Las Vegas Family Dining Secrets

As Vegas goes upscale, top chefs offer sophisticated kids culinary adventures

For my son’s 15th birthday, we spent the day at a cooking school with one of Wolfgang Puck’s head chefs learning how to prepare Thanksgiving turkey with roasted root vegetables, butternut squash soup with fresh sage, fresh cranberry compote and pumpkin mini-tarts. My kids love to eat well, and I’ve found that they are not alone. 

It is a misconception that all kids only want chicken nuggets and the, admittedly addictive, In-N-Out burgers. In Las Vegas, parents who equate travel with new food adventures don’t have to compromise just because kids are along. Well-behaved school-aged kids are welcome at all but the most exclusive restaurants—and many of those as well—even though there is no Kid’s Menu in sight. While making your highly suggested reservations, ask if the restaurant seats children, then put on your party dress and prepare for a culinary adventure not to be missed.

Spectacular Views, Spectacular Food

There isn’t a hotter spot in Vegas than world-renowned chef Alain Ducasse’s Mix in Las Vegas, perched atop The Hotel at Mandalay Bay. With brilliant views, whimsically futuristic décor and an open-air outdoor dining area (booked months in advance), kids will think Scotty beamed them up. And we haven’t even gotten to the food and wine, yet. Mix has a spectacular small menu that includes many time-consuming preparations. Insiders advise discussing special accommodations when you make reservations, so the evening goes smoothly.

Ze Secret Kids Menu

Hubert Keller’s Fleur de Lys, one of the town’s most elegant eateries, has a secret menu for kids. For maximum ambiance, ask to be seated upstairs in the private wine room or in one of the curtained booths. The chef will whip up a Kobe beef burger upon request, or prepare fish and steak with kid-friendly spices. For the smaller appetite, kids may order à la carte instead of from the prix fixe menu. However, portions are modest, and the wonderful dinnerware is part of the experience, so Fleur de Lys may be one place where you should consider ordering off the menu, with minor modifications, if kids prefer. Because Keller serves numerous small-size items, kids can taste a variety of food that they may not be willing to commit to for an entire meal. Finally, I am in love with Keller’s vegetarian menu. Kids (and adults) who are squeamish about what body part they are eating can still enjoy Keller’s artistic dishes without worry.

Adventurous Appetizers

One of our family’s most memorable Vegas meals was at the Verandah at the Four Seasons. While each of us ordered our own entrees, when we let our waiter know the kids were open to a little experimentation, he talked to them for a few minutes to understand their tastes, had a quick confab with the chef, then brought out wonderful appetizers that were strikingly beautiful, made the kids feel adventurous, yet were well within their comfort zone. 

Room for Dessert

No child needs to be urged to try a new dessert. The White Chocolate Grill offers kids a healthy menu of wood-fired American fare before showing them the restaurant’s signature collection of white chocolate desserts—all made from scratch.

Destinations: Las Vegas

Themes: Culinary, Family Travel

Activities: Eat

User Comments

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