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Oct 14, 2011 03:37 PM

Cheap eats for foodies?

Hi all,

I am traveling with my college's debate team and we are going to pick a night for an actual dinner, rather than the usual tournament food. We are foodies on a budget, and would like to keep it under $20/pp. Where can we go?

We are staying at the Hyatt near the University of Nevada (the Vegas campus, of course) with a shuttle that puts us at Planet Hollywood need be.

Planet Hollywood
3667 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

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  1. The prime reason for a lack of responses so far may be that $20 per person basically takes the Strip out of play. The U.N.L.V. campus area has plenty of reasonable price points, but not necessarily something that jumps out from a culinary standpoint. But not too far from where you are staying are a couple of options that might fit - Firefly ( and Satay (, in the same CitiBank Plaza on Paradise (3900, on the other side of Flamingo from where you will be), which would be within walking distance for you. And now that summer has finally left the desert, they both have outdoor seating that might be fun for your group.

    1. If you want to eat at the Strip, one possibility is to eat at the Spice Market Buffet right at PH. It's a little above your budget ($27.99 for dinner), but there no nasty surprises when the check comes.

      1. Burger bar would meat your budget if you shared sides and didn't go crazy with the toppings. The burgers there are fantastic. It's at mandalay bay shops.

        1. PH has a PF Changs that would be in your budget. It is a chain, but has good food. Paymon's Mediterranean Grill has a wide variety of cuisines to offer in your budget. Not on the Strip though, but on Maryland Parkway which is not too far away.

          What about getting with some of the local debaters, and head out on the town with them. Most students live off campus, so they probably have a car to get around. Meet some new friends, and see some cool local joints. What days will you be in town?

          18 Replies
          1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

            Oh please - PF Chang's is simply horrible.

              1. re: Friend of Bill

                Please explain. What don't you like about PFC?

                1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                  PF Chang's is Chinese food, dreamed up by somebody from East Podunk, who has never tasted real Chinese food.

                  It's the Asian equivalent to the Olive Garden.

                  1. re: shamu613

                    Actually, the co-founder of PFC is a guy of Chinese descent (his mother is Cecilia Chiang, who is widely considered one of the first restauranteurs of upscale, authentic Chinese cuisine in the US when she opened The Mandarin in San Francisco many decades ago).

                    That being said, PFC is cuisine that has been calibrated for not very discriminating Western palates, and has strayed far from what anyone knowledgeable would consider authentic Chinese.

                  2. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                    First off, there is nothing Chinese about PF Changs. Second, there is probably a PF Changs where they are from. And third, it sucks.

                    That is like recommending Denny's, Outback Steakhouse, and Chili's to a foodie. I doubt they are looking for corporate american faux asian cuisine.

                    1. re: A5 KOBE

                      First, I don't think that they ever claim to be authentic Chinese.

                      Secondly, our poster wants inexpensive close to the Strip. If they can get off the Strip they have tons of places that they can get good inexpensive meals of any nationality..

                      I am not a food snob, and I have found some great eats in some of the smallest dives. I don't have to have a steak from a cow that was raised at precisely 12,354.56' above sea level in the Himalayas, then transported to market in a 10th century hand cart pulled by 80 year old monks before being butchered under a full moon in January. Changs is a Hell of a lot better than the Super Buffet on Decatur. I'm jess sayin'.

                      I believe that they can easily find what they are looking for, and more , IF they can get off the Strip. That is also why I recommended contacting one of the several Meetup dining groups,

                  3. re: Friend of Bill

                    PF changs is good. **edited for the moderator** It's amazing that people will badmouth almost anything, especially those who "think" they are food experts. Not everything going in one's mouth is going to be some experience equivalent of the French Laundry. The OP indicates $20 budget. The happy hour menu at PFC in PH is a very good value and every item I've ordered from it was delicious. $5 - $7 for the items here. I just had them and they were great! Please show me where I can get better food for this price in LV on the strip.

                    1. re: kalo93406

                      Earl of Sandwich, $7 all day every day.

                      1. re: ns1

                        I like that option too, and will eat it next week on my return to Vegas, but honestly it is a sandwich I can easily make. One gets to sit in a very nice environment at PF Chang and none of the food I typically order I can easily make. Cheers!

                        1. re: ns1

                          I did have a chance to eat at earl of sandwich and it was ok. Honestly I thought the sandwich was kind of skimpy though. Got a Ruben and the taste was decent but not much meat. I would get it again if no other options.

                        2. re: kalo93406

                          F.A.M.E. at The Linq.
                          Pin Up Pizza
                          Secret Pizza
                          KJ Dim Sum (Rio)

                          1. re: uhockey

                            I have 19th-23rd booked at Harrahs, so will check out your FAME tip. Also want to get to secret pizza. Will look up the others too. Still will have happy hour at PF Changs tho.. :) Thanks! Might add two nights on the the front. They just started comping my room! :)

                            Edit: Just checked, must be POP up pizza. Looks very good, but too far. And not sure about a trip to the Rio either.. KJ Dim Sum = no go.

                            Finally found some info on F.A.M.E. I doubt it will be better for the price than PFC happy hour, but I will take a look.

                            I'd really like to go to Giada. Love her smile. Seems like $100 minimum there for a nice experience. I'm in!

                            1. re: kalo93406

                              Giada smiles? Never noticed. I always seem to stare at! Wish I would have gone last week. She rocks!

                              1. re: LVI

                                Let me also contribute to a 3-year old thread :-)

                                Big fan of the food court at NY/NY.....Great pastrami and corned beef sammies at the deli, great salsa and chips at the Mexican rezzie, great fried clams/shrimp/fries buckets at the Fulton Fish Market....then roll into the sports bar for beer and bar food and 125 TV's showing games....Cheap (for Vegas).

                                1. re: LVI

                                  I was even there in Vegas during opening week. I wasn't even thinking that I could have actually met her at Giada. Another thread said she came around to all the tables more than once. I was just coming home from dealing with my fathers funeral/estate though, so wasn't so up or thinking clearly. Heading back tomorrow and a female friend who lives in Thailand is going to be visiting LV, so hope to go to Giada with her and at least sit at the bar area for drinks and some food. I checked reservations a week or so ago and nothing until ~10:45 for a few weeks. Told her about Lotus of Siam too and hope she will have time to go there with me. My friend has similar attributes to Giada.. Nice smile for sure. :)

                            2. re: kalo93406

                              I went back to the happy hour at PF Changs on my recent visit. Still good, but the prices for all the happy hour items were up. Seemed they added $1 to most if not all the prices, so not as good of a value, but still ok.

                              1. re: kalo93406

                                PF Changs is about as far from a CH experience as I can imagine. I know it is a cheap eats thread, but If we are talking chains, why not Micky D's?

                        3. Another way to do this is to go to for Las Vegas, and look up the various dining groups. Check their upcoming meetups, and see if any coincide with your visit. We have had visitors come with us before, and I have seen rides offered for those who could not make it otherwise. You could also join a group-it;'s free, and ask for other suggestions. Everyone that I have met through Meetup has been very nice, and helpful.