Get a tasty VIP sampling of Las Vegas’ best restaurants.

BY MEGG MUELLER

Savvy travelers know that the best way to become truly acquainted with a place is through its cuisine—but which restaurants do you choose? How can you get a comprehensive sampling without a big price tag or exhausting trial and error? In southern Nevada, the answer is simple, thanks to Lip Smacking Foodie Tours.  

Donald Contursi started the company in 2015 after spending 12 years as a server in some of Las Vegas’ most famous eateries. He has created an experience that allows the average diner to enjoy the city’s most elegant and sought-after restaurants without any of the pressure or hassle that comes with navigating the world of fine dining. 

“I wanted to put together the best possible meal in Las Vegas by highlighting the best signature dishes at the highest-rated restaurants,” Donald says. “There is an overwhelming number of restaurants in Las Vegas, and when somebody visits, they are limited to the restaurants they can visit. With a Lip Smacking Foodie Tour, they can experience the best restaurants in Las Vegas as a VIP.” 



FOLLOW THE LEADER 

Although each tour is unique in its offerings, a few things come with every Lip Smacking Foodie Tour. While adding the signature cocktail package is a no-brainer—did someone say flaming absinthe craft cocktails?—the tours’ most important ingredient, aside from the food, is your guide. Part ringleader, part concierge, and part font of knowledge, the guides are indispensable; it’s as if you’ve suddenly met the coolest person in town, the one with all the right connections who knows all the best secrets. A secret bar with no signage only locals know about and a restaurant that turns into a nightclub after hours are two such tidbits they’ll dispense.  

The Downtown Lip Smacking Tour

Between restaurants, your guide will give you the lowdown on the area as you stroll along at a comfortable pace. You might stop in at a vintage sunglasses shop, where you get to try on specs from the likes of Jimi Hendrix and
Zsa Zsa Gabor, or take in some public art. The tour and accompanying stops provide a brief respite from the gastronomic gluttony and are packed full of local secrets and historic trivia.  

Once at your destination, your guide whisks you past those poor souls waiting in line and escorts you to a VIP table. Cocktails and beverages arrive moments later, and the sampling menus are printed for your perusal. Orchestrating the dishes’ presentation along with fielding myriad questions, the guides are the dining companion you never knew you needed. Every need is addressed, every question answered, and each experience leaves you feeling sated both physically and mentally. It’s the full package.  


I count myself as a culinary neophyte, and I rarely stray outside my tried-and-true dishes. However, every time I take a Lip Smacking Foodie Tour, I’m left gobsmacked at the items I’ve eaten, and more importantly, thoroughly enjoyed. I likely would not have ordered octopus, escargot, or Banoffee tart, but I am so glad I’ve tried them. I may even order them on my own now. And to me, that’s the real beauty of Lip Smacking Foodie Tours: I am enticed to broaden my palate with each bite— and deliciously rewarded for doing so. 

THE ULTIMATE SELFIE 

For those looking to taste the best the city has to offer but on their own schedule, Donald has created Finger Licking Foodie Tours. Seven self-guided tours are available throughout the city with immediate seating upon arrival, three signature dishes at each restaurant, and a virtual guide with commentary about each stop. While I would never give up the guided tour, the self-guided option offers some flexibility that is tougher to come by with larger groups.  

Whatever culinary adventure you choose, I offer a final piece of advice, one Donald imparted to me on my first tour: go easy on the bread. While utterly decadent in its own right, save that precious appetite for the main courses. These tours will fill you up. Oh, and did I mention there’s dessert? 

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