- Level 8 Pool Cafe
- Stratosphere, 380-7777.
- Daily, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
We at the Weekly are always looking for hidden dining hot spots, and our latest find is so hidden, you practically need a treasure map to find it, tucked away on the Stratosphere’s eighth floor. As for hot, well, it offers open-air poolside dining, so you’ll want to seek out a shady spot—of which there are plenty—over the triple-digit summer months.
Unlike most Strip kin, the Strat tends to be more of a locals’ joint, so pool access is free to everyone. Entering from the Strip-side porte cochère, be on the lookout for a set of blue double doors with “8” on them. From there, meander down the corridor to an elevator that will lead you to the eighth floor. It’s that easy, and the excursion is worth the effort. Stratosphere executive chef Rick Giffen is innovative with his menu offerings throughout the property, and the Pool Cafe is no different.
Giffen’s popcorn cilantro rock shrimp ($9) are bite-size treats crusted in a surprising blue-corn tortilla dust and served alongside an addictive chipotle citrus mayo. Even better are the chili lime chicken wings ($9)—citrus and spice commingling in every mouthful.
A more temperature-appropriate option might be the ahi tuna poke parfait ($9.50), served with seaweed salad and wonton chips. And if you want something a bit heartier, try the Baja burger. Its chili barbecue sauce is unique and its pepper jack plentiful, while its cotija and jalapeño bun is worth the $10 spot on its own.