The Golden Age of Vegas Dining: Dip a fork in the melting pot

There’s never been a better time to eat Las Vegas. As the Strip and the city around it have evolved, so has the Valley’s sprawling dining scene. From eat-your-way-through neighborhoods to groundbreaking restaurants, these 10 reasons are a right-now snapshot of why today truly is the Golden Age of Las Vegas dining.

2. You can dip a fork in the melting pot

Your stomach wants to travel, and the Valley offers myriad destinations. Today, the issue isn’t finding an exotic cuisine from far, far away but choosing its best local representation or selecting from region-specific eateries that offer ethnic bites with distinct identities, like a Mexico City-style torta or noodles from China’s Shaanxi province. From Ethiopian platters to Russian dumplings, Vegas’ international delicacies are an expedition waiting to be devoured.

NEXT: 3. The world's best chefs cook here

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      Coniglio brasato at Ferraro’s

      This Italian dining institution is best known for its osso buco, but equally rich and tender (if a bit more exotic) is this luxurious dish of farm-raised rabbit braised with pancetta and white wine, resulting in just a hint of gamey flavor and velvety texture. Next time you visit Ferraro’s, experiment with delicacies like this one. 4480 Paradise Road, 364-5300.

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      Pani puri at Mint Indian Bistro

      The process of eating this Mumbai street-food favorite is half the fun. Step 1: Take a miniature puffed puri bread and make a small hole in the top. Step 2: Pour in a bit of the spicy water (or vodka cocktail) served on the side. Step 3: Pop the whole thing into your mouth and crunch through a delicious explosion. 730 E. Flamingo Road, 894-9334.

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      Pork belly lechon at Cafe de Cebu

      More and more restaurants serving varied takes on Philippine cuisine have been popping up around Las Vegas, and this homey west-side café is a new favorite thanks in part to its crunchy, creamy, guilt-inducing roasted swine. Each bite-sized piece has the perfect porky blend of crispy with tender, meaty with fatty—an indulgent treat. 6680 W. Flamingo Road #12, 538-7588.

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      Lamb noodle soup at Shaanxi Gourmet

      It might look like a Chinese version of pho, but the flavors of this meaty noodle soup couldn’t be more different from what you’re used to. Floating in a spicy broth laced with Szechuan chili peppers are juicy scraps of lamb and cabbage, plus broad, thick wheat noodles. Congrats. You just found your go-to winter dish. 3400 S. Jones Blvd. #16, 586-3311.

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      Pelmeni at Forte

      These petit meat dumplings folded in light, almost translucent dough are boiled for a texture so silky it surprises. Topped with herbs, green onions and just a hint of spice, the effect is hearty yet fresh. 4180 S. Rainbow Blvd., 220-3876.

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      Vegetarian combo at Merkato

      Perfect for those who like small-plates sampling, this platter includes no less than 11 dishes laid out on the spongy, sourdough injera that’s the staple of Ethiopian cuisine. From richly stewed lentils, to a crisp green salad, to a pile of sharp, salty cheese and various veggies, it’s part meal, part journey, all delicious. 855 E. Twain Ave., 796-1231.

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