, but restaurants have been particularly hard hit, including recent restrictions that limit capacity to 25 percent. A number of restaurants have closed permanently or are about to close. For some it was just time to leave. Noteworthy is the departure of Flock & Fowl, Mesa Grill in Caesars, Hamptons and Brio in Tivoli, and Estiatorio Milos in Cosmo was another notable closure. Of course, some of the biggest closing news relates to buffets. These closings represented a cultural shift in the casino world and it is likely that an era for better or for worse will come to an end.
Melanie Lee, Esser Vegas: There were too many. It was so heartbreaking to watch the local businesses fight and lock. I also find it very sad to see so many buffets disappear. I fully understand the reasoning, but it’s still sad to see! When I was a tourist in Vegas and under 21, the buffets were my favorite part of the visit!
Bob Barnes, editor of The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional and Las Vegas writers for Gayot:: I was sad that Ada’s from Chef James Trees in Tivoli Village was around. I liked the cool “tree” decor, the chef’s designer pizza creations that were enhanced with non-traditional ingredients like foie gras, quail eggs, cod, clams, white asparagus and charred fennel. and unique ice cream flavors with ingredients that you normally don’t find in ice cream (like peach and ricotta or balsamic strawberry and buttermilk!). I also miss Shiraz. Chef Jainine Jaffer, who won the Silver State Award 2020 as “Best Chef”, introduced me to flavors that I had never experienced before. She served the best of Indian, Pakistani, Persian, and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine with goat korma slowly cooked in a rich sauce of yogurt, spices, and nuts; and kheer, her grandmother’s recipe, which is Indian rice pudding with rose milk.
Susan Stapleton, Editor of Eater Vegas: Ricardo Zarate is once. I miss every bite of Zarate’s Japanese influenced Peruvian Nikkei cuisine, including big-eyed thash sashimi ceviche, black truffle, and kizami tiger milk. Arroz Chaufa with snow crabs, yuzu aioli and crispy calamari; Oxtail bibimbap with black mint stew, tacu-tacu rice, fried egg and plantains; and Nasu Panka Miso with braised eggplant, blue cheese and kiwicha. Bobby Flay’s brunch at Mesa Grill was one of my favorites. That burger. The goat cheese Queso Fundido. Both chefs promise to find a new home for their restaurants in Las Vegas, and I hope that’s true.
• Friends of the eater share their favorite meal of the year in Las Vegas [ELV]
• The best new restaurants of 2020 in Las Vegas, according to the experts [ELV]
• Where 2020 Las Vegas Food Writers loved to have dinner and order takeaway [ELV]
• The Biggest Stories About Eater Vegas in 2020 [ELV]
• The saddest restaurant and bar to close in Las Vegas in 2020 [ELV]
• Year-round Eater Coverage [ELV]
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