He visits standbys on and off the Strip

Sin City is home to a lot of restaurants and bars, but there are tons of hidden gems that the majority of Las Vegans aren’t unearthing. To help guide readers to these potential discoveries, Eater Vegas enlisted some of the city’s food players to share their recommendations for a feature dubbed Dining Confidential.

Jalisco, Mexico, native Saul Garcia became the sous chef at El Segundo Sol at Fashion Show mall in 2009, moving up to executive chef the next year. He credits his mother as his earliest culinary influence and passes her lessons on to his team as he strives to be a teacher in the kitchen and lead by a positive example. From tacos on handmade tortillas to guacamole made-to-order, Garcia shares a taste of his culture and heritage with diners through the menu and monthly cooking classes. Garcia got his career started with the Lettuce Entertain You team in 2006 as a sous chef at Mon Ami Gabi at Paris Las Vegas. Here he shares some of his favorite restaurants in Las Vegas that he frequents when he’s not watching FC Barcelona or cooking shows.

Do you remember your first trip to Vegas?

I moved to Las Vegas in 1996 for work and that was the first time I had ever been here. What I remember most was that it was a very long drive from Tennessee, where I was living before.

What happened that was memorable?

When I first got here, seeing the bright lights of the Strip 24/7 was a crazy to me. I had never seen anything like the energy of Vegas before in my life!

What made you decide to move to Las Vegas?

I moved to Las Vegas to open a new location of the San Francisco-based restaurant, Fog City Diner.

Where do you like to eat breakfast in Las Vegas?

I know it’s our sister restaurant, but Mon Ami Gabi has the best breakfast in town. The food and patio views can’t be beat. I love their French toast and eggs Benedict. I worked there for many years before I came over to El Segundo Sol, so it’s nice to visit.

What about lunch?

Viva Mercado’s Mexican Bar & Grill on Fort Apache and Sahara. They always take great care of me and my family and I really enjoy their enchiladas suizas.

If you’re going out for dinner, which restaurants do you like to frequent?

I’ll visit our upstairs neighbors at The Capital Grille. All of their steaks are top quality and the lobster mac and cheese is delicious. Chef Daniel Pecoraro always makes us feel like VIPs and shows us a really great time.

Where do you like to dine for a special occasion?

Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab in the Forum Shops at Caesars always feels special; it’s white-tablecloth dining at its finest. They are famous for their stone crab, which is fantastic, but I’m a big fan of the Chilean sea bass as well.

Are there any brunches in town you like to frequent?

Mon Ami Gabi for the same reasons why I love their breakfast! You get to see the Strip come to life in the morning from your perch on the patio.

Let’s say you want to hang out with your friends after work. Where do you like to go?

Downtown is always fun. I love the old Vegas feel of Fremont Street. The Golden Nugget hotel is a dependable spot. From the iconic Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse to the Cadillac Tequila Bar, there is something for everyone.

Do you have any Mexican restaurants you like to check out when you’re not at El Segundo Sol?

Juan’s Flaming Fajitas & Cantina on Tropicana is great. This probably goes without saying, but their fajitas are incredible.