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Raku 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 | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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 | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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 | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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 | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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 | Image: ©2foodtrippers
Kobe Beef on a Stick at Raku Las Vegas
Kobe Beef on a Stick topped with Garlic | Image: ©2foodtrippers
Iberian Pork Shoulder at Raku Las Vegas
Iberian Pork Shoulder | Image: ©2foodtrippers
Duck with Sweet Soy and Orange at Raku Las Vegas
Duck with Sweet Soy and Orange | Image: ©2foodtrippers
Snapper at Raku Las Vegas
Whole Snapper Flash Fried with King Oyster Mushrooms in a Dashi Broth | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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.

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About the Authors

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website. 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.


Article Updates
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

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!

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