AAA Travel Tips / 5 Old-School Vegas Restaurants Locals Love

5 Old-School Vegas Restaurants Locals Love

AAA/Frank Swanson
By AAA Travel Editor Frank Swanson
May 22, 2019
A desert boomtown famous for blowing up legendary casino resorts to make way for the next big thing, Las Vegas might disappoint anyone looking for the swanky hangouts of mid-20th-century Rat Pack stars like Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra. Although the Dunes, Sands and Stardust may be long gone, scattered remnants of those golden days do survive. The following restaurant guide will help you trace the footsteps of Vegas stars of yesteryear—and enjoy a great meal while you do it.
Battista's serves Italian food near the Las Vegas Strip in rooms decorated with photos and a wild jumble of objects.
AAA/Frank Swanson
Battista's Hole In The Wall
4041 Linq Ln.
AAA Inspector Rating
(702) 732-1424
Be prepared for sensory overload as you enter dimly lit Battista’s Hole in the Wall. The aromas of delicious Italian cooking will likely be the second thing you notice—the first being all the memorabilia tacked to the walls and even the ceiling. Framed photos of celebrities who have dined here since the 1970s compete for space with a quirky assortment of seemingly random objects: airplane propellers, baskets, cowbells, bottles, pennants, license plates, vinyl records and braids of garlic. If you go, make reservations well in advance because this Vegas landmark, just a block off the Strip, is among the city’s most popular local restaurants.
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Chicago Joe's Restaurant serves delicious Italian food in downtown Las, Vegas, Nevada.
AAA/Frank Swanson
Chicago Joe's Restaurant
820 S. 4th St.
AAA Inspector Rating
(702) 382-5637
If you’re enjoying Fremont Street downtown and looking for restaurants nearby, check out Chicago Joe’s, where delicious Italian favorites have been on the menu since 1975. Despite being off the tourist track, the restaurant—housed in a small, brick bungalow a block off Las Vegas Boulevard—stays busy with locals craving fresh tasting pasta and standards such as stuffed artichokes, eggplant parmigiana, lasagna and chicken Angelo (served in a sauce with mushrooms and artichoke hearts). The service is friendly at this family owned pasta house, and the warm garlic bread is so good, you’ll struggle not to stuff yourself before your main course arrives.
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Steaks at a steakhouse
iStockphoto.com/Lisovskaya
Golden Steer Steakhouse
308 W. Sahara Ave.
AAA Inspector Rating
(702) 384-4470
One of Las Vegas’ most iconic local restaurants, the Golden Steer caught the attention of the Strip’s celebrity big shots when it opened in 1958, and it has been a fixture among the city’s best places to eat ever since. Prime aged steaks are the main attraction here, but the old-school Vegas ambience earns it a special place in diners’ hearts, too. If you make a reservation early enough, you can sit in Frank Sinatra’s booth—commemorated with a plaque—as are the booths of Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. The service is a throwback to the ’50s and ’60s as well. Order the Caesar salad or bananas Foster, and watch it be prepared at your table.
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Luv-It Frozen Custard, ice cream, las vegas
Luv-It Frozen Custard
Luv-It Frozen Custard
505 E. Oakey Blvd.
AAA Inspector Rating
(702) 384-6452
Generations of Las Vegans have fond memories of ordering sweet treats from Luv-It Frozen Custard, a popular landmark just steps away from Las Vegas Boulevard. Beloved among local restaurants for its freshly made custard, this mom-and-pop stand has earned a loyal following with such signature sundaes as the Western (topped with hot fudge, caramel and pecans), the Luv-It Special (strawberries and pecans) or the Butter Crunch (butterscotch and toffee). In addition to the standard chocolate and vanilla, special flavors are available on a rotating basis. How does champagne cherry or chocolate pretzel sound?
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Steak at steakhouse
iStockphoto.com/Sergey Nazarov
Top of Binion's Steakhouse
128 Fremont St.
AAA Inspector Rating
(702) 382-1600
Top of Binion’s Steakhouse has been around since 1988, but its predecessor, Top of the Mint, first occupied this 24th-floor location back in 1957. The vibe inside the dining room is vintage Vegas steakhouse thanks to subdued lighting, gilt-edged mirrors, red drapes, dark wood paneling and red leather banquettes curving around tables. One of Las Vegas’ best restaurants for celebrating anniversaries and birthdays, Binion’s is a major draw for meat lovers who come here as much for its commanding views of the city as the high-quality steaks, chops and seafood.
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