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Jan 23, 2009 12:27 PM

Yummy Vegas for 6-yr-old 'saac and his mama?

I'll be in Vegas for a conference in March. My 6-yr-old is coming with me. From what I've read, there is no shortage of places to eat on or near the strip. There are so many I can't decide, so I'm asking for advice. I have nothing against spectacle or buffets (would like to cozy up by a fire if there is such a place in Vegas), but would like the food to be healthy, nourishing and very tasty.

We live in Germany this year, so have had enough potatoes to last us for a while. We'd love to get some good Tex-Mex. We also like Jamaican, Indian, Thai, North African, Mediterranean and Ethiopian foods.

I'm a vegetarian, but not vegan. I eat dairy, eggs and sustainably-harvested seafood.

Chowhounds gave us lts of good advice for our trip to Boston last year; if you'd like to know more about our tastes and what we're looking for, see our posts and "country mice in the city" on the Boston board. It was a great week, and the food was a big part of that. A couple Bostonians commented that a $40 bill with tip was not very high, but seeing as my dining companion is a kindergartner with no travel allowance, I'd like to stay well under that if we can. We are not eating to impress; we want good food.

We are thinking of meeting my son's godfather (who will also be at the conference) at the Freakin' Frog. He's pretty serious about his beer, and we went with him and his family to their local pub in SW England. The Frog has a pretty extensive menu online and sounds like the kind of place a young'un wouldn't be/have a problem. How's their food and how's the atmosphere during the last half of the Tues night music and at other times?

Is happy hour at Cafe Ba Ba Reeba appropriate for kids (he would not do well if it is wall-to-wall packed with people) and how are their tapas (I've seen what they are, but are they tasty?) I can't get their kids' menu to open up; is it anything we want, or is it overpriced, highly battered, unrecognizable nuggets? (If it's the latter, we'll get tapas--if they're good).

The conference is at the Riveria, and we're staying in a timeshare at the Polo Towers near the other end of the strip. I'd also love some advice on where to get groceries--high quality but not overly expensive.

Thanks for your tips!

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  1. I'd love to hear from Vegas residents and folks who have visited there.

    1 Reply
    1. re: saacnmama

      The Southwest board can be slow at times. Give it time. Also, read through the board, and use the search function. searching for Vegas Vegetarian should give you a wealth of information. Many have asked similar questions, and you can learn well from them. You shouldn't have too hard of a time staying under $40 for you and the kidlet. It's one of the things I like about going to Vegas; it's as expensive or cheap as you want it to be.

      You aren't going to find much in the way of Tex-Mex in these parts. Styles of Mexican food in the American Southwest are highly localized, and there isn't too much transfer from one area to the next. Sonoran has managed to find its way around thanks to its gringo-friendly tendencies toward frying everything and covering it in shredded yellow cheese. Tex-Mex largely stays in Texas, with the exception of fajitas, which are now found just about everywhere thanks to Chili's.

      For Thai, the pick is Lotus of Siam. Don't get the lunch buffet. Let the waiter know you're interested in the Issan specialties, and let him do most of the ordering for you.

      Grocery stores can be found easily through Google Maps. If you take any of the major streets off the strip you'll generally find a grocery store within a couple miles. My choice for groceries would be Fresh & Easy, on Tropicana and Jones, three miles west of the Strip. Also worth a stop is Trader Joe's, on Decatur north of Sahara, again west of the Strip. There's a Whole Foods near McCarran Airport just south of the Strip. All three places are going to have a good selection of food that is both tasty and healthy.

    2. FYI the Freakin' Frog isn't my idea of a hangout for a 6yo. It's across from the UNLV campus in a little shopping mall next to a tattoo parlor/head shop. I consider it to be sort of dingy inside and I really enjoy it but that's me.

      I don't have kids of my own but if I did I probably wouldn't be taking them to the FF.

      1. You may want to contact any place that has a happy hour that you plan on going to. Some of them do not permit anyone under the age of 21 into the bar area. In addition, smoking is permitted in the bar areas.

        1. Eric and AZBirdiemaker, thanks for your comments!
          I did contact the FF and they said they thought he'd be fine there--which is why I'm asking for comments from people who've been places and not just relying on past board messages or guidebooks.

          4 Replies
          1. re: saacnmama

            I've checked out these posts:

            and gotten some good ideas, but those folks' budgets are all way over mine! I could go up a little, but we have to eat all week. I'm looking into public transit for the grocery stores, but expect we'll probably want to eat out once a day.

            BaBaReeBa says that they supposedly don't seat under-21s, but that they make a lot of exceptions, so I think we will be heading there. Only 5 more days to figure out!

            What's the atmosphere at Mon Ami Gabi like? With $5 kids' meals and 20-something entrees it looks like it's in our buget if I drink something without alcohol and we tip 20%.

            1. re: saacnmama

              Mon Ami is fine for kids. I think you can get to the Whole Foods in Town Square on public transport, and they have a wide range of vegetarian and vegan food. Cafe ba ba reeba shouldn't be problem and the food is pretty solid. I'd look at some of the coffee shops inside the casinos, which often have quite a varied menu and at reasonable prices. I'd also consider going down Spring Mountain Road, which has a plethora of very reasonably priced Asian options most of which are also very tasty.

              I think it is okay to take your boy to the Frog assuming they are okay letting him in. Not the most elegant of bars, but you should be fine. You might also consider the Crown & Anchor, a British pub in the same general neighborhood.

              In the same shopping mall as the WFoods is Brio, a pretty decent Italian place which has the advantage of outdoor seating that your companion might enjoy. I think you could comfortably eat vegetarian there.

              1. re: lvnvflyer

                Brio looks good. Thanks for mentioning it.
                I think Spring Mtn Road heads out to a park I was thinking of 'getting away' to, so we might have a nice little outing that way.

              2. re: saacnmama

                You'll have no problem at Mon Ami Gabi with a young'un. For some reason, MrCris and I love this place - it's not spectacular, but every meal we've had there (maybe 5 or 6 in the last 2 years) has been consistent, good value. And, sitting on the patio watching the people go by and the fountains at the Bellagio is a great way to spend some time.

            2. I don't have personal experience with this, but I read in another post a commenter uses for discounted certificates. Some decent restaurants. Maybe someone else could comment.

              I took my daughter when she was 4 and 5. We did breakfast at the bakery at the Venetian (our favorite). It was 4 years ago so I can't remember a lot of the other places we ate at and we are not vegetarians so that wouldn't help. My husband likes Origin India when he visits.

              On another note, I don't know what the pool is like at the Polo Towers, but when we stayed at the Sahara, it wasn't the best for kids, too deep and boring. We found that we could pay a fee and spend the day at the Monte Carlo's pool. They have a wave pool, a lazy river, and a few other pools and hot tubs. I don't know if they still do this but you go to the desk right next to the pool entrance and ask them.

              Have fun.

              3 Replies
              1. re: aekb2006

                That pool sounds great! I've been bumming that we apparently won't be able to get into the water park at Mandalay Bay, but what you describe sounds perfect:-)

                I'll look into Origin India too--we both like Indian food.

                Might the bakery have been Tintoretto's at the Venetian?

                1. re: saacnmama

                  Yes, that's it. The Krafen are delish.

                  Hope Monte Carlo still does that pool thing. It was great. My daughter's highlight was the M&M store.

                  My husband is looking forward to Origin India when we go in April, so I'll get to try it then.

                  1. re: aekb2006

                    Thanks! I love going to bruch.

                    You might want to have hubby check it out the survey on the Origin India website to get a coupon for April. I saw it when I looked up the menu at your recommendation.

                    Funny about kids--what my son is looking forward to most is the chocolate factory!