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Feb 12, 2010 10:17 AM

Las Vegas for chef and wife on a budget?

Hi Hounds

My wife and I are going to Vegas later this month. I am a chef and know who most of the chefs are and my wife loves food almost as much as I do. Safe to say we know quality food and dont go for gimmicks. The catch is as Im sure many can appreciate lately, is this years budget is tighter then ever. I'm thinking lunch prix fixe are the best bet and a few plates at top restaurant bars in the evening, skip formal dinner altogether, maybe buy a good burgundy and cheese and stay home once or twice.

Can you suggest our best bets ? and also is wynn cafe the best place for a croissant?

Thanks very much everyone it appreciated


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  1. OK, let me see if I can help. Where will you be staying? If on The Strip, try:

    - First at The Palazzo & Society at Encore for great "upscale diner food" all day that won't cost you too much

    - Mon Ami Gabi at Paris for a lovely French bistro that won't hurt your wallet

    - Burger Bar at Mandalay Bay for a fun time with super good burgers, fries, and other goodies

    - Serendipity at Caesars Palace for fantastic sweet treats

    And if you can go off Strip, you'll find plenty more bargains!

    - Grotto at The Golden Nugget is one of Downtown's best kept secrets- delicious Italian fare that you can easily afford for dinner!

    - LBS at Red Rock Resort in Summerlin offers (IMHO) the best burgers in town, and the prices are actually better than the comps on The Strip

    - Marche Bacchus is a lovely French bistro in Summerlin for lunch & dinner... And with them having their own wine shop, you'll find great deals on the bubbly!

    - The M Resort in Henderson has a number of great restaurants that IMHO rival the best on The Strip, and my fave there is Marinelli's, their eatery serving Italian classics done right (and for less than a similar meal at The Strip's top fine Italian joints)

    - Firefly at The Plaza Downtown is a fun tapas bar where you'll find great food, great cocktails, and great views of Fremont Street below... And for much less than you'd think

    I hope these suggestions help! Let us know what you think. :-)

    1. You might want to search both the Las Vegas board and the Southwest board for mentions of two restaurants... Raku and Lotus of Siam. Many Las Vegas chefs admit that Raku is their secret pleasure. Lotus of Siam has been called the best Thai restaurant in the country.

      Don't know where you live or what kind of food you'd like that you can't get at home.

      Don't know what your budget is.

      Will you have a car? Some of the finer restaurants in town are not on the strip and require either a car, an expensive cab ride or an adventuresome bus ride to reach.

      Many of the hotel restaurants offer a Winter or Spring or Summer special prix fixe menu. Very affordable. Usually less than $30. Check the Mirage, MGM, TI and other hotels' websites.

      2 Replies
      1. re: shamu613

        Oh yes, I forgot to mention Raku! Thanks for mentioning it. Pretty soon, Raku will be Vegas' worst kept secret for great sushi off The Strip.

        Now I don't think Lotus of Siam has been considered a secret at all for the last couple of years. It certainly is fantastic Thai food! But if the tourists have formed a LONG line waiting to get in LOS and UGJ and his wife can't wait that long, they should DEFINITELY consider Namaste right in the same strip mall (Commercial Center, just east of The Strip on Sahara) for truly amazing Indian food!

        1. re: shamu613

          Shamu613 -
          Do you know if they allow these Prix Fixe Menus for groups? Im looking at 10 to 12 people?

        2. There are some great coupons on, if you don't mind going that route. I love Rosemary's on w. Sahara and they have 50% off food for women on wednesdays. Very lovely and no need to bring in a coupon. Also, there bar menu looked quiet tasty and reasonably priced.

          1. Chef, my wife and I recently dined at Aureole at Mandalay Bay and had a flawless dining experience at their Swan Court. As we entered, I noticed a board with about ten handwritten small plates in the $12.00 range. I don't know if these were for the bar or some separate part of the restaurant. I've got to believe these would come from the same kitchen as our dishes. I think it might be just what you're looking for, although I don't think they're open for lunch. I'm not aware of any prix fix lunches.

            Raku, mentioned above, would be an experience you'd enjoy. It's more than sushi, much more. It is a couple miles off the Strip and affordable.

            1. Croissant at Wynn cafe? I assume you mean the Terrace Cafe? A better alternate would be Bouchon at the Venetian, but Terrace Cafe does have a mean sour cream coffee cake.

              In fact, breakfast or brunch at Bouchon (Thomas Keller) isn't very pricey, you definitely get more than your money's worth in food quality and the meal will hold you through the better part of the day. By dinnertime we only needed a couple of small plates.

              2 Replies
              1. re: AllPhoenix

                Or Society, perhaps? I've done Society at Encore for breakfast, and it's also a great choice to start the day. The prices aren't that atmospheric, but the quality of the food and the service are top notch. Society is also a nice place to do an elegant lunch that isn't too stuffy (or pricey).

                1. re: AllPhoenix

                  Last time we stayed at the Wynn, my wife made a morning coffee and croissant run for us. She got them from the Wynn coffee bar place. I wouldn't go out of my way for them but the croissants were surprisingly good.

                  If the OP is just after croissants, there's also the Bouchon pastry bar over by the escalators. Payard in Caesar's has very good croissants also.

                  I'd second the Bourchon breakfast recommendation but we always end up spending quite a bit. I suppose we could lay off the beverages but I've grown fond of their bloody maries.

                  I would second the recommendation for the coffee cake a the Terrace Cafe too.