Diners and Pho in LV
First timer. Go easy, I come here via LonelyPlanet's Thorn Tree.
I'm looking for two things.
1) Pho. A recommendation for good pho.
2) A recommendation for a traditional diner. Somewhere I can sit at a counter.
I would probably prefer it to be separate from a hotel/casino complex. I am staying north of Ceasar's Palace (so Spring Mountain looks promising for the first request) and will not have a car (however I am competent in and not scared of public transport and am capable of putting in a good shift with the shoe leather).
Welcome to Chowhound. We're usually gentle here!
I'll yield to others about pho, as I've only had one pho in LV in the past two years.
You didn't mention what meal you were interested in for your diner, but I've got 3 ideas. None of them will blow your socks off food-wise, but all three have their charms:
1. The Peppermill Coffee Shop is on the Northern end of the Strip, and open 24 hours. It is quiet and spacious. The waitresses are friendly, mostly young. The menu is huge but I'd stick to basics. Expensive for a coffee shop but always fun (be sure and check out the cocktail lounge for some old-Vegas nostalgia).
2. Black Bear Diner, like the Peppermill, also has a branch in Reno. It's a chain, but doesn't feel like one, and is the most "dinery" of the three. http://blackbeardiner.com/ One big downside for your purposes is that it is far west on Tropicana Ave.
3. Hash House (Not to be confused with Hash House a-Go-Go is a midwestern-style diner open only for breakfast and lunch. On Decatur near Sahara.
There are 4 Hash House locations with the closest for you being the one inside the Imperial Palace. You can purchase a $10 gift certificate at restaurant.com that is good on a $20 minimum purchase during breakfast or lunch Mon-Fri.
For breakfast, I prefer Ellis Island which is located on Koval Lane - one block east of the Strip and behind Ballys. The restaurant consistently does an excellent job on my usual easy over eggs with hash browns and toast as well as cinnamon vanilla French toast and pancakes. Service, at least for breakfast, has been very good.
As Dave Feldman said, the recommended Hash House is NOT the chain that has a branch at the Imperial Palace.
The one he (and I) recommend is often referred to as "Mary's Hash House" on South Decatur. It's a true independently run diner that's excellent in all respects. The only downside for you is its location. Still, I would avoid the corporate Hash House A Go Go chain at all costs, even if it is conveniently located. Uninspired food and not a true diner experience, in my book.
I would second the recommendation of the Black Bear Diner on Tropicana as well. Very good waffles, pancakes and chicken fried steak and real hash browns to boot.
As far as pho goes, Pho So 1 is probably the best overall. It's going to be a bit of a walk, but it's do-able if it's not too hot. Pho Kim Long is closer; a lot of people love it, but for me it's just okay.
My personal pick, though, is Pho Little Saigon. Not only is it the closest, it also has seriously good pho. Between this and Pho So 1, my favorite is usually whichever place I was at most recently. Besides the pho, they have a rather large menu -- literally. It's about 8 feet tall, painted on the walls. I've tried a lot of the menu, and everything has been superb. The layout is different from most places in town -- rows and rows of picinc tables -- but if you're more interested in food than atmosphere, give it a try.
Yelp is all over the shop on Pho Little Saigon (with some suggesting this is because it is being confused with others) but this wouldn't stop me following your recommendation but there is a post there from June 20 2012 saying it has been closed by health dept. However, it is a 30 min walk (and Christ knows that away from the gym I'm going to need exercise) so I'll give it a go and will have to go past PLS on the way.
Your help is greatly appreciated.
I hadn't checked out the Yelp reviews before. Wow, the more recent reviews are polarized! Hope it's not true about being shut down, though. During my last trip there, in April, we went there three times, and it was never less than excellent. I'll be bummed if it's not around next time.
Wherever you end up going, there are several very good pho joints in the Chinatown area. Let us know how it works out.
There are about a dozen Pho options along the Spring Mountain corridor now, and we still can not come up with one that stands head and shoulders above the others, but the personal preference is Pho Kinh Do, 4300 Spring Mountain.
But here is the key caveat - we would not even consider walking from the Strip. It is not that it is so far, but that is is simply not a pleasant walk. You will be exposed to full sun and have to walk under a freeway underpass, with plenty of traffic noise and exhaust. You can pick up the Spring Mountain Bus (#203) right at the Fashion Show Mall, which makes for a much easier trek.