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What It’s Like to Eat Japanese Food at Raku In Las Vegas

See what it’s like to dine at Raku Las Vegas. It’s one of the best Japanese restaurants in Las Vegas.

Sashimi at Raku Las Vegas
Sashimi including Bluefin Tuna, Tuna Belly, Kampachi Amberjack and Shima Aji Striped Jack

We celebrated our eighth anniversary at Raku in Las Vegas. The dinner had it all. The romance, the atmosphere, the food…

The strip mall !?

The shuffling and bustling of cars on a meandering search for parking spaces on a Friday evening at Seoul Plaza greeted us as we arrived at our anniversary dinner. We wondered if we had allowed ourselves enough time to find a space and still arrive on time for our 8:00 reservation.

A moment of panic set in. Could we find a parking spot at all? Would we miss our coveted reservation at the small but popular restaurant? An air of nervousness filled our rental car.

You see, despite its Korean name and suburban atmosphere, this strip mall two miles off the strip features one of the best Japanese restaurants in the country – Raku.

Dinner At Raku Las Vegas

Raku Las Vegas
Located in a strip mall two miles from the strip, Raku looks unassuming from the outside. Looks, however, can be deceiving.

Helmed by Chef Mitsuo Endo, Raku Las Vegas is a Robatayaki restaurant featuring meats and vegetables grilled with precision. The centuries-old cooking method involves a large stone grill made popular on Japanese fishing boats on the northern island of Hokkaido. In recent years, the style has grown more popular throughout Japan.

However, Raku’s menu features more than just grilled food.

How much more? We’re talking 10+ small courses served over three hours. And then there’s the extensive wine and sake list. We opted for a nice bottle of sake since it was our anniversary after all.

Bottle of Wine at Raku Las Vegas
As recommended by our server, this bottle of sake complemented the many courses of our omakase meal.

Our marathon of a meal started with a soft, silky dome of house-made tofu with a texture that evoked fresh ricotta from Italy. We were encouraged to cut the tofu by hand and sprinkle special Japanese green sea salt on the delicate curds before eating every luxurious mouthful.

House Made Tofu at Raku Las Vegas
House Made Tofu served with Ginger, Chives and Bonita

The tofu course was followed by one of the most formidable plates of sashimi we’ve eaten on this side of the Pacific Ocean. While many high-end Japanese eateries import their fish from Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji Market, Raku goes the extra mile to import fish from smaller purveyors in Southern Japan.

Hey, it was our anniversary, so we splurged and ordered off the higher-priced omakase menu which allowed us to sample a unique cornucopia of fresh fish including bluefin tuna, kampachi amberjack and shima aji striped jack. As an added touch, fresh chrysanthemum acted as a colorful palette cleaner.

Pro Tip
Raku offers two levels of omakase menus. With a difference of just $25 between the two at the time of our anniversary dinner, we recommend the higher priced option since it features the restaurant’s freshest, most creative dishes.

The wonder of great Japanese cuisine is in the precision. Grill chefs in Japan cook with the skill of microsurgeons serving up a number of successive courses cooked to perfection.

Soft Shell Crab at Raku Las Vegas
Soft Shell Crab from Baltimore with Arugula Salad

And perfection followed. We loved the amazing, melt in your mouth Maryland soft shell crabs sourced from Baltimore.

Tomatoes Wrapped in Bacon at Raku Las Vegas
Tomatoes Wrapped in Bacon on a Stick

We marveled over the grilled tomatoes that somehow managed to remain plump and juicy despite their browned bacon wrapping. And we pretty much inhaled the jarringly rich, melt in your mouth, slowly grilled beef tendon.

The courses kept coming in rapid succession: Crunchy flash-fried snapper with delicate flesh and crunchy edible bones, lightly salted langoustines from Scotland that had no need for butter, skewers of duck and Kobe beef and a finale of grilled foie gras. Confession: the delicate, creamy foie may have been the weakest course – a testament to how good Raku’s food is.

Langoustines with Lime at Raku Las Vegas
Langoustines with Lime
Kobe Beef on a Stick at Raku Las Vegas
Kobe Beef on a Stick topped with Garlic
Iberian Pork Shoulder at Raku Las Vegas
Iberian Pork Shoulder
Duck with Sweet Soy and Orange at Raku Las Vegas
Duck with Sweet Soy and Orange
Snapper at Raku Las Vegas
Whole Snapper Flash Fried with King Oyster Mushrooms in a Dashi Broth

Pro Tip
Make sure you visit the restroom at Raku. The high-tech, multi-function toilets, are one of the things that we loved about Tokyo and shouldn’t be missed.

As we savored each small plate in our small private room, we toasted our eight years (!) of marriage as each course arrived, a tradition that we started at Volvér in Philadelphia and plan to continue in the future.

Raku is located at 5030 W Spring Mountain Rd #2, Las Vegas, NV 89146, United States.


Located steps away in the same shopping center, Sweets Raku was a quirky restaurant that needed no name on the door, just a large silver spoon. It permanently closed in 2023.

The inside had stark white walls, much like a test kitchen, but there were dozens of bursts of color in the small, clean space, like the cheerful tea tins on the wall that line the front entrance.

Sweets Raku Design in Las Vegas
Our first impression of Sweets Raku was colorful and sweet, much like the desserts.

Desserts at Sweets Raku could be ordered as a multi-course affair on an a la carte basis. As an added treat, the menus were edible.

Discover more than 100 of the best desserts in the world.

Chef Mio Ogasawara at Raku Sweets in Las Vegas
Chef Mio Ogasawara assembled our Sunset Dessert with precision.

During our visit, we sat at the bar so that we could get a front-row view of the mastery created by Chef Mio Ogaswara.

Born and trained in Japan, Chef Ogaswara is a magician with a piping bag. Watching her prepare the Sunset dessert was worth the price of admission.

Sunset Dessert at Sweets Raku in Las Vegas
Sunset Dessert – Peach Moscato with Pie filled with Cream Cheese and Vanilla Ice Cream

The Mt. Exotic highlighted our dessert choices – a mango cream cake with raspberries, mango and chocolate. Chef Ogasawara extruded the spaghetti-like mango ice cream topping in front of our eager eyes.

Chef Mio Ogasawara at Sweets Raku in Las Vegas
Chef Mio Ogasawara assembles the Mt. Exotic Dessert.

The finished dessert was certainly unique. More importantly, it tasted good.

Mt. Exotic Dessert at Sweets Raku in Las Vegas
Mt. Exotic Dessert – Mango Cream Cake with Homemade Pie Crust, Raspberries, Mango Pieces and Chocolate

Bursting at the seams, we were so done with food. But then the chef surprised us with a few final sweet bites – chocolate truffles and macarons, a perfect ending to a perfect anniversary dinner. How could we say no?

Bonus Desserts at Sweets Raku in Las Vegas
Bonus Desserts – Chocolate Truffles and Vanilla Macaron with Honey

Sweets Raku was located at 5040 W Spring Mountain Rd #3, Las Vegas, NV 89146, United States. It has permanently closed.

Las Vegas Planning Checklist

Hungry For More In Las Vegas?

Check out our guide to eating off the strip in Las Vegas and our picks for the best Las Vegas brunch spots. Then discover how to eat your way through Vegas’s downtown neighborhood.

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About The Authors

About The Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on their website 2foodtrippers. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers a unique taste of the world.


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We self-funded our dinner at Raku.

Original Publication Date: October 4, 2015

Susan Quackenbush

Wednesday 7th of October 2015

I've never heard of Raku before but it looks out of this world! My son is huge on eastern cuisine, especially sushi, so he would probably love this place too! Thank you for sharing! :)


Wednesday 7th of October 2015

Oh my! Raku looks like an amazing location for an anniversary dinner! I am personally in love with Sushi so this is right up my alley. Next time I am in Las Vegas I am sure to try Raku. Thanks so much for the recommendation!


Wednesday 7th of October 2015

I am not a huge sushi person but these pictures and this restaurant look absolutely amazing. The fish looks super fresh and it looks like you had great drinks and a great meal. I frequent Vegas and hadn't heard of this spot, but I am glad you had an excellent anniversary dinner!


Tuesday 6th of October 2015

It sounds like you had a wonderful anniversary dinner! You describe the food so beautiful and your pictures are amazing! I don't make it to Las Vegas very often but now I know where to eat next time we go!


Tuesday 6th of October 2015

Yummmm I'm so hungry right now! I love how Vegas restaurants are pretty amazing, I have to say. Next time I'm there, I'll be checking Raku out for sure! Beautiful pics!