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Need Recs for Cheap-Not-Too-Unhealthy Central Strip Las Vegas

So we're staying in the central Strip in Vegas next week (4 nights at the IP, 2 at the Venetian). Have already booked dinners at B+B and L'Atelier, will also visit Lotus of Siam if we rent a car for a day. We'll do Bouchon at least once for breakfast (loved their french toast). But since we can't afford 6 days and nights of fine dining, we're looking for cheaper places to eat that aren't just fried/burgers etc. No buffets -- the wife doesn't like them. I haven't been able to find much that fits my wishlist within walking distance, so I thought I'd try asking here.

We love all cuisines; appreciate any advice.

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    1. re: Eric

      Cheap = under $20 per/person (not including alcohol)

    2. There's always Ellis Island which is walking distance. The rib and chicken combo in the beer patio is pretty good. That's if they haven't gotten overwhelmed and let their standards drop ever since they got featured on the food network.. Ellis Island used to be a hidden local's gem for solid food for cheap especially the 24 hour diner. But the last couple of trips, we thought it's gone downhill a bit while the prices have gone up. But maybe it's because we weren't as drunk or tired as we've been in past visits.

      1. I feel your pain. The problem is that most of the cheaper alternatives on the Strip aren't very good. It really might make financial sense to rent a car and drive for cheaper alternatives (Las Vegas is a paradise for cheap eats, especially on the west side). You are so close to Chinatown, Mexican restaurants, breakfast places that can easily fit within your budget. Rates have gone up a bit, but rental rates are among the cheapest in the country.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Dave Feldman

          Dave --

          Thanks for the response, but I don't want to deal with a car every day (we're going to rent one for a day or two, that's it). And even if I had one, there would be times I would just want to walk for a decent lunch that won't add too much to my waistline or take too much out of my wallet. To clarify, not every meal needs to be great -- decent, reasonably priced and somewhat healthy will do.

          Other ideas I've found in my search include the crepe place at Paris and the Canyon Ranch Cafe at Venetian.

        2. Since I know people will slam me about what I'm suggesting, when we go our priorities are usually drinking, gambling a concert or a show (we usually go out for Buffett) and eating as healthy as we can in the time that is remaining, other than one or two nice meals. We never plan ahead so rarely make reservations and pretty much go wherever happens to be close to wherever life has taken us at any given time. We're both pretty low maintenance. So while these may not be gourmet suggestions, they are affordable, convenient and not chains, for the most part.

          There's a new place (I got a press release about three weeks ago, we just went Sunday) that I would consider "walking distance" from you - but we walk the whole strip. It's in the Luxur, called Tacos and Tequila. Upstairs, across from the IMAX entrance. We had chips, dinner (huge burrito for him, three slightly small tacos for me) and four signature margs (at $13/each) for $75. Our food was great for what we paid ( the margs made up nearly $50 of the bill). We ate at the bar and service was great.

          I usually go to Witchcraft in MGM for a sandwich (I'm a vegetarian and it's nice to have some different eats) when we're on the run. Sammies are about $10 there, which although not cheap are not what they could be on the strip. It's nice to get something other than a cheese sub or grilled cheese when we're on the go or laying around the pool.

          Diablo's is near the Monte Carlo and I think it's average. But my SO loves it so could just be me (but from reviews, I think most side with me). But, it's also not expensive (we usually order a pitcher of margs ($50ish), an app and two entrees and the bill is, again, around $75 or $80). One reason we go back: Good location, decent price and fun atmosphere. Plus outside dining.

          People on here knock the burger bar at mandalay place, but, again, being a vegetarian and not looking to spend a lot of money, it's nice for me to have some options that extend beyond the basic so it's usually somewhere we hit. Coupla beers each and food for $60ish.

          2 Replies
          1. re: alexajord

            Alex --

            Thanks for your response. Unfortunately, your suggestions are not in the area we're going be spending the majority of our time. I'm looking for places near where we're staying/gambling, esp. for lunch.

            As for Burger Bar, we went there last year. Burgers were fine, not worth the $$$ IMHO, and the service was dreadful. Would never go back.

            1. re: holdtheline

              P.S. We'll definitely hit up wichcraft if we're at the MGM during the day (they close at 5PM). We are going to see Ka and eat at L'atlier one night, so if we decide to head on over there in the afternoon I'm sure that's where we'll get some grub.

          2. The Mexican place in the Canal Shops isn't too bad either expense-wise or food-wise. Taqueria Canonita, I think it's called. Not super inexpensive but if you order carefully I think you could eat relatively healthily. I recall liking one of their soups quite a lot.

            Also, while not exactly inexpensive, there are some healthy and lighter choices on the menu at Mon Ami Gabi and you could get out for under $20/pp (I know, I know, but Vegas is expensive if you eat on the Strip). They do a decent chopped salad, actually. And a good grilled salmon salad.

            Have you considered tapas at Cafe Ba Ba Reeba at the Fashion Show mall?

            1. This is a great thread! I constantly struggle on my Vegas trip between eating "over-the-top" meals and not packing on pounds.

              Canyon Ranch at Venetian has been great for me. I mostly restrict myself to going big at dinner and the Canyon Ranch has a great selection of light lunch and breakfast items. Their menu items even list the calories, fat, and carbs. Absolutely awesome! My recs are the hummous and baba ganoush (sp?) appetizer, any of the stir fries over brown rice and the salmon entree (can't remember the details of it, but amazing that the calorie count on it is so low).

              I wish there were more threads like this to serve the Chowhounds who believe that chowhounding is not the same as gluttonizing.

              1. Sometimes I have cravings for high-volume salads, not the type that are servedin high-end restaurants -- just lots of fresh vegetables. One of the places I indulge in this is at the food court at Caesars. The salad booth isn't too bad, and you can control everything from what is in the salad to what kind and how much dressing to mix in. The closest restaurant equivalent is at the Grand Luxe.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Dave Feldman

                  Dave --

                  Thanks to you and everyone for their suggestions. Since we're going to be spending some time at Caesars, I'll definitely check out the food court salad place. Borgata in AC has something similar thats decent -- certainly healthier than most other options.

                  And thanks to everyone else for their suggestions. I have a decent list now and will report back after our trip.

                  1. re: holdtheline

                    are you willing to take the bus ? taking the strip bus towards downtown, stop at sahara and a short walk west on sahara you'll find capriotti's ( in the shopping center with golden steer steakhouse. ) they make some great sammies well within your budget.

                    While in that area you can also load up on tacky vegas "stuff" since you'll walk by the "worlds largest gift shop! " - just a thought.

                    happy eating !