Good but not super-expensive dining in Vegas?
Will be heading there (for the first time!) next month, for a 4-night stay, and my bf and I would like to check out tasty some restaurants, but we're definitely not high rollers. Are there any decent places to eat that won't be like $100/head that is either on/near the strip or within a close cab ride?
FYI- we tend to like food that's more on the 'eclectic' side. ie. Oleana restaurant in Cambridge, MA, if anyone knows it (ie. Eastern Mediterranean); good Thai; Spanish; Sushi. That type of stuff- not really like steaks or Italian or what you might think of as more widely-appealing, if that makes sense.
A few options to consider:
Lotus of Siam on Sahara for Thai. Taxi required.
Ping Pang Pong in the Gold Coast for dim sum (take free shuttle from Strip - currently from Barbary Coast may change)
Cafe Ba Ba Reeba in the Fashion Show Mall for tapas. Weekday happy hour in the bar includes a selection of $3 tapas and 1/2 priced sangria.
Little Buddha in the Palms for Pacific rim. Shuttle to Gold Coast and walk across the street.
Lindo Michoacan on Desert Inn Road for excellent Mexican. Tax required.
Tamba Indian Cuisine in the Hawaiian Marketplace (Strip).
Mesa Grill @ Caesars for southwestern.
Border Grill in Mandalay Bay for upscale Mexican. Request patio seating if weather permits.
Mona Ami Gabi at Aladdin for French. Wait for patio seating if the weather permits.
What a shock...I'm going to recommend that you do a cheap rent car for a day (under $30 with taxes more times than not), visit some stuff off-Strip (or the big outlet mall at Primm), and wind up with dinner at Rosemary's. Has to be the best value in a truly fine dining experience in town...3 course prix fixe for $48 (a few items like foie carry surcharges, and a couple of items are excluded, an oversized appetizer platter and a dessert platter).
Assuming you are a couple, my advice would be split their Hugo's BBQ Shrimp appy, each enjoy soup/salad and entrée and then split a dessert, either the Goat Cheese Cheesecake with Scotch Caramel Sauce or the Lemon Pudding Cake. In town on Sunday and like fine wine? All bottles are 1/2-price, making it almost a 'hound imperative.
The food is aggressively flavored New American, with many dishes reflecting the husband/wife chef team's New Orleans roots. Their menu(s) are vast, and there's plenty to please even the less adventurous palate. Some will say the flavor combinations are over the top, we feel that just about every dish achieves a masterful balance of flavors and textures. I've eaten there at least 40 times, and only a single dish has not bowled me over, their take on Shrimp Remoulade.
You may find higher caliber food at some of the name Strip places, but doubtful that any would fall into your budget range. You won't find a better combination of food, room, service and value anywhere else in the area.
After hearing such great raves over Rosemary's, I was really excited to go on our most recent Vegas visit. Maybe the buildup was too big, but I came away somewhat underwhelmed. We had BBQ shrimp, a salad, the sweetbreads, the tuna au poivre and the rack of lamb. My biggest complaint was that virtually everything seemed to be fueled by a generous addition of pretty much the same demi-glace: the sauce for the BBQ shrimp, the caramelized shallot sauce for the sweetbreads, the peppercorn sauce for the tuna, and the bordelaise for the lamb. As a result, all the dishes had a sort of same-ness to them that was a little disappointing. Everything was good, but I would have liked more distinction between the dishes.
On the plus side, and speaking of bargains, the $48 prix fixe gets even better Sunday with 1/2 off wine day. They have a fantastic wine list, which is pretty fairly priced in the first place, and there are some wonderful bargains if you take 50% off.
I guess I'm confused. The sauces you described are quite different from each other, even if they share the same base (which I am inclined to think they do not). I know the BBQ sauce well, and doubt seriously it has anything remotely resembling demi-glace in the ingredients.
We happen to think their sauces (the true mark of a chef's skills) are outstanding. Their beurre blanc variations are just scrumptious...especially the apple cider beurre blanc that
they served with a portion of cheesy grits on our last visit.
I'm the first to admit I rave about Rosemary's...but what is not to like? Great room, great service, interesting and well-executed dishes using quality ingredients, excellent selection of beer and wine, excellent values. Where did they not come through?
melanie - which direction were you going on your desert trip ? that may dictate where you will go on that day - towards red rocks ( west of strip ) puts you towards rosemary's...but also...what a surprise - that puts you near red rock casino. if you are thinking lake mead - not exactly a winter time destination ( though i personally feel the tour of the dam facility is fascinating...i assume it's open in the winter, i've been there in the summer months ) - that puts you in the henderson / green valley area - there are several places to consider in that vicinity - a drive to the desert suggest a casual day so maybe you would be interested in a few casual places - if so - i can recommend a few in that area
hi kjs- thanks for the help. i think we're leaning toward red rock canyon? we want somewhere to take great pictures that's not too far away. maybe you have a better suggestion? if we do that, we'll likely check out rosemary's. that sounds good.
so, probably unlikely that we'll head to lake mead (esp. if it won't be too nice in feb.), but thanks for offering to suggest some places!
I'm through town a couple of times in the next couple of weeks and must give Viva Mercados a try. What would you recommend that you prefer over a Michoacan???
If I'm not mistaken, Table 34 is the old Wild Sage outfit? A good choice if one's tastes are a little on the conservative side. Their food was more along the lines of upscale comfort food (loved the shortribs on my one visit) compared to the more edgy/Frency thing going on at Rosemary's (sweetbreads, foie and the like).
It's a good idea to have a car, maybe for more than one day. It will open up possibilities for you that you just won't have otherwise.
If you go to "the desert," one obvious possibility is Red Rock Canyon. If you do that, you might stop at the newest and mostest off-strip hotel, the "Red Rock" (imagine that), about the first thing you'll hit on the way back. They are said to have some interesting eateries, including Salt Lick BBQ, which might be worth a shot. Also in that part of town is Glacier Ice Cream which has really good ice cream. The JW Marriott is also out in those parts and has Spiedini which is reputed to be very good, tho at the high end of your price range.
Another direction (the opposite) to go is toward Boulder Dam, which will take you through Henderson. Henderson has many possibilities including less crowded In-n-Out locations, Todd's Unique, and Ventano with its fantastic views of the strip in the distance (go at dusk). Todd's Unique's food is somewhat like Rosemary's but has a more casual atmosphere.
If you want a great steak dinner not too expensive, Circus Circus Steakhouse is a good bet. Ignore everything you have to pass to get to the Steakhouse. For a really cheap steak, many have spoken highly of Ellis Island.